Zdeněk Kühn
Author’s affiliation: Faculty of Law, Charles University in Prague

Transformation of the concept of privacy at the outset of the third millennium

Jurisprudence 2/2017 Section: Articles Page: 3-11

Keywords: Internet, privacy, Google, CCTV systems

Abstract: The Internet has substantially changed the way we conceive human conduct; it has fundamentally altered our chance to control the spreading of information and the impact of human behaviour in the course of time. The paper analyzes the transforming modes of privacy invasion over centuries. It explains the transformation of invasion of privacy in the Internet era and the transformation of the concept of privacy itself. Next, it attempts to show that the protection of privacy by public law against giant providers of telecommunication and data services and corporations, such as Google and Facebook, is relevant. Efficient regulation should be exercised by the law of the European Union because autonomous domestic regulations would endanger the free movement of services across the EU; moreover, separate national regulation in fighting global giants like Google could hardly be successful. On the other hand, not much sense can be seen in public law or even European regulation of activities that are local by nature, such as CCTV systems in private buildings, which are to serve for the protection of property by the CCTV system operators. The author explains that regulation under public law becomes toothless in such cases, sanctioning becomes selective and essentially random. In addition, such regulation has a potential to further alienate the law from its ordinary recipients.