Privacy Law and Legal Definition

A right of privacy has been based in the U.S. Supreme Court's examination of the Constitution. Case law has interpreted the U.S Constitution to protect personal freedoms, such as the right to privacy under the 14th amendment. The 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments also provide some protection of privacy, although in all cases the right is narrowly defined. There is also statutory right of privacy which limits access to personal information. The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for enforcing this statutory right of privacy. However, the right of privacy must be balanced against the state's compelling interests. Such compelling interests include the promotion of public morality, protection of the individual's psychological health, and improving the quality of life.

In the information mining age we live in, many entities collect personal data, such as name, address, email, demographic info, social security number, IP address, and financial information. In many cases, this information is then provided to third parties for marketing purposes.The threats of fraud and identity theft have increasingly generated right of privacy legislation requiring disclosure of information collection practices, opt-out opportunities, as well as internal protections of collected information.

15 U.S.C. § 45 charges the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces privacy promises made in the marketplace. Some of the laws the FTC enforces include the Privacy Act of 1974 (governing disclosure of personal information by the government), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (governing use of personal information by financial institutions), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (protecting personal financial information collected by consumer reporting agencies), and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (allowing parents to control what information is collected about their child online).