Since after the revelation of Edward Snowden, privacy has become the talk of the town. The biggest concern of internet users and many government officials is how to secure online privacy at all levels. And to be honest, it is complicated! To protect your digital privacy, many laws and regulations have been neutralized worldwide. With numerous jargon in the privacy vertical, it is important to understand the meaning of them. In this article, we will discuss the Invasion of Privacy topic and its significance in the legal proceedings.
Invasion of Privacy Definition
Putting in simple words, it is a term to describe a tort (a criminal act) where an individual or an organization intentionally attempted to intrude in someone’s privacy and breach it by making it public without having any prior concern.
Example of Invasion of Privacy –
If someone uses a bathroom or a locker room, no one is supposed to enter it or spy on the person in the bathroom. If any person intrudes on privacy at that time, would that be acceptable?
Similarly, if you, by mistake, leave an open letter at the park bench, and someone found it and read it, that won’t be an invasion of your privacy. But, if your neighbor uses technical devices to tape your phone call, have your video tapped while showering, or use hacking tools to read your emails or other online content, it will come under Invasion of Privacy law. You have all the rights to bring that intruder under legal proceedings to fulfill your damages.
Some most common types of laws include:
- Appropriation of Name or Likeness
- Intrusion Upon Seclusion
- False Light
- Public Disclosure of Private Facts
Invasion of Privacy #1: Appropriation of Name or Likeness
This law protects the use of identity for a business or professional use. If someone uses your name or pictures without your concern, you can file criminal charges against that person using this law.
To prove appropriation charges, you must have the following elements:
- Details of the defendant (who unlawfully used the name or the identity of someone else) and the plaintiff’s (the party whose name or identity has been used)
- If damaged or cause a loss to the plaintiff or provide a benefit monetary or any other kind to the defendant, the use of the name or identity
- Proof of using the information without any consent from the plaintiff
- The use caused financial or reputational to loss to the plaintiff – if any
Invasion of Privacy #2: Intrusion upon Seclusion
This law protects your right to be in seclusion. For example, it is unlawful for a neighbor to peek at your house or take pictures of your home. Neither a neighbor can use electronic equipment to eavesdrop on your private conversations of any kind.
The general elements of this law are as follows:
- A defendant intrudes into the plaintiff’s affairs
- The intrusion would be objectionable
- It is not needed that a defendant has provided the plaintiff information to any third-party. If they have committed the intrusion, they are liable for invasion of privacy
Invasion of Privacy #3: False Light
This law protects the right to secrecy. It includes no one to disclose any misleading or damaging information about you in public, even if some or the entire information is true. You can take an Invasion of Privacy example for this law in a way like that a newspaper printed your picture in a protest mentioning you as a protestor, when in fact, you were only standing there observing the protest.
In such a case, you can file a lawsuit against the newspaper. The important elements of this law are:
- The defendant publicly discloses information
Information put the plaintiff into a controversial position
The false claim or information can seriously damage the plaintiff’s reputation
Invasion of Privacy #4: Public Disclosure of Private Facts
This law protects your personal information from being private to public. No one has the right to publicly disclose information about anyone’s health, sexual conduct, financials, or relationships.
The general elements of this law are:
- The dependent publicly discloses private information of the plaintiff.
- The disclosed information is highly sensitive and can be offensive to the plaintiff.
- The information is brought in public for the benefits of the dependent.
Popular Case for Invasion of Privacy
One of the best examples of popular media cases highlighted under ‘Invasion of Privacy’ was Pennsylvania school. A district school in Pennsylvania decided to loan its students laptops. Students were given permission to take the laptops home for studies. The students were unaware of the fact that laptops were armed with an internal anti-theft protection program. By using this software, schools personal can activate the laptop webcam anytime without any students’ consent and knowledge. The school claimed to use this program to record pictures of students studying. But later found that thousands of pictures and videos of students speak to their family, sitting and sleeping.
The pleadings were filed against the school, and the case was named “Webcamgate.” The school paid a sum of six figures to settles the case. You can read a detailed post-analysis by The Guardian for this case.
Invasion of Privacy Charges
The charges of Invasion of Privacy differ from state to state and case to case. The more damaging impact the action has on the plaintiff, the more charges will be imposed on the dependent. In general, if you are convicted of Invasion of Privacy, you can be charged with years of jail time and thousands to millions of USD fines.
Invasion of Privacy is Self Destructive – Watch Out!
Privacy invasion issues can be very complicated and dangerous. It can have a daunting effect on reputation and cause a mental disturbance, which is unaccountable. Invasion of Privacy law is here to protect you from any unwanted circumstances. If you have any doubts concerning breach of your digital privacy, it is highly advisable to investigate the matter and reach out to authorities who can help you in this matter.
Remember, your privacy is important and any negligence in protecting it can lead to serious damages. As an advocate to digital privacy, we recommend our readers to always keep a check on your browsing activity and use the right tools to safeguard your online identity.
If you enjoy reading our article and find it informative, do share it with your circle and let everyone know how valuable your privacy is. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.