Everyone is entitled to have their private and family life respected, except under the circumstances and conditions determined by the law. 

The European legislation goes a step further: your home and correspondence are also private.

No public authority can interfere in what you

  • do in your private life
  • do in your own house
  • write in your letters or e-mails
  • say on the telephone

Of course there are some exceptions: the government may interfere

  • if the national or public safety, or the economic welfare of the country, is under threat
  • to prevent disorder or criminal acts
  • to protect the health, good morals or rights and freedoms of others

But is your private life really private?

The use of the computer and the Internet has made your daily life simpler: businesses and the government can offer you better services. But you may also have sacrificed something: you may have exposed yourself, and have relinquished some of your privacy.

In a society with the Internet, electronic identity cards and payment cards, surveillance cameras, cell phones and GPS it is also possible to record everything you do. What you buy with your payment card, where you are when you use your cell phone or when you are travelling with your GPS, which Internet sites you visit: in short more or less everything you do can be traced.

Even if you are extremely careful in giving out your personal data, it has become more and more difficult to know exactly who can now access your information. You have no more control over your own data and the danger of misuse is therefore enormous.

You should therefore take a moment to consider a number of aspects and to investigate how you can protect your privacy better, and what your rights are when your privacy is violated.

For more information you can consult the web site of the Commission for the Protection of Private Life (nl-fr).