Privacy is a fundamental right recognized today by the legal system of all European Union countries and by the main Nations of the world.
Its affirmation as a protected legal position required a slow process of recognition in a legislative point of view.
Effectively, until the end of the 1800s, the law exclusively protected property rights and protected people only from the physical invasions of their home.
Only at the end of the nineteenth century, in the United States it was recognized the right to be left alone, that is the right that protect other people from invading the private sphere, regardless of the place where the violation took place. Slowly this concept has been accepted and recognized also in Europe, where it developed an interesting evolution over the years.
Since its origin, privacy was considered as an instrument to protect and defend its own privacy from the intrusive behavior related to the violation of secrecy.
In this sense, privacy is the tool through which everyone can fix a boundary between himself and others. This is a legal situation that rules the way in which a person lives in society towards other people. For this reason, the concept of privacy and its meaning over the years had had profound and several changes, in relation with the changing of society and with the development of the commonly used technological tools.
With the modern communication techniques and the ease of dissemination and duplication of information it was clear that privacy could not be related only to protect the right to “be left alone” and about defending its own private life from the intrusive behavior .
For these reasons, it became increasingly important to prevent other people from misusing information referring to a subject, collecting it without his knowledge and using the data for unauthorized purposes. If this protection were not guaranteed, everybody could be subjected to pressure, requests and could suffer negative consequences that would severely limit his freedom and the exercise of his rights.
For this reason, during the twentieth century, privacy extended its meaning becoming a legal instrument to guarantee also this specific situation. This evolution allowed that every person has the right to manage and dispose about data that describe it and that qualify each persons.
Privacy has become the right to exercise control over the information that concerns us. In this sense, privacy consists in: a) the right to know that someone else is collecting information about each of us and for what purpose it wishes to use it; b) the right to decide if it wants to allow this collection and use or if it prefers to deny this consent.
From this evolution of the concept of privacy arises the current legislation regarding personal data and, for understanding the real meaning of these rules, it is important to understand that nowadays the protection of privacy mainly concerns to ensure the fundamental right to exercise full and conscious control over own personal data.
Nowadays, talking about privacy, does not refer only about the right to privacy, but also about the right to choose the use that people want to make related to its own personal data.
For this reason today privacy is considered a fundamental prerequisite for exercising all the rights that the State recognizes to the people. Effectively, people can really feel free and without conditioning only if it can be assure that nobody collected information about each of us for illicit reasons or without own consent.