The Right to Privacy is one of the most important areas of law to understand when it comes to operating as a Private Investigator. At Freedom Research LLC., we strive to understand the origins and authority or all of the laws that govern and affect our profession. Privacy takes many forms including right to your own personal privacy and not have others disclose information about you that is protected as private.
If you look back to the seven Articles of the original text of the Constitution of the United States signed September 17, 1787, you will see no mention of Right to Privacy. It wasn't until December 15, 1791 when the Legislature adopted the Bill of Rights that we see the first mention of rights that might be interpreted as privacy rights. Article 4 as ratified (Article 6 as proposed) states "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
At the Federal level the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, establishes a code of fair information practices that govern the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by federal agencies. The Privacy Act prohibits the disclosure of records about an individual from a system of records without consent of the individual. As always there are exemptions.
At the State level the Right to Privacy is guaranteed by Article I, Section 7 of the Washington Constitution. No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.
The Revised Code of Washington, Title 9, Chapter 73 (RCW 9.73) defines what violating the Right of Privacy means in the State of Washington and sets forth consequences. These are laws that Freedom Research LLC., abides by explicitly.
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