The government, corporations, and private hackers now have access to our information in ways that were unthinkable when many of the laws designed to protect us were developed.
Alaska, unlike most other states and the federal system, expressly included an affirmative right to privacy in its Constitution.
This unique express right to privacy, at its core, recognizes our common interest in liberty, the right to be free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by the state on our way of life, our behavior, or our political views.
For example, in 1975, the Alaska Supreme Court was asked to address the state’s authority to regulate marijuana. Because, it was argued, marijuana for personal consumption did not threaten the public health or welfare of others, the state had no right to regulate its use. The Court agreed (although noting that a drug with more serious harmful effects on an individual may be different, concluding that “no adequate justification for the state’s intrusion into the citizen’s right to privacy by its prohibition of possession of marijuana by an adult for personal consumption in the home has been shown.” Ravin v. State, 1975. Later decisions have expanded this right to protect any sensitive personal information and to safeguard a woman’s right to choose. Alaskans have long recognized, what we do is our business. We should not give up that right simply by owning a smartphone or going on to the internet.
Although it was not officially adopted until 1972, the framers of the Alaska Constitution recognized “unless our government officials are prohibited against using [electronic] devices we now have, we will have no privacy whatsoever.” Alaskans should not have to choose between using and benefiting from new technologies, including devices that help streamline government, and their inalienable right to liberty and to be let alone.
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“The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed. The legislature shall implement this section.”
Article 1, Section 22 of the Alaska Constitution.