Vice President Biden speaking to the European Parliament
I don’t need to tell this audience about Europe’s proud tradition of protecting citizens from government invasion of their privacy, a commitment grounded in respect for the inherent dignity of all people. We call them inalienable rights. We wrote them into our Constitution.
And America’s commitment to privacy is also profound, as profound as yours. Our Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable search and seizures by the state, which as one of our most famous jurists — which one of our most famous jurists once dubbed, “the right to be let alone.” The Supreme Court of the United States has made clear that privacy is a constitutionally protected and fundamental right. And like the EU, the Supreme Court has characterized this right as a matter of personal “dignity.”
This is how politicians speak to each other: they talk a good talk, but walk a crooked path. What Biden describes here, and what the European Parliament applauded wholeheartedly, bears no resemblance to how either governments behave in practice.