The right to respect for private life: digital challenges, a comparative-law perspective – The United Kingdom

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details October 2018
Publication Date October 2018
ISBN 978-92-846-4016-4
Content Type

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing the right to respect for private life in different legal systems, and between the ways in which the systems address the challenges that the ‘digital age’ poses to the exercise of that right.

It analyses, with reference to the United Kingdom, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law and the nature of the right to respect for private life.

Chapter 2 describes the concept of a right to respect for private life as it is recognised in UK legislation. This section of materials is subdivided into two parts. The first part outlines statutory protection for privacy interests, including the recently enacted Data Protection Act 2018 that gives domestic effect to the General Data Protection Regulations. The rest of chapter 2 discusses the most prominent set of statutory restrictions or qualifications upon the right. Privacy interests are thus revealed to be limited in the interests of national security and the prevention, investigation and detection of crime including crimes connected to the sexual abuse of children and young persons. Particular sets of laws authorise interception, examination and retention of digital online communications. Relevant obligations imposed on ISPs and telecommunications companies are described as are safeguards against unlawful forms of intrusion into these communications.

Chapter 3 provides an overview of relevant jurisprudence in privacy related matters. A central focus of this chapter is the relatively recently developed tort of misuse of personal information. An evaluation of the overall state of UK law is offered in chapter 4.

Finally, the conclusion identifies some privacy-related issues that are likely to arise in the near future.

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Related Links
European Parliament: European Parliamentary Research Service: Study, October 2018: The right to respect for private life: digital challenges, a comparative-law perspective - The United Kingdom

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