Thursday, June 13, 2013

Right to Privacy: Constitutional Rights & Privacy Laws

The right to privacy includes the right to be left alone.

Privacy  

The right to privacy refers to the concept that one's personal information is protected from public scrutiny. U.S. Justice Louis Brandeis called it "the right to be left alone." While not explicitly stated in the U.S. 

Constitution, some amendments provide some protections.

The right to privacy most often is protected by statutory law. For example, the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects a person's health information, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the right to privacy in various privacy policies and privacy statements.

The right to privacy often must be balanced against the state's compelling interests, including the promotion of public safety and improving the quality of life. Seat-belt laws and motorcycle helmet requirements are examples of such laws. And while many Americans are quite aware that the government collects personal information, most say that government surveillance is acceptable.

Constitutional rights

The right to privacy often means the right to personal autonomy, or the right to choose whether or not to engage in certain acts or have certain experiences. Several amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been used in varying degrees of success in determining a right to personal autonomy:

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