Why the right to privacy must be the 7th fundamental right, IT News, ET CIO

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By AS Rajgopal

Among all human rights, privacy is perhaps the most difficult to define, as the concept varies depending on the context and environment. The Oxford Dictionary defines privacy as “a state in which no one is observed or disturbed by other people” or to be shielded from the attention of the public “. So, privacy can even be defined as the ability of a person to be alone and to express themselves selectively or however they wish. During the 1890s, former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Louis Brandeis, formulated an idea of ​​privacy which asserted that it was absolutely the “right of the individual to be left alone. “.

The character of privacy sometimes overlaps partially with security, which could include the concepts of appropriate use and protection of all forms of information. Privacy is a fundamental right that underpins human dignity and other values ​​such as freedom of association and freedom of expression. The real challenge is to protect the privacy of consumers today. But do we really have privacy in any space. To understand the impact and importance of privacy, let’s first take a look at the different types of privacy.

Confidentiality of information

Information privacy or data privacy is the privacy of our personal information and generally relates to personal data stored on computer systems, mobile phones or the cloud. With technological advancements in the digital space, the vulnerabilities of personal information have increased. The need to maintain the confidentiality of information applies to all personal data collected, such as medical records, financial data, criminal records, medical records, political records, government records, business information or data. of websites.

Physical confidentiality

Physical intimacy extends to the concept of bodily or physical integrity, to the appropriation of one’s own mind and body, and therefore to the decision to choose how one wants to interact and perform for oneself. This idea of ​​physical privacy is inviolable so that the right to privacy remains intact in the constitution. Once during a hearing, a lawyer asserted that “my body belongs to me, attacks on my bodily integrity can only be authorized under a totalitarian regime”. Without privacy, no one can be truly free. A world without privacy is a world with controlled surveillance, and constant surveillance is contrary to human dignity.

Confidentiality of communications

Communications Privacy deals with the security and privacy of mail, telephones, e-mails and other types of communication, and communications monitoring in India takes place primarily under these two laws: the Telegraph Act , 1885 and the Information Technology Act (IT Act), 2000 The task of Indian policymakers is to ensure that the benefits of new technologies are accessible to all fairly and affordably, while protecting them against existing communication threats and emerging. The need of the hour is a comprehensive data protection law to address the gaps in the existing supervisory framework.

Territorial confidentiality

Territorial confidentiality is a very old concept of the confidentiality of private / personal space and has been neglected in the recent past, as nowadays research and legislation on confidentiality are particularly focused on the problem of the confidentiality of personal data. data. Territorial confidentiality is specifically concerned with setting limits on intrusion into the home environment and other environments such as the workplace or public spaces. This includes searches, video surveillance as well as identity card checks. Walls, as boundaries between private and public spaces, are insufficient to protect territorial privacy when our environments are permeated with numerous computing and sensing devices that collect and share real-time information about us.

So why is privacy important in our life?

Privacy gives us the freedom to choose our thoughts, how we feel, and with whom we share them. Confidentiality protects our information which we do not wish to share publicly. Confidentiality helps protect our physical security. Privacy helps protect us as individuals and our businesses from the entities on which we depend. Privacy is freedom. Could we really be free and have free will without the right to privacy?

In August 2017, the Supreme Court of India, in Justice KS Puttaswamy v Union of India, declared the “right to privacy” as a fundamental right of Indian citizens. To strengthen data privacy, the Indian government introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which was passed on November 22, 2021 by the Joint Parliamentary Committee. The bill aims to strike a balance between the rights of individuals, the duties of information intermediaries and the needs of national security. Privacy is a very delicate, personal and overly subjective concept, so it should be articulated separately and made into an absolute right – the 7th fundamental right, without any restrictions.

India should take a leadership role on the world stage to promote privacy as a 7th human right and hope to prevent any potential threat from any form of invasion of privacy.

The author is Founder, MYn

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