SOURCE: Van Osdol & Magruder

Van Osdol & Magruder

August 23, 2013 14:09 ET

Van Osdol & Magruder Reviews the Right to Privacy

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwired - Aug 23, 2013) - George Orwell's classic book 1984 appeared at the top of reading lists for years and is famous for portraying the government as a "Big Brother," keeping an invasive eye on citizens. Recently, the book is popular again in light of controversial government actions like the Patriot Act and the NSA surveillance program, and along with the advent of social networks like Facebook and the privacy issues they may create, more Americans are wondering what the "right to privacy" truly means. Van Osdol & Magruder, PC, a Kansas City-based law firm, recently examined the issue.

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Shawn Stogsdill, partner at Van Osdol & Magruder, said, "Americans generally presume that privacy rights are guaranteed by the Constitution -- at least to a certain degree. Privacy rights feel as fundamental to our lives as liberty and free speech, however, most Americans probably do not realize that there is no explicit 'right to privacy' mentioned anywhere in the text of the Constitution."

It wasn't until Justice William Douglas' groundbreaking opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 that the Constitutional right to privacy began to be officially recognized. Later cases such as Roe v. Wade (1972) placed additional limits on the ability of the federal government to influence lives. Congress has also passed laws such as HIPPA (1996) and Graham Leach Bliley (1999) to protect privacy.

As social networks become more popular and the government tries to combat terrorism, the expectation of privacy has changed. Now the Postal Service is tracking mail and the government has power to mine data on some citizens.

According to Stogsdill, this brings up important questions: Are privacy rights forfeited each time update Facebook or send a tweet? What about GPS trackers on phones and cars? Was it all a ruse and we never had an expectation of privacy anyway?

In the government's drive to protect us, is it edging ever closer to Big Brother?

Van Osdol & Magruder, P.C. is located in downtown Kansas City, Mo. Trademarked as The Biggest Little Law Firm® in Kansas City, the firm focuses on maximizing value for its clients while remaining mindful of legal expenses. Visit the company's website at www.vomer.com.

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