The Right to Privacy Under the US Constitution


Personal privacy is important since it guarantees an individual power to do what they deem is right for them. Privacy is a basic element of personal rights that is manifested in various legal and constitutional provisions. It is difficult for the right of privacy to stand alone since some rights have elements of privacy. The U.S. Constitution is one of the legal instruments that do not explicitly and expressly provide for the right to privacy. Instead, the Constitution, through the Third, fourth, and fourteenth amendments, provides for rights with elements of personal privacy. Therefore, under U.S. jurisdiction, the amendments and court precedents have been used to anchor the right to privacy. Although the American Constitution does not expressly mention the right to privacy, the third, fourth, and fourteenth amendments grant the right by prohibiting the government and private individuals from interfering with the lives and properties of others.

Meaning of Privacy

Privacy is a multifaceted term since it has various definitions depending on the context of the application. Generally, the term is defined as the ability of a legal person to seclude themselves or their information. Consequently, privacy allows individuals to selectively express themselves to others (Parviz and Piercy). For instance, the homosexuals have right to sexual privacy, and they can express themselves as they wish. Privacy is not limited to natural persons, instead, corporations can enjoy the right as well. An organization with sensitive information that can hurt its operations if revealed, has the right to privacy. Therefore, the right to privacy cans simply is defined as the protection of legal persons from private and public intrusion.

Privacy Under the Third Amendment

The right to privacy can be understood as the protection of personal property from government intrusion. The Third Amendment is one of the constitutional provisions that help Americans seclude themselves from government interference (Zhang et al.). The amendment prohibits the U.S. government from quartering soldiers in a private house with the owner’s consent (“Constitution of the United States,” 3rd Amendment). The provision promotes due process when quartering soldiers in private houses. While the amendment does not expressly mention the right to privacy, it protects it by ensuring that private houses are not intruded by the government. Through the provision, individuals are granted the freedom of staying in their houses and doing their private activities without interference from the government (Crummett 258). The third amendment promotes privacy to personal property by prohibiting the government from quartering soldiers in private houses.

Privacy Under the Fourth Amendment

The right to privacy involves the prohibition of unwarranted searches that may lead to the exposure of personal information. The Fourth Amendment prohibits law enforcement officers and other related legal stakeholders from unreasonable searches and seizures (Tokson and Waldman). The amendment presumes that houses and other personal properties may have information that the owners may not want to be exposed to the public. The presumption holds on to the “reasonable expectation of privacy” (Almutairi 40). Consequently, the Fourth Amendment promotes the seclusion of personal property and information from the public.

Privacy Under the Fourteenth Amendment

Privacy is strongly connected to natural rights such as liberty, the right to property, and life. The Fourteenth Amendment has a jurisdictional and precedential basis in supporting the right to privacy. Traditionally, the right to privacy and the Fourteenth Amendment in the case of Poe v. Ullman (1961) (Lessig). In the case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the right to privacy is provided under the Fourteenth Amendment since denying couples to use of contraceptives was an intrusion into their private lives (Lessig). Therefore, the Fourteenth Amendment protects the right to privacy by prohibiting the government from denying Americans liberty, life, and other personal rights.


The right to privacy plays an important role in protecting citizens from private or public actions that may interfere with their will. The U.S. Constitution fails to expressly mention the right through its provisions and amendments. However, the Third, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments guarantee the right by protecting individuals and their properties. Through the three amendments, Americans secure their right from intrusion by the government and private individuals. Although the U.S constitution does not directly mention the right to privacy, it protects it through its amendments.

Works Cited

Almutairi, Saif. “United States versus Microsoft Corp.; Should U.S. Online Privacy Statutes Apply Abroad?” American Academic Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences, vol. 87, no. 1, 2022, pp. 39–44. Web.

Crummett, Dustin. “Freedom, Firearms, and Civil Resistance.” The Journal of Ethics, vol. 25, no. 2, 2021, pp. 247–266. Web.

Lessig, Lawrence. “The Brilliance in Slaughterhouse: A Judicially Restrained and Original Understanding of ‘Privileges or Immunities.’”, 2022. Web.

Parviz, Elnaz, and Cameron W. Piercy. “What Will They Think If I Post This? Risks and Returns for Political Expression across Platforms.” Social Media + Society, vol. 7, no. 4, 2021, p. 205630512110554. Web.

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription. National Archives, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 2020. Web.

Tokson, Matthew, and Ari Ezra Waldman. “Social Norms in Fourth Amendment Law.” Michigan Law Review, vol. 120, 2021, p. 265. Web.

Zhang, Hui, et al. “Patient Privacy and Autonomy: A Comparative Analysis of Cases of Ethical Dilemmas in China and the United States.” BMC Medical Ethics, vol. 22, no. 1, 2021. Web.

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"The Right to Privacy Under the US Constitution." LawBirdie, 1 Sept. 2023,


LawBirdie. (2023) 'The Right to Privacy Under the US Constitution'. 1 September.


LawBirdie. 2023. "The Right to Privacy Under the US Constitution." September 1, 2023.

1. LawBirdie. "The Right to Privacy Under the US Constitution." September 1, 2023.


LawBirdie. "The Right to Privacy Under the US Constitution." September 1, 2023.