Spiros Simitis

Privacy – An Endless Debate

Prosser analyzed privacy against the background of American experiences. Consequently, his views were shaped by the American legislative and judicial context. But none of the developments Prosser described is a singularly American phenomenon. Prosser’s reference to Warren and Brandeis’s 1890 article in the Harvard Law Review3 could just as easily have been expanded with references to German cases concerned with the ―right to be left alone.

Thus, similar privacy concerns are expressed in decisions of the Reichsgericht, the German Supreme Court, in the 1920s. In those cases, irrespective of whether the plaintiff was the President of the German Republic, its Defense Minister, the Count Friedrich von Zeppelin (father of the first large dirigible airship), or a less prominent person, the Court focused, as in the United States, on the right ―to be let alone.