Primacy of Free Speech and Individual Privacy

Primacy of Free Speech and Individual Privacy

It is important to understand that protecting privacy conflict with essential values that include public safety and free speech. However, the United State and Europe differ concerning the relative primacy of free speech and individual privacy. In the United States, privacy receives less legal protection compare to Europe (Mills, 2008). Therefore, they do not highly regard privacy because they exhibit an open approach to the public records, and they have dominant policies on safety issues and national securities. Second, the United States’ privacy law is based on the concept of privacy being an aspect of liberty. It focusses on intrusion by the government than the private sectors and the media. Similarly, the freedom of speech is paramount. On the other hand, the privacy system used in Europe is based on privacy as an aspect of dignity. They rely on controlling the individual’s image, reputation, and name. This will allow the person to protect his/her public persona. Regarding free speech, Europe considers personal honor as a constitutional value, and they usually balance freedom of expression against personal dignity.

The United States and Europe demonstrate different approaches regarding personal privacy and free speech, and they affect the companies in the following ways. In the United States, the interest of the business comes first. Companies use the words free market and free speech to fend off regulations (Lazarus, 2015). Companies do not need to seek the approval of the customer before sharing his/her data. Besides, they have a free speech right that allows them to buy and sell client’s data. In Europe, they have a nationwide privacy rule. Therefore, people have the right to privacy and companies must honor them. Businesses do not have control over customer’s data.




Lazarus, D. (2015, December 22). Europe and U.S. have different approaches to protecting privacy of personal data. Retrieved April 19, 2016, from

Mills, J. L. (2008). Privacy: The lost right. Oxford [UK: Oxford University Press.


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