Rutgers Journal of Law and Public Policy

Introduction: Creating Legitimate Digital Privacy Rights for Internet Users


By Daniel B. Garrie

Legitimate Digital Privacy RightsPrivacy has become a complex legal issue as technological advancements have created a multitude of ways, both physical and digital, that one’s privacy rights can be violated. Although the Supreme Court has declined to recognize a constitutional right to digital privacy, the increasing pervasiveness of digital privacy intrusions may encourage the Court to find that a right to digital privacy exists within the penumbra of rights established by the Constitution. The lack of protection for digital privacy rights, whether oral or written, presents a wide range of novel challenges to our existing legal and social structures. This “privacy issue” of the Rutgers Journal of Law & Urban Policy explores the dichotomy in treatment between physical and digital privacy rights through several different articles, each of which provide unique perspectives on physical and digital privacy rights.

The Internet has revolutionized the way people interact, communicate and work. While the Internet has greatly increased our ability to communicate, it has also created numerous threats to the privacy of its users. Nowadays the exploitation of a person’s digital information, including bank account numbers, credit card numbers and social security numbers, can lead to privacy invasions that are more invasive than physical privacy violations. The Internet’s main culprits are data mining technologies that intercept and record information input by end-users. These technologies have appeared in numerous forms, including cookies, adware and spyware. The most insidious culprit is spyware, which has led to violations of individuals’ digital privacy rights (e.g., unauthorized reading of one’s personal e-mails), identity theft, credit card and bank account theft, and loss of proprietary business information.

To read the full article, go to the Rutgers Journal of Law and Public Policy

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