In defense of doing wrong

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I'll start with one of my favorite law stories. About fifteen years ago, in Provo, Utah, the proprietor of an adult video store was prosecuted for obscenity. Some of you will know obscenity law, but one of the things that factors into a prosecution for obscenity is that the state has to show that whatever material this person was producing, sharing and selling falls outside of contemporary community standards. [...] Now, I can assure you that the very same people who you hear in this debate saying, "Oh, I don't worry about surveillance, I haven't done anything wrong, I have nothing to hide," are the people who are in Marriott hotel rooms - or at least were in 2000, before anybody was getting this stuff for free on the internet - watching pornography. [...]

One of my ACLU colleagues, who's a very fierce privacy advocate ... emailed me the other day and said she was sick of talking about surveillance and democracy and liberty. She thought it was time for us to talk more about drugs and porn and adultery and gossip. I think these things are connected, by the way, to the defense of democracy, but I understood where she was coming from. The reason I think they're connected is that social change often depends on transgressive conduct, and even sometimes on breaking the law. And we need privacy in order to leave space for that kind of behavior. [...] Across the United States right now, many states are in the process of reversing decades-old laws about homosexuality, for example, about marijuana use.

source: Article 'In Defense of Doing Wrong' by Ben Wizner (director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project and serves as legal counsel to Edward Snowden); thepointmag.com/2015/politics/in-defense-of-doing-wrong; The Point Magazine; 2015