PRIVACY RIGHTS

Abstract

Personal liberties are documented or undocumented laws that are guaranteed for any individual and are protected constitutionally or through interpretation by a court of law. Individual liberties tend to address more fundamental rights and freedoms than those addressed in the Bill of Rights. These civil rights include but are not limited to the freedom of speech, right to engage in marriage and to vote. Others include the right to autonomy, right to be free from unwarranted entry and searches, as well as the right to a fair trial in any court of law. The difference between rights and liberties is that rights are all sorts of protection guaranteed for an individual while liberties are protection from government actions. The fundamental purpose of rights enshrined in the constitution is the protection of individuals from acts of aggression, discrimination and oppression by other individuals, groups and non-governmental organizations. Rights, therefore, seek to create a situation of equal opportunities for all citizens regardless of race, gender, social status or any other distinguishing factor.

The Privacy Rights of the American Citizen as Engraved in the Constitution.

The explicit expression of any right pertaining to privacy of individuals is not found in the constitution. It is instead constituted from the understanding of several other rights and freedoms and is usually an interpretation done by the justice system. It is usually a difficult task for the state and its agencies to balance between its citizen’s right to privacy against the public interests, especially those concerning safety and security.

The law clearly indicates that the state shall not at any time enforce any law or legislation that denies citizens of the federation their privileges and immunities granted by the constitution without following due process. Consequently, the state cannot takeaway the life, freedoms, liberties or even property of an individual until a court has sufficient evidence to guarantee the prosecution. As a result, this amendment makes the government reactive rather than proactive, a compromising position especially when dealing with matters of national security. The rights protecting the privacy of individuals and enhancing liberty include:

The autonomy clause in the First Amendment that prohibits the state from interfering in a person’s beliefs and mode of worship.
The Third Amendment prohibiting of homes from forcefully quartering the military.
The Fourth Amendment protecting citizens from arbitrary entries and searches of their homes.
The Fifth Amendment protecting the integrity of personal information by preventing a person from self-incrimination during trial.
The Ninth Amendment prohibiting disparage of natural rights retained by citizens through constitutional acts.
The clause stipulating due process in the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits the state from introducing or amending laws to constrain individuals and deny them already constitutionalized rights and freedoms. The clause also prohibits the state from denying individuals the right to life and own property, as well as liberties without following due process. The clause compels the state through its various arms and agencies to ensure the provision of equal opportunities and fair treatment of all its citizens.
Stephens and Scheb (2012), identified the above privacy rights outlined in the U.S. constitution as fundamental in protecting the liberty of citizens.

Personal liberty laws are laws that were initiated and subsequently implemented in America between the end of the slave trade error and the start of the civil war. These personal liberty laws sought to limit the extent to which the state can infringe into the private lives of its citizens while conducting its affairs. The system meant to ensure the human treatment of slaves as well as the safety of those who had been freed or had escaped. These laws sought to counter the punitive Fugitive Slaves Act that was passed by majority of states as an effort geared towards ending rising tensions between the northern and southern states. Only New Jersey and California passed the bills directly while other states such as Indiana, Illinois and Oregon supported the bill indirectly by closing their borders to black people whether escaped slaves or free men.

The act denied escaped slaves the right to trial by a jury only offering them the chance to appeal. In the nineteenth century some states granted freed and escaped slaves the right of trial and fair hearings, proceeding to issue them with lawyers to defend them when the need arose. After the ruling made in 1842 concerning the jurisdiction of enforcing the Fugitive Slaves Act, most northern states increased the rights of escaped slaves. These included the prohibition of co-operation with the federal government in the capture and prosecution of freed escaped slaves.

The Fugitive Slaves Laws meant to provide legal protect 


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