Do We Have A Right to Privacy in the Constitution?

By Rich

In a brief analysis/link to my privacy post Mike Rothman states we have a right to privacy in the Constitution, but the problem is enforcement.

Thing is, I’m not sure the Constitution explicitly provides for any right to privacy.

I’m not a Constitutional lawyer, but I’m going to toss this one to the comments. Anyone know for sure?

And if we don’t have that right, what are the implications for society in a digital age? Without explicit constitutional protection lawmakers have incredible amounts of wiggle room to legislate away our privacy on any whim, perhaps to pay for their extended golf vacations in Scotland.

As much as we seem to assume we have a right to privacy, I don’t think we do, and if we really don’t, it’s our responsibility to aggressively defend and demand those rights.

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Also this seems to indicate privacy from the government, but not private business. This is the reverse of much of the EU which provides more control over privacy in commercial environments, but none when the government is involved.

By rmogull

AIUI, the Consitution doesn’‘t mention privacy, but that doesn’‘t mean it’s not a right. Instead, it’s evolved from historical precedent and interpretation of what <strong>is</strong> written in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Specifically, the Fourth Amendment reads:

<blockquote>The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.</blockquote>

It’s easy to read privacy invasion as a violation of the Fourth Amendment, even though it isn’‘t explicit. Please don’‘t fall into the trap of thinking that if we can’‘t point to an ironclad guarantee, we don’‘t have a right to privacy!

Unfortunately, this makes it harder to <strong>use</strong> our right to privacy, as we don’‘t have an easy place to point that guarantees it…

Fair use seems to be a similar case, where there’s legal and social reason for such a right, but it’s not spelled out in a law or the Constitution.

By reppep

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