When American and European ideas of privacy collide
“Last weekâ€™s ruling from an Italian court that Google executives had violated Italian privacy law by allowing users to post a video on one of its services […] called attention to the profound European commitment to privacy, one that threatens the American conception of free expression and could restrict the flow of information on the Internet to everyone. […]
â€œThe framework in Europe is of privacy as a human-dignity right,â€ said Nicole Wong, a lawyer with [Google]. â€œAs enforced in the U.S., itâ€™s a consumer-protection right.â€ […]
Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights says, â€œEveryone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.â€ The First Amendmentâ€™s distant cousin comes later, in Article 10.
Americans like privacy, too, but they think about it in a different way, as an aspect of liberty and a protection against government overreaching, particularly into the home. Continental privacy protections, by contrast, focus on protecting people from having their lives exposed to public view, especially in the mass media.”