Do we have the right to privacy? Most people would argue yes, but we are clearly comfortable with some invasions of privacy. The Cambridge Analytica scandal reawakened this debate. We knew, on some subconscious level, that Facebook uses and stores our data. We probably even knew that Facebook shares that data with third parties. What we didn’t know—at least, not until recently—is that those third parties (namely, Cambridge Analytica) can easily misuse that data. At the end of the day, the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook debacle is about election interference and obstruction of democracy, not individuals’ right to privacy. Nevertheless, during the Congressional hearings about the scandal, Senator Dick Durbin asked Mark Zuckerberg, “Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?” He and many other Americans seem intent on discussing Facebook’s invasion of American citizens’ privacy.

Back to my original question, then: do we have the right to privacy? The most fundamental of American freedoms, in my opinion, is our freedom of speech. I would rather have the right to express myself and my opinions than have the right to privacy. Take, for instance, the articles in this issue of the Point of View. Twenty-three of your fellow BB&N students have chosen to defend an argument. They have taken a stand on some issue. Their defense is not a private one: these articles will be shared with the BB&N community in print form and with a larger community when they are uploaded to our POV website. They are exercising their right to express themselves and invoking their freedom of speech. But with the exercise of this freedom, they have lost some privacy. Their opinions are out in the open, for you to criticize, to disagree with, to refute, to support. A loss of privacy is the price you pay for standing up for your beliefs or making an argument. This loss is one of the many reasons that taking a stand, whether in a POV article, in a class debate, or in a casual conversation, is a difficult task. For this reason, I commend our writers for their boldness. Perhaps our right to privacy needs more legal clarification, but regardless, we all ought to remember the risk that each and every one of us takes when we share an opinion—controversial or otherwise. This reminder hopefully serves us in two ways. First, the risk factor forces us to consider our words and arguments carefully. Second, it encourages us to be respectful in our response to others’ opinions—they have taken a risk in sharing their thoughts, and we should acknowledge that. Finally, we ought to remember that the risk of sharing political opinions in the United States is far less dangerous than in some other parts of the world. How can we best honor our right to freedom of speech? By choosing our words carefully, arguing for what we believe in, and, of course, writing for The Point of View.