Is the Right to Privacy a Constitutional Right?
The Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty 5752 – 1992 (“Basic Law”) was enacted in 1992 to provide protection to several human rights, including the right to privacy. Although the right to privacy was already part of the Israeli legislation since 1981, the Basic Law has given this right a constitutive status and a meaning in the context of the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Under sections 7(b)–7(d) of the Basic Law there are four separate aspects to the right to privacy – (i) the right of individuals to privacy and to intimacy; (ii) the prohibition on entering into individuals’ private premises without their consent; (iii) the prohibition on searching in individuals’ private premises, in individuals’ body or their personal effects; and, (iv) the right of the individuals to maintain the confidentiality of their conversations, writings and records.
The right to privacy is not absolute. Any potential violation of the right to privacy by law, will be examined in accordance with section 8 of the Basic Law (“Limitation Clause”), which allows the legislator to infringe on a constitutional right if such legislation is “befitting the values of the State of Israel, enacted for a proper purpose, and to an extent no greater than is required”.