What is Right to Privacy?
A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that Right to Privacy is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. What is Right to Privacy?
One of the biggest debate surrounding privacy is regarding surveillance by the state. This would include snooping and in today's context collecting personal information and biometrics for Aadhaar.
Today Right to Privacy has moved into the private sector too. Companies like Google and Facebook are able to collect and store large volumes of data about their billions of users. Their business model relies on processing the troves of data and monetising the "free" service by selling advertisements. "The right to privacy against private actors is founded on principles of contract law, most prominently involving notice and consent."
In most instances, people have complained that information is gathered in the name of national security. Governments justify surveillance programmes by claiming that the information gathered about citizens would help in fighting terrorism. But that comes at the cost of their privacy. The Indian government argues that privacy concerns by private bodies should be viewed differently than by the government. In the Whatsapp Case, the Union government had said that the right to privacy is an integral part of Article 21 of the Constitution, which provides for the right to life and personal liberty. But in the case of Aadhaar, the government contradicts this view, arguing that privacy is not constitutionally inherent. Basically, they asked the court to view the right to privacy on a case by case basis.
Why is privacy important?
People have complained that phone numbers and other personal information is collected and shared for commercial purposes. People fear that data could also be used for illegal activities.
For instance, targeted political advertising, where campaigners spend money to show separate content to people with differing political beliefs.