Home > Civil Rights & Law > Protecting Your Privacy

Protecting Your Privacy

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 21 Nov 2020 | 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]
We moved into our house during 2011, for the first few years life was idealic. We had a semi private patio & a relatively private place to sit just outside our back door , the gardens are sloped and at the higher levels there was a degree of overlooking , but the place outside our back door was our private area. Anyway , my wife was quite friendly with the people next door and would hand in presents on their Birthdays and Xmas.2 years ago they built an extension , they knew we valued our privacy and trusted them as we got on ok . Well the second storey if the extension has a window which overlooks our full back garden , when we seen the window going in , we contacted the neighbours , they both acknowledged that they knew the window totally overlooks us , their retort was that they had shown the plans to my wife when she was in their house handing in Xmas presents for their kids , she wouldn't know what a houseplan looks like and was more excited about the children . I spoke to the husband and he basically admitted that he had duped us . We are no longer speaking to the neighbours and every now and then the "window gets opened" and I can see the wife hiding out if view , the window now gets used as a weapon to annoy us especially when anyone comes around.The selfish act and the failure of the local council has totally ruined the feeling we have for our home , our one bit if garden privacy has been ruined.
Al68 - 31-Aug-20 @ 8:49 PM
I have new neighbours moved in last summer to a house that has virtually no garden, and it backs onto my garden.In the 9 years I have lived in my house not one complaint. In the last 4 months every week if it’s sunny and I have my lounge music on they tell me to turn it down.Today we had a disagreement.I would like to know if I’m in the right here.I have a swimming pool and worked hard for my houseit’s 22 out side and the music is chilled out summer vibes on 45 volume.Over the 6ft fence comes a head telling me to turn the music down at 3 pmI know it isn’t loud cause I can hear all the work and grass cutting going on around me. Is she invading my personal space I was just in my undies and now I feel weird and pissed at her.What can I do. !!!!
Amb - 22-Jul-20 @ 8:17 PM
my neighbour is building a playground on their garden. First they raised the garden in maybe 60 cm and its leaning againt my fence. 2nd they started building monkey bars and thats maybe 2meter high. So now I see their heads all the time and will definitly see the kido playing as they will have the perfect view into my kitchen.... can they do this?
cynha - 21-Jul-20 @ 12:14 PM
Council tenants next door have put a large play are a on legs 6ft hog also large tramplene taking away all the privacy in our garden and in kitchen and lounge
Pagey - 15-Jul-20 @ 9:53 PM
Council tenants next door have put a large play are a on legs 6ft hog also large tramplene taking away all the privacy in our garden
Pagey - 15-Jul-20 @ 9:47 PM
We have lived in our property for 10 yrs and have always had difficult neighbours. Recently we are using the back yard more and enjoying with intentions of having Horton installed. My concern is that the neighbours green house is over looking our boundary wall substantially and obviously we appear to see them face to face when we are in our yard. Am I in my rights to have them move their greenhouse elsewhere i their substantial garden thank you.
Sue - 29-May-20 @ 2:45 PM
Hi I came to live in my home in 2003 and to the left of my home the land was slightly incline because the ground is sloped.But in 2014 a new owner extended what was a single storey detached bungalow and extended so vastly to move the property forward by building brick pillows and then moving the roof forward and then building the front windows forward, all the owner raised the land level much higher so because my place is lower down when they park next door on their drive or walk down the side of the property they view down into my windows.So because I raised the concern about my light outlook and privacy so the more and more was built in fact, one person I suggest commented that it is like a village alongside my place, because many other buildings were built under pd or ld.Saying that more and more has been built, shelter erred along the otherwise to the boundary hedge where the owner has a fence but still strips the hedge along my garden. so in face front and back and rear window have been installed so many roof like velux window and a glass rear upper roof baclony, so all view over into my garden then at the front a large double detached garage with upper many upper velux type roof windows for domestic storey.Then because of the land change effects and my raising about my privacy so then on the othrside planning permission was give preliminary give within approx 5 weeks, for the new neighbours to extend at the rear over a very large extension with new upper floor extension then new front dormer upper window added at the front which were re sited and view down into my living room windows now, then also at the otherside when this neightbour dwelling was just about 600mm from the boundary on the otherside there I a two storey side extension, the other rear extension extended across the back of the dwelling and then a side double storey extension which also extend past the rear of the dwelling and past down the front so to change the original position of where the original front of the dwelling so to move the dwelling forward down the front drive with many upper long window and door back and front so where the neighbour had tried to get cover for privacy with plants over the years, so all now has these two neighbour who want their privacy but have views all over neighbour garden and into my home.How the front window were done was that the owner put the two upper front dormer windows as already being in situ when they were not and the LA passed it when it was not
jacqueline ryley - 2-Dec-19 @ 2:35 PM
My neighbours have a flat roof out the back which looks over to our back garden it is not safe to walk on but her children and herself are always up there nosing into our garden and the mother of the house thinks its appropriate in the summer to sunbathe naked up there for all to see.Also we have had problems with children and their friends shouting abuse at us for no reason we did call the police but they can only tell them to keep off the roof any advice on what we can do please
Sticky - 24-Oct-19 @ 1:26 PM
Our neighbour at the end of our garden has placed a trampoline and basketball net against the fence which we feel is an invasion of our privacy and an eyesore. We have asked if he’d move it and he replied “it’s tough s##t. What can we do about it?
garycb44 - 22-Sep-19 @ 2:46 PM
The background...guidance very much welcome and appreciated: - During the period of high winds in mid-March the boundary (wooden fence supported by concrete posts) between my property and my neighbours (end of garden, not side) - This meant the fence was not only beyond repair but the supporting concrete posts and one corner post need to be replaced entirely. - I spoke to the Council and Land Registry who said where a border was not designated (unlike one other border adjacent to my property which I am responsible for) the most common and sensible solution was for both parties to spilt costs and arrange the repairs. I spoke to RICS also who confirmed that this was the case. - We have tried several times to speak to the neighbours, including polite letters posted through their door.However, other than a brief voicemail left by them a while ago saying basically saying "you fix it, not our problem" they are not engaging in contact. We have sought quotes from reputable tradespeople and have included this information in correspondence to them, but they have chosen not to reply in any form. - All we are trying to do is reach a solution - ideally splitting the cost of repair given the boundary is not designated. However, they are unwilling to communicate do I have any legal routes to sort this, particularly whether they are infringing my right to privacy. - To note - Even if I were to proceed and try to get the boundary repaired, the tradesperson would still need access to their garden. Thanks in advance!
Fencing Mad - 15-Aug-19 @ 1:22 PM
Hi, My neighbour removed the fence in between two properties and intrude the privacy and security to our garden and entire kitchen and dining area, is there law of human right regarding privacy in place to help us to deal with it ? he's selling some stuffs so there're also many strangers(customers)come and go, we have daughter staying with us, how can we protect us? I appreciate you suggestions, thanks a lot.
Happy - 23-Jun-19 @ 1:28 AM
According to property deeds, the fence to the rear of my back garden is my property boundary. A neighbour contacted me regarding changing my fence (she also contacted another neighbour about replacing their boundary fence as she wanted all the fencing to be the same in her garden). Her garden runs perpendicular to mine. I phoned to discuss the matter the same day as receiving her note only to be toldby her that she had already purchased the fence. I wanted to discuss the height of the new fence as the 5ft fence that was already there was not high enough as she has a large trampoline placed at the end of her very long garden. The trampoline is directly in line with my garden and house and geographically, the trampoline is closer to my property than her own. That combined with two very noisy children who are constantly disturbing our privacy means that I am unable to sit and enjoy my space. As a good will gesture I made a financial contributed to the fence as it is my responsibility and was in some disrepair (I had only recently moved into the property and hadn't got round to replacing it at the time). Who's property is the fence, as the neighbour is adamant that it is hers?
AJ73 - 9-May-19 @ 10:15 PM
Hello there, wondering if you can help. I long term rent an end house of a street, (council owned). To the left of my property is a footpath then a 5ft grass verge, then the main road. The 1m fence is in a severe state of disrepair due to storms. There is also a busy bus stop situated on grass verge. My question is am I allowed to ask for a privacy fence as the path is 2ft higher than my sloping garden? I have 2 children. in 9years we have never been able to enjoy the garden due to lack of privacy. I dug out a level circular section last year for the children to finally have a usable pool, but the amount of unwanted stares into my garden from strangers and bus users put us off and I took the pool back down. Please help.
Auntie Nutty - 8-May-19 @ 9:35 AM
Hi We have lived in our house for 19 yrs. We have 6 ft fence up in our back garden, which is ours. And our neighbours have put down decking which comes up about 2ft up our fence, so now they can look straight into our kitchen window. So I would like to know where stand on our privacy please. Hope you can help
Juls - 1-May-19 @ 10:56 AM
Hi, moved into a new home recently and with the weather this weekend being great, two of the neighbours have erected a trampoline directly on either side of my bound fence. It means I cannot outside into my garden without being watched by two lots of kids. Furthermore and which really upsets me, I have no privacy in my own kitchen/ dining room as both trampolines peer directly into that room. When the kids are out playing I'm directly being watched in my own kitchen, I feel I'm in a gold fish bowl. What law can I use to uphold my right to privacy please. Surely if I was to put up a step ladder against my fence and sit and watch the neighbours in their own house, the police would be knocking on the door, therefore that same piece of law should in theory hold true for my circumstances? Please help
simon - 22-Apr-19 @ 9:58 AM
A new mixed retail and office building recently went up. We were told that the balconies looking into our flats would be shielded with trellis' to protect our privacy. Only a section was added that doesn't protect our privacy at all. We consistently were told that it would happen. Now the building is done and the reply about the trellis is that it's done and that's what was approved all along by us and the council. So we are on full display to the balconies. What can we do?
Cirisi - 4-Mar-19 @ 3:52 PM
Tasha - Your Question:
Hiya, our next door neighbour bought the property 2 years ago, before then the property was empty for 5 years. The fence between our property's is hardly there, as it is over 20 years old, it's dropping to bits and has many holes in, one which they tried to patch up with old pallets, but they can clearly see into our garden and us them. We can't have a pet as even a very large dog could easily get under the fence or through the holes onto there property. The only private part of our garden is near to our back door/patio doors, now the neighbours tenant has made a very large children's climbing frame right on top of the fence near to our back door, the tenant was up it today painting it and kept looking into our middle room. Can we force the landlord to replace the fence and move the climbing frame? We don't talk to the tenant as he is ignorant and his son verbally abused my disabled father, just because he said that we parked the car too close to his brother's, yet there was miles of room in between them. I am also partially disabled too and have mental health difficulties. Please help, as it is all getting to me

Our Response:
Whose fence is it? Is it joint responsibility? There is no obligation on a property owner to erect/keep a fence unless it's stated in the deeds. You could erect a fence of your own on your side of the boundary?
CivilRightsMovement - 29-Aug-18 @ 11:20 AM
Hiya, our next door neighbour bought the property 2 years ago, before then the property was empty for 5 years. The fence between our property's is hardly there, as it is over 20 years old, it's dropping to bits and has many holes in, one which they tried to patch up with old pallets, but they can clearly see into our garden and us them. We can't have a pet as even a very large dog could easily get under the fence or through the holes onto there property. The only private part of our garden is near to our back door/patio doors,now the neighbours tenant has made a very large children's climbing frame right on top of the fence near to our back door, the tenant was up it today painting it and kept looking into our middle room. Can we force the landlord to replace the fence and move the climbing frame? We don't talk to the tenant as he is ignorant and his son verbally abused my disabled father, just because he said that we parked the car too close to his brother's,yet there was miles of room in between them. I am also partially disabled too and have mental health difficulties . Please help, as it is all getting to me
Tasha - 26-Aug-18 @ 9:51 PM
Hiya, our next door neighbour bought the property 2 years ago, before then the property was empty for 5 years. The fence between our property's is hardly there, as it is over 20 years old, it's dropping to bits and has many holes in, one which they tried to patch up with old pallets, but they can clearly see into our garden and us them. We can't have a pet as even a very large dog could easily get under the fence or through the holes onto there property. The only private part of our garden is near to our back door/patio doors,now the neighbours tenant has made a very large children's climbing frame right on top of the fence near to our back door, the tenant was up it today painting it and kept looking into our middle room. Can we force the landlord to replace the fence and move the climbing frame? We don't talk to the tenant as he is ignorant and his son verbally abused my disabled father, just because he said that we parked the car too close to his brother's,yet there was miles of room in between them. I am also partially disabled too and have mental health difficulties . Please help, as it is all getting to me
Tasha - 24-Aug-18 @ 4:37 PM
Hiya, our next door neighbour bought the property 2 years ago, before then the property was empty for 5 years. The fence between our property's is hardly there, as it is over 20 years old, it's dropping to bits and has many holes in, one which they tried to patch up with old pallets, but they can clearly see into our garden and us them. We can't have a pet as even a very large dog could easily get under the fence or through the holes onto there property. The only private part of our garden is near to our back door/patio doors,now the neighbours tenant has made a very large children's climbing frame right on top of the fence near to our back door, the tenant was up it today painting it and kept looking into our middle room. Can we force the landlord to replace the fence and move the climbing frame? We don't talk to the tenant as he is ignorant and his son verbally abused my disabled father, just because he said that we parked the car too close to his brother's,yet there was miles of room in between them. I am also partially disabled too and have mental health difficulties . Please help, as it is all getting to me
Tasha - 22-Aug-18 @ 10:42 PM
Hiya, our next door neighbour bought the property 2 years ago, before then the property was empty for 5 years. The fence between our property's is hardly there, as it is over 20 years old, it's dropping to bits and has many holes in, one which they tried to patch up with old pallets, but they can clearly see into our garden and us them. We can't have a pet as even a very large dog could easily get under the fence or through the holes onto there property. The only private part of our garden is near to our back door/patio doors,now the neighbours tenant has made a very large children's climbing frame right on top of the fence near to our back door, the tenant was up it today painting it and kept looking into our middle room. Can we force the landlord to replace the fence and move the climbing frame? We don't talk to the tenant as he is ignorant and his son verbally abused my disabled father, just because he said that we parked the car too close to his brother's,yet there was miles of room in between them. I am also partially disabled too and have mental health difficulties . Please help, as it is all getting to me
Tasha - 21-Aug-18 @ 10:55 PM
Hi was wondering out anyone can help. I'm in a rental property and surrounding my house is a church to the side and a secondary school to the rear of the property, my landlord has decided to take down the rear garden wall which is easily 8 ft tall and replacing it with a 4ft wall, they've not even contacted me regarding this. I spoke to the building firm and they said as I don't own the building there's nothing I can do. I'm scared and concerned as the secondary school can see straight onto my garden as well as everyone else as it's next to a town centre, where do i stand regarding the privacy of the home and my family
Fletcheee134 - 15-Aug-18 @ 9:58 PM
Anna - Your Question:
We have a 6 acre lake in grounds. We only own a small part of the lake and a private fishing club own the rest. We have 400ft of lake bank on our property which faces our house and looks onto our main living area and bedroom windows. Anglers use mainly just the 2 banks nearest our home (better fishing location as fish gather near our floating bird nesting boxes) overlooking our garden and house and when they might fish they are, inadvertently I’m sure, shining powerful torches onto our land and property through the night. This is intimidating and we are never sure if it is an angler or intruder on our land. Do we have any right to raise this with the angling club in hope that night fishing is not permitted on the 2 banks backing on to our property, and to ask that night fisherman use the other banks on the 7 acres available?

Our Response:
Yes, do raise this with the anglers club. As your home is so near to the place where the fishing is taken place this could be regarded as a nuisance. If they're not will to do anything about it, contact environmental health who might be able to take action.
CivilRightsMovement - 13-Aug-18 @ 11:18 AM
We have a 6 acre lake in grounds. We only own a small part of the lake and a privatefishing club own the rest. We have 400ft of lake bank on our property which faces our house and looks onto our main living area and bedroom windows. Anglers use mainly just the 2 banks nearest our home (better fishing location as fish gather near our floating bird nesting boxes)overlooking our garden and house and when they might fish they are, inadvertently I’m sure, shining powerful torches onto our land and property through the night. This is intimidating and we are never sure if it is an angler or intruder on our land. Do we have any right to raise this with the angling club in hope that night fishing is not permitted on the 2 banks backing on to our property, and to ask that night fishermanuse the other banks on the 7 acres available?
Anna - 11-Aug-18 @ 11:57 AM
JH - Your Question:
My neighbours have a trampoline which is right next to the fence on the side that is our boundary. The children look into our Garden and makes a loud banging which can be heard from inside. Does this affect any law? And if so what could be do to get them to move it

Our Response:
It's unlikely that environmental health would take action because of this, but you may be able to civil action via the courts for this. Talk to environmental health first to see what they advise.
CivilRightsMovement - 6-Aug-18 @ 3:32 PM
My neighbours have a trampoline which is right next to the fence on the side that is our boundary. The children look into our Garden and makes a loud banging which can be heard from inside. Does this affect any law? And if so what could be do to get them to move it
JH - 4-Aug-18 @ 11:20 PM
I recently purchased a shared ownership flat. All the flats in the building have a terrace/balcony. Our terrace is below the communal terrace, so there are constantly people standing at the fence which looks over our property, making lots of noise as they are usually drinking alcohol. We have absolutely no visual privacy whatsoever :-( The worst incident was a few weekends ago when someone urinated from the communal terrace onto our patio! We are wondering whether we have any rights to force the Housing Association who manage the building to put a barrier in place to deter people from standing over our terrace and as a result cause issues of nuisance, worst case scenario aggressive behaviour? I did contact them about this but they said a barrier would only be put in place if all residents agreed with a fee being added to everyone's service charge... Needless to say, no-one will agree! And we wonder why residents should have to pay for this work when this is a design flaw, which they are responsible for! We'd be willing to split the costs with HO so I'm thinking of getting in touch with them again with a few clauses from our lease re: privacy. Any advice you could impart would be much appreciated. With many thanks DH
DH - 14-Jul-18 @ 1:09 PM
We live in a semi detached house with small front garden andpath and parking, our neighbours have this area paved and has decided to park at an angle facing our front lounge, she and passenger can see us sat on our sofa thus resulting in us keeping our blinds closed ..I believe the garden area was never meant to be used as parking (privacy garden)is there anything I can do to resolve this. ( we don't speak to the neighbours)
Harvey - 13-Jul-18 @ 4:15 PM
Hi can anyone help..i privately rent my home and am having problems with my neighbour on my left..4 times now I have caught him looking over our fence which is 6ft tall, he stands on something to do this, is he allowed? Also he has a brick 1 story outbuilding at the side of our fence which he uses for his business and his window is facing our bedroom window so he can see straight in, is this an invasion of our privacyand is there anything I can do about it?
LHeck - 12-Jul-18 @ 11:14 PM
The neighbour whose hedge runs along the bottom of our garden has been talking, for some years, about reducing the hedge by about a foot, this was absolutely fine with us.We came home on Saturday to find that he has had the hedge cut down from approximatley 5' 6" to 3'.... we were devastated!!! We have completely lost all privacy, as well as the feeling of security as the rest of our property is completely enclosed. I also have another reason for needing this privacy, I suffer with psoriasis and can be absolutely covered, therefore I really value my privacy and also the sun helps my condition, as the situation stands I will not even go into the garden despite all this wonderful weather which could help my condition. Is there anything we can do about it?
soosoo - 6-Jul-18 @ 7:14 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
  • Donna
    Re: Acting Against Discrimination
    I would like to seek advice on a racial hate crimes from the police. The police assault me since the assault they have lied on…
    23 November 2020
  • MarkyTM
    Re: Rights If Your Child is Arrested
    My son is 17, 18 in early December Last year I had the police call a round a total of 10 times (assault, criminal damage,…
    20 November 2020
  • Johnny
    Re: The Police and Your Civil Rights
    Under English common law rights. I have been told that I'm should give my details to the police. Just looking at the moment…
    17 November 2020
  • Non
    Re: Challenging the Police
    I witnessed and reported the murder of my English friend. The GMP have concluded a murder case without interviewing the complainant or the…
    3 November 2020
  • Irina
    Re: Staging a Legal Peaceful Protest
    Can I close the M1 with group of people to protest against genocide that is happening right now ?
    16 October 2020
  • Tinah
    Re: Rights If Your Child is Arrested
    Hi my 16 year old son was stopped by one police officer on his motorbike for looking suspicious! He smelt cannabis and…
    5 October 2020
  • Liz
    Re: The Police and Your Civil Rights
    Call 999 due to an altercation with ex husband and in-law , they came out starting commenting on the house my son and…
    3 October 2020
  • JohnDoe
    Re: Civil Rights in the Uk
    We are all being being watched by the government and big companies especially over the internet. Those who don't believe in the big…
    28 September 2020
  • Al68
    Re: Protecting Your Privacy
    We moved into our house during 2011, for the first few years life was idealic. We had a semi private patio & a relatively private place…
    31 August 2020
  • Traditionalist
    Re: Staging a Legal Peaceful Protest
    Sod this legal right to protest disrupting the normal life and will of the majority.
    28 August 2020