"When I wrote Privacy and Freedom in the mid-1960s, privacy was essentially a third-tier social, political and legal issue. Its components were protections against unreasonable search and seizure; rights to remain silent in various forums (the privilege against self-incrimination); rights of confidentiality in various types of record systems (census, social security, medical and personnel records, etc.); conventions about respecting privacy in interpersonal and family relations, and various modesty and reserve rules in dress, speech, sex, etc. At the same time, the U.S. was preeminent among democracies in making government information about individuals a matter of public records access and in defining the media’s right to investigate and publish personal behaviors in very broad legal terms.
Clearly, privacy was not—in the mid-1960s—on a par with such other societal issues in the U.S. as racial equality; free speech, press and other “freedom” rights; voting and other democratic processes; rights of protest, or questions of free enterprise and government regulation."