Sample Paper on Privacy rights


There is no direct expression of privacy rights in the constitution, instead, the Bill of Rights reflects certain aspects of privacy including the privacy of beliefs, home privacy, the privacy of persons against unreasonable searches, and privacy of personal information. All these are contained in a total of nine amendments with the ninth amendment providing privacy rights in ways not explicitly covered by the initial eight amendments (Vile, 2006).  According to Justice Louis Brandeis, privacy right is an expression that stipulates how personal information of an individual needs to be safeguarded against public scrutiny. “In most cases, the right to privacy is protected through the statutory law that, for instance, protects the health information of a person” (Bodenhamer, 2011). It is worth noting that such rights must always be balanced with the interest of the state like promoting the quality of life and ensuring public safety (Bodenhamer, 2011).

The thesis statement is an investigation of the implications and the impacts that federalism, civil liberties, and civil rights have had on privacy rights. It is reported that federalism is implicated in this topic as different states are in the process of passing new privacy laws. The topic under discussion affects federalism as each state has to reconsider certain elements before passing certain laws that may inflict on privacy rights.  The major challenge that this topic poses is how to figure out the right balance and approach that should be in place when dealing with certain privacy issues. Civil liberty is also implicated and affects the right of privacy by preventing the pronouncement of important information by free citizens just to protect privacy. Civil rights are also implicated in the topic under discussion and affect the privacy of people at homes and workplaces through secret surveillance and monitoring.


Consistent amendment and passing of laws by states federalism have positively and negatively impacted privacy rights. It is asserted that the responsibility of the state is to provide security to the members of the public through the enactment of security laws including surveillance of personal private activities of individuals (Katz et al, 2006). Positively, this is important as it will unearth certain activities done privately by individuals that could lead to the loss of lives and property. One real-world positive example is the seatbelt and motorcycle law that allows the collection of personal information to offer surveillance and protect the lives of the people. Negatively, federalism has affected the privacy rights of the citizens as supported by the example of Edward Snowden, a contractor who leaked to the media details on how federal governments were collecting personal data through surveillance programs. This affected the fight against terrorism as people were very cautious with their personal data that could be exposed through phone calls and internet data.

The topic also implicates civil liberties; in fact, it has been affirmed that everybody is at liberty to say or do whatever is legal without being clogged by the government. Problems arise in situations where such data is private, for instance, military or terrorism act information. Privacy right has extensively affected civil liberty by preventing pronouncement of important information to the state by people in the name of preventing privacy. For example, your neighbor may be involved in certain illegal activities that need to be reported; one cannot just go and perform a search in his house to confirm the allegations since the neighbor has his privacy rights enshrined in the constitution and thus a positive assertion. Negatively, the liberty that the universities have in doing admissions has led to some people being denied admission upon perusal of their personal data and then discriminated just like the case of Abigail Fisher who was denied admission.

A civil right is also implicated and affected by the right to privacy as people are free from any unequal treatment arising from disability, employment, and housing. As much as people are free from any unequal treatment, governments and employers may at times infringe on privacy at homes or at workplaces through surveillance. On a positive note, this has highly improved employee performance and protection of an organization’s corporate information and assets an example being employee monitoring in state departments. Negatively, civil rights have affected the individual right to privacy by exposing for malicious purposes activities of people in restrooms just for blackmail. One real-world example is the Ashley Madison data leak in Toronto to support this assertion.


It is evident from the discussions that privacy right is affected by concepts such as federalism, civil liberty, and civil right. As much as the government needs to provide security to the people through surveillance, it should do so with caution as individual privacy rights of those to be monitored are enshrined in the constitution. As matter of fact, people are at liberty to do whatever is right in society but this should not be used for malice or blackmail and so applies to civil rights.




Bodenhamer, D. J. (2011). The Revolutionary Constitution. Oxford: Oxford University Press,


Katz, E., Marbach, J. R., & Smith, T. E. (2006). Federalism in America: K – Z. Westport:

Greenwood Press.

Vile, J. R. (2006). A companion to the United States Constitution and its amendments. Westport: