What is Privacy?
Privacy is the right to be left alone.
Privacy is a critical component of freedom and self-realization. Privacy also involves the right to control personal information.
Privacy is one of the sensitive and necessary human values protected by the law.
The Law Protects Privacy Rights
The right to privacy is protected by the law in different ways.
The United States Constitution protects the right to privacy in areas involving marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education. The Illinois Constitution guarantees the right of privacy.
Specific laws protect specific privacy rights. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of medical records under certain circumstances.
However, the right of privacy is a limited right. Typically, the law only protects the right to privacy in circumstances where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, employees generally do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy at work unless they are in spaces where it is reasonable to expect privacy, like a bathroom.
Generally, invasion of privacy lawsuits can be filed if someone: (1) intrudes into another person’s private space or affairs; (2) uses another person’s name or likeness; (3) discloses another person’s private facts; and (4) publicly puts another person in an offensive false light.
Why Privacy Matters Even If You Have Nothing to Hide?
Here is an excellent essay to read to answer this important question.
Basically, privacy matters–even if you have nothing to hide–because the right to privacy involves more than just the disclosure of bad things.
For example, privacy rights are violated when a person’s secrets are discovered by someone else, even if the secrets do not involve bad things. Privacy rights are violated when a person is being watched by another person, even if no secrets are revealed.
Privacy must be protected–even if there are no bad things to hide–because once privacy is lost it can be impossible to get it back.
Do you think your privacy rights were violated? Contact Jeff.