Simply put, the constitutional protection we take for granted for our "houses, papers and effects" does not extend to the digital homestead
There is no legal or policy rationale for affording second-class privacy status to personal information collected and stored by today's modes of communication and information technologies.
This is another "mortgage meltdown" waiting to happen. If we don't take action to extend full privacy protections to our digital homesteads, we jeopardize eroding public trust in the medium and putting the Internet economy in peril.
That's not a risk we should take while trying to recalibrate our economy and encourage innovation.
So, how do we begin to install digital locks and keys in our homes in the Internet cloud?
Consumers need to play their part and take responsibility for their digital homesteads, most importantly by taking advantage of the increasing array of privacy tools provided by online sites. And companies need to step up self-regulation to separate the good actors from the outliers.
But it's also crucial that President Barack Obama take early action to protect online privacy.
He can do this first by being a strong advocate for a comprehensive federal privacy law that would require companies to follow fair information practices, and give consumers rights in their information.
And as personal health information migrates online, the president should also support changes in our communications privacy laws to ensure that the digital homestead be afforded the same Fourth Amendment protections against unwarranted government intrusion that have protected our homes since our country's inception.
Leslie Harris is president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology.