Many Americans hold a strong belief in their own right to privacy. However, what exactly constitutes privacy and what we are guaranteed under the law is not always so clear. Although the right to privacy is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, it has its origin the 1st Amendment, guaranteeing the right of free speech and association, and the 4th Amendment, our guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. On the national level, the right to privacy is outlined by the Federal Trade Commission’s Fair Information Practices (originally published in 1973). These establish commonly accepted standards for privacy and the collection of information.
Montana residents are ensured even greater protection of their right to privacy than the average U.S. citizen. Montana is one of ten states that specifically address this right in their constitution. Montana recognizes that the protection of the right to privacy is essential for maintaining a free society. Next week, we’ll go into more detail about what elements of privacy are protected under the law.