Monday, 23 May 2011

Right to Privacy

"Every individual has a right to privacy comprising:

(a) a right to be free from harassment and molestation; and

(b) a right to privacy of personal information, communications, and documents."

The Younger Committee in 1970 stated that:

"privacy is a basic need, essential to the development and maintenance both of a free society and of a mature and stable individual personality."

But the Younger Committee thought that a general right of privacy would create uncertainty. Instead of creating a general right, they took the view that:

"[the] best way to ensure regard for privacy is to provide specific and effective sanctions against clearly defined activities which unreasonably frustrate the individual in his search for privacy."

The principal areas of complaint with regard to intrusions into privacy were identified by the Younger Committee as:

(a) unwanted publicity - by the press and broadcasting

(b) misuse of personal information - By e.g. banks, employers, educational institutions (student records), credit rating agencies

(c) intrusions on home life - E.g. neighbours, landlords, press.

(d) intrusion in business life - E.g. industrial espionage including trade secrets

To these listed may also be added in the public sector such matters as:

(a) intrusion in the course of the administration of the criminal law

(b) the misuse of information held by public authorities

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