An overview of emerging challenges in privacy law

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Privacy holds a highly contested place within contemporary political and legal discourse. One of the difficulties associated with privacy claims is the relatively amorphous nature of privacy. As Robert Gellman aptly said: Lawyers, judges, philosophers, and scholars have attempted to define the scope and meaning of privacy, and it would be unfair to suggest that they have failed. It would be kinder to say that they have all produced different answers. Particularly marginal or novel claims for privacy are sometimes resisted with the argument that privacy is meaningless when it potentially encompasses all and any claims to individual liberty and autonomy. Yet it should no longer be doubted that privacy is a fundamental concern and that, in many traditional settings, it has also acquired a fairly specific scope and meaning. However, privacy is difficult to enforce because it is not an absolute right. Its protection must always be sought against conflicting values or interests. While the conflict between privacy and freedom of expression has been a constant for many decades, it is becoming apparent that public safety and national security concerns have resurged as the nemesis of privacy claims, in particular when states consider themselves under siege from external and internal threats.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging Challenges in Privacy Law: Comparative Perspectives
EditorsNormann Witzleb, David Lindsay, Moira Paterson, Sharon Rodrick
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781107300491
ISBN (Print)9781107041677
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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