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23 U. Kan. L. Rev. 1 (1974-1975)
Is an Expanded Right of Privacy Consistent with Fair and Effective Law Enforcement

handle is hein.journals/ukalr23 and id is 19 raw text is: Kansas Law Review
William H. Rehnquist**
In February 1974 the Domestic Council Committee on the Right of Privacy
was established to examine governmental collection, storage, and use of per-
sonal data. Calling the right to privacy the most basic of all individual rights,
the President directed the Committee to formulate policy directives, regula-
tions, and legislative reforms so that the twin duties of enlightened govern-
ment, and the securing of the public good and private rights, could be assured
in these times of unparalleled technological sophistication.' The formation of
a presidential committee on privacy represents only one of the recent and
increasing manifestations of this country's interest in privacy, a concept going
to the roots of our citizens' independence, dignity, and integrity. I therefore
propose to devote this discussion to the subject of privacy. First I would
like to delve into some of the fact situations that have been addressed by the
advocates of greater privacy, partly in order to understand what they are
driving at, and partly in order to develop some definitions of our own of the
term privacy. I hope as a result of this part of the discussion to indicate at
least my view that a group of quite separate and different values that have
been assembled under the heading of privacy could be more meaningfully
evaluated if they were more accurately catalogued. Secondly, I propose to take
a look at the various methods urged for advancing these claims to privacy and
to give my own prognostication about what changes for better or for worse
the adoption of these approaches might have in our society.
I will be dealing throughout this discussion with what might loosely be
called policy considerations, and the opinions I venture will be based on
the assumption that we are writing on a clean legal slate. In order to avoid
needless levels of abstraction in treating the subject, it will often be convenient
to refer to litigated cases since they frequently provide laboratory examples
of claims for and against privacy. And since some of the decisions of the
Supreme Court have held that provisions of the Federal Constitution guarantee
* This Article is adapted from two Nelson Timothy Stephens Lectures delivered at the University
of Kansas School of Law on September 26 and 27, 1974.
** Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court; B.A., M.A. 1948, Stanford University; M.A. 1950,
Harvard University; LL.B. 1952, Stanford University; Assistant United States Attorney General, 1969-

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