In the digital age, we put personal information about our private lives onto the internet through social media and apps, often without thinking twice. However, most people still have strong feelings about other individuals and government entities finding out personal information about them. Surprisingly, the legal idea of a right to privacy is a relatively new concept, even in the U.S., where we strongly value our right to be left alone, and it is not part of the law in every country worldwide. So what rights do you actually have regarding privacy?
What Are the Basic Rights to Privacy Under Law?
In the U.S., in most cases, an individual has the right to be left alone in their private space. They should be free from unwanted publicity, and the public should not concern themselves with their private matters if they are not of public importance. There should be no intrusions upon anyone’s personal matters that could reasonably cause embarrassment, shame, or offense to them.
A person can usually take legal action for damages if their privacy rights are infringed upon in certain ways. However, this can depend on what privacy laws are recognized by the state where the invasion of their rights occurred. The four main recognized types of invasion of privacy are:
- Intrusion upon seclusion
- Appropriating another’s name or likeness for gain
- Painting someone in an unreasonably false light through publicity
- Giving unwarranted publicity to someone’s private life
For an invasion of privacy case to be valid, the defendant must have intentionally interfered with the plaintiff’s rights to seclusion for their person or their private affairs. That intentional interference must have also been in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person. The only time the standard for offense does not apply is in cases where someone’s name or likeness has been appropriated.
What Rights to Privacy Are Protected by the Constitution?
The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly discuss the right to privacy, but the Supreme Court has cited some Amendments as being indicative of an implied right to privacy. In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court ruled that the personal protections stated in the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments created a “zone of privacy” for individuals. The Fourteenth Amendment is also cited in many well-known right to privacy cases.
Generally, the privacy interests that are often noted as being constitutionally protected involve the individual’s right to keep personal matters from being publicly disclosed and their right to make certain important life decisions on their own, without government interference. However, as with many aspects of case law, this is subject to interpretation and change.
What Can a Lawyer Do if Your Right to Privacy Has Been Invaded?
Right to privacy cases can be complex and require substantial documentation and proof from plaintiffs. Courts often balance the individual’s right to privacy with the right to free speech, especially in cases involving media coverage. It is essential to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer if you believe you have experienced an invasion of your privacy rights. They can help you decide on the best course of action to remedy the harm you’ve experienced by an unwarranted intrusion into your personal matters. Call a lawyer today to schedule a case evaluation: 305-692-0125