ERIC Number: ED191024
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The People's Right to Know Versus Right of Privacy.
De Mott, John
To make democracy work, whatever relates to government or public business should be open to comprehensive scrutiny; conversely, whatever is related to individual citizens and their private lives should be protected from undesired exposure. This recognized need to balance privacy and the right to know reflects an inevitable conflict. Despite the elemental and ever-present nature of this conflict, the United States Constitution provides neither the right to privacy nor the right to know directly. The Ninth Amendment makes it obvious that none of the specific liberties cited in the Bill of Rights is absolute, and it provides the courts grounds for the judicial interpretation of other rights not mentioned specifically. To balance the often conflicting interests of the two rights, statutes, jury verdicts, and court decisions might follow this basic guideline: unless disclosure of the information is in the public interest--to satisfy government's need for information about the public it is striving to serve, or the people's need for information about newsworthy events or other public affairs--then the dissemination of information about private matters can be seen as an unjustified invasion of privacy. (HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Talk presented to the Fineman Discussion Group (Philadelphia, PA, March 11, 1978).