Free «Right to Privacy» Essay Sample

With regards to the privacy laws, privacy is not guaranteed under the constitution of the United States of America. However, the Privacy Act of 1974 establishes a Code of Fair Information Practice that governs the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of personally identifiable information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by federal agencies (United States Department of Justice). Under the Act, agencies are required to give the public notice of their systems of records by publication in the Federal register.

Pursuant to people's Right of Privacy, the Act states that; their information shall not be disclosed by any agency except for administrative purposes, congressional investigations, law enforcement, routine uses within a U.S. government agency, statistical purposes by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and for archival purposes.

The types of personal information covered under this Act include: the Internet information, which consist of all the information that one reveals about oneself over the internet. The question of who can access that information has raised more concerns and therefore there are guidelines that represent widely-accepted concepts concerning fair information practices in an electronic marketplace called the Fair Information Practice Principles.

Another type of information is the medical information. Many people may not desire to have their medical records revealed to third parties. In this regard, doctors in many cultures and countries have standards for doctor-patient relationships which include maintaining confidentiality. There are adequate legal provisions to cover for this.

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Financial information is another type of information. Ones financial transactions such as amount of assets, debts and purchases can be sensitive. If criminals get such information such a person can become a victim of fraud or identity theft. Here is also political information. Under this, secret ballot is the simplest and most widespread measure to ensure privacy to ones political views.

The Privacy Act is generally aimed at providing an equilibrium between the government's need to maintain vital information about people and the need to protect people's rights against unwarranted invasions of their privacy arising from federal agencies' collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information about them.

The Act is also meant to restrict disclosure of personally identifiable records maintained by agencies, to grant individuals increased rights of access to agency records maintained on themselves, to grant individuals the right to seek amendment of agency records maintained on themselves upon showing that the records are not accurate, relevant, timely, or complete and finally, to establish a code of "fair information practices" which requires agencies to comply with statutory norms for collection, maintenance, and dissemination of records.

The current Privacy Act was enacted and came into force in 1974 and 1975 respectively. The circumstances under which this law was enacted are completely different from what the case is on the ground today. Companies offer billions and billions of dollars to Google and other technology giants in order to access people's private information just to know their lifestyles for business purposes. The current policy is not effective as it does not cover privacy contravention resulting from the modern technologies. This policy is right by regulating access to people's information except under special cases of national interest.

According to Tessler of ABC news money is a challenge in protecting people's privacy. Big companies give money to technology giants in order access people's information and this is not covered under the policy. Internet crimes are also not covered under the policy. As Parsons (657) the Privacy Act of 1974 does not provide assure citizens much privacy since permits that government to demand private information on individuals from organizations.

The current policy should be revised to include privacy infringements resulting from the current technological advancements. There should also be a universal law that governs access to people's information on the internet at it can be accessed from anywhere around the globe. In areas where such legislations does not exist it would be a challenge to protect people's privacy. The current policy should therefore be revised to include such provisions.


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