breach of confidence
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breach of confidencean act or omission that infringes the obligation of confidence. This obligation is difficult to classify. Many obligations of this kind arise from contract, express or implied. It may be a tortious or delictual obligation or it may be completely SUI GENERIS, founded on equity. The general rule is that anyone is entitled to communicate anything he pleases to anyone else, by speech or in writing or in any other way. On the widest view, however, if information is imparted in circumstances from which it is clear it was confidential, the recipient comes under an obligation not to impart it. Others receiving the information from this primary confidant may come under a similar obligation. The wrongfulness in the conduct may make it possible for a claim restitution to succeed, making the person revealing the information liable to account for profits. In England the wrong has been extended to cover the dissemination of personal information, thus coming close to being a tort of invasion of privacy.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006