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Fred H. Cate and Brooke Barnett


“Privacy” is widely recognized as a legal right, but with a range of different meanings. These include restraints on intrusion into the home, confidentiality of correspondence, freedom to make certain fundamental decisions, control of personal data, anonymity, and many others. Countries differ as to the specific understandings of privacy their laws protect and whether those understandings apply equally against the government and private sector entities. Since the end of World War II, international legal agreements have recognized privacy as a human right because “laws protecting privacy are the means through which the collective acknowledges rules of civility that are designed to affirm human autonomy and dignity” ( Smolla 1992 , 119). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that “no one shall be subject to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence.” The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights contain identical provisions. The “Right to Privacy” clause of the →  American Convention on Human Rights likewise provides that “no one may be the object of arbitrary or abusive interference with his private life, his family, his home, or his correspondence.” A number of countries recognize privacy in their constitutions. For example, the South Korean Constitution states: “The privacy of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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