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Privacy Law: Practical and Moral - Essay Example

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Privacy Law: Practical and Moral? Introduction The law of privacy in the UK does not exist as a separate offence from its embodiment in the Human Rights Act 1998.i Before the Human Rights Act, privacy was formed and interpreted by a traditional approach based on the value of free press, which was considered to suitably protect the rights of individuals nonetheless.ii The lack of UK legislation and statute to enshrine the law of privacy as it is contained in the HRA 1998 is somewhat controversial, particularly if one’s attention is directed towards other provisions of ‘privacy’ laws such as defamation…
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Privacy Law: Practical and Moral
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Download file to see previous pages This essay will explore the law of privacy in the UK as it is contained in common law and the HRA 1998, and assess whether infringements of privacy can be placed upon practical and/or moral justifications and considerations. The Law of Privacy As embodied in article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, the freedom of privacy assigned to individuals is dependent upon the principle that individuals have a necessary right to live their personal lives free from unjustified interference.iv As is the case with any appeal to such a broad-reaching principles, there is clear evidence of exceptions to this right, and article 8(2) provides for infringements of privacy to be undertaken and permitted so long as they are prescribed by law and deemed necessary to protect or preserve certain prevailing interests such as the protection of morals, health, public safety and national security. It will be assessed below, however that the existence of this subsection has caused some trouble in the courts, particularly in terms of how they have struggled to balance infringements of the right with the need to uphold it. The birth of the law of privacy was intended to provide a method for protecting individuals against state infringements of privacy, particularly in relation to the state’s powers of censorship, detention and expropriation.v It is clear that the courts have “proceeded to develop the common law by reference to Convention rights”,vi though whether they have undertaken moral and practical approaches to the protection of this right is difficult to ascertain with clarity. This paper will argue that the very lack of actual privacy law in the form of statue in the UK has caused the courts to struggle with its definition, application and interpretation of the right to privacy. However, it will be shown that this very lack of statute has rendered the courts unable to avoid making moral considerations. The Scope of Privacy Law Article 8 in its definition of the scope of privacy is rather broad and it has been suggested that the boundaries of this principle should be more specifically defined by UK law.vii This is because such broadness renders the principle open to unpredictable and inconsistent interpretation, which threatens the very content of its existence. Previous endeavours of the courts to define the content of privacy law simply describe it as the freedom to live one’s life as an individual chooses.viii Yet more inclusive (and of course more complicated) definitions have been employed to include “the personal space in which the individual is free to be itself, and also the carapace...which protects that space from intrusion”.ix It is evident that the reach and limitations of privacy law are rather complex and a little confusing, and indeed taxing to define with any strong level of clarity. While this assigns this area of law a noticeable degree of flexibility, it also necessitates closer examination of what particular considerations function to justify or prohibit infringements of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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