Privacy As A Basic Human Right


Privacy rights are significant among human beings since they enhance their dignity and protect their information. Every person has the right to conceal information about themselves from the public. Privacy is essential for personal data protection, maintaining social boundaries, building trust, and protecting someone from aggressive public actions. Therefore, various legislation helps protect the privacy of people. Technological advancements have led to sharing information over the internet and other social platforms. The information shared can be manipulated for the advantage of specific people, becoming detrimental to the victim and their families. Therefore, personal and broad social functions protect people from harsh social conditions and beliefs. Privacy is significant since it helps individuals feel safe on a public platform and about the information they do not want to share with others.

Definition of Privacy

The term privacy is multifaceted and attracts various meanings according to the existing circumstances. The most common meaning is the state in which an individual is not observed and disturbed by other people in the society or within a social space (Scheuerman et al. 14-17). Therefore, the individual lives in peace and confidence in whatever they are doing. The term is defined as the state in which an individual is free from the public watch (Pursehouse et al. 200). The latter definition sounds chaotic since the society, the public, acts as the enforcer of moral ethics and would watch over individuals to correct them from immoral behaviors. The most efficient definition of privacy is the right to be left alone, or an individual’s freedom from interreference or intrusion from the government or other public members (Pursehouse et al. 203). Privacy protects individuals’ physical property and non-physical property like information. Therefore, privacy is individuals’ property and information protection from any external interference.

Legal Privacy

Human dignity is a broadly accepted ethical concept that allows an individual to be treated rationally. Privacy is one of the rational manners in which an individual in society must be treated. Consequently, various governments have formulated legislation protecting individuals from societal intrusion and interference (Barrett-Maitland and Jenice). Countries’ constitutions provide for the right to privacy under Bill of rights. Moreover, human dignity that promotes privacy rights is a universally accepted concept. Therefore, the right to privacy is protected at the global level. Some of the international instruments protecting an individual from public interference include the Universal declaration of human rights, among other international protocols on human rights. Legal privacy promotes the obligation to respect other people’s properties and information.

Power of Privacy

Protection from external interference is significant since it boosts individuals’ confidence in their information and property. Technology has led to collecting and using individual data in various activities. For instance, companies utilize individuals’ information on product use to market their products and develop new products. Moreover, eavesdropping on mobile communication is done to fetch information that can be used against an individual in public spaces (Virant-Doberlet et al.). Therefore, the absence of privacy can lead to mistrust and insecurity among the members of society. Privacy rights ensure that individuals’ information is stored, used, and shared in a manner consistent with their interests and the circumstances in which the data is collected. Privacy is powerful since it protects people from harsh governments and personal data interference, builds trust, maintains social boundaries, and protects reputation.

Importance of Privacy

Protection from the Government

Governments have excessive power over their citizens and use the power to target and punish specific individuals. In countries with dictating governments, individuals opposed to the government may have their properties forcefully searched and used against them. Moreover, personal information like identity, age, and family data are in the government’s custody. Consequently, the information can be used in a manner consistent with individual interests (Agozie and Kaya). Although some governments may use such information for the public good, information owners may be put at risk. Therefore, protecting such an individual’s privacy is crucial due to personal dignity’s universality (Chang et al. 450). Some governments may aim to attack and punish individuals who protest against various actions taken against the public interest (Chang et al. 445-448). Individuals’ private rights against the harsh government are protected by law. Therefore, governments are limited to attacking and searching individuals’ property with their consent or justifiable reason. Privacy is robust since it protects individuals from harsh public actions.

Personal Data Protection

Human interactions have been revolutionized through technological inventions. The inventions in information technology, like the development of social media platforms, have eased communication and interactions (Andrew and Baker 566). The use of social media requires individuals to create user profiles that reflect their information like geographical location and marital statuses. Although the social media platforms have features that allow individuals to share information, they wish the public to see, the information can be manipulated to individuals’ disadvantage (Andrew and Baker 578). Moreover, various organizations have adopted technology in collecting and storing data. Such data is at risk of manipulation and use that contradicts an individual’s interests. Privacy of data protects the shared data from manipulation and allows data use with consent only. Therefore, privacy help individuals feel secure when sharing their personal information.

Maintain Social Boundaries

Various communities and societies have set rules that guide people’s behavior and culture on social platforms. Social boundaries involve the set rules that direct culture and help manage chaos since they what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in society (Trepte 551). The digitized social platforms bring together individuals with different social boundaries. Consequently, the individuals may fear expressing themselves due to fear of being judged by people of contrary cultures. Privacy rights help protect sensitive information about individuals that may lead to poor judgment by others. Protected information includes individuals’ sexual orientation, marital statuses, and information relating to their families (Andrew and Baker 578). Consequently, the information on peoples’ way of life cannot be shared in public spaces. The individuals interact safely without fear of their information being shared in public. Privacy promotes social integration by limiting the kind of information shared in public spaces.

Building Trust

Trust is significant for social, economic, and cultural development. Various mechanisms help build trust among community members. For instance, business activities are guided by laws that prohibit sharing of consumer data (Trepte 560). While trust has broader social significance, it is built at individual and familial levels. Consequently, sensitive information about individuals is shared with close family members only. For instance, health status information is shared with the patients’ close relatives (Trepte). Banks share financial information of their clients with permitted persons only. Protection of sensitive information enables individuals to gain trust in social institutions. Consequently, people share sensitive information with hospitals without fear, among other social facilities. Privacy promotes peoples’ trust in social institutions promoting social and economic growth.

Reputation Protection

Reputation is essential since it determines individuals’ social standing in society. Therefore, society embraces people with an excellent reputation and shies away from what is perceived as ‘immoral.’ People share information meant to build on their reputation and hide from the public information that would be judged poorly (Jain et al. 2160). However, with the increasing use of social media, private information may get to the public. If the information is shared with a society that dissociates itself from such information, the individual’s reputation may be at risk. Moreover, some cultures prohibit specific activities and may discriminate against anyone opposed to such a culture (Barrett and Saxe). A bad reputation is detrimental to the victim and anyone close to the victim (Jain et al. 2159). Furthermore, the individual may be subjected to harsh reception in social spaces due to their bad reputation.

Privacy is crucial in protecting individuals’ reputations from public judgment. Various legislation limits the kind of information that can be shared with organizations. For instance, information on political beliefs and sexual orientation is limited from being shared. Therefore, the individuals can only share information they are comfortable with (Kim et al. 1130-1140). Violating privacy may lead to unequal opportunities and other forms of discrimination in social spaces (Jain et al.). For instance, gays may be denied opportunities in companies instead of same-sex individuals. Privacy rights protect the reputation and reduce discrimination in the society.

Barriers to Privacy

Although privacy serves essential roles in society, various factors encumber the enjoyment of private rights. Privacy barriers can be normative, physical, and behavioral, depending on the circumstances. Normative barriers involve recognized moral behaviors prejudicial to individuals in a given society (Vitriol et al. 104165). For instance, some societies are opposed to lesbianism, limiting the expression of lesbians in society. Physical barriers involve poorly developed systems that hinder the protection of an individual’s information (Riegger et al. 156). An explicit example of a physical barrier is a vulnerable communication system that can be easily hacked into and vital information about people retrieved. Meanwhile, behavioral barriers include individuals’ reputations that may portray them as having characters they do not have (Vitriol et al. 104165). Normative, physical, and behavioral barriers to privacy cause restlessness and insecurity about information among society members.


Privacy is robust for promoting economic and social development in a society. Although there is no clear definition of privacy, it means individual protection from public and government interference. People are comfortable with others knowing the information they consent to and feel insecure if their private information is shared. Advancements in technology have led to sharing information on various digitized systems. The shared information is at risk of manipulation. Consequently, trust and personal reputation may be destroyed by sharing crucial information. Organizations may use shared information to ignore individuals’ interests. Lack of privacy leads to discomfort and mistrust in public and social institutions. Privacy rights help protect individuals’ private information from manipulation. However, privacy is subject to normative, physical, and behavioral barriers. Therefore, privacy is powerful since it protects individuals from external interferences in the technologically advanced society.

Works Cited

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