Terms to Know
Consent: Consent is when an individual approves of or agrees with something. If you have consented to a business or individual accessing private information or searching your belongings, you have waived your right to privacy in that particular circumstance.
Expectation of privacy: The expectation of privacy covers areas where an individual would reasonably expect seclusion from others, especially where steps have taken to protect privacy. This expectation includes two parts. First, you must actually, sincerely believe you are in private. Second, this subjective expectation must be one society is objectively willing to protect as being a “reasonable” expectation. The courts and lawmakers have clarified many areas where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This can include your home and a place you’re residing at like a hotel or friend’s house. It can also include your bank, your phone, bathrooms and changing rooms, and your front yard.
But there are degrees to this. You do have an expectation of privacy in your car, but it is a lesser degree of protection. You may have an expectation of privacy in your office, employee locker or something similar, but these are also weaker. And then there are times you will have zero reasonable expectation, even if you believe you are being private. These include the information you send out on the internet, your garbage, or an open field, like a farming area or large backyard on your land.
Public spaces: Public spaces are generally considered to have lower expectations of privacy. This mean individuals in public may be subject to things like security cameras and street photography. Examples of public spaces include streets, sidewalks, and parks. Even in public, you may have some privacy. A private booth at a club or restaurant, a cabana by the pool, or a payphone booth (when those existed), may have some degree of reasonable expectation of privacy.