To the editor:
The proposed rental registration ordinance currently under consideration by the City Commission requires Lawrence citizens to open their homes to code enforcement officers with digital video and audio recording equipment.
The right to privacy is a fundamental liberty. The proposed inspections will record innumerable aspects of the occupants’ private lives which would then become public record.
Here are a few, fertile grounds for abuse:
l politics and political activities, as displayed in posters, books and other materials;
l reading habits, including books, newspapers, and magazines;
l movie-viewing habits, whether political, literary or sexual;
l protected-class information, including race, national origin, creed or sexual preference;
l religious (or nonreligious) beliefs, affiliations and practices, which may be unpopular or a subject of discrimination in the locality;
l family and other intimate and non-intimate relationships, as well as the sex and identity of other occupants, as revealed in photographs and other personal effects;
l group associations, e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous;
l personal habits, hygiene preferences based on personal and or religious beliefs;
l hobbies and interests, from the ordinary to what some may find disturbing;
l intimate preferences, practices and characteristics, whether lawful or unlawful, which may conflict with the occupants’ avowed religious faith or otherwise open them to ridicule in their community;
l private, and possibly embarrassing, dietary practices.
There is bitter truth in the editors’ comments on this subject, an apparent willingness of those who are not immediately affected to look the other way as “other” people’s homes are surveilled, “other” people’s rights are violated. It is glaringly obvious — particularly to those “other” people.