Back to the discussion on taking people's photos in public

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Juarez, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. Juarez

    Juarez Guest

    Most of you think you have the right to take photos of people in public
    without their permission. Well, in the U.S. you may get away with it but do
    that in Canada and you may well get sued for it.

    "In Canada, it seems that taking a photograph of someone in public might
    constitute an invasion of privacy."
    Juarez, Sep 13, 2007
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  2. Juarez

    Paul J Gans Guest

    I suspect that it depends on what you do with the photos. If
    they are taken for your noncommercial use only, you are quite
    in the clear.

    There is in the US (and I expect in Canada as well) no legal
    expectation of total privacy when in public. It is what the
    word "public" means. On the other hand, sticking your camera
    into somebody's window and photographing them in the confines
    of a private home is a different matter entirely.

    The Google situation, as per the URL above, is another matter
    as the pictures are used commercially.
    Paul J Gans, Sep 13, 2007
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  3. Juarez

    Juarez Guest

    I don't know. Private or commercial use it is still an invasion of
    privacy. I guess it needs to be tested in the Supreme Court of Canada to
    see what the real deal is.
    Juarez, Sep 13, 2007
  4. Juarez

    Good Man Guest

    It is *not* an invasion of privacy legally, though you may feel so
    morally. If you are standing in a public area and your photo is taken
    for a non-commercial purpose, you can be photographed.

    ie: paparazzi
    ie: closed-circuit police cameras

    etc etc

    Either way, the Privacy Commissioner can be 'concerned', but she can't
    do much about it.
    Good Man, Sep 13, 2007
  5. Juarez

    Cynicor Guest

    Isn't paparazzi a commercial purpose, by definition?
    Cynicor, Sep 13, 2007
  6. Juarez

    Good Man Guest

    This is true, so there you go, i presume the usage is probably irrelevant.
    Good Man, Sep 13, 2007
  7. Juarez

    Somebody Guest

    There is no such thing as privacy in a public setting. If you want privacy
    go home and lock your doors and pull the curtains. In a park someone's fat
    ass is fair game.

    Somebody, Sep 13, 2007
  8. The same is true in the US, though theres a lot of Devil
    in the Details for both Canada and the US. It is not
    "absolute" that being in what appears to be a public
    place removes all rights to privacy.

    Specifically, the above referenced a commercial business
    divulging information collected about individuals (in
    this case, their identifiable photographs on google

    This is close, but not quite the same as if a business
    set a camera across the street and took pictures of
    people passing by and looking at their display window.
    Use of those photographs in any way connected with that
    business would be a violation of the rights of the
    people pictured if any part of them is uniquely
    Floyd L. Davidson, Sep 13, 2007
  9. That's "news", as opposed to "commercial purposes".
    Floyd L. Davidson, Sep 13, 2007
  10. That is a significant difference. The invasion of
    privacy is one thing, the use of someone's person or
    property for commercial purposes is separate issue. As
    you note in the Google case, it's commercial use is at
    Generally true, but not quite. If you wear a dress, for
    example... the parts of your body generally (but not
    specifically) covered from view are private. A camera
    embedded in the sidewalk to look up under dresses is not
    legal, because even on a sidewalk there is an
    expectation that what you hide from general view is

    Up a dress is obvious, but what about someone with a
    scar on their forehead who tries to hide it with the
    bill of a hat. Can you sneak up on them with a
    telephoto lense and a flash, get a closeup shot of their
    forehead... and give it to an insurance company?

    I don't know. It looks the same to me though... :)
    Much the same as being in a public place and sticking your
    camera under their clothes.
    Or maybe not...
    Floyd L. Davidson, Sep 14, 2007
  11. Juarez

    Paul J Gans Guest

    Yes, but in the US at least, public figures forfeit
    privacy protections. Thus photographing them for
    profit is legal.

    Which is only one reason why public figures get
    upset about it.
    Paul J Gans, Sep 14, 2007
  12. Juarez

    Ron Hunter Guest

    If that is true, then Canada needs to reexamine their legal definition
    of 'privacy'. In a general sense, to expect privacy in a public place is
    Ron Hunter, Sep 14, 2007
  13. Juarez

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Consider the practical aspects of this situation. I take a picture of
    my wife at Butchart Gardens, and there are several people in the
    background. Is it rational, or practical, to expect me to get signed
    releases from everyone in the background? Nonsense, and no court is
    going to back that theory. Now sticking my camera down some girls
    blouse and snapping picture is another case, even if she is walking down
    a public street. If laws are practical, and rational, then they aren't
    going to be enforced.
    Ron Hunter, Sep 14, 2007
  14. Juarez

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Yes, but celebrities, and those who photograph them, come under a
    different set of rules.
    Ron Hunter, Sep 14, 2007
  15. Juarez

    Guest Guest

    depends where. in washington state, it is legal.


    The high court unanimously agreed the state's voyeurism law "does not
    apply to actions taken in purely public places."
    Guest, Sep 14, 2007
  16. No, it depends on whether the statue is correctly worded
    to begin with. The court ruled "the voyeurism statute,
    as written", was not adaquately worded.

    Of course Legislation since then has corrected the law.
    It is now illegal, under State Law, in Washington State.
    "In 2002, state lawmakers changed the law to give
    legal recourse to people whose privacy was violated
    in public. That was well in time to prosecute Jack Le
    Vu, the first known cell phone camera voyeur to be
    convicted in the U.S.

    In July 2003, 20-year-old Vu was seen in a Seattle
    area Safeway using a cell phone camera to covertly
    snap pictures beneath the skirt of a woman shopping
    next to him. Court documents show that Vu, who later
    told police he had a panty fetish, managed to get
    five shots of the woman's underwear."


    Moreover, it is now (since December 2004) a Federal crime
    as well, and thus illegal in every state and all other
    juristictions under US Law.

    TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 88 > § 1801
    § 1801. Video voyeurism

    (a) Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial
    jurisdiction of the United States, has the intent
    to capture an image of a private area of an
    individual without their consent, and knowingly
    does so under circumstances in which the individual
    has a reasonable expectation of privacy, shall be
    fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
    one year, or both.

    (b) In this section --

    (1) the term 'capture', with respect to an image,
    means to videotape, photograph, film, record by
    any means, or broadcast;
    (2) the term 'broadcast' means to electronically
    transmit a visual image with the intent that it
    be viewed by a person or persons;
    (3) the term 'a private area of the individual'
    means the naked or undergarment clad genitals,
    pubic area, buttocks, or female breast of that
    (4) the term 'female breast' means any portion of
    the female breast below the top of the areola;
    (5) the term 'under circumstances in which that
    individual has a reasonable expectation of
    privacy' means --
    (A) circumstances in which a reasonable person
    would believe that he or she could disrobe
    in privacy, without being concerned that an
    image of a private area of the individual
    was being captured; or
    (B) circumstances in which a reasonable person
    would believe that a private area of the
    individual would not be visible to the
    public, regardless of whether that person
    is in a public or private place.

    (c) This section does not prohibit any lawful law
    enforcement, correctional, or intelligence activity.

    Floyd L. Davidson, Sep 14, 2007
  17. Juarez

    Guest Guest

    correctly as defined by whom? you? or the judge?
    it only affects federal land. see:




    which concurs that it is only federal land, and also states that just
    19 states have voyeurism laws, with half of them banning it only in
    private areas. it also describes how someone who was caught was
    punished for 'disorderly conduct' and not voyeurism.
    Guest, Sep 14, 2007
  18. In that case, as defined by the judge, obviously.

    And just as obviously it was corrected as defined by the
    Washington State Legislature and signed into law by the
    Governor. And upheld by the judicial branch... though I
    don't know if it was the same judge or not.

    How could you have missed that????
    Well, that's what Federal laws are for.
    "Thirty-five states currently have laws that in some
    way criminalize video voyeurism. The Video Voyeurism
    Prevention Act will serve as a model for states
    without such a law, ..."
    That is a poor description of what is said though. The
    actual statement is a bit slippery, "Nineteen states
    have laws that specifically punish video voyeurism". Of
    course some states may have laws that generally ban it.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Sep 14, 2007
  19. Juarez

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Wanna bet that gets changed soon. There are a number states where laws
    which don't address such issues, yet.
    Ron Hunter, Sep 15, 2007
  20. He cited a 2002 ruling, and WN State law was changed soon
    Floyd L. Davidson, Sep 15, 2007
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