Edited by William C. Bier
There can be little doubt that privacy emerges as one of the central problems of our times particularly so in the countries of the Western world. In some primitive cultures the opportunities for escaping almost continuous surveillance are very limited, but such is the resilience of human nature that the people in such societies seems able to adjust to this situation and not to be disturbed by it. The role of privacy in ancient civilizations aside, there is a long history of the esteem for the reality of privacy, even though the term itself may not have been used, in the religious traditions of both East and West, where withdrawal from the world into solitude has consistently been viewed as the most efficacious route to union with the Divine. With increasing attention to, and recognition of, human dignity in Western society in recent centuries and particularly in recent years, there ahs come a parallel emphasis on human rights, and central to the cluster of human rights is the right to privacy. It is doubtful whether individual privacy has ever been more highly esteemed than it is today in the democracies of the Western world.