Project Manager – Mark Notturno.
Many Americans regard privacy as a fundamental right. But the Constitution does not mention a right to privacy. And while the Supreme Court recognized such a right in 1965, its nature and boundaries are not very clear. Privacy and privacy rights have long been an area of concern in our society. Developments in our electronic information technologies have increased our concerns. These concerns raise difficult governance questions regarding privacy, privacy rights, and the trade-offs that an open society might be willing to make to protect itself. For example, what does it mean for something to be “private”? Where, for what, and from whom should we be able to expect privacy? What does it mean to have a right to privacy? And how should we distribute the burden of protecting our privacy among individuals, institutions, and governments?
In this discussion project, two panels of citizens met in Washington, DC on a monthly basis from October 2002 through June 2004 to explore and develop contrasting governance possibilities. One panel consisted of interested citizens, the other of citizens who have dealt with privacy issues in their professional lives. The Discussion Report that emerged from their discussions describes nine contrasting governance possibilities: Privacy Restrictions on Government’s Collection and Use of Personal Information; Privacy as Contingent Upon Place and Activity; Public and Private Individuals and Institutions; Privacy Rights as Protection of Basic Liberties; Privacy as Property; Privacy as a Fundamental Right; Privacy as Subordinate to National Security; Privacy as a Lost Ideal; and Privacy as a Social Norm.
This report also describes some of the actions that might be taken to implement these governance possibilities, and some of the possible effects on individuals, groups, institutions, and society at large.
You can download a copy of this report from our “Discussion Reports” page (also listed in the sidebar to the right), which lists all of our published reports, or, to download a copy directly, you can either click on blue pdf button in the sidebar or on the following link: Privacy & Privacy Rights (28 pages/412 KB).