Privacy now and then According to Warren and Brandeis, privacy was a reflection of social condition of its era. In fact, the concept of privacy developed by Warren and Brandeis was a response to industrialization, impersonalization of work and growth of mass urban areas. They argue that the right of privacy was a necessary outgrowth of the “intensity and complexity of life” realized through advancing civilization. They added that social standards and morality were to be protected hence the object of privacy according to Warren and Brandeis, was an effort to preserve communitarian values and institutions (Bezanson, 1992).
The social and cultural changes that took place between 1890 and 1990 played a vital role in shaping today’s privacy rules. It is a fact to claim that circumstances have changed so much that the rationale of privacy also has to change (Bezanson, 1992). The 1890 privacy focused more on the problem of access by the lower class of society to gain the information regarding the upper class. However, the 1990 privacy was more of a democratic concept as opposed to class.
That is, the concept of privacy focused on individual’s interest in some measure of control over self through control over information (Bezanson, 1992). In 1890, the privacy rules were intended to protect the operation of a fixed set of social arrangements and conventions through regulating the process of disclosing the information. On the contrary, the 1990 privacy rules aimed at giving an individual control over the disclosure of confidential personal information through a complex combination of personal and social relationship (Bezanson, 1992). In conclusion, the concept of privacy in the 21st century has been modified to focus on individual’s identified private information thereby addressing two concerns of the common law: rules of liability should be inclined to consistent and principled application, and rules should be established upon social consensus that is a true reflection of the complexities of social arrangements.
ReferencesBezanson, R. P. (1992). The Right to Privacy Revisited: Privacy News and Social change, 1890-1990. Carlifonia: Carlifonia Law Review.