Privacy In Digital Era: A Critique


Privacy is defined as the state of being alone or someone's right to keep their personal matter and relationship secret.[1] It is considered as one of the inalienable rights of humans. Privacy is protected and guaranteed by the Constitution of India, 1950, as one of the facets of Article 21 “Right to life and personal liberty”. Privacy is not only guaranteed by the Indian constitution but UDHR[2], ECHR[3] as well as International Covenant on civil and political rights,[4] as well as many international Treaties. Privacy has been regarded as an intrinsic part of human life by different regions and cultures. Privacy is a concept that can neither be clearly understood nor easily defined. It is perhaps the most difficult to define[5]. Every Country has a Statute for the Protection of Right to Privacy. In India, the Constitution[6] guarantees the Right to Privacy as one of the intrinsic parts of Right to life and Personal Liberty under Article 21.[7] The Right to Privacy has been considered an inalienable right of Humans. However Infringement of privacy can be claimed against the state, but it remains an inevitable question upon the statutes that, in the case of Privacy infringement over the internet, who should be held liable?

The systematic development in the information and communication technology has improvised the ability and accessibility of humans to communicate and share information with others, thus enhancing our freedom of expression and democratic nature of the country. From the generation of telephones and Newspaper to the present era of Internet Communication, there has been a drastic modification of technology. However, technological development has enabled and empowered us with greater possibilities and every individual tends to utilize this technology to its extent, some of these technological developments consist of E-Communication, E-File transfer, E-surveillance, and E-Commerce etc.

It is pertinent to know that individuals remain unaware of the threats while utilizing this medium of communication and socializing, that their privacy has been thwarted. During our regular visits over the internet we unintentionally or intentionally accept and click many advertisements, offers, pictures and therefore we accept the policies given by the websites, unaware that these policies can be binding contracts at times.[8] But during a normal pursuit of internet surfing, these policies are camouflaged under the terms & condition, which enable them to access the data present over the device, as well as keep a check over our working behavior and our interests.[9]

A frequent example of such a program is “Cookies”. Many times when we visit websites, they in return ask us to accept the cookie storing policy, which is an algorithm working on our search history and frequent visits to different platforms, as to configure their website for the product or services we are seeking. Cookie can be considered to be one of the most primitive types of programs over the internet which infringes our privacy and broadcasts our personal data to successive other sites for promotion and other advertisements. Another aspect of privacy infringement can be understood by means of internet connection of our devices.  Today almost any device connected to the internet can be accessed from any other device, be it a feature of a platform but it is nothing less than privacy infringement. We have already learned that the internet is decentralized, autonomous and a consortium of hosts, i.e. the data over the internet is not centrally stored or kept, and this data keeps allocating to different hosts for storage. The data is not only collected from our devices but from the government database, private database, as well as every such organization which uses the internet. It is pertinent to know that by virtue of certain software and programming one can easily access the data stored on any device.[10] One can visualize the data stored over the devices, Banking Details, Personal Data, or Confidential Data etc. every data gets compromised.


Presently there are no methods to protect our self from the privacy infringement, but one can take necessary and precautionary steps to safeguard his interest while accessing the internet. Some of these methods include, clearing cache and browsing history and the restricting browser and other software from accessing the storage of the device. Using double protection for social media accounts.

By- Afham Akhtar, 2nd-year student of Galgotia University and currently pursuing B.B.A LL.B


[1]Privacy, Cambridge Dictionary.

[2] Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

[3] European Convention on Human Rights.

[4] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

[5] James Michael, Privacy and Human Rights 1 (UNESCO 1994)

[6] Constitution of India, 1950.

[7] K.S Puttaswamy vs Union of India, 2017

[8] The Non-Contractual Privacy Policy, sources


[10] A comparative study of remote access technologies and implementation, IJSEA, Volume 4 Issue 4, 2015 ISSN - 2319-7560 sources

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