The right to privacy is central to human dignity. One cannot talk of human dignity without talking of the right to privacy.
That is why searches in criminal law must be warranted; that is why any evidence gathered on an unwarranted search is inadmissible before a competent court of law.
It, – the right to privacy reinforces the rights of association, expression and information.
Martin Scheinin in his Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, 2009, A/HRC/17/34 says that, “The right to privacy embodies the presumption that individuals should have an area of autonomous development, interaction and liberty, a “private sphere” with or without interaction with others, free from arbitrary State intervention and from excessive unsolicited individuals”.
Any activities, whether by the government or by other persons which interfere with the enjoyment of the right to privacy, such as surveillance and censorship, hacking, trade of private information like phone numbers and emails, among others can only be justified when they have been prescribed and sanctioned by law. Such sanction should have a legitimate aim, one that is proportionate to the purpose for which the sanction is being given.
It is guaranteed under Article 12, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights that, ‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence.’
Article 31of the Constitution of Kenya also provides that:
Every person has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have–
- their person, home or property searched;
- their possessions seized;
- information relating to their family or private affairs unnecessarily required or revealed; or
- The privacy of their communications infringed.
The Information and communications Act, Kenya and the regulations made thereunder make provision for matters regarding privacy. For purposes of this article, though, we shall not delve into those provisions.
We have one at Bitala & Co. Advocates. It is important to us that we ensure our user’s privacy. For example, when you sign up to receive The Deuteronomy, we guarantee that your email address will not be shared with other people. When you initiate a chat on our website, we also guarantee that the information you provide will not be passed on to other people.
The legal perspective
You must be forth coming with your clients about what you intend to do with their information. Since the constitution guarantees the right to privacy, you must for sure tell your clients how you will use the information that they freely give to you, information which is private in nature.
It is unacceptable to think that now that you have private information about a client, you will use it in any way you like.
A violation of a client’s privacy which may involve the dissemination (whether voluntarily or involuntarily on your part) of the client’s private information can land you in serious legal battles which you will most likely lose.
The client perspective
We all want our clients to trust us. What better way to earn their trust other than guaranteeing that their private information will not be passed on to third parties?
It is now common knowledge that a credible website will have the bare standards for their user’s privacy.
Well, it all revolves on whether your users provide information about them.
It all starts with a phone call or an email to your lawyer.
However, do not:
- A) Steal your policies from someone else’s business. This exposes you to charges of copyright violation. More so, what you are stealing may not be relevant to your business.
- C) Write it yourself unless you know what you are doing. Hire us, the experts. We have expertise in writing policies for any industry
Do not wait to have one!
Call us, text us or even email us today, and we shall be happy to help.
BY SAMALI BITALA
This article appears in our newsletter, The Deuteronomy Vol 6, Issue 3 of September 16th, 2016