chapter  23
26 Pages


Respect for privacy operates on two levels: political and personal. In Chapter 19, it was argued that one of the functions of constitutional rights in a democracy is to keep open the channels of dissent, so that governments may be made aware of public criticism and the strength of opposition views. A right to privacy prevents those in power from keeping too watchful an eye on their political opponents by taking advantage of the considerable power of the State to monitor dissent. State intrusions into people’s privacy may take a number of forms; either in the course of criminal investigations, or by keeping a check on suspected terrorist communications in the interests of national security, or the use of personal information held by public authorities, such as the Inland Revenue, housing authorities, the police or family welfare authorities.