Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Is this REALLY "Within the [Moral] Law"?????

As an author I frequently use "Google Alerts" to let me know if there is any new conversation about any of my books or even about me (as when a new article I wrote appears, etc)... so when I got today's "Google Alert - Within the Law" in my email I certainly looked. You see one of my novels is called Within the Law and while alerts often come through based just on the words and not my chosen topic, it CAN happen. Normally when an alert comes through that doesn't represent what I wanted to see I just delete it, but today a headline enclosed in the email really flabbergasted me:

Boston magazine's Boston Daily (blog)
The “Peeping Tom” laws in Massachusetts only apply when people being
photographed unknowingly are either 
nude or partially nude in places like ...


According to this article the Supreme Judicial Court in the State of Massachusetts ruled that "Because the MBTA is a public transit system operating in a public place and uses cameras, the two alleged victims here were not in a place and circumstance where they reasonably would or could have had an expectation of privacy," referring to an incident where a man took pictures up women's skirts on a public train without their knowledge or consent. The man wanted the "Peeping Tom" charge dropped, an appeal which was denied by a lower court in Boston, but was granted by the State's highest court.

In my opinion this is the equivalent of saying a woman asks for unsolicited and aggressive behavior because of what she wears or that just because someone says NO doesn't mean she means NO.

Personally I am furious. I believe I have the right to expect privacy regarding my body parts wherever clothing conceals or partially conceals such parts. 

If I am going through a TSA checkpoint at the airport, my expectation is to be wanded, passed through a metal detector and screened by Advanced Imaging Technology; if I prefer I can request to be patted down and wanded instead of the AIT. And if further inspection is required I expect it to be done in an area respecting and protecting my privacy. Taking an airplane ride and therefore having to pass through such inspections is my choice and my EXPECTATION.

If I am taking mass transit such as a city train to work, waiting on a line at a bank, or standing in a crowded elevator, it is NOT my expectation to allow a stranger to peek under my clothing (especially without my knowledge or consent) to see parts of my body that I should reasonably imagine to be PRIVATE merely for the stranger's unknown and possibly malevolent intentions.

Please forgive my rant, but I think we need to make our feelings of this ruling known before we loose all rights to the expectation of privacy and personal rights.

I am interesting in hearing what you think about this...

Important Update to this story - 

Beacon Hill Officials Pass Legislation to Make Secret ‘Upskirt’ Photos Illegal

The expedited bill came in direct response to a controversial Supreme Judicial Court ruling.

Kudos to the Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick for signing "An Act Relative to Unlawful Sexual Surveillance" into law in the State of Massachusetts. It's a shame that it takes a governor's signature to ensure decency and protect human rights.

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