Assess the the right of privacy for American citizens.

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The right of privacy for American citizens vis-a-vis their government is fairly high in many ways, but it has eroded somewhat since 9/11.  There are, of course, different aspects of our right to privacy, for example, our right to privacy to communication, our right to privacy within our homes, and our right to reproductive privacy.

Our right to privacy in communication has eroded since the advent of the Patriot Act, which made it easier for government to eavesdrop on our communications with one another.  Whether our national security outweighs our right to privacy is an ongoing debate.

Our right to privacy within our homes remains intact, since we are protected against unreasonable search and seizure. However, our rights to privacy in our own bodies have eroded because of DNA, the technology that makes it possible to record our retinal images, and so on.  Most offensive to many people is the notion that their nude bodies may be observed on X-ray equipments at airports now, with the alternative being patted down.

Our reproductive privacy has been significantly hampered in recent years, with some states adding layer upon layer of requirements before getting an abortion.  This is a serious erosion of reproductive rights.

I should also add that there are some privacy rights in the workplace, but not very many.  Bear in mind that there are no Constitutional guarantees of privacy in employment.