The notion of ‘privacy’ in its broadest, and least lucid, sense is founded upon a conception of the individual and his or her relationship with society. Individuals need privacy for psychological, emotional, and social purposes. Autonomy, creativity—and even sanity—depend on a degree of private space. Society has an interest in facilitating these goals. Privacy, moreover, enhances democratic ideals by ensuring the privacy of political choice. The pursuit of a satisfactory definition of privacy has borne little fruit, largely because the premises upon which the proposed definitions are based are materially different. The concept, particularly in the US, continues to provide a forum for contesting, inter alia, the rights of women (especially in respect of abortion), the use of contraceptives, the freedom of homosexuals and lesbians. This chapter endeavours both to set privacy in its wider social context and to clarify the issues.