Who Do You Think You Are? (Australia)

Sunday 7:30 PM on SBS One Premiered Jan 13, 2008 Between Seasons


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Who Do You Think You Are? (Australia) Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Respect for the privacy of the dead


    This show talks about the private lives of generations of relatives.

    The show I watched yesterday about a woman who dug up the past marriages of her great great grandfather. She happily declared with a chuckle that "he was married 3 times". This means that she was able to access records of his3 marriages .

    This raises the issue about the privacy of the dead.

    At present time, NSW laws do not allow people who are not party to the marriage to get copies of marriage certificates. But if they are 30 years old, anyone, not even those related to them can. There is here a certain irony.

    Likewise from a certain ethical point of view, just because they are dead doesn't mean you can do whatever you like just because you can. If they were living, do you think those people would have allowed very distant relatives to pry into their lives, let alone dig up and get copies of their marriage contracts? Put yourself in the place of the dead. See how it goes.

    Furthermore, Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides "Article 17

    1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.

    2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. "

    Just because they are dead 30 years or 100 years does not mean that have become less than "everyone". They were someone once, as we are now.

    Likewise, the OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data provides that "although national laws and policies may differ, Member countries have a common interest in protecting privacy and individual liberties, and in reconciling fundamental but competing values such as privacy and the free flow of information; ".

    Sometimes its not what we want to do with other people's lives but its what they would have wanted had they been alive