The Right To Privacy In A Decade Of Heavy Technology Disruption.
We are living in a world of complete disruption of our living principles on earth. Well, the reality is we are slowly being rid of our rights to privacy. We need to take cognizance that the advances in information communication technology have and is drastically improving the real-time communication and information-sharing. By improving access to information and facilitating global debate, they foster democratic participation. By amplifying the voices of human rights defenders and helping to expose abuses, these powerful technologies offer the promise of improved enjoyment of human rights. But at the same time, it has become clear that these new technologies are vulnerable to electronic surveillance and interception. Discoveries have revealed how new technologies are being developed covertly, often to facilitate these practices, with chilling and dreadful efficiency.
The rapid pace of technological development enables individuals all over the world to use new information and communications technologies (ICTs) to improve their lives. At the same time, technology is enhancing the capacity of governments, companies and individuals to undertake surveillance, interception and data collection, which may violate or abuse human rights, in particular the right to privacy.
Let us understand briefly “The right to Privacy”:
The right to privacy is an element of various legal traditions to restrain governmental and private actions that threaten the privacy of individuals. Over 150 national constitutions mention the right to privacy.
Since the global surveillance disclosures of 2013, initiated by ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden, the inalienable human right to privacy has been a subject of international debate.
There is now a question as whether the right to privacy act can co-exist with the current capabilities of intelligence agencies to access and analyze virtually in every detail of an individual’s life. A major question is that whether or not the right to privacy needs to be forfeited as part of the social contract to bolster defense against supposed terrorist threats.
Today, the “right to privacy” is a common cause of action in many civil lawsuits. As such, modern tort law includes four general categories of invasion of privacy: intrusion into a person’s solitude/private space by physical or electronic means; unauthorized public disclosure of private facts; publication of facts that place a person in a false light; and unauthorized use of a person’s name or likeness to obtain a benefit.
Today, however, this distinction has eroded, thanks to the rapid advance of digital technologies and the accompanying rise of the field broadly called data science. What we have thought of as privacy is dying, if not already dead.
This is part of the approach now being taken by European regulators. One of the cornerstones of the European Union’s new regulatory framework for data, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or G.D.P.R., is the idea of purpose-based restrictions on data. In order for an organization or public authority to use personal data gathered in the European Union, it must first specify what that data is going to be used for. The G.D.P.R. sets forth six broad categories of acceptable purposes, including when an individual has directly consented to a specific use for the data to when data processing is necessary for the public interest. If data is issued for an unauthorized purpose, legal liability ensues. The G.D.P.R. is far from perfect, but it is on to something big.
Many privacy advocates will no doubt find it hard to stomach that the way we think about protecting our data is outdated. But if we are to maintain the ability to assert control over the data we generate, we must also admit that our past ideas of what it means to be “let alone” no longer apply.
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N.B: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the African Academic Network on Internet Policy