Your Right to Privacy: Its Meaning


Jim Davies's picture

Mike Rozeff et al make a strong case that privacy relates to property, but I wonder if anyone can think of exceptions? Consider three cameos, for example:
1. You take your girlfriend for a romantic sunset stroll on a deserted beach, and part way along you strip off and make love. But Tom, in the grass on the headland yonder, has been photographing birds with his Nikon and sees you; he peeps through his 1000 mm lens and clicks away to build an eye-popping portfolio of pics.
Next day he offers not to post them to the Net, if you make it worth his while. You suffered a privacy loss, but who is the rightful owner of those images?
2. Meanwhile behind you on the other headland, Doris was setting up her stargazing telescope to observe some heavenly bodies, when her eye too was caught by the scene on the sand. She had no camera, but redirected her instrument for a closer look. At breakfast next day she thanks you for the show, and asks whether next time, she might join you and make up a threesome.
So again, you both lost privacy - but what property was removed?
3. Lady Caroline, daughter of the Earl of Grinchester, got pregnant by a footman but decided to conceal the fact from everyone, including him. She took a long tour of Europe, ending up in Switzerland where she gave birth and handed over the baby for adoption. She then returned home fresh, virginal and ready for the most handsome and wealthy young Viscount to offer to endow her with all his worldly goods.
So she preserved her privacy; but how was property involved?