The purpose of this study is to briefly analyze the right to privacy historical origins and latest evolutions, from its first, yet frail, appearance in XVIII century Europe to the recent Regulation (EU) 2016/679 implementation. The first part of the essay addresses privacy’s emergence as an autonomous right. A long-running process, during which it will go from being associated to more prominent rights, as the right to property (in the UK) or to dignity (in France), to finally find its scientific emancipation in the world-famous Warren and Brandeis’ article “The right to Privacy”. The second part, instead, focuses on the inclusion by the United States and EU legal orders of data privacy, a new form of privacy trying to cope with the still ongoing digital revolution. In particular, the study will try to highlight how privacy’s different notions on the two side of the Atlantic, have been reflected by both its means of protection and case-law. Once established the EU lead in privacy’s promotion, the third part of the essay will tackle the current challenges to its protection, specifically the personal data monetization and antiterrorism politics.
The right to privacy and new technologies: between evolution and decay