Topics in the News: Privacy

Gary Johnson on Technology : Mar 23, 2016
No FBI backdoors to iPhones

We spoke at length about the FBI-Apple encryption dispute, which has occurred in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. Johnson sided firmly with Apple, citing his concerns that creating backdoor access to all iPhones would pose security and privacy threats: "They're not providing one key to open the door, they're providing a master key that will open all the doors."

He expressed skepticism about the FBI's purported claim that they need Apple's cooperation in order to access a smartphone's internal data. He claimed to be "slain by the fact that the FBI does not have the capability to do this themselves." Since our conversation, the Department of Justice has suggested that the FBI may be closer to cracking into the iPhone without Apple's assistance.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source:, "Johnson & Apple encryption", by Tom Ciccotta

Hillary Clinton on Technology : Jan 17, 2016
Work with Silicon Valley: security consistent with privacy

Q: Tech companies are responsible for the encryption technology to protect personal data, but the government wants a back door into that information. Is it possible to find common ground?

O'MALLEY: I believe whether it's a back door or a front door that the American principle of law should still hold that our federal government should have to get a warrant, whether they want to come through the back door or your front door. And I also agree with Benjamin Franklin, who said, no people should ever give up their privacy or their freedoms in a promise for security.

CLINTON: I was very pleased that leaders of President Obama's administration went out to Silicon Valley last week and began exactly this conversation about what we can do, consistent with privacy and security.

Q: The leaders from the intelligence community went to Silicon Valley, they were flatly turned down. They got nowhere.

CLINTON: That is not what I've heard. Let me leave it at that.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2016 NBC Democratic debate

Jill Stein on Welfare & Poverty : Jan 12, 2016
Millions thrown off food stamps because they can't find work

Republicans have long been recognized as unabashed servants of the economic elite. But they have not been alone. Democratic priorities [include] job-killing corporate trade agreements, austerity budgets, health care reform that locked single payer out and private profits in, privatization of schools, expanding wars for oil and regime change, and unprecedented assaults on privacy and press freedoms.

As a result of this bipartisan assault, we have not had a recovery by any measure. One in two Americans remain in or near poverty including half of children in public schools. One in three seniors relies on Social Security to stay afloat. Wages are stagnant or declining, and real unemployment is nearly 10%, twice as high as the official rate. Forty-three million current and former students are locked in debt. Thirty-three million Americans are still uninsured, and up to a million more Americans will be thrown off food stamps (SNAP) this year, unbelievably, because they can't find work.

Click for Jill Stein on other issues.   Source: Green Party response to 2016 State of the Union speech

Martin O`Malley on Principles & Values : Dec 19, 2015
Don't give up our freedoms for a promise of security

We should never give up our privacy or our freedoms in exchange for a promise of security. We need to figure this out together. We need to speak to what unites us as a people; freedom of worship, freedom of religion, freedom of expression. We should never be convinced to give up those freedoms in exchange for a promise of greater security; especially from someone as untried and as incompetent as Donald Trump.
Click for Martin O`Malley on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

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Rick Santorum on Homeland Security : Dec 15, 2015
Political correctness hinders us from fighting terrorism

Q [to Huckabee]: You said, "not one terrorist plot has been foiled by the NSA's collection of American's phone records." Should we taking away that tool?

HUCKABEE: No. I'm not taking it away, I just want to make sure that everything we use is going to be effective. Let's use every tool, but let's also check out the Facebook posts, let's look at Twitter accounts. My gosh, we were told we couldn't do it because it might invade somebody's privacy.

SANTORUM: I agree with Gov. Huckabee, that we should in fact be looking at people's social media posts. That's just common sense. But we've defunded and tied the hands behind the backs of our intelligence agencies because of political correctness. We're not allowed to ask any questions or really pursue, whether there's any mosque that they're attending that could be spreading Jihadism. But we're not allowed to ask those questions, we're not allowed to pursue to those things because we have a president who denies the reality of the enemy we confront.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate

Rick Santorum on Technology : Dec 15, 2015
Bulk metadata collection doesn't violate privacy

This sort of data collection is not collecting people's phones calls, their voices; they're not collecting information that's personal. There's no names attached to these numbers. They're simply numbers and times and relationships with algorithms. In fact, I would make the argument that the more data we can collect that's anonymous, the less we need to impose on people's privacy.
Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate

Bernie Sanders on Homeland Security : Oct 13, 2015
PATRIOT Act was 99-1, and I was the one

Q: You and Hillary Clinton both voted for the Patriot Act which created the NSA surveillance program. You've emphasized civil liberties, privacy during your campaign. Aren't these two things in conflict?

CHAFEE: No, that was a 99-to-1 vote for the PATRIOT Act, and it was seen as modernizing our ability to tap phones which always required a warrant.

Q: Do you regret that vote?

CHAFEE: As long as you're getting a warrant, I believe that under the Fourth Amendment, you should be able to do surveillance. And in the Patriot Act, section 215 started to get broadened too far. So I would be in favor of addressing and reforming section 215 of the Patriot Act.

Q: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: No, I don't. I think that it was necessary to make sure that we were able after 9/11 to put in place the security that we needed.

SANDERS: It was 99 to one and I was maybe the one. [Note: See related FactCheck--he was not the one!]

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas

Jerry Brown on Homeland Security : Oct 6, 2015
Ban drone use for photography on private property

NCSL summary:California AB 856 prohibits entering the airspace of an individual in order to capture an image or recording of that individual engaging in a private, personal, or familial activity without permission. This legislation is a response to the use of UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) by the paparazzi.

Bill excerpt:A person is liable for physical invasion of privacy when the person knowingly enters onto the land or into the airspace above the land of another person without permission or otherwise commits a trespass in order to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff engaging in a private, personal, or familial activity and the invasion occurs in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person.

Legislative record: Passed Senate 40-0-0; passed House 78-0-2 Aug. 27; signed by Governor Oct. 6.

Click for Jerry Brown on other issues.   Source: NCSL UAS Report: 2015 California voting records: AB 856

Carly Fiorina on Technology : Aug 6, 2015
Google should cooperate with FBI to fight cyberterrorism

Q: The FBI Director says terrorists recruit behind the cyber walls that are built by American companies like Google and Apple. Rand Paul says that the government forcing these companies to bring down those walls would be a big privacy issue. Which side are you on?

FIORINA: I certainly support that we need to tear down cyber walls, not on a mass basis, but on a targeted basis. I do not believe that we need to wholesale destroy every American citizen's privacy in order to go after those that we know are suspect or are already a problem. But yes, there is more collaboration required between private sector companies and the public sector. And specifically, we know that we could have detected and repelled some of these cyber attacks if that collaboration had been permitted.

Q: So, would you call for Google and Apple to cooperate in these Investigations and let the FBI in?

FIORINA: I absolutely would call on them to collaborate and cooperate, yes.

Click for Carly Fiorina on other issues.   Source: Fox News/Facebook Second Tier debate transcript

Bernie Sanders on Homeland Security : May 31, 2015
Worried about invasion of privacy from NSA corporate America

Q: Do you support the USA Freedom Act, limiting the PATRIOT Act?

SANDERS: I may well be voting for it. It doesn't go as far as I would like it to go. I voted against the original Patriot Act, and I voted against its reauthorization. Look, we have got to be vigorous in fighting terrorism and protecting the American people. But we have to do it in a way that protects the constitutional rights of the American people. And I'm very, very worried about the invasion of privacy rights that we're seeing not only from the NSA and the government but from corporate America, as well. We're losing our privacy rights. It's a huge issue.

Q: The government is going to be asking corporate America to keep this data under the USA Freedom Act. You're comfortable with that?

SANDERS: No, I'm not. But we have to look at the best of bad situations. The question is whether the NSA keeps it, the question is whether it is transferred to the phone companies, who already keep records for an extended period of time.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rick Santorum on Homeland Security : May 31, 2015
The Patriot Act did not cause any invasions of privacy

Q: You very much want to see no changes to the Patriot Act at all. If you see the changes that are made with this U.S.A. Freedom Act that's likely to be the new law of the land where the tech companies hold this data, do you think that that is going to somehow make us less safe?

SANTORUM: Look, I think the Patriot Act has worked very well. I'm not aware of any abuses of the Patriot Act that cause any undue fear about invasion of privacy. But at this point, it's likely that what the House passed is really the version that has viability. And I would vote for it if I was in the U.S. Senate. As president, I would sign it. So I'm encouraging everyone to let that bill become law. And we can move forward from there and judge to whether that provides us sufficient security going forward.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on Homeland Security : May 30, 2015
Maintain FISA electronic surveillance for terrorist suspects

The USA FREEDOM Act (HR 2048), sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), would establish new evidence requirements for the FBI to present to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court when seeking approval of electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists, and make a variety of changes to FBI electronic surveillance programs and the oversight of those programs.

A supporter of calling a vote, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), said it accommodated privacy concerns by restricting the set of records related to terrorism investigations that the government can request from telecommunications companies, while still giving the government the powers it needed to stop terrorism.

A bill opponent, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said the bill failed to require companies to maintain telecommunications records for long enough to make investigations effective. The vote was 57 yeas to 42 nays, with 3/5 majority required to call a vote.

YEAS: Scott R-SC

NAYS: Graham R-SC

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: Greenville News 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on Homeland Security : Feb 26, 2015
Kids are concerned with privacy & the surveillance state

Sen. Rand Paul will drop by a College Republicans reception, then pose for hundreds of pictures at a "liberty reception" hosted by the Young Americans for Liberty. In an interview with POLITICO to preview his CPAC remarks, Paul offered backhanded advice to Jeb Bush: "A lot of kids are concerned with privacy, and the fact that he's come out to be a big advocate for the surveillance state and the dragnet, collecting all the phone records--if he's smart, he won't probably bring that up at CPAC."

"Younger voters in particular don't like hypocrisy," Paul continued. "Him saying recently down in Florida that he would still incarcerate people even for medical marijuana, and then it turns out--him basically acknowledging that he'd been using recreational marijuana as a kid. I don't think anybody faults him for youthful indiscretions. But if you look at the people who end up getting caught up in the war on drugs, they're often not elite kids at prep schools. They're poor kids with no school."

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf.

Barack Obama on Technology : Jan 20, 2015
Better meet the threat of cyberattacks

No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2015 State of the Union address

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Elizabeth Warren on Technology : Aug 24, 2014
End bulk collection of phone records

Warren would like to end the bulk-collection of phone records, which is authorized by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act and set to expire June 1, 2015.

Even though Warren praised the Obama's administration's reforms of its surveillance apparatus earlier this year, she said they might not go far enough: "Congress must go further to protect the right to privacy, to end the NSA's dragnet surveillance of ordinary Americans, to make the intelligence community more transparent and accountable."

Click for Elizabeth Warren on other issues.   Source: Megan R. Wilson in weblog, "Clinton vs. Warren"

Rand Paul on Technology : Dec 8, 2013
4th Amendment bans NSA from collecting everyone's phone data

Q: The NSA collects 4 billion cell phone records outside the country every day. How severely would you like to restrict the surveillance by the National Security Agency?

PAUL: I would like to apply the Fourth Amendment to third-party records. I don't think you give up your privacy when someone else holds your records. So, when I have a contract with a phone company, those are still my records. And the government can look at them if they ask a judge. But the most important thing is, a warrant applies to one person. A warrant doesn't apply to everyone in America. So, it's absolutely against the spirit and the letter of the Fourth Amendment to say that a judge can write one warrant and you can get every phone call in America. That's what's happening. I think it's wrong. It goes against everything America stands for. And I will help to fight that all the way to the Supreme Court.

Q: So, you would ban mass data mining?

PAUL: I'm not opposed to the NSA. But I am in favor of the Fourth Amendment.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Lindsey Graham on Homeland Security : Aug 22, 2013
NSA domestic spying only targets terrorism suspects

In response to new NSA disclosures detailing privacy violations, Democratic Senate candidate Jay Stamper today called on Senator Lindsey Graham to apologize to the people of South Carolina for misleading them about the NSA's record of domestic spying. The NSA has now disclosed that one of its programs illegally intercepted thousands of domestic emails.

Here's what Graham said back in June: "I'm glad the NSA is trying to find out what the terrorists are up to overseas and in our country. I'm a Verizon customer. I don't mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government is going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States. I don't think you're talking to the terrorists. I know you're not. I know I'm not. So we don't have anything to worry about."

Graham seemingly neglected the criticisms that come with operating a surveillance program that blanket tracks the records of people not even suspected of a crime.

Click for Lindsey Graham on other issues.   Source: on 2014 South Carolina Senate race

Jill Stein on Homeland Security : Oct 4, 2012
Bush & Obama criminalized the right to protest

ANDERSON: More and more, United States citizens are worried about being safe from our government. Our Government is spying on us. The Patriot Act needs to be repealed.

STEIN: Yes, we certainly do need to hold government accountable. The attack on our civil liberties has been devastating. Under the Obama White House, which basically codified the violations of George Bush, the attacks on our privacy rights, on First Amendment rights, the criminalization of the right to protest, the National Defense Authorization Act in which the President has claimed the right to incarcerate us, basically, without charge or trial, and to do that at his pleasure without having to justify that in any way. So, yes, there are very serious problems. Things are not working under Democrats, under Republicans alike. We need a government that is of, by, and for the people, not sponsored and working for big money.

Click for Jill Stein on other issues.   Source: Democracy Now! Expanded First Obama-Romney 2012 debate

Tim Kaine on Abortion : Sep 4, 2012
Don't deny privacy to women making health care decisions

[As governor], we worked with Democrats, Republicans and independents to get results. Over the last four years, the GOP pushed ideology and wedge issues. Last week, they passed a platform demanding privacy for Super PACs and denying privacy to women making health care decisions. Meanwhile, Democrats fought for the middle class.
Click for Tim Kaine on other issues.   Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech

Mitt Romney on Technology : Sep 4, 2012
Net Neutrality imposes government as a central gatekeeper

OBAMA: It is essential that we take steps to strengthen our cybersecurity and ensure that we are guarding against threats to our vital information systems, all while preserving Americans' privacy, data confidentiality, and civil liberties.

ROMNEY: Unfortunately, Pres. Obama has chosen to impose government as a central gatekeeper in the broadband economy. His policies interfere with the basic operation of the Internet, create uncertainty, and undermine investors and job creators. Specifically, the FCC's "Net Neutrality" regulation represents an Obama campaign promise fulfilled on behalf of certain special interests, but ultimately a "solution" in search of a problem. The government has now interjected itself in how networks will be constructed and managed, picked winners and losers in the marketplace, and determined how consumers will receive access to tomorrow's new applications and services. The Obama Administration's overreaching has replaced innovators and investors with Washington bureaucrats

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: The Top American Science Questions, by

Gary Johnson on Homeland Security : Aug 1, 2012
Patriot Act is a direct assault on privacy & due process

While many of our liberties are threatened by a government grown too large and too intrusive, there are some fundamental freedoms that are under particular threat. The Patriot Act, for example, is a direct assault on both privacy and the due processes of law. It should be repealed.
Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p.144

Nikki Haley on Immigration : Apr 3, 2012
Audit businesses to see if using E-Verify

We already had a strong anti-illegal immigration bill when I became governor. All I wanted to do was enforce it. Our law required businesses to prove they weren't hiring illegal aliens by using, among other methods, a federal database called E-Verify.

The problem is, for E-Verify to work government has to know whether employers are actually using it. Obama's Department of Homeland Security told us we could no longer audit businesses to check if they were using E-Verify. The privacy of the people being checked, they said, would be compromised if we asked for proof from businesses. Out of the more than 6,000 businesses they had checked, over 2,000 violations had been found. But no more. Now the federal government was saying that we couldn't use the best and most efficient means we had to enforce our law.

My goal wasn't to overburden employers with rules and regulations. I just wanted to use the easiest and least costly way, to ensure we weren't employing illegals, and that was E-Verify.

Click for Nikki Haley on other issues.   Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.211-212

Ben Carson on Technology : Jan 24, 2012
Respect privacy; don't use info from post-9-11 monitoring

Since 9/11 it has become increasingly important to monitor all suspicious activity in an attempt to prevent another terrorist attack. One of the results of this monitoring has been the discovery of some unsavory habits and characteristics of many otherwise outstanding citizens. To its credit, our government has not disclosed those findings or prosecuted the involved individuals because we still respect the right of all of our citizens to privacy as long as they are not infringing upon the rights of others. I realize that many "holier than thou" conservatives and even some liberals think we should use all gathered information about people they don't care for, to discredit them. If and when this begins to happen, our country will become a nightmare akin to George Orwell's novel "1984". We must jealously guard every American citizen's right to live as they please, again as long as they are not interfering with the rights of other Americans to do the same.
Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.181-182

Rick Santorum on Abortion : Jan 7, 2012
States have the right to ban contraception, but shouldn't

Q: [to Romney] Sen. Santorum has been very clear in his belief that the Supreme Court was wrong when it decided that a right to privacy was embedded in the Constitution. And following from that, he believes that states have the right to ban contraception. Now I should add that he said he's not recommending that states do that.

SANTORUM: No, let's be clear. We're talking about the 10th Amendment and the right of states to act.

Q: Gov. Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?

ROMNEY: I can't imagine a state banning contraception. I would totally and completely oppose any effort to ban contraception.

SANTORUM: The Supreme Court created through a penumbra of rights a new right to privacy that was not in the Constitution. It created a right through boot-strapping, through creating something that wasn't there. I believe it should be overturned.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate

Mitt Romney on Abortion : Jan 7, 2012
States shouldn't ban contraception; and no state wants to

Q: [to Romney] Sen. Santorum has been very clear in his belief that the Supreme Court was wrong when it decided that a right to privacy was embedded in the Constitution. And following from that, he believes that states have the right to ban contraception. Now I should add that he said he's not recommending that states do that.

SANTORUM: No, let's be clear. We're talking about the 10th Amendment and the right of states to act.

Q: Gov. Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?

ROMNEY: I can't imagine a state banning contraception. I can't imagine the circumstances where a state would want to do so, and if I were a governor of a state or a state legislature, I would totally and completely oppose any effort to ban contraception.

SANTORUM: The Supreme Court created through a penumbra of rights a new right to privacy that was not in the Constitution. I believe it should be overturned.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate

Rick Santorum on Homeland Security : Jan 7, 2012
Privacy is in 4th amendment, but Patriot Act is ok

Q: [to Paul] Sen. Santorum believes that the Supreme Court was wrong when it decided that a right to privacy was embedded in the Constitution.

SANTORUM: No, let's be clear. We're talking about the 10th Amendment and the right of states to act.

PAUL: I think the Fourth Amendment is very clear. It is explicit in our privacy. You can't go into anybody's house and look at what they have or their papers or any private things without a search warrant. This is why the Patriot Act is wrong, because you have a right of privacy by the Fourth Amendment.

SANTORUM: Congressman Paul is talking about privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment, in which I agree with him, I don't necessarily agree that the Patriot Act violates that. But I do agree that obviously we have a right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate

Rick Perry on Abortion : Nov 15, 2010
The right to privacy is fictitious

The Court decided in 1963 that the people of Connecticut were unconstitutionally outlawing the sale of contraceptives, because--it imagined--in the "penumbras" of the Constitution there is a right to privacy that prohibits that policy. Penumbras? What total and complete nonsense. The justices made a policy and then made something up in the Constitution to effectuate it.

Eight years later the Court found that this "right to privacy" extends to the right of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy --a rather tepid euphemism for ending the life of the unborn baby. In what can only be described as an arrogant commitment to itself--an ode to its own legitimacy, if you will--the Court actually touted its self-given "authority to decide [the people's] constitutional cases and speak before all others for their constitutional ideals." I assume the Court would like us to say thank you, but I also assume that the 52 million or so unborn children who never had a shot at the American dream may beg to differ.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.107-108

Mike Bloomberg on Crime : Sep 28, 2010
OpEd: never a conspicuous civil libertarian

New Yorkers, most of them still Democrats, objected to Bloomberg's handling of the 2004 Republican National Convention, when 1,800 people were arrested and held in a large detention center, some guilty of no more than standing on a street during a police sweep. Never a conspicuous civil libertarian, the mayor brusquely dismisses the issue of the treatment of demonstrators, and privacy in general, justifying himself and his Police Department: "There's a camera watching you at all times when you're out in the street; the civil liberties issue has long been settled," he says.

As he sees it, those who were arrested put themselves at risk and in effect got what they deserved because the police were reacting to threats. 5 years after the convention, the city had spent $6.6 million to defend the lawsuits, an additional $1.7 million to settle 90 claims and still faced lawsuits filed by hundreds of plaintiffs. About 90% of the people arrested had their charges dismissed outright or dropped after 6 months.

Click for Mike Bloomberg on other issues.   Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by J.Purnick, p.154-155

Rand Paul on Homeland Security : Sep 1, 2010
Warrantless searches overstep Constitutional powers

In the last nine years, the Federal Government has expanded the scope of its power at an alarming rate, while blatantly ignoring the Constitution. Whether it's passing the 315 page Patriot Act without a single member of Congress ever reading the bill, proposing a National ID Card, establishing FISA courts and utilizing warrantless searches, or betraying the medical privacy of ordinary citizens, the Federal Government has overstepped its limited powers as stipulated in the Constitution.
Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: 2010 Senate campaign website,, "issues"

Marco Rubio on Abortion : Feb 3, 2010
No right to privacy, that resulted in the Roe v. Wade

I support judges who will respect the rule of law, strictly interpret our Constitution and not legislate from the bench. I opposed Judge Sonia Sotomayor [based on] her case history and testimony regarding the Second Amendment at the state level, eminent domain takings and the so-called constitutional right to privacy that resulted in the Roe v. Wade decision. Together, these and other cases point to a nominee who would bring an activist approach to the highest court in the land.
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 2010 Senate campaign website,, "Issues"

Mike Huckabee on Abortion : Nov 18, 2008
No state-by-state decisions on moral issues like abortion

Roe v. Wade simply took the issue of protecting human life from the jurisdiction of individual state law and added a new level of protection in the name of privacy at the federal level. [If abortion were] a political issue, then it would be logical for the issue to be decided by the individual states--but it is a moral issue. The right to life is a fundamental right that does not--CANNOT--vary from state to state. The very idea of each and every state having a different standard of morality as it relates to the sanctity of life is ludicrous.

In the 1860s, states in the South believed that each state should set its own terms for how to deal with the issue of slavery. Wise and principled leaders insisted that this could not be treated as a political issue but would have to be dealt with as a moral issue.

It's my hope & prayer that we will also come to an inescapable conclusion that it is equally irrational to believe that human life can mean something different in each of the 50 states.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: Do The Right Thing, by Mike Huckabee, p. 42-43

Sarah Palin on Abortion : Oct 1, 2008
Constitution does offer an inherent right to privacy

Q: Do you think there’s an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

A: I do. Yeah, I do.

Q: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.

A: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric

Joe Biden on Abortion : Oct 1, 2008
Constitution does offer an inherent right to privacy

Q: Do you think there’s an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

A: I think the liberty clause of the 14th Amendment offers a right to privacy. Now that’s one of the big debates that I have with my conservative scholar friends, that they say, you know, unless a right is enumerated--unless it’s actually uses the word “privacy” in the Constitution--then no such “constitutional right” exists. Well, I think people have an inherent right.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric

Barack Obama on Drugs : Aug 14, 2007
A “secret smoker”, especially around reporters

There was a reason besides personal privacy why Obama had been so resistant to my presence [while preparing this book]: Obama was a secret smoker--and he did not want to light up in front of a reporter. Some politicians are comfortable smoking in front of the media or in public, while others believe the habit will reflect poorly on their public image. Obama was in the latter group, almost to an obsessive degree.

The public portrait of Obama now bordered on saintly, especially for a politician. Learning that he smoked might tarnish this picture. So Obama went to great lengths to conceal the habit.

It really came as no surprise to me that Obama smoked. His wife mentioned in our interview that Obama had a cigarette dangling from his lips on their first lunch together. He had written in Dreams from My Father about smoking in the college dorms. But most telling, like most smokers, he occasionally smelled of tobacco.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p.258&272-273

Joe Biden on Abortion : Apr 26, 2007
Nominees should agree on constitutional right to privacy

Q: As president would you have a specific litmus test question on Roe v. Wade that you would ask of your nominees for the high court?

A: I strongly support Roe v. Wade. I wouldn’t have a specific question but I would make sure that the people I sent to be nominated for the Supreme Court shared my values; and understood that there is a right to privacy in the United States Constitution. That’s why I led the fight to defeat Bork, Roberts Alito, and Thomas.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Mar 27, 2007
Homeland security must protect citizens, not intrude on them

Every democracy is tested when it is faced with a serious threat. As a nation we have to find the right balance between privacy and security, between executive authority to face threats and uncontrolled power. What protects us are the procedures we put in place to protect that balance, namely judicial warrants and congressional review. These are concrete safeguards to make sure surveillance hasn’t gone too far.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p. 99

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Mar 27, 2007
Personal privacy must be protected even in terrorism age

Americans fought a revolution in part over the right to be free from unreasonable searches, to ensure that our government couldn’t come knocking in the middle of the night for no reason. We need to find a way forward to make sure that we [stop] terrorists while protecting the privacy and liberty of innocent Americans.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak, p.132

Marco Rubio on Technology : Nov 1, 2006
Protect against identity theft with privacy opt-in

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio

Sarah Palin on Education : Jul 31, 2006
Let parents opt out of schoolbooks they find offensive

Q: Will you support the right of parents to opt out their children from curricula, books, classes, or surveys, which parents consider privacy-invading or offensive to their religion or conscience?

A: Yes. Parents should have the ultimate control over what their children are taught.

Click for Sarah Palin on other issues.   Source: Eagle Forum 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire

Hillary Clinton on Civil Rights : Jun 16, 2006
Pushing for privacy bill of rights

Hillary Clinton urged creation of a “privacy bill of rights” to protect people’s personal data. Clinton’s speech on protecting consumers from identity theft and citizens from government snooping was the latest in a series of talks billed as “major addresses” by aides. Previous speeches were on energy and the economy. A potential presidential candidate in 2008, Clinton noted her work on a House committee investigating the Nixon administration’s illegal snooping and other abuses.

Clinton said any president should have the latest technology to track terrorists, but within laws that provide for oversight by judges. “The administration’s refrain has been, ‘Trust us,’” Clinton said. “That’s unacceptable. Their track record doesn’t warrant our trust. Unchecked mass surveillance without judicial review may sometimes be legal but it is dangerous. Every president should save those powers for limited critical situations.”

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2008 speculation in Associated Press

Mike Bloomberg on Homeland Security : May 24, 2006
Use DNA and fingerprint technology for worker ID database

Bloomberg thrust himself into the national immigration debate, advocating a plan that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal US workers. Bloomberg compared his proposed federal identification database to the Social Security card, insisting that such a system would not violate citizens’ privacy and was not a civil liberties issue. “You don’t have to work--but if you want to work for a company you have to have a Social Security card,” he said. “The difference is, in the day and age when everybody’s got a PC on their desk with Photoshop that can replicate anything, it’s become a joke.“

The mayor said DNA and fingerprint technology could be used to create a worker ID database that will ”uniquely identify the person“ applying for a job, ensuring that cards are not illegally transferred or forged. The New York Civil Liberties Union said a DNA or fingerprint database ”doesn’t sound like the free society we think we’re living in.“

Click for Mike Bloomberg on other issues.   Source: Sara Kugler, Associated Press

Rick Santorum on Abortion : Apr 23, 2003
There is no federal right to privacy

Q: Your view on the right to privacy?

A: The undermining of the fabric of our society all comes from this right to privacy that doesn't exist in the US Constitution. This right was created in Griswold--the contraceptive case--and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. Whether it's polygamy or sodomy, all of those things are antithetical to a stable, traditional family. The idea of the "right to privacy" is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' passions. I disagree with that. There are consequences to letting people live out whatever passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society.

Q: Would a President Santorum eliminate a right to privacy?

A: The right to privacy was created in a law about individual passions. And I don't agree with that. So I would put it back to the democratic process. If NY doesn't want sodomy laws, if NY wants abortion, fine. I wouldn't agree with it, but that's their right. But I don't agree with the Supreme Court coming in.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: Associated Press in USA Today: Santorum Interview

Rick Santorum on Families & Children : Apr 23, 2003
Church scandals caused by "right to privacy lifestyle"

Q: In an article you wrote, you blamed in part the Catholic Church scandal on liberalism. Can you explain that?

A: : You have the problem within the church. Again, it goes back to this moral relativism, which is very accepting of a variety of different lifestyles. And if you make the case that if you can do whatever you want to do, as long as it's in the privacy of your own home, this "right to privacy," then why be surprised that people are doing things that are deviant within their own home?

Q: The right to privacy lifestyle?

A: The right to privacy lifestyle.

Q: What's the alternative?

A: In this case, priests were having sexual relations with post-pubescent men. We're not talking about priests with 5-year-olds. We're talking about a basic homosexual relationship. Which, again, according to the world view sense is a perfectly fine relationship as long as it's consensual between people. If you view the world that way, and you say that's fine, you would assume that you would see more of it.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: Associated Press in USA Today: Santorum Interview

Jesse Ventura on Abortion : Jul 2, 2000
Keep abortion legal on privacy grounds

It’s not so much that I think abortion should be legal as it is that I don’t think it can be made illegal without abusing the Constitution. Unless the government barged in at the precise moment the woman was there in the operating room with her feet in the stirrups, how would the government know she was getting an abortion? How could they even know she is pregnant without infringing upon her rights? Ultimately, I have to support keeping it legal. The government has to stay out of this one.
Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.150

  • Additional quotations related to Privacy issues can be found under Civil Rights.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Civil Rights.
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Secy.John Kerry
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Page last updated: Aug 24, 2016