Embarrassing Photos and Invasion of Privacy


Have you ever been tagged in an embarrassing photo that has been posted somewhere on the web and wondered if your rights have in any way been violated?  If you answered yes to this question then you are not alone.

In a fascinating blog posting by Evan Brown on the Internetcases Blog entitled: Social media legal best practices: some problems and solutions with uploading photos and tagging people, the issues surrounding Invasion of Privacy are explored in detail.  Common sense applies in this area.  If someone takes a photo of you in a public place and/or with a number of other people, you probably do not have a legal protection to a right of privacy in that situation. There are however; several different situations where the law will recognize your rights to privacy:

  1. Intrusion Upon Seclusion is a legal claim that can be made when someone has intentionally intruded (physically or otherwise) upon the solitude or seclusion of another individual.  An example would be taking a photo of a person in the dressing room of a store.  In this situation, the person who is trying on clothes has the right to expect that their privacy while dressing and undressing will be protected and respected.
  2. Publication of Private Facts is a form of invasion of privacy by publishing private, non newsworthy facts about another person in a way that would be offensive to a reasonable person.  Posting explicit photos of an ex-girlfriend that were obtained in confidence while in a relationship would be an example of this type of invasion of privacy.

For a complete list of the various scenarios under which the law would support the potential recovery of damages, please read the full article.

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