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Overview of Privacy

The concept of privacy involves the right to make or keep personal matters, decisions, and actions distinct from the public sphere. This category includes topics that relate to the history of privacy law, legislation that defines privacy in the U.S. and internationally, and incorporates emerging privacy issues within the category of internet law.

The Right to Privacy

The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly state the right to privacy. Instead, this right to privacy is based primarily on the interpretation of the 3rd and 4th Amendments of the Bill of Rights. Additionally, over the years, Supreme Court decisions have helped to establish the right to privacy as a basic human right.

The right to privacy was coined from a paper written in 1809 by Samuel Warren and Louis D. Brandeis called "The Right to Privacy". This paper was published in the Harvard Law Review and established privacy as the "right to be let alone".

U.S. Privacy Law

Currently, the U.S. does not have an overarching privacy law. Rather, laws governing privacy are specific to industry and the protection of certain types of information. U.S. privacy laws involve involves various players including law enforcement, government, financial sector, education, business, and the media. It involves concerns such as national security, genetics research, government records, and surveillance.

International Privacy Law

At an international level, privacy law is governed by governmental and inter-governmental agencies. The majority of International privacy laws follow the guidelines provided by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) or Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation(APEC). These guidelines are based on fair information practice principles which are a set of standards that oversees the collection and use of personal data and addressing issues of privacy and accuracy.


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