Privacy law

Privacy law

Privacy law is the area of law concerning the protection and preservation of the privacy rights of individuals. By definition, most countries treat privacy as the rights of individuals and not institutions. The governments and other organizations collect vast amounts of personal information for a variety of purposes. The law of privacy limits how these organizations can collect and use this information.

The scope of applicability of privacy laws is called expectation of privacy.

Classification of privacy laws

Privacy laws can be broadly classified into:

General privacy laws

These laws have an overall bearing on the personal information of individuals and affect the policies that govern many different areas of information

Specific privacy laws

These laws are designed to protect specific types of information such as health information, financial information, etc. about individuals. Some examples include:
* Health privacy laws
* Financial privacy laws
* Online privacy laws
* Communication privacy laws
*Information privacy

Privacy laws by country


In Australia, [ [ List of Privacy Laws] ] the federal "Privacy Act 1988" sets out principles in relation to the collection, use, disclosure, security and access to personal information. The Act applies to Australian Government and Australian Capital Territory agencies and private sector organisations (except some small businesses). The Office of the Privacy Commissioner is the complaints handler for alleged breaches of the Act. Some Australian States have enacted privacy laws.

The Australian Law Reform Commission [] is currently conducting an extensive inquiry into privacy law in Australia and is due to report to the Australian Government in March 2008.

More information about Australian Privacy Laws can be found at [ Federal Privacy Law]


In Canada, the federal 'Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in connection with commercial activities and personal information about employees of federal works, undertakings and businesses. It generally does not apply to non-commercial organizations or provincial governments. Personal information collected, used and disclosed by the federal government and many crown corporations is governed by the "Privacy Act". Many provinces have enacted similar provincial legislation such as the Ontario "Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act" which applies to public bodies in that province.

There remains some debate whether there exists a common law tort for breach of privacy. There have been a number of cases identifying a common law right to privacy but the requirements have not been articulated. [See for example, "Somwar v. McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Ltd", [2006] O.J. No. 64 for a discussion on this]

In "Eastmond v. Canadian Pacific Railway & Privacy Commissioner of Canada""Eastmond v. Canadian Pacific Railway & Privacy Commissioner of Canada", June 11, 2004] Canada's Supreme Court found that CP could collect Eastmond's personal information without his knowledge or consent because it benefited from the exemption in paragraph 7(1)(b) of PIPEDA, which provides that personal information can be collected without consent if "it is reasonable to expect that the collection with the knowledge or consent of the individual would compromise the availability or the accuracy of the information and the collection is reasonable for purposes related to investigating a breach of an agreement".

United Kingdom

As a member of the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Kingdom adheres to Article 8 ECHR, which guarantees a "right to respect for privacy and family life", subject to restrictions as prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society towards a legitimate aim.

However, there is no independent tort law doctrine which recognises a right to privacy. This has been confirmed on a number of occasions.
*"Kaye v. Robertson"
*"Wainwright v. Home Office"

United States

The idea of a right to privacy originated in America. A future Supreme Court judge, Justice Brandeis and another young lawyer, Samuel D. Warren, published an article called 'The Right to Privacy' in the "Harvard Law Review" in (1890) arguing that the constitution and the common law allowed for the deduction of general "right to privacy". [Warren and Brandeis, 'Right to Privacy' (1890) 4 "Harvard Law Review" 193] Their project was never entirely successful and the renowned tort expert Dean Prosser argued that "privacy" was composed of four separate torts, the only unifying element of which was a (vague) "right to be left alone." [Dean Prosser, 'Privacy' (1960) 48 "California Law Review" 383] These elements were

#appropriating the plaintiff's identity for the defendant's benefit
#placing the plaintiff in a false light in the public eye
#publicly disclosing private facts about the plaintiff
#unreasonably intruding upon the seclusion of solitude of the plaintiff

* [ Health Information Privacy Accountability Act -- Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Health and Human Services]
* [ Financial Services Modernization Act (GLB), 15 U.S. Code §§ 6801-6810]
* [ Final Rule on Privacy of Consumer Financial Information, 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 313]
* [ Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S. Code §§ 1681-1681u]

ee also

* Privacy laws
* Information Privacy Laws
* Data privacy
* Internet privacy


* Privacy Act of 1974 (US)
* Electronic Communications Privacy Act (US)


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Canadian privacy law — Privacy law is the area of law concerning the protecting and preserving the privacy rights of individuals. By definition, most countries treat privacy as the rights of individuals and not institutions. Governing bodies and NGO s collect vast… …   Wikipedia

  • privacy — pri·va·cy n: freedom from unauthorized intrusion: state of being let alone and able to keep certain esp. personal matters to oneself see also expectation of privacy, invasion of privacy; privacy interest at interest 3b, right of privacy; …   Law dictionary

  • Information privacy law — Information privacy laws cover the protection of information on private individuals from intentional or unintentional disclosure or misuse. The European Directive on Protection of Personal Data, released on July 25, 1995 was an attempt to unify… …   Wikipedia

  • privacy, right of — n. The right to be left alone, without unwarranted scrutiny or interference by the public or government in personal matters, without unwanted publicity, and with the right to make choices about one’s own personal and family life; the right of… …   Law dictionary

  • privacy interest — see interest 3b Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • Privacy International — (PI) is a UK based non profit organisation formed in 1990, as a watchdog on surveillance and privacy invasions by governments and corporations. PI has organised campaigns and initiatives in more than fifty countries and is based in London,… …   Wikipedia

  • Privacy — For other uses, see Privacy (disambiguation). Privacy (from Latin: privatus separated from the rest, deprived of something, esp. office, participation in the government , from privo to deprive ) is the ability of an individual or group to seclude …   Wikipedia

  • Privacy laws of the United States — United States privacy laws embody several different legal concepts. One is the invasion of privacy , a tort based in common law allowing an aggrieved party to bring a lawsuit against an individual who unlawfully intrudes into his or her private… …   Wikipedia

  • invasion of privacy — invasion of privacy: the tort of unjustifiably intruding upon another s right to privacy by appropriating his or her name or likeness, by unreasonably interfering with his or her seclusion, by publicizing information about his or her private… …   Law dictionary

  • Privacy Act 1988 — The Privacy Act 1988 is an Australian law regarding privacy of personal information enacted in 1988. Part III Division I sets out what interferences with privacy are.Section 14 of the Act stipulates a number of privacy rights known as the… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”