Privacy laws govern the extent to which an individual's personal information can be used, collected and stored by governments, public organizations, and private organizations. Types of information that are regulated by privacy laws include health, financial, online, communication, and personal amongst others.
The major document governing Canadian privacy laws is the Privacy Act of 1983. This regulates the ways in which federal government institutions may collect and use personal information. Furthermore, individuals are given the right to access internal government records within reason. The other law that protects the rights of the individual is the Personal Information Protection and Electronics Document Act (PIPEDA) which was enacted in 2000. PIPEDA governs the private sector and how they collect, use and disclose personal information. Since its enactment, the act has been extended to govern the retail sector, publishing companies, the service industry, manufacturers, and other provincially regulated organizations in addition to federally regulated organizations such as banks, airlines and telecommunication companies (1).
Similarly, the United States has privacy laws that protect individuals' personal information from both public and private institutions. The United States privacy laws revolve around protecting against the “invasion of privacy”. Invasion of privacy is separated into four categories: intrusion of solitude, public disclosure of private facts, false light, and appropriation. The basis of US privacy laws can be cited from the Fourth and First amendment of the US Constitution which allow for the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” and the right to free assembly respectively (2).
1) "Privacy Legislation in Canada." Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. N.p., 05 Dec. 2008. Web. 08 Oct. 2013.
2) Congressional Research Service. (1992). The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation. (Senate Document No. 103–6). (Johnny H. Killian and George A. Costello, Eds.). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office