Invasion of Privacy


  • Jeremy S. Williams



The lack of coherent theory of privacy is at the root of the inadequacy of present-day legal measures to afford protection of the indivisible "social space" surrounding each individual Professor Williams, in recog nizing some of the difficulties involved in defining the sphere of an individual's interest in privacy, emphasizes the threat posed by the gathering and dissemination of information about an individual without his knowledge or authority. This threat, says Professor Williams, cannot be neutralized by the individual himself; there must be judicial or legis lative intervention on his behalf. Common law torts, while they do give some protection, are not sufficient: the remedies are both slow and costly, and, of course, are not available to one who is not aware that his privacy has been invaded. Statutory enactments such as those in Manitoba and British Columbia give only broad and general protec tion against invasions of privacy; and other legal protection (which only incidentally affects privacy-intrusive conduct) is both sporadic and limited. rational theory of privacy, the author concludes, is essential to effective protection against invasions ofprivacy.