intrusion of privacy

The invasion of privacy

Privacy intrusion refers to the intrusion of someone’s private life without a valid cause, which grants the right of filing a lawsuit to the one whose privacy has been intruded. In most cases personages of the public are not safeguarded since they are presumably under the public watch thus their activities are termed as news worthy. There are many elements to privacy such that an individual has rights to protection from private matters or solitude intrusion, disclosure to the public of information considered private or embarrassing, wrong or false publicity which gives a wrong image to the general public and attachment of an individual’s image for commercial benefits.

Many lawsuits resulting from privacy intrusion have been witnessed such as the use of wrongly using a wife’s hospital insurance data to obtain help for a mistress baby, non authorized use of someone’s picture to advertise a photographer and the treatment of people as freaks by journalist. Also there are many instances where governments have intruded on the privacy of its citizens like the security forces investigating and compiling information on persons deemed as political opponents.

The possible effects of privacy intrusion are varied first to the intruder it could be deemed as an act of misdemeanor or felony, some governments prescribe a jail term depending on the law while some levy hefty fines. To the person whose privacy has been intruded it could lead to law self esteem, public enmity, loss of employment, inability to find jobs, sicknesses emanating from stress or even attempted deaths. The internet and technology has a whole has facilitated cases of privacy intrusion.

The right to privacy is defined as that right to be left alone, an individual’s right to withhold property or him from the scrutiny of the public if he or she chooses. Many laws regarding the intrusion of privacy revolve around four main areas.

Wrong or False Publicity

Such allegations could come up anytime someone unflatteringly portray either through words or pictures, a person as something which He or She is clearly not. Such claims could arise in a case where misleading information is published together with a photo describing one as part of an unlawful demonstration whereas the victim was not part of it. This however, must meet a certain criteria such as, the subject had information of or acted recklessly in the falsity of the matter publicized and wrong public light that one would be subjected to. The portrayal must also be highly offensive to someone considered reasonable.

Similar legal rights that apply to false publicity also apply to libel though in false publicity allegations, the subject is not needed to prove reputation damages or injury but only that the information about Him or Her were highly offensive.


Public disclosure of facts that are considered embarrassing or private

The legal systems have acknowledged that certain details of intimacy regarding people, though factual can be off the limits to the public and the press. Such as publishing comprehensive information regarding someone’s conduct sexually, educational data or medical background might lead to a legal claim. But then the law demands that the subject suing must show beyond doubt that the information was sufficiently intimate, highly private and not already within the public disclosure and offensive to a larger extent to a reasonable person.

News agencies are protected from private facts privacy intrusion claims if they also show that the material was worthy to be reported as news. Close to all information regarding public figures are deemed news worthy. Also reports such as those of recent criminal indulgence are newsworthy for any person. In 1997, Smith v. Daily Mail, the United States Supreme court in a unanimous decision ruled that the 1st amendment safeguards journalist rights to use details of minors in stories that are considered newsworthy as long as the data is lawfully gathered and also reported truthfully.

            Name misappropriation or likeness

This is the non authorized use of someone’s picture, Name, voice or likeness to facilitate the sale of a commercial service or product such as using a picture of a renowned athlete to promote the sales of your sports shoes. To stay away from problems, all publications should over time have its subjects some model release form that is drafted in a straightforward simple language when adopting their names or likeness to advertisements that are commercial. It does not matter whether or not the release form has been signed, since the justice systems permit the media to reuse clips or editorial pictures in its on individual promotion as long as there is no indication that the individual actually endorsed that publication.

Intrusion upon seclusion

Privacy seclusion is an allegation that is mostly based on the gathering of news. A journalist could be sued even in cases where the information that was gathered was never published. This results when a reporter collects information regarding a person in a point where the individual has a valid right to demand for privacy. Though newsworthiness could also act as defense to this kind of intrusion generally, journalist are permitted to get access to privately owned places that are considered public such as hospitals, schools or shopping malls. But then, they must also leave when asked to.

The main kinds of intrusion are trespass which refers to entering into a private property without the consent of the owner. We also have misrepresentation which is an exaggerated or invalid consent. Undercover news reporting is not necessarily an act of privacy intrusion as long as the act of being undercover is not used to engage in unlawful activities or trespass. An example is that it is not an intrusion to privacy for a minority campus student to disguise himself as a possible pledge to investigate stories relating to racial prejudice within a fraternity. The law grants him the right regardless of he is serious or joking about it. There is also secret surveillance which refers to the use of hidden cameras or bugging equipments. The law varies from governments but generally, journalist can legally capture or record any event from an area considered public, but cannot use technological equipments to aid upon what would not have been visible or herd from the public place.

Illegally obtained information by a source

In some cases, news agencies are provided with confidential information by outside sources. An example is a collection of incriminating material left outside a news house or a recording of intercepted vital mobile phone conversation originating from a mysterious source. As long as news reporters have not themselves acted unlawfully to gather the information or aide others in doing so, they have not contravened any laws. If the information relates to a newsworthy matter, the news media will usually be safeguarded from privacy intrusion allegations if they go ahead with publishing it.

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