History | Legal Codification | Philosophical Origins | Culture and Politics | Conflicts with other Rights | Limitations / Restrictions | Utilitarian / Fairness Assessments | Looking Ahead | Policy Recommendations
What is the oldest source in any country that mentions this right? 🖉 edit
Most sources say that the first mention of this right is The Right to Privacy written by Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis and published in the Harvard Law Review in 1890. Both were Boston attorneys and Brandeis would go on to serve as a United States Supreme Court Justice for 23 years (Louis Brandeis, n.d.). In this essay, they note that the legal scope of rights broadens over time and posit that the right to life has expanded to “the right to be let alone,” which had become an increasingly difficult feat with new technologies (Warren & Brandeis, 1890, 193, 195). Warren and Brandeis (1890) acknowledge that, at the time, there was little-to-no legal protection of this right. They look at defamation law and determine while it alludes to privacy law, there are limitations to privacy protection from this area of law as it only considers a damaged reputation, not instances in which an individual wishes something remained secret (Warren & Brandeis, 1890, 197; Bycer, 2014). They also looked at copywriting and publishing law, which only applies to one’s own work (Warren & Brandeis, 1890, 199). They determine that the right to privacy can extend beyond these areas of law as the right should be able to wholly prevent the depiction of private life (Warren & Brandeis, 1890, 218). In the last part of this essay, they set out limitations to the right of privacy – privileged information remains under defamation law (to allow for the operation of courts), privacy ceases with consent to publish, gossip is not in the realm of privacy law, and intention and truth do not prevent a breach of such right. However, Warren and Brandeis cite at least two instances that predate The Right to Privacy which discuss the right to privacy. The earliest is the citing of an 1820 statement from Lord Cottenham, who, in agreement with Lord Eldon, felt that were a king’s illnesses recorded by a doctor and published while that king was still alive, a court would not permit its publishing, as he claimed this circumstance would breach the king’s privacy (Warren & Brandeis, 1890, 205; Bycer, 2014). Additionally, they acknowledge that the right to privacy has already been regulated in France since 1868. Section 11 of the 1868 Loi Relative à la Presse (Press Law) says that all periodic writings about a private fact of life are violations punishable by a fine of 500 francs. Pursuit of the violation may only be undertaken by the affected party (Warren & Brandeis, 1890, 214, footnote 1). Beyond what Warren & Brandeis cited as earlier mentions, there was also the 1801 Haitian Constitution which provided the home was inviolable from government invasion in Article 63 (Theodore, 2000).
Bycer, M. (2014). Understanding the 1890 Warren and Brandeis “The Right to Privacy” Article. National Juris University. Retrieved Sept. 10, 2021, from https://nationalparalegal.edu/UnderstandingWarrenBrandeis.aspx
Louis Brandeis. (2020, Nov. 9). Britannica. Retrieved Sept. 8, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-Brandeis
Theodore, Charmant. (2000). Haitian Constitution of 1801 (English). Louverture Project. http://thelouvertureproject.org/index.php?title=Haitian_Constitution_of_1801_(English)
Warren, S. & Brandeis, L. (1890, Dec. 15). The right to privacy. Harvard Law Review 4(5), 193-220. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0017-811X%2818901215%294%3A5%3C193%3ATRTP%3E2.0.CO%3B2-C
What historical forces or events, if any, contributed to a widespread belief in its importance? 🖉 edit
The right to privacy accentuates the belief that a citizen’s private information should be fundamentally protected from public scrutiny. With the rapid evolution of technology brings the consequence of third party control on personal information, inspiring pivotal debate on a right that is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution: privacy. In 2012 it became evident that due process and regulations on the collection and use of private information have also evolved (Jones, 2009, 1).
Expectations on privacy rights fluctuate depending on situational factors and the circumstance of state and federal governments. Historically, both state and federal laws have the power to ultimately limit individual privacy rights with a justification of creating a “safer public (Jones, 2009, 2). Although not specifically spelled out in the constitution, privacy is oftentimes implied, as it is embedded in the first, third, fourth, fifth, ninth and fourteenth amendments. For example, the first amendment clearly outlines that citizens should have the freedom to hold any type of religious belief and keep those beliefs private. The third amendment then protects the right to privacy of a citizen’s home (Brandeis, 1890). The fourth further expands on privacy in regards to the protection of the home from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The fifth legitimizes the right against self-incrimination, justifying the right to private information.
Furthermore, the ninth amendment which states that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” has been established by the Supreme Court as a right to privacy in cases such as Griswold v Connecticut (1965) (Garrow, 2001, 57). Lastly, the fourteenth amendment, one of the nation’s most cherished amendments, protects citizens from state laws that may infringe upon personal autonomy. In addition, its due process clause is reflective of the fifth amendment in terms of fundamental rights and procedural protections of life liberty and property (Chapman, 2022). From these amendments, the “right to privacy” is inferred or enumerated similarly to other rights like the First Amendment’s right to assembly or the third amendment's right to be free from quartering soldiers.
Interestingly enough, a legal definition of privacy does not exist and the world itself is perceived differently across international borders. In the United Kingdom Calcutt Committee on privacy suggests its own definition for privacy in Britain being “The right of the individual to be protected against intrusion into his personal life or affairs, or those of his family by direct physical means, or by publication of information” (Jones, 2009, 1). Through another lens, Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, in their 1890 The Right to Privacy article, characterized tangible and intangible aspects of privacy. They concluded that the fundamental purpose of their law review was to highlight that “the individual shall have full protection in person and in property,” acknowledging the fluidity of social, economic and political changes (Garrow, 2001, 64). Most specifically the justices discussed “the right to be let alone,” while examining cases of defamation, property and patents. Brandeis characterizes threats to protection of privacy as invasions of the “sacred precincts of private and domestic life” (Brandeis-Warren, 197, 1890). However, both Warren and Brandeis summarized a vague set of limitations of the newly coined right to privacy, emphasizing the importance of general or public interest. For example, the right to privacy cannot prohibit any publication of information that would be advantageous to the public such as a leader's fitness for federal office (Brandeis-Warren, 196, 1890). Some of the most noteworthy and high profile cases acknowledging the need for protection of privacy other than previously mentioned Griswold v Connecticut are Roe v. Wade (1973), and Lawrence v. Texas (2003).
Another major decision further considering a citizen’s right to privacy was held in a 6-3 ruling (Lawrence v Texas) that citizens are protected by the constitution to have sexual privacy, consensual, adult sexual intimacy in the home without government intrusion. Being so, the Texas "homosexual conduct" law was declared uncconsitutional and thereafter same-sex sexual activity became legal in every U.S. state and territory (Jones, 2009, 17). However, prior to 9/11 governmental interference regarding privacy was not as much of a widespread concern. According to Pew Research Center currently, approximately 63% of Americans believe that the government collects data on their daily lives and that they have little control over how these entities use their personal information.
The public continues to express worries regarding their digital privacy. These concerns first stemmed from legislation during the “War on Terror”, that impacted all sectors of life. The New York City Police Department along with Departments in other majorly populated cities vouched to install surveillance cameras on the streets to halt both terrorism and street crimes (Jones, 2009, 18). The NYCPD alone installed approximately 500 surveillance cameras in the Brooklyn Borough. Terrorism became an issue of national security fully executed by the federal government. Therefore, now rather than state governments and local leaders’ influence of privacy rights, Washington launched strict prevention programs and legislation like the Total Information Awareness project (TIA), The Patriot Act and the Terrorist Information and Prevention Systems (TIPS) (Pozen, 2016, 236). The collection of average citizens data like phone numbers, credit card transactions, online activity financial records and medical records would be categorized analytically to measure linkage that individual could have with terrorism. In addition the TIA was also given the ability by law to gather information on its own including consumer data. However in 2003 over concerns about civil rights, this initiative was stopped until proven that it is needed. However, the most controversial legislation, championed in 2002 by Attorney General John Ashcrof, was the Patriot act. Its notable provisions being: enhanced sentences for terrorist related crimes, elimination of the statute of limitation for certain terrorist crimes, ability of law enforcement to obtain a warrant anywhere a terror related incident occurs (Pozen, 2016, 237). Many critics such as Belgian sociologist Jean-Claude Paye (2006) claim that the patriot act has infiltrated emergency initiatives permanently into the U.S federal law, giving the executive branch an overwhelming amount of power over private rights (Jones, 2009, 19). For example, under the Patriot Act's article 215 and 216 the government has the ability to conduct mass surveillance of Americans' telephone records while also allowing federal judges to issue warrants in order to acquire any exchange of electronic connection data. Is there a way to prevent terrorism but protect civil liberty and privacy rights at the same time? If citizens were more informed of their privacy rights, a solution to this highly debated discrepancy would be more attainable. There is an obvious lack of understanding when it comes to privacy laws among the average American citizen, as 78% of them stated they understand very little or nothing at all about the regulations surrounding their data privacy (Auxier, 2019). Overall, as we as citizens become more engulfed by a data driven environment, “the right to privacy” will continue evolving as a core issue of debate in Washington. George Orwell, in his “cautionary commentary” 1984, carefully warns his readers of their dwindling rights: “ They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head, you could still outwit them. With all their cleverness, they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking.”
Chapman, Nathan, S, Yoshino, Kenji, “The Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause.” Interpretation: The Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause - The National Constitution Center (2022) Accessed June 13, 2022. https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/amendment-xiv/clauses/701.
GARROW, DAVID J. “Privacy and the American Constitution.” Social Research 68, no. 1 (2001): 55–82. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40971438.
Head, Tom. “Does the Government Guarantee a Right to Privacy?” ThoughtCo. ThoughtCo, October 28, 2019. Last modified October 28, 2019. Accessed June 13, 2022. https://www.thoughtco.com/right-to-privacy-history-721174.
Jones, Jesse. “The Birth of Big Brother: Privacy Rights in a Post-9/11 World.” West Texas A&M University, 2009. Last modified 2009. Accessed June 13, 2022. https://www.wtamu.edu/webres/File/Academics/College%20of%20Education%20and%20Social%20Scie nces/Department%20of%20Political%20Science%20and%20Criminal%20Justice/PBJ/2009/1n1/1n1_03J ones.pdf.
Pozen, David E. “Privacy-Privacy Tradeoffs.” The University of Chicago Law Review 83, no. 1 (2016): 221–47. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43741598. Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, “The Right to Privacy”, 1890
What is the oldest written source in this country that mentions this right?
Afghanistan 🖉 edit
The 1964 Afghan Constitution protected only the right to privacy in the home in Article 28 (Constitute Project, “Afghanistan 1964 Constitution”). Today, Article 38 offers similar protections and Article 37 protects communications (Constitute Project, “Afghanistan 2004 Constitution”).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Afghanistan_ 1964? lang=en https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Afghanistan_ 2004? lang=en
Albania 🖉 edit
Today, privacy is guaranteed in Articles 35 (data), 36 (correspondence), and 37 (home) of the 1998 constitution (Constitute Project, “Albania 1998 rev. 2016” ). This appears to be their first protection of privacy rights.
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Albania_ 2016? lang=en
Algeria 🖉 edit
Today, the 2020 constitution protects the inviolability of the domicile in Article 47 and, in Article 46, private life and private communication (Constitute Project, “Algeria 2020” ). Previously, these rights were protected in the 1976 Constitution in Articles 39 and 40 (International Constitutional Law Project, Algeria Constitution”).
Andorra 🖉 edit
Articles 14 and 15 of the first and only Andorran constitution protect privacy in the state. Article 14 protects privacy, honor, and reputation, while Article 15 protects the home and communications (Constitute Project, “Andorra 1993” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Andorra_ 1993? lang=en
Angola 🖉 edit
Today, privacy rights are protected in Articles 32 (personal and family life), 33 (home), and 34 (correspondence and communication) of the 2010 constitution.
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Angola_ 2010? lang=en
Antigua and Barbuda 🖉 edit
In the constitution, Article 3, Section C protects the right to privacy in personal and family life, as well as the home (Constitute Project, “Antigua and Barbuda 1981” ).
Argentina 🖉 edit
Articles 18 & 19 of the 1853 constitution protect privacy. Article 18(2) reads, “The residence is inviolable, as are letters and private papers; and a law shall determine in what cases and for what reasons their search and seizure shall be allowed,” while Article 19 reads, “The private actions of men that in no way offend public order or morality, nor injure a third party, are reserved only to God, and are exempt from the authority of the magistrates” (Constitute Project, “Argentina 1832, reinst. 1983, rev. 1994” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Argentina_ 1994? lang=en
Armenia 🖉 edit
The 1995 Armenian constitution protects three main privacy rights in Articles 31-33: personal life, home, and communication (Constitute Project, “Armenia 1995 rev. 2015” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Armenia_ 2015? lang=en
Australia 🖉 edit
Privacy rights are not prescribed in the Constitution of Australia (Australian Human Rights Commission, “How are human rights protected in Australia?”). Beyond the international covenants, such as the ICCPR, privacy was first protected in the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT Human Rights Commission, “Human Rights”).
Austria 🖉 edit
According to the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C., the ratification of the ECHR by Austria in 1958 gave the treaty constitutional law standing in the state. The ECHR is what protects the right to privacy in Austria.
Azerbaijan 🖉 edit
Today, Article 32 of the 1995 constitution protects privacy. It is quite detailed but protects personal privacy, family life, personal information, and correspondence. Article 33 extends privacy rights to the residence (Constitute Project, “Azerbaijan 1995 rev. 2016” ). Previously, privacy rights had been protected by the 1977 Soviet Constitution (see below).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Azerbaijan_ 2016? lang=en
Bahrain 🖉 edit
Articles 25 & 26 of the 2002 constitution protect privacy in the home and all types of communication (Constitute Project, “Bahrain 2002 rev. 2017” ). This constitution was the first establishment of privacy rights in Bahrain.
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Bahrain_ 2017? lang=en
Bangladesh 🖉 edit
Article 43 of the constitution grants the right to privacy in the home and correspondence (Constitute Project, “Bangladesh 1972, reinst. 1986, rev. 2014” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Bangladesh_ 2014? lang=en
Barbados 🖉 edit
Article 11(b) of the constitution grants every person in Barbados privacy of their home. Article 20(1) prevents interference in correspondence (Constitute Project, “Barbados 1966 rev. 2007” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Barbados_ 2007? lang=en
Belarus 🖉 edit
Article 28 of the constitution protects private life in Belarus (Constitute Project, “Belarus 1994 rev. 2004” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Belarus_ 2004? lang=en
Belgium 🖉 edit
Since 1831, Belgium has had one constitution, only amended 33 times. Article 15 protects one’s privacy in the home. Article 22 protects private life. Article 29 protects private letters (Constitute Project, “Belgium 1831 rev. 2014” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Belgium_ 2014? lang=en
Belize 🖉 edit
In its only constitution since its independence, Belize protects privacy rights in Article 3(c). It protects family life, personal privacy, one’s home, and their dignity (Constitute Project, “Belize 1981 rev. 2011” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Belize_ 2011? lang=en
Benin 🖉 edit
Today, the 1990 constitution protects privacy in the home and of correspondence in Articles 20 and 21, respectively (Constitute Project, “Benin 1990” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Benin_ 1990? lang=en
Bhutan 🖉 edit
In 2008, a new constitution was passed, which protected privacy rights in Article 19. Article 19 reads: A person shall not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence nor to unlawful attacks on the person’s honour and reputation” (Bhutan’s National Council, “The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan”).
https://www.nationalcouncil.bt/assets/uploads/docs/acts/ 2017/ Constitution_of_Bhutan_ 2008. pdf
Bolivia 🖉 edit
Today, privacy rights are protected in Article 21(3). These protections are general, while Article 25 protects more specific privacy rights in the home and correspondence (Constitute Project, “Bolivia (Plurinational State of) 2009” ). This document is the 17th constitution since 1826, but other versions in English could not be found, so privacy rights may have a longer history in Bolivia.
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Bolivia_ 2009? lang=en
Bosnia and Herzegovina 🖉 edit
Privacy rights have been protected in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995 with their independence from Yugoslavia. The 1995 constitution protects these rights in Article 3(f). These protections include private and family life, home, and correspondence (Constitute Project, “Bosnia and Herzegovina 1995 rev. 2009” ).
Botswana 🖉 edit
The 1966 constitution of Botswana includes privacy protections of the home in Article 3(c) and Article 9. Article 12, in protecting freedom of expression, also protects correspondence (Constitute Project, “Botswana 1966 rev. 2016” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Botswana_ 2016? lang=en
Brazil 🖉 edit
In its first constitution, Brazil only claimed the inviolability of private letters in Article 179(XXVII) (WikiSource, “Constitution of the Empire of Brazil”). Since then, privacy rights have expanded, and today personal privacy, the home, and correspondence are protected in Article 5(X-XII) (Constitute Project, “Brazil 1988 rev. 2017” ).
Brunei 🖉 edit
Brunei lacks any legislation or constitutional provisions for privacy rights. The 1996 United States Department of State Report on Brunei Human Rights even says that law actively allows for intrusions of privacy.
https:// 1997- 2001. state.gov/global/human_rights/ 1996_ hrp_report/brunei.html
Bulgaria 🖉 edit
The right to privacy, including family life, private life, honor, dignity, and reputation, is protected in Article 32 of the 1991 constitution (Constitute Project, “Bulgaria 1991 rev. 2015” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Bulgaria_ 2015? lang=en
Burkina Faso 🖉 edit
The 1991 Burkina Faso Constitution protects privacy rights in Article 6. It reads, “The residence, the domicile, private and family life, [and] the secrecy of correspondence of every person, are inviolable. It can only be infringed according to the forms and in the cases specified by the law” (Constitute Project, “Burkina Faso 1991 rev. 2015” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Burkina_Faso_ 2015? lang=en
Burundi 🖉 edit
The earliest mention of privacy rights in the Burundi Constitution is from the 1998 interim constitution. In this writing, privacy rights are contained in Article 23 and protect privacy, family, home, and correspondence (Constitution Net, “Constitution of Burundi”). Today, they are contained in Article 28 of the 2018 constitution (Constitute Project, “Burundi 2018” ).
http://constitutionnet.org/sites/default/files/transitional_national_constitution_and_transitional_constitution_act_ 1998- 2001_ 0.pdf https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Burundi_ 2018? lang=en
Cambodia 🖉 edit
The 1993 constitution contains privacy rights in Article 40: “The rights to privacy of residence, and to the confidentiality of correspondence by mail, telegram, fax, telex and telephone, shall be guaranteed” (Office of the Council of the Ministers of Cambodia, “Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia”).
Cameroon 🖉 edit
In the Preamble of the 1972 constitution, privacy is granted to the home and correspondence in points 5 and 6 (Constitute Project, “Cameroon 1972 rev. 2008” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Cameroon_ 2008? lang=en
Canada 🖉 edit
The Canadian Constitution has been in force since 1867 and is comprised of a couple of Acts. For privacy purposes, the most important is the Constitution Act of 1982, which contains the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In this section, Article 7 provides the most privacy protection that is seen in the constitution, protecting the right to life, liberty, and security of a person (Constitute Project, “Canada 1867 rev. 2011” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Canada_ 2011? lang=en
Cape Verde 🖉 edit
Article 33 makes violations of privacy inadmissible in court, while Article 38 grants the right to “personal identity, to civil rights, to a name, honor, and reputation, and to personal and family privacy”. Article 41 extends privacy rights to correspondence, and Article 42 extends it to electronic data privacy (Constitute Project, “Cape Verde 1980 rev. 1992” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Cape_Verde_ 1992? lang=en
Central African Republic 🖉 edit
In 1994, a new constitution was passed in the Central African Republic. Article 13 granted private communications inviolable and Article 14 did the same for the private home (African Child Forum, “Constitution of the Central African Republic”). Today, private communication is seen in Article 16 and the home is inviolable in Article 19 (Constitute Project, “Central African Republic 2016” ).
Chad 🖉 edit
Both the 1996 and 2018 Chad Constitutions protect the right to privacy in Article 17 and the right to privacy in communications in Article 45 and 47, respectively (Constitute Project, “Chad").
Chile 🖉 edit
The 1925 Chilean Constitution protected the inviolability of the home and correspondence in Article 10 Sections 12 & 13 (Constitute Project, “Chile 1925” ). Today, the home is protected in Article 19 Section 5 (Constitute Project, “Chile 1980 rev. 2021” ).
China 🖉 edit
In 1975, the Chinese Constitution protected the right to privacy to the person and the home in Chapter III, Article 28 (Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, 1975, 39). Today, Articles 38-40 protect privacy in China. Article 38 is for personal dignity, 39 for the home, and 40 for correspondence (Constitute Project, “China (People’s Republic of) 1982 rev. 2018” ).
Colombia 🖉 edit
The 1991 Colombian constitution is very explicit in its privacy protections in Article 15. Section 1 grants privacy to people and family life, section 2 is for data privacy, section 3 is for correspondence (Constitute Project, “Colombia 1991 rev. 2015” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Colombia_ 2015? lang=en
Comoros 🖉 edit
Today, privacy provisions are in Article 26 and Article 27, which grant privacy in the home and correspondence (Constitute Project, “Comoros 2018” ). Before this constitution, similar clauses were in the 1996 constitutional preamble, drawn from the United Nations Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man (Constitution Net, “CONSTITUTION of the FEDERAL ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF THE COMOROS”).
Costa Rica 🖉 edit
Today, privacy rights are protected in Articles 23 (the home) and 24 (communications and intimacy) (Constitute Project, “Costa Rica 1949 rev. 2020” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Costa_Rica_ 2020? lang=en
Croatia 🖉 edit
Article 34 of the 1991 constitution protects the home. Article 35 protects personal and familial life, as well as dignity. Article 36 protects correspondence (Constitute Project, “Croatia 1991 rev. 2013” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Croatia_ 2013? lang=en
Cuba 🖉 edit
The 2019 constitution protects personal and familial privacy in Article 48, the home in Article 49, and correspondence in Article 50 (Constitute Project, “Cuba 2019” ). Privacy was not in the previous Cuban constitution of 1976 (Constitute Project, “Cuba 1976 rev. 2002” ).
Cyprus 🖉 edit
Article 15 of the 1960 constitution reads: “Every person has the right to respect for his private and family life.” Article 16 expands these protections to the home, as Article 17 expands them to correspondence and communication (Constitute Project, “Cyprus 1960 rev. 2013” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Cyprus_ 2013? lang=en
Czech Republic 🖉 edit
Article 7(1) of the 1993 constitution guarantees the inviolability of persons and private life. Article 10 protects life from intrusion by others, and it also protects data privacy (Constitute Project, “Czech Republic 1993 rev. 2013” ).
Democratic Republic of the Congo 🖉 edit
The personal right to privacy is granted in Article 31 of the 2005 Constitution, while the home is protected under Article 29 (Constitute Project, “Congo (Democratic Republic of the) 2005 rev. 2011” ). Before this, the right to privacy in home and correspondence were granted in the Zaire 1990 constitution (amended from a previous version, though unclear which previous version) in Articles 22 & 23 (World Statesmen, “Complete Text of the Zairian Constitution After the Enactment of Law No. 90-002 of July 5, 1990 Concerning the Modification of Certain Provisions of the Constitution”).
Denmark 🖉 edit
Today, Article 72 protects the right to privacy in the home, while also preventing the search of private communications (Constitute Project, “Demark 1953” ). The general form of the constitution derives from the 1849 Danish Constitution (Danish Parliament, “The Constitutional Act of Denmark”).
Djibouti 🖉 edit
Today, the right to privacy in the home and communications are protected in the 1992 constitution Articles 12 & 13. Personal life is not protected (Constitute Project, “Djibouti 1992 rev. 2010” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Dominica_ 2014? lang=en
Dominica 🖉 edit
Article 1(c) of the only constitution Dominica has had, written in 1978, protects the right to privacy in the home. Article 7(1) protects privacy during a search (Constitute Project, "Dominica 1978 rev. 2014" ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Dominica_ 2014? lang=en
Dominican Republic 🖉 edit
Today, Article 44 protects the right to privacy and personal honor. It reads, “All people have the right to privacy. The respect and non-interference into private and family life, the home, and private correspondence are guaranteed. The right to honor, good name, and one’s own image are recognized. All authorities or individuals who violate them are obligated to compensate or repair them in accordance with the law” (Constitute Project, “Dominican Republic 2015” ). The subsections expand on these rights. In previous versions, this was the right to intimacy and personal honor (Constitute Project, “Dominican Republic 2010” ). Previous constitutions could not be found in English.
East Timor 🖉 edit
East Timor, or Timor-Leste, protects the right to private life, home, and communication during evidence collection in Article 34, privacy in general in Article 36, and privacy in the home and communication in Article 37 (Constitute Project, “Timor-Leste 2002” ).
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/East_Timor_ 2002? lang=en
Ecuador 🖉 edit
Article 11(3) enforces and protects the rights put forth by the constitution and international treaties: “The rights and guarantees set forth in the Constitution and in international human rights instruments shall be directly and immediately enforced by and before any civil, administrative or judicial servant, either by virtue of their office or at the request of the party”. In Chapter 6, Rights to Freedom, Article 66, Sections 11 and 19-22 set out more specific privacy regulations in terms of convictions, correspondence, the home, personal data, and privacy rights (Constitute Project, “Ecuador 2008 rev. 2021) . There are 22 previous Ecuadorian constitutions, but English translations could not be found to investigate the presence of privacy rights.
https://constituteproject.org/constitution/Ecuador_ 2021? lang=en
Egypt 🖉 edit
The 1923 constitution of Egypt protects personal freedom in Article 4, privacy in the home in Article 8, and correspondence in Article 11 (Constitution Net, “Royal Decree No. 42 of 1923 On Building a Constitutional System for the Egyptian State”). Today, these rights are protected in Articles 57 & 58 (Constitute Project, “Egypt 2014 rev. 2019” ).
Is the identification of this right associated with a particular era in history, political regime, or political leader? ＋ create
Is there another noteworthy written source from the past that mentions this right? 🖉 edit
TThe right to privacy has diverged in many ways since its most notable first mention in The Right to Privacy by Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis. What started in 1890 as the idea of protection against gossip about oneself and the ability to enjoy life uninterrupted has evolved into various international and national conventions and laws. The right to privacy was first enshrined at a supranational level before it was established in individual states (Krishnamurthy, 2020, 26). The right’s first appearance in legal documentation was in the United Nation’s (UN) 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR). Article 12 of the UDHR (1948) states “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” The UHDR is not a treaty, so the right was not yet entrenched and more of a suggestion for states to incorporate into their laws and practices. Two years later, the Council of Europe passed the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) which has similar tones in Article 8, though with an exception for national security in Article 8 (2) but is legally binding (1950). Article 8 of the ECHR specifically protects one’s family life, personal life, correspondence, and home (Roagna, 2021, 9). Worldwide, the right to privacy became codified in 1966 with the passage of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), in which Article 17 has almost identical language to the UDHR’s Article 12. In subsequent UN treaties, this right to privacy was explicitly granted to children and migrants as well (Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, Art. 16; International Covenant on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, 1990, Art. 14). Complying with the ICCPR: In the United States, the right to privacy was not originally codified but established through a variety of Supreme Court cases beginning in the 1960s (Privacy, n.d.). In 1965, the Court ruled on Griswold v. Connecticut. The majority opinion written by Justice Douglas claims that the express personal freedoms named in the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments create an implied “zone of privacy” (Privacy, n.d.). Justice Harlan’s concurring opinion, referenced in later Supreme Court privacy cases, claims privacy zones derive from the Fourteenth Amendment (Privacy, n.d.). Later, legislation was passed regulating specific sectors, beginning in 1974 with the Family Educations Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects student data, and the Privacy Act which regulates the use of data by federal agencies (History of privacy timeline, 2021). The European Court of Human Rights has refined the implementation of ECHR Article 8 through case law (Roagna, 2021, 7). In deciding these cases, the Court must decide if the complaint is related to Article 8 and, if so, if the right has been interfered with outside of the exceptions laid out in Article 8 (2) (Roagna, 2021, 11). For this reason, there is no clear-cut definition as to which national laws may conflict with Article 8 (Roagna, 2021, 12). The Court has provided protections for ‘quasi-familial’ relationships, relationships that may develop later (i.e., one has the right to adopt), the development of personality, photographs, and data collection, ruling these areas are part of private and/or family life (Roagna, 2021, 10-19). The Court has also provided lengthy protections to family life with a broad definition of family which evolves with European customs (Roagna, 2021, 27). The protection of a home has also been interpreted broadly, requiring continuous ties to a location, mostly due to the French translation of “home” to “domicile” (Roagna, 2021, 30-31). The Court rules for high protection of means of communication as it can be easily breached (Roagna, 2021, 32). This protection includes information gathered from monitored internet use and remains in places no matter the content of the message (Roagna, 2021, 32). The Digital Era: Since these international conventions have become effective and enforceable, there has been a lot of technological change and little change in these agreements (Human right to privacy, n.d.). The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) noted in General Comment 16, adopted regarding ICCPR’s Article 17 in 1988, that the legislation in many states was not enough to ensure the “protection against both unlawful and arbitrary interference,” and that data collection “must be regulated by law” (Krishnamurthy, 2020, 27; UN Human Rights Committee, 1994, para. 2 & 10). In essence, this comment was requesting states enact more protective privacy law legislation, and, specifically, data regulation law, as the right to privacy evolved to be dominated by electronic data (Krishnamurthy, 2020, 27). There have been two approaches to this call for better data privacy regulation: general regulation and regulation by sector. The European Union has taken the general regulation approach with the passage of the 1995 European Data Protection Directive and the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR affects people and companies worldwide, requiring that data collected is truly needed, accurate, processed safely, and that all of this is done in a clear, legal, and transparent way (Krishnamurthy, 2020; Wolford, n.d.). The United States has chosen to regulate privacy data by sector, beginning with FERPA in 1974 (Krishnamurthy, 2020, 29; History of privacy timeline, 2021). This approach has led to some strict laws preventing unauthorized access to personal information in some areas regulated by specific legislation (Krishnamurthy, 2020, 29). In areas without specific legislation, however, Americans take great liberties while collecting data (Krishnamurthy, 2020, 29). Put in combination with the lacking legislation preventing interference or data attacks, some question how compliant the United States is with Article 17 of the ICCPR (Krishnamurthy, 2020, 29). However, as of 2020, 29% of states are still drafting or have yet to draft such legislation (UN Committee on Trade and Development). Privacy in Former Sovereign States It is worth noting that some states have always had some privacy rights since they gained independence because their previous constitution and laws contained such provisions. This is the case with states that were formerly in the Soviet Union. The 1977 Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which was then implemented in nearly identical form in the various republics as their own constitution, protected “the privacy of citizens, and of their correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications” in Article 56 (USSR, 1982, 35). Additionally, Czechoslovakia protected privacy rights of the person, home, and correspondence in Article 30 & 31 in the 1960 constitution (Czechoslovakia, 1964, 233).
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Council of Europe. Nov. 4, 1950. https://rm.coe.int/1680a2353d
Convention on the Rights of the Child. United Nations (UN) General Assembly (UNGA). Nov. 20, 1989. https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx
Czechoslovakia. (1964). Constitution of Czechoslovakia July 11, 1960. Orbis: Prague. From https://www.worldstatesmen.org/Czechoslovakia-Const1960.pdf
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International Covenant on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. UNGA. Dec. 18, 1990. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/ProfessionalInterest/cmw.pdf
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. UNGA. Dec. 16, 1996. https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx
Krishnamurthy, V. (2020, Jan. 6). A tale of two privacy laws: The GDPR and the International Right to Privacy. AJIL Unbound 114, 26-30. doi:10.1017/aju.2019.79 Privacy. (n.d.). Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. Retrieved Sept. 8, 2021, from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/privacy
Roagna, I. (2012). Council of Europe human rights handbook: Protecting the right to respect for private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights. Council of Europe. https://www.echr.coe.int/LibraryDocs/Roagna2012_EN.pdf
UN Committee on Trade and Development. (2020). Data Protection and Privacy Legislation Worldwide. Retrieved Sept. 9, 2021, from https://unctad.org/page/data-protection-and-privacy-legislation-worldwide
UN Human Rights Committee. (1994). General Comment 16. Thirty-third session. HRI/GEN/1/Rev. 1 Retrieved Sept. 9, 2021, from https://undocs.org/HRI/GEN/1/Rev.1
Universal Declaration on Human Rights. UNGA. Dec. 10, 1948. https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights
USSR. (1982). Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the Union of Soviet Socialist States: Adopted at the Seventh (Special) Session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Ninth Convocation, on October 7, 1977. Novosti Press Publishing House: Moscow. From https://www.marxists.org/history/ussr/government/constitution/1977/constitution-ussr-1977.pdf
Wolford, B. (n.d.). What is GDPR, the EU’s new data protection law? GDPR EU. Retrieved Sept. 9, 2021, from https://gdpr.eu/what-is-gdpr/