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Question 2.2 Free Waters in Miro Beach: Boaters Inc. versus City Government
What are the most prudent decisions the city can make about its responsibilities to itself
and others?
In the case of the city government of Miro Beach versus the Boaters Inc. association, the
city commissioners wanted to implement restrictions on boaters in the waterfront area of the city.
In response to this, the boaters formed the group Boaters Inc. in order to fight the city’s
regulations and eventually filed lawsuits against the city itself. One of the initial decisions that
the city government could have made is to bring in the team of professors to conduct the
research. These professors were already familiar with the type of research that would have been
completed, and their findings would have been respected more so than that of the city
government’s staff. Furthermore, the cost to have the local professors conduct this research
would have been vastly less expensive than the resulting expenses the city government was
forced to spend. In hindsight, the hiring of the private investigator, the suit that was filed by
Boaters Inc. under the Florida Public Records Act, and the following suit brought on by the
principal of Boaters Inc. cost the city government exponentially more than it would have spent in
getting proper research done.
Another decision the city government could have made is not to hire the private
investigator at all, and if the police determined a background check of the individual was needed
the FBI would perform it. In this way, the city government could prove that it went through the
proper channels rather than attempting to do things on their own. Hiring the private investigator
could have infringed on the principal’s right to privacy. Research that was conducted by Eileen
Kelley states that privacy is “the right of an individual to retain control over the collection and
use of personally identifiable facts and information about their daily lives(2005). This possible
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violation resulted in the principal of Boaters Inc. seeking $1 million in damages from the city
government.
The Bible also touches on the point of privacy, and more broadly, those who attempt to
hide their actions. In Luke 12:2 we are told that “there is nothing concealed that will not be
disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known” (NIV). This verse reminds us that God sees
all that we do, and to be conscientious in all of our actions.
What the implications of those decisions even if there is no violation of law or regulation?
The implications that could result from the actions the city government took against
Boaters Inc. could possibly include backlash from an irritated community. The citizens of Miro
Beach could feel that the time, resources, and tax dollars the city government spent during this
drawn out altercation with Boaters Inc. could have served a greater purpose such as improving
aspects of the city itself. Also, the citizens of Miro Beach could begin to wonder if their privacy
will be invaded next.
In an article by Courtney Giles, she touches on the topic of invasion of privacy on behalf
of the government by stating that such governmental actions could be “at the expense of
individuals' and other countries' privacy” (2015). The actions of the city government in the
disagreement with Boaters Inc. could potentially cause a ripple effect throughout the community.
The citizens of Miro Beach could begin to distrust those in leadership positions within the city’s
governmental structure, and cause a divide between the city government and the people it is
meant to govern.
References
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Giles, C. (2015). Balancing the breach: Data privacy laws in the wake of the NSA revelations.
Houston Journal of International Law. Vol 37, p 543-579. Retrieved from
http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&u=vic_liberty&id=GALE
|A428095723&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon#
Kelly, E., & Erickson, S. (2005) RFID tags: commercial applications v. privacy rights. Industrial
Management & Data Systems. Vol. 105, p 703-713. Retrieved from https://www-
emeraldinsight-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/doi/full/10.1108/02635570510606950
Luke 12:2. New International Version.

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