The Right of Privacy: Is it Protected by the Constitution?

The privacy of an individual is one of the most important rights. It is known as a factor that keeps the democratic system to exist, as well as a fundamental value on which the country of the United States of America was founded and prospered. Being protected by the Bill of Rights, privacy is mentioned in several amendments in the Constitution, such as privacy of belief, speech, press, and assembly. The debate over privacy rights often sparks conflict concerning between priorities of individual privacy and public safety.

As citizens are living in a generation that mass shooting and terrorism are prone to happen, the government are most certainly responsible for their safety. Law enforcement is established to invoke inspection in case of any adverse circumstances. The government’s eavesdropping on the people of the United States has helped save many lives and justice being served. However, by displaying more surveillance throughout the community as well as having the authority for unexpected searches, it is somewhat controversial for the fact that these actions have violated the citizens’ right of privacy.

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In addition, many individuals and even criminals can somehow detect flaws within media and lives and utilize them for their negative purposes. With all of these accusations, it is debatable to see whether or not it is understandable to be supportive of people’s right to privacy.

Many advocates have conveyed that the government’s act of control does violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizures. The Fourth Amendment to the U.

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S. Constitution states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath of affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized.” Law enforcement is required to have a reasonable belief in which possible misconduct has been committed in order to proceed a search of a person’s body, belongings, or home. Let’s take an example from a 1991 episode of Law and Order, “The detectives arrested a homeless man who was later convicted of murder based on the police’s discovery of the murder weapon in his “home” in Central Park. However, the conviction is later threatened on appeal because the police did not have a warrant to search his “home.” At first, the operation of intruding a household without a proper warrant could be presumed as unprofessional and therefore makes itself a violation on the homeless man’ right of privacy. In spite of that, having found the weapon is all it takes to make the searching reasonable; not to mention it results in a successful capture on the culprit. The exclusionary rule imposes that the illegal searches are not valid as there is conspicuous evidence obtained through the intrusion.

It is still accurate that police officers must obtain written permission from a court of law to legally search a person and his or her property and seize evidence while they are investigating possible criminal activity. According to the article Know Your Rights: Can You be Searched Without a Warrant? written by Stephanie Morrow, a person may refuse an officer’s request to inspect their house. As long as there is no injury or the person being charged with interfering in a police investigation, the act of consent is not compelled. In addition, it is mandatory to ask the police officers for identification and an explanation for the sudden appearance at their location. If the police do have a warrant, that person can also ask them to recite the search warrant to them. The officer must pledge no dishonest to the information used to obtain the warrant in cases involving search warrants. The warrant must then have a signature from a judge or magistrate and must specifically describe the location to be investigated and the evidence to be seized. There are very specific rules they must follow in order to browse a person’s car, barge into their home, or search for their clothes. However, many individuals under the pressure of the police may not be aware of this rule or their other rights under the Fourth Amendment. There are cases in which police can legally search without a warrant if probable cause is established or if consent is given by an individual.

There are exceptions to privacy rights that are created by the need for defense and security. Nowadays, home, hotel room or even a telephone booth has become reasonably expected by citizens to equip with surveillance cameras. They can operate twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year without taking any break. Cameras are very useful for governments and law enforcement to maintain social control, prevent crimes, recognize threats, and investigate criminal activity. They are also economical and inconspicuous; that’s why authorities would rather invest on them than having law enforcement and security officers on duty. Some citizens do confess to preferring their personal lives not getting exposed regardless of any element. In a survey developed by, there is 42% say yes and 58% say no for the answer of whether the surveillance cameras an invasion of privacy. In their opinion, having cameras attached everywhere scanning every movement they make seems to be a huge burden, for which they do not have a leeway to proceed everyday life comfortably, following with knowing that other real humans are witnessing every single second of their lives. Sometimes people consider cameras as an indirect violation of their right to privacy.

In contrast, there is no law stating that public surveillance cameras illegal. Moreover, it does not sound outrageous as our government should do what is necessary to protect us from possible threats. Journalist Nancy G. La Vigne writes in her article How surveillance cameras can help prevent and solve crime: “Urban’s research has shown that in Baltimore and Chicago, cameras were linked to reduced crime, even beyond the areas with camera coverage. The cost savings associated with crimes averted through camera systems in Chicago saved the city over four dollars for every dollar spent on the technology, while Baltimore yielded a 50 cent return on the dollar.” With the help of surveillance cameras, public safety is guaranteed and people’s fear of crime can also be reduced. That somewhat constructs a strong belief of how people must accept to sacrifice some of our personal privacy in order to get our lives properly secured.

Without invading personal lives, laws are still proceeded to provide privacy. Moreover, it is only a matter of insecurity that makes a person feel that they are being violated. Let’s take an example from Jonathan Franzen, a well-known novelist, stating about his feelings about privacy, “One of my neighbors in the apartment building across the street spends a lot of time at her mirror examining her pores, and I can see her doing it, just as she can undoubtedly see me sometimes. But our respective privacies remain intact as long as neither of us feels seen.” The privacy should not become a concern if their surroundings give them ease. Some individuals find themselves getting violated when they are subject to random searches, which does not receive the same opinions from other groups of people. They get annoyed when they are requested to show their driver’s license while writing checks. Others often get called from telemarketers. Most of the time, if the data is not kept private, things such as credit card numbers could be stolen easily over the phone.

The same event applies to an Internet user finding a pop-up advertisement saying their computer malfunctions. They then consent to provide credit card information and at the end of the transaction, a large sum of money is nowhere to be found. For many years people have reported over their privacy rights, from being monitored through a webcam to even cybercriminals stealing money through the Internet. Users think that they should be completely hidden from the rest of the computer network, but in reality, there’s no solid solution to prevent other individuals from tracking or spying on their actions. With more criminals take advantage on people’s ignorance and exploit on their privacy from the social networks in general, they must accept that not everything on the Internet is private and safe. They invade privacy for their own personal gain. People need to recognize that this action violates The Fifth Amendment, which protects the privacy of personal information. They need to have a full awareness of privacy when considering a felon committing a crime to be prosecuted for their doing bad deeds. Endangering Their Right to Privacy 2010 states, “Communications and personal information that are posted online are usually accessible to a vast number of people. Yet when personal data exist online, they may be searched, reproduced and mined by advertisers, merchants, service providers or even stalkers.

Many users know what may happen to their information, while at the same time they act as though their data is private or intimate. They expect their privacy will not be infringed while they willingly share personal information with the world via social network sites, blogs, and in online communities.” Internet security is significantly essential to protect a user’s private information and help them free from receiving fraud or viruses. While technological developers are working their best to maintain a secure networking environment, users should also share the responsibility with the security in protecting their own privacy. Picking inaccessible passwords for social media, having a mindset to never share any personal information that is sensitive, and encrypting data when online are some basic activities to secure a person’s networking privacy. By taking action as soon as possible, there should be no anxiety about getting personal information or virtual finance confiscated from cybercriminals.

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The Right of Privacy: Is it Protected by the Constitution?. (2021, Jun 23). Retrieved from

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