Perspectives on the Right to Privacy and Data Protection

von Jan Linxweiler

Perspectives on the Right to Privacy and Data Protection*

Discussions regarding privacy and data protection are already part of our daily lives – especially after the so called “Snowden incident”. And why should they not? The friction between legitimate intelligence gathering and privacy protection as well as data protection are highly controversial. Within the discussions the inherent systematic differences among nations are often unearthed.

In this context this paper wants to introduce different perspectives on privacy and especially data protection within a descriptive assessment. Thus a short definition of privacy is necessary. Furthermore an overview on different approach methods is introduced. Finally the regulatory frameworks regarding these issues within the United States of America and the European Union as well the subsequent frictions are presented.

The scope of the Right to Privacy and Data Protection within the UN-System

The Right to Privacy is widely considered one of the cornerstones of democratic societies due to the safeguarding function in regards to fundamental principles like honour and personal dignity. It encompasses all aspects of personal and family life as well as personal, religious, sexual, political and social preferences or beliefs. Furthermore it protects personnel communication and data. Therefore Data Protection is a fundamental part of the Right to Privacy.

This protection is codified in Article 12 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 which states: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family home or correspondence, nor to attack upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks ...

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