Home > Civil Rights & Law > Protecting Your Privacy

Protecting Your Privacy

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 4 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Privacy Rights Protection Public

Everyone is entitled to a degree of privacy in their lives and protecting your privacy is a human and civil right. Although not all countries have privacy laws most will, and the laws will include rights prohibiting invasion of privacy in the home and communications.

The Right to Privacy

The right to privacy is perhaps one of the most difficult rights to actually define. We often hear of celebrities talking about the invasion of their privacy by the media and yet privacy laws are set in place to offer protection. The Human Rights Act 1998 guarantees protection of privacy for all in Britain as set out in the European Convention on human rights. However, in the UK there is no actual legislation that recognises rights of privacy.

Defining Privacy

Privacy can be broken down into four individual but linked parts:

  • Privacy of Information, also known as data protection and includes personal and government records
  • Communications, this covers the security of issues such as telephone calls, email and postal documents
  • Privacy of territory including the working environment, the home and public spaces
  • Privacy of the body including genetic and drug testing and other such invasive searches or trespasses

The Need for Privacy

Without the governing rules on privacy it would be a lot easier for individuals to gain information on others. It would also be a lot harder for prosecutions against individuals that invade the privacy of others. Data protection is set in place in order that problems such as identity theft do not happen, although identity theft can and often does happen. The right to privacy will sometimes conflict with the freedom of information rules and confusion can occur over exactly where the boundaries are set.

Protecting Your Privacy

With identity theft becoming an increasing threat it is important to take steps towards protecting your own personal information. The Internet has made obtaining personal information a lot easier and bank account theft via the Internet is rife. Once criminals have hold of certain personal information they can open bank accounts, obtain state benefits and passports and even apply for jobs under a stolen identity. Criminals have even been known to search refuse bins to gain paper documentation giving personal details that can be used for fraudulent purposes.

Steps to Protect Information

There are a number of simple steps that can be taken to stop personal information ending up in the wrong hands. These steps will include shredding all personal documents such as bank account and credit card statements. Always check bank statements for any transactions that look suspicious. Implementing good virus scanners on home computers and frequently change account passwords. Always redirect mail and inform banks as soon as you move to a new house. Never use public computers to access confidential information.

Privacy Exemptions and the Home

Of course there are certain exemptions to privacy rights. There are a number of complex rules that govern the type of officials that can and cannot enter a person’s home. The police can enter a person’s home but only if they have obtained a search warrant. Similarly, gas and electricity companies can enter a home without permission if they have a court warrant. Court appointed bailiffs can enter the home if permission is granted but they are rarely allowed to break in as is commonly assumed.

Although the general public may find a celebrity’s lack of privacy slightly ironic the right to privacy is an important human right. Breaching a person’s privacy is harassment and there can be legal consequences for those that do so. Identity theft is a particularly serious crime and those found breaking the law can face serious fines and jail sentences.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
My neighbours are building a raised seating area at the back of their garden with a small dividing wall brteeen the area and rest of garden but due to the current height of.the garden and proposed height of.the new seeting area we will have no privacy as the seating area would look directly into our patio doorsat the rear of our house, and our patio at the back of our house.We spoke to our housing association about this and they have told us that it would be upto the council planning departmet to state if it would be a breach of.our privicy during the process of them applying for planning permition which they have not done. We was wondering if we can take any action against this
Stevo - 4-May-18 @ 6:57 PM
Me and my husband live in a stone house that's been converted to two flats that's owned by the council. We live upstairs and our garden is the front. The neighbour lives downstairs and her garden is to the back. The neighbours Windows are in my garden. My upstairs Windows face her garden. The garden is communal, but it's all fenced off. She can't walk into my garden like I can't walk into her hers. We also have our own entrances. She's bought the inside space of the flat but the council still own the land. My problem is which is serious we have no privacy. She is a very nosey neighbour and brings her family round when we are havingfriends round and socialising in the garden like barbequing or just relaxing in the garden. She as curtains up but she pulls them back to nosey. I have two autoimmune diseases RA and Lupus. I need to be able to sit out to boost my vitamin D levels. I would like to know if there's anything we can do bout the privacy. The two Windows that are in my garden are the bedroom and living room.
JoJo - 14-Mar-18 @ 8:44 PM
Allegaly the police told my ex partner to film me but he has been filming from my own front garden of wich i have not given him permission nor gave him permission to enter he has filmed me through my window and i would like to know where i stand on this ?
Trees - 6-Mar-18 @ 5:00 PM
Are there any laws on having a large trampoline in a garden?Last summer my neighbours placed a large trampoline (tad taller than my conservatory) at the top of the garden right next to the fence which means I have no privacy in my small garden.Besides the constant noise and screaming and bouncing the ball off my conservatory I cannot sit outside in the garden any more nor even manage a quick weeding session at the bottom of the garden as the children always choose to face my way and stare into my garden when they are in the trampoline, screaming my name but worst of all screaming the name of my little dog and taunting her all the time.It really spoiled my summer last year surely I have a right to some privacy in my own garden? I would be grateful for any advice.thank you.
smp - 1-Mar-18 @ 9:52 PM
Redrowtakethe**** - Your Question:
We brought a Redrow home in 2016. Since purchase they have mis sold to as many as 2O households through mis advertising and sales consultants providing incorrect information. The lastest development is a road owned by the “management estate company” which I’m almost 99% sure we own a share as freeholders was supposed to be a gated access road to service utilities. This is now being pedestrianised. I have a 2 meter wall surrounding my plot. However, the service road is 9 ft higher than my garden and house level. Anyone standing on the road which is to be pedestrianised will be at knee height and can look straight into my garden and property. We are very security conscious because of our line of work and would not have purchased this property had we known it’s intended use. Do we have any privacy rights? Rights as a shareholder of the land to change use? Would planning offers be able to get involved? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

Our Response:
Your deeds will tell you whether you own a share in the road and whether you have any corresponding rights and responsibilities. You could try talking to your plannign department about the possibility of extending the wall height of your rear garden.
CivilRightsMovement - 24-Jan-18 @ 3:08 PM
We brought a Redrow home in 2016.Since purchase they have mis sold to as many as 2O households through mis advertising and sales consultants providing incorrect information.The lastest development is a road owned by the “management estate company” which I’m almost 99% sure we own a share as freeholders was supposed to be a gated access road to service utilities.This is now being pedestrianised.I have a 2 meter wall surrounding my plot.However, the service road is 9 ft higher than my garden and house level.Anyone standing on the road which is to be pedestrianised will be at knee height and can look straight into my garden and property.We are very security conscious because of our line of work and would not have purchased this property had we known it’s intended use.Do we have any privacy rights? Rights as a shareholder of the land to change use?Would planning offers be able to get involved?Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
Redrowtakethe**** - 23-Jan-18 @ 11:10 PM
The building next to my home has been granted permission to change to a restaurant. This is abut to my land and 4 large restaurant windows look directly into my family bathroom. The planning department say this is not an invasion of privacy?
Kirsti Thomson - 19-Jan-18 @ 5:05 PM
R4VING - Your Question:
Hello, my friend has recently purchased a property, but Their next door neighbours have a garage now that garage has windows on the side of it that look into my friends garden, now surely this isn’t legal ? What should they do? Isn’t this invading of privacy or something? Sorry if my wording isn’t correct but hopefully you get my point, thank you

Our Response:
This depends on which area of the garden is overlooked e.g whether it is close to the house/where the neighbour would be sitting out etc. Also the fact that the view is from a garage rather than from a main/regularly used room in the house could make difference. Tell your friend to ask the planning department. If it was a really a concern, it would have been useful to have addressed this before purchasing the property.
CivilRightsMovement - 12-Jan-18 @ 2:59 PM
Hello, my friend has recently purchased a property, but Their next door neighbours have a garage now that garage has windows on the side of it that look into my friends garden, now surely this isn’t legal ? What should they do? Isn’t this invading of privacy or something?. Sorry if my wording isn’t correct but hopefully you get my point, thank you
R4VING - 10-Jan-18 @ 7:47 PM
Our new neighbours bought a large trampoline and have positioned it in their front garden, directly opposite our lounge window, which means we have lost all privacy and if they bounce high enough, they would also be able to see into the bedroom window. The noise levels are such that when the trampoline is in use we hear it over the sound of the TV. They have a walled back garden and if the trampoline was placed there, it would remove all these problems.
kevinandlyn - 1-Jan-18 @ 6:50 PM
hullensian - Your Question:
I have unpleasant neighbours who place their sunloungers about 3 feet away from our common boundary and gaze into my garden (and sometimes directly towards my kitchen window) every day for about six months of the year from 10.30am to teatime. I find this intimidating. I have some deciduous trees and shrubs - none of them on the boundary - and he keeps complaining that they are cutting down the amount of sunlight they get and I should cut them down. The shrubs provide the only little bit of privacy I have. He recently asked me if I thought if fair that they had to sweep up leaves twice a week. I was tempted to ask why he thinks they are called "leaves" but he has a filthy temper. Last year he shouted at me that he would come over the wall (his wall) and cut down the trees himself (he denies this now).When I suggested he moved his sunloungers to the other side of the garden he retorted that he would have to move his pots (their garden consists of twee ornaments, children's windmills and a few plants in pots.think the children's section of a municipal cemetery.I am quite confident that I am not breaking the law.I know what I must do - 6ft fence erected on my side of the boundary - but I fear reprisals. Think I just need the sympathy vote really. Thanks for reading.

Our Response:
Planting trees and shrubs in your garden is entirely up to you, your neighbour can't do anything about this apart from cut back any branches that overhang their side of the boundary. If you have several evergreen trees in a row...that are extremely high, your neighbour might have cause to complain under high hedges legislation but it doesn't sound like that is the case.
CivilRightsMovement - 6-Dec-17 @ 3:48 PM
I have unpleasant neighbours who place their sunloungers about 3 feet away from our common boundary and gaze into my garden (and sometimes directly towards my kitchen window) every day for about six months of the year from 10.30am to teatime.I find this intimidating.I have some deciduous trees and shrubs - none of them on the boundary - and he keeps complaining that they are cutting down the amount of sunlight they get and I should cut them down. The shrubs provide the only little bit of privacy I have.He recently asked me if I thought if fair that they had to sweep up leaves twice a week.I was tempted to ask why he thinks they are called "leaves" but he has a filthy temper. Last year he shouted at me that he would come over the wall (his wall) and cut down the trees himself (he denies this now). When I suggested he moved his sunloungers to the other side of the garden he retorted that he would have to move his pots (their garden consists of twee ornaments, children's windmills and a few plants in pots...think the children's section of a municipal cemetery. I am quite confident that I am not breaking the law. I know what I must do - 6ft fence erected on my side of the boundary - but I fear reprisals.Think I just need the sympathy vote really.Thanks for reading.
hullensian - 30-Nov-17 @ 6:04 PM
Tubd - Your Question:
We live in Housing Association and have a power crazy estate manager. We now have cameras put up covering all areas of our communal garden literally everything we do in the garden is seen on camera is this an infringement of privacy?

Our Response:
If you feel the cameras are unnecessary and an invasion of your privacy, first make a complaint to the Housing Association via their complaints procedure. If that doesn't resolve things, you should seek advice from the Information Commissioner's office.
CivilRightsMovement - 27-Nov-17 @ 3:38 PM
We live in Housing Association and have a power crazy estate manager. We now have cameras put up covering all areas of our communal garden literally everything we do in the garden is seen on camera is this an infringement of privacy?
Tubd - 24-Nov-17 @ 1:08 PM
We are in the middle of building works to which our very difficult neighbour objected. Since the work has started she has: - harassed the builders through the hedge (the builders want to go to the police but so far we have asked them not to as would prefer to avoid the hassle) - come onto our property with a pair of scissors and a spray bottle hidden up her sleeve which she used to cut and spray some plants (we have no idea why or what was in the bottle) - come onto our property and taken pictures including a picture of the inside by holding her phone up to the window - regularly bad mouths us and our builders saying but very nasty things We have cameras up as we have moved out whilst work is being done and have most of the above on tape but have so far avoided going to the authorities as he had hoped she would just get bored. Any thoughts on whether we have grounds for prosecution (or at least grounds for prosecution) so it's a fair threat to make?
Jennifer - 22-Aug-17 @ 9:55 PM
ShellyHG- Your Question:
We are having problems with our neighbor taking photographs of our back garden & front of the house when we are parking our car, he has made several complaints to the council because we feed wild birds. Our garden is enclosed by a 6ft wall all the way round, but he is taking photographs from his the upstairs window. My concern is for our privacy & my young grandson who is here most day.

Our Response:
If you are concerned, mention it to your local PCSO or you could consider a private legal action.
CivilRightsMovement - 30-Jun-17 @ 12:04 PM
We are having problems with our neighbor taking photographs of our back garden & front of the house when we are parking our car, he has made several complaints to the council because we feed wild birds. Our garden is enclosed by a 6ft wall all the way round, but he is taking photographs from his the upstairs window. My concern is for our privacy & my young grandson who is here most day.
ShellyHG - 29-Jun-17 @ 12:38 PM
Bicquette - Your Question:
We caught our neighbours twice taking picture of private letters left on our front seat in the car on our drive. We have him on our cctv camera doing so. What can we do to stop him.

Our Response:
Firstly - don't leave private letters open on the seat of your car. Secondly report it to the local police (non-emergency number 101)
CivilRightsMovement - 16-Jun-17 @ 11:32 AM
We caught our neighbours twice taking picture of private letters left on our front seat in the car on our drive. We have him on our cctv camera doing so. What can we do to stop him.
Bicquette - 13-Jun-17 @ 7:37 PM
Tash- Your Question:
I've had problems with my neighbour since he moved in. He stunk my house out with weed, not sure if he was growing it or smoking lots of it but my son was unable to sleep in his bedroom for about 2 weeks. Police were informed. He has also been aggressive and intimidating towards me and friends so he's been issued with a PIN. Now he's got a chin up bar contraption in his garden that when extended is over 7ft high. He then spends ages working out on it and looking into my garden and he keeps looking round and staring at me through my French doors and into my lounge now making me feel uncomfortable in my own home. It's his way of making me feel intimidated. He like to have a go at women!!! The only thing I can think off is to put up some trellis but I'm in rented property and not sure who 'owns' tgat part of the fence.

Our Response:
You could use a free standing trellis and also try some fast growing plants. Speak to your landlord, they should be able to help you with this.
CivilRightsMovement - 19-Apr-17 @ 10:04 AM
I've had problems with my neighbour since he moved in. He stunk my house out with weed, not sure if he was growing it or smoking lots of it but my son was unable to sleep in his bedroom for about 2 weeks. Police were informed. He has also been aggressive and intimidating towards me and friends so he's been issued with a PIN. Now he's got a chin up bar contraption in his garden that when extended is over 7ft high. He then spends ages working out on it and looking into my garden and he keeps looking round and staring at me through my French doors and into my lounge now making me feel uncomfortable in my own home. It's his way of making me feel intimidated. He like to have a go at women!!! The only thing I can think off is to put up some trellis but I'm in rented property and not sure who 'owns' tgat part of the fence.
Tash - 16-Apr-17 @ 12:42 PM
My ex-husband has obtained copies of my texts with my actual partner and disclosed them to his solicitor. His solicitor claims that my ex is entitled to as my phone contract was in his name. Is there anything I can do about this? I feel my privacy completely violated.
oriordan - 16-Mar-17 @ 6:58 PM
I am involved in litigation with a national company in relation to the supply and fitting of a conservatory. I have discovered that they have employed a private detective to look for information about me, with a view to discrediting me. The information they have obtained is not in the public domain and includes details of my previous partners and my credit history from equifax. I believe that they have also accessed my email account. I feel violated and uncomfortable by this intrusive behaviour and wish to know if it's unlawful.
Shattered - 2-Feb-17 @ 8:31 AM
Hi there, Someone recorded me and my partner doing exercises on the gym and inserted on Facebook... now this video is "flying" through the Internet, poeple are making fun of us and writing some nasty comments. We know who did this. Can we do something to punish this guy for this?
Tina90 - 20-Jan-17 @ 9:11 AM
For the past 2 years I have been gang starked I use to chill with so called friends I thought were o.kI live in a block of flats I am constantly getting electronic harassmentthe flat above me and below me have this box they have to plug in it detects me also when I'm consous and subconscious I.e sleeping or not it gives me bad head aches I can't sleep at night also there doing v2k I've been to the police station a few times but was turned away receptionist saying your not wanted for nothing the boxes bleep every time I go in to a day dream. Also my mail was getting posted to a flat above were a man would sneek down and post it mid day the nock as his doing it and run back up stairs I was and still am under constant servaliance. I know the equipment thay use from radiation to RF signals I have high readings of radiation as evidence and images / videos covert harrasment u.k told me they do this if your a drug dealer or a pedometer which I am not in sat with so called mates who smoked wacky surly this is illegal have they a court order dci investigators. I've been told by the flat on top of me she tells her boyfriend and he tells his friends and word comes back to me so just to piss of the council/vsk/gang stickers I do and think of stupid stuff. I'm a father to my son i work part time wat can I do please help. I can't call 999 only 101 for a officer to come take a statement wat will that do.
Nwa - 18-Jan-17 @ 4:37 AM
Dee - Your Question:
I split from my ex end of July 2016 he's not left me alone finding ways to contact me sending flowers gifts to my house and work also sending letters , I ended up asking him over twice to talk but got nowhere , I was advised by the police to come off social media but he is now messaging other people I don't know telling them about my past when I was 15 telling them how I was raped and molested, can the police do anything about this ?

Our Response:
Yes tell the police about it again - "come off social media" seems to be the standard response to someone reporting being stalked or harassed online. Why should you come off social media because of someone else'e irrational behaviour? They should already have issued your ex with a PIN (Police information notice) and should now be taking further steps to monitor his behaviour. If you can...speak to a solicitor and ask if they can send a warning letterwith a view to court action if it doesn't stop.
CivilRightsMovement - 14-Dec-16 @ 11:35 AM
I split from my ex end of July 2016 he's not left me alone finding ways to contact me sending flowers gifts to my house and work also sending letters , i ended up asking him over twice to talk but got nowhere , I was advised by the police to come off social media but he is now messaging other people I don't know telling them about my past when I was 15 telling them how I was raped and molested, can the police do anything about this ?
Dee - 13-Dec-16 @ 11:56 AM
Vicp45 - Your Question:
A work colleague filmed my sister amd shared the video to management amd another staff member without my sisters consent. Is this legal in the UK?

Our Response:
Yes this sounds like it is an invasion of privacy, she should raise a formal complaint.
CivilRightsMovement - 13-Dec-16 @ 11:49 AM
A work colleague filmed my sister amd shared the video to management amd another staff member without my sisters consent.Is this legal in the UK?
Vicp45 - 11-Dec-16 @ 6:36 PM
my work mate use my phone and take a photos of another work mate, what kind of offence is this under privacy law
jb - 11-Dec-16 @ 5:59 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the CivilRightsMovement website. Please read our Disclaimer.