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Right to Privacy Assignment

3 pages
732 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
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The right to privacy entails upholding of personal autonomy and protection of individuals from unlawful public or governmental surveillance and scrutiny (Linder, 2017). Although the United States contains no express protection of rights to privacy, the freedom is protected by various statutory laws. For instance, the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is responsible for protecting an individuals personal health information, while other acts such as Federal trade commission enforces the right to privacy in regard to business transactions and statements (Linder, 2017). Moreover, the right to privacy is enhanced by constitutional amendments such as;

The first amendment protects individuals privacy in respects to his/her beliefs

The fourth amendment protects individuals from unjustifiable searches by law enforcement agencies (Jeimy, 2016).

The Fifth Amendment guards against self-incrimination which in turn safeguards privacy of personal information

Finally, the right to privacy is protected in the Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment (Jeimy, 2016).

Considering the sophistication of the contemporary technology, the constitutional laws have proved to be inadequate in promoting peoples privacy. For instance, the CCTV cameras, installed in public and private premises, and the satellite surveillance systems are extensively being used by various security agencies to collect, store, and analyze citizens personal information without their consent.

Timothy Ivory Carpenter vs. the United States of America is a case in the US Supreme Court that is awaiting final verdict (Horn and Wouters, 2017). In 2011, the petitioner, Timothy Ivory Carpenter was arrested on the suspicion that he participated in armed robberies in Detroit. In the course of the investigation, the FBI acquired communication data from Carpenters phone. The agency requested to collect his cell phone information for 127 days in accordance to stored communication Act, which allows the law enforcement agencies to gather communication records by demonstrating specific and articulable facts (Horn and Wouters, 2017). The trial court convicted Carpenter of firearms violation and breach of the Hobbs Act. On appeal, the petitioner upheld that the acquisition of his cellular data without a warrant violated his privacy rights stipulated in the fourth amendment.

In my opinion, the warrantless acquisition of location data from Carpenters cellphone was a gross invasion of personal privacy by the American government. The rule of law is clear that no individual or entity is above the law and therefore, the FBI should have adhered to the due course of the law as stipulated in the constitution. The unlawful acquisition of cellphone location data infringed on Carpenters rights stipulated in the fourth amendment and privacy freedom outlined in the Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment. Before the acquisition of the location data, FBI should have demonstrated precise and articulable evidence that necessitated the need to acquire location information of the suspect as required by Stored Communication Act.

Since the drafting of the American constitution, protection of civil rights, liberties, and privacy has perhaps been the most fundamental aspect of the American constitution (Jeimy, 2016). The civil liberties offer protection against government actions. The historic bill of rights and the 14th amendment are the basis for protecting the petitioner, Timothy Ivory Carpenter since the FBI violated his privacy rights. Essentially, the fourteenth amendment protects the violation of rights and liberties by the state government.

Individuals and government agencies that breach the privacy act should be charged in a court of law. If the petitioner succeeds in the case, the court should assess attorney fees and the litigation cost incurred and consequently offer compensation to the plaintiff. Moreover, the court should direct the government agency to allow unrestricted access to personal information to the individual whose privacy rights has been violated. Besides, the agency should be compelled to correct it records subject to the privacy act. In case of criminal violation of privacy rights, the accused should be penalized for a misdemeanor which entails a fine of up to $5000. On the other hand, the victims should be compensated for all the cost incurred during the litigation process and offered compensation for suffering inflicted by the same.



Horn, M., Wouters, C. (2017). Carpenter v. United States. Retrieved from

Jeimy J. C. (2016). Privacy in the Era of Monitoring and Surveillance: A Conceptual Framework on Personal Data Protection. Retrieved from

Linder, D. O. (2017). The Right of Privacy. Retrieved from


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