Comparison and Contrast: Privacy and Violation of Human Rights

As is often the case in hotly contested discussion, claims of invalid comparisons are often made alongside calls to compare "apples to apples" instead of "apples to ice buckets" or some other such mis-matched scale.

In order to help further along the discussion of why rendition, torture and individual rights to privacy, decency and proper representation in a court of law matters no matter the reason, here's two current stories that both concern the abuse of a man and a tortured penis.

Tattooed privates prove not so private:

PHOENIX - A surgeon faces a disciplinary hearing for snapping a photo of a patient's tattooed genitals during an operation and showing it around to other doctors.


"Patient privacy is a serious matter, and photographing someone in this manner without a good reason is something we will investigate down to the last detail," said Dr. Joseph Sirven...

The patient/victim stated "The longer I sit here the angrier I get."

Now compare it to this article, Lawyer: CIA Has Photos of Outsourced Torture of Gitmo Suspect:

A lawyer for a Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspect allegedly tortured in Morocco when his interrogation was outsourced by the U.S. says the CIA was present and has photographs of the physical abuse of his client.

Binyam Mohamed, a 27-year-old Ethiopian was sliced in the chest and penis by interrogators during the 18 months he was held in Morocco in 2002 and 2003, according to his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith of Reprieve, a British human rights group.

So...don't ~both~ men deserve to have their days in court? Do the crimes and offenses committed against one man compare in any way to those committed against the other, or can you justify either circumstance and let the perpetrators off scott-free?

Just a little something to think about.

For a little more to think about, make the jump.

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In the medical field, there is a set of laws governing the proper use and sharing of patient data. Anyone who has gone into the hospital or required medical treatment has likely had to sign a form explaining these rules and regulations regarding the use of their patient data.

The laws are called HIPAA, and here's a brief synopsis of the particulars (greater detail in the previous link):

The HIPAA law, though passed in 1996, is being implemented over several years. According to this law, health plans, health care clearinghouses and health care providers who conduct certain financial and administrative transactions electronically are considered "covered entities." All covered entities need to read and understand their obligations under the various rules of this law.

The Transaction Rule will determine the electronic format for data transmitted between health care providers and health insurance plans or Medicaid and other governmental health plans. This rule is effective October 16, 2002, but covered entities may submit a plan to postpone compliance for one year – until October 16, 2003. It is now fully implemented.

The Security Rule was developed to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of individual health records. Any health care provider, health care clearinghouse or health plan that electronically maintains or transmits health information pertaining to an individual must comply with the security standards. This rule is effective April 20, 2005.

The Privacy Rule gives patients greater access to their own medical records and more control over how their personal health information is used. The privacy rule was implemented April 14, 2003.

National Provider Identifier rule will be implemented May 23, 2005. Compliance is required by May 23, 2007 except for small health plans.

Funny thing about the HIPAA Act -- it appeals to my innate sense of justice, fair play, guaranteed rights and all that historically impressive (yet quaint) claptrap often associated with the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It's a more targeted instance, of course, explicitly focused upon the sharing and use of patient information in order to help prevent fraud, abuse and to ultimately protect the patient and the system from each other. But the concept underlying the establishment of HIPAA echoes -- for me -- the intent between certain enumerated rights and freedoms from within our most crucial founding documents. Specifically, these bits:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.


Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Tell me again where we can allow torture and rendition without violating the very principle and nature of the country for which we stand. Convince me, if you can.

And do it publicly, on record, so that I can use the evidence at your trial, and bequeath it to the students of history as evidence of diseased minds and tortured reasoning in the so-called leadership of today.

No votes yet


crossposted to DailyKos and DocuDharma.

Essentially, only the part from above-the-fold, in order to get the meat of the comparison and contrast out in front of more people.

but I have this notation always in the back of my mind that when the day comes for me and I am laid out on the slab being processed for cremation.....I don't want anyone doing the old...hey, "lookee here" thing, let alone take a pic.

I am pretty much convinced anymore that we are all on our own. Try your darndest to stay out of the way of stun guns, lethal injection, anesthesia, tainted e-coli ground beef, pepper spray, lead....etc.