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Date of Award


Author's School

School of Law

Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

Degree Type



In this dissertation, I argue that an individual should enjoy a constitutional right to information privacy against the government's unreasonable collection, processing, and uses of personal information. Information privacy deserves constitutional protection because it not only secures one's autonomy in personal matters but alsoadvances public values essential to a democratic society. On the one hand, information privacy is a crucial aspect of autonomy, especially when considered as one's control over personal information. Moreover, in some situations, information privacy is a precondition for one to make an autonomous decision. On the other hand, information privacy is an important public value that reinforces democracy. Information privacy has demonstrated its democratic values in securing spatial privacy, communicative privacy, intellectual privacy, and political privacy- four privacy rights central to a democratic society. Information privacy is crucial for citizens to freely think, speak, listen, deliberate, dissent, vote, and participate in social discourse and thus should be considered as a fundamental right. In order to adequately protect an individual from modem government intrusions, information privacy should include not only a substantive right that respects one's control over private information, but also a procedural right that protects one's right to be informed of and to participate in the collection, use, and processing of his personal information. While arguing for a constitutional right to information privacy, I recognize that this right is not absolute but in some situations might have to be subordinated to some competing values, such as free speech and public security. In respect to privacy's conflict with speech, I suggest an intermediate approach and an idea of balancing that reconciles these two competing values. Regarding privacy's tension with security, I consider procedural and organizational safeguards as pragmatic mechanisms for achieving a reasonable balance between these two values. In addition, I suggest a proportionality analysis to determine whether a surveillance measure has unreasonably intruded into one's information privacy.

Chair and Committee

Professor Neil M. Richards, Chair, Professor John Owen Haley, Professor David S. Law

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