Sounds like we need to talk about what privacy really is. A good definition of privacy is "control of your personal information" (probably from This paper.
) Of course, keeping personal information entirely secret is the best means of control, but in the modern world, complete secrecy is getting more and more impractical. So what else could we do?
One option I've heard is a property right, such as ownership (similar to copyright) of personal information. Joe "owns" his name &* address, and he'll loan a copy to Time Magazine for the purpose of delivering the periodical he has paid for. Any other use of Joe's information by Time Magazine is a violation, unless Joe & Time have come to some other agreement. This is very similar to copyright, so let's just call it personal copyright.
Copyright might be too blunt an instrument though, because remedies mostly involve (expensive) civil suits. A number of European governments passed legislation called Fair Information Practices. These laws basically say that personal information can only be used for the purpose for which it was given, and cannot be repurposed without consent of the person involved. Probably the governments involved have given themselves a loophole for national security, but I haven't investigated the details. This option reduces the cost to the individual, and makes it the job of the government to enforce the law. I see this as a benefit, though some may not.
Writing Fair Information Practices into law would probably explode the business models of the currently most successful tech companies in the USA, so maybe there's a way to ease into the laws and allow the tech companies time to adjust their business methods...