Running Head: INVASION OF PRIVACY Name of student: Title: Invasion of privacy Lecturer: University: Introduction Every person has the right to privacy, which cannot and should not be compromised without the authority of the courts or in a situation whereby the right conflicts with other fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution (Alderman, 2001)…
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However, it is also notable that the media, being the major tool for information broadcasting, is protected through the freedom of speech, which can be used to challenge and defend its mandate to avail information to the public. On the other hand, it is possible to find that the media may not disclose information such as names of the subject of discussion if there are no hard facts to prove the statements but the reader or listener can easily tell who the person being discussed is (Cate, 2000). In such a context, it becomes difficult for a person to press charges against the media for character damaging or defamation. This paper is a critical evaluation of the right to privacy. The Right to Privacy The right to privacy is fundamental, though not absolute, as it protects human dignity. Apparently, every person has weaknesses, which, if brought out to the public, may influence negatively in shaping public opinion, which may in turn affect the success of such a person either in the social or political life (Alderman, 2001). For example, public offices such as the presidency, legislature, and judiciary among others require people of high integrity not withstanding that the office holders are also human beings and are prone to making errors. It therefore goes without saying that the fact that such people are public servants does not mean that the public should have unauthorized access to their private information such as family life, financial information, and medical records among other delicate issues that may relate to them. The European Convention on Human rights through article 8 protects citizens’ family and private life from intrusion by the state or other agencies (Alderman, 2001). Generally, there has not been a definite definition of privacy but it is worth noting that there are four major categories that have been acknowledged across the board. These are for example; information privacy, physical privacy, communication privacy and territorial privacy (Alderman, 2001). With regard to information privacy, every citizen has the right to withhold any information regarding himself be it personal data, health status, among others. Personal data for example credit card information, bank details should not at any given time be accessed by a second party unless there is a court order demanding the same to be availed in circumstances such as if a person is being investigated for crimes such as corruption, money laundering among other justifying conditions. Most of the constitutions including that of the US indeed do not have specific statutes guaranteeing the right to privacy though most of the privacy issues are covered in other statutes related to human rights. However, it is observable that the US constitution, through the 9th amendment, offer a blank check to the courts enabling them protect human rights that are not included in the constitution (Kennedy, 2003). This means that the courts have the prerogative of ensuring that human dignity is respected and one way of doing so is by protecting their privacy. On the other hand, the government reserves the right to access personal information for the use by its agencies but this must be in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974.
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