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Eric King's picture

Privacy International has compiled data on the privacy provisions in national constitutions around the world, including which countries have constitutional protections, whether they come from international agreements, what aspects of privacy are actually protected and when those protections were enacted. We are pleased to make this information available under a Creative Commons license for organizations, researchers, students and the community at large to use to support their work (and hopefully contribute to a greater understanding of privacy rights).

The categories

Though the right to privacy exists in several international instruments, the most effective privacy protections come in the form of constitutional articles. Varying aspects of the right to privacy are protected in different ways by different countries. Broad categories include:

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Dr Gus Hosein's picture

In 1994, in an attempt to discover the problems caused by ID cards, Privacy International compiled a survey containing reports from correspondents in forty countries. Amongst the gravest of problems reported to Privacy International was the over zealous use or misuse of ID cards by police - even where the cards were supposed to be voluntary. One respondent wrote:

On one occasion I was stopped in Switzerland when walking at night near Lake Geneva. I was living in Switzerland at the time and had a Swiss foreigner's ID card. The police were wondering why I should want to walk at night to look at the Chateau de Chillon. Really suspicious I suppose, to walk at night on the banks of the lake to look at an illuminated chateau (I am white and dress conservatively). I had to wait for 20 minutes whilst they radioed my ID number to their central computer to check on its validity."

Correspondents in most countries reported that police had powers to demand the ID card. A correspondent in Greece reported:

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