Posted by: kelliroesch | November 5, 2012

Privacy for Private Parts

On October 15 in Strategically Communicating, my post “Voyeurism escalates to creepshots in our “paparazzi culture,” explored how distasteful violations of privacy.  As noted, Websites such as Reddit create a thriving online subculture to escalate voyeurism from a creepy individual pursuit to a collective resource for sharing photos and bragging rights to “creepshots” (a.k.a. upskirts),  which can be described as the deliberate and secret photography of women’s crotches, breasts, and rear ends in everyday life.

If it were legally wrong,  someone would have sued, and won, for violation of privacy, right? Information I read indicated that “creepshots”  were not removed because individuals do not have a right to privacy in a public space.

However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) , “Privacy; Legal Guide for Bloggers” uses a criteria that may be helpful for victims of “creepshots” who want the photos removed from the internet. The EFF asks “What is offensive to the reasonable person?”  EFF goes on to say that “To state a claim, the plaintiff must show that the matter made public was one that would be offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities. For example, disclosing that the plaintiff returned $240,000 he found on the street was held not to be offensive, but the publication of an “upskirt” photo would likely be found to be offensive to a reasonable person.”

Do you feel that EFF’s definition is enough to have “creepshots”  removed? Why do you think “creepshots” are still legally on the internet?

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Responses

  1. Kelli, I think the creep shots article exemplifies a privacy invasion that is commonly accepted by our culture. Sadly, in our culture, celebrities are considered “public figures” and it is accepted that they do not have the same privacy rights as say, you or I. It’s common to see exploitative photos of celebrities plastered on tabloids in the grocery store.

    While I completely agree with you that the shots of Kate Middleton’s bare breasts are a major breach of privacy, how do we get around the idea that it’s okay for celebrities to be exposed in the public light? The EFF states that a private fact is newsworthy if it involves private information about prominent figures, such as actors, public officers or athletes.

    On the other hand, “intrusion into seclusion” defends the rights of these public figures if the intrusion is offensive and consent was not given. As the Guardian states however, Kate was near a private road and “what was she expecting, she’s famous and she’s got breasts, and therefore she’s got to keep them covered up all the time,” (The Guardian). She was asking for it, right?

    The problem within culture is that it’s accepted that women do not have privacy to their bodies and “instead of focusing attention on how victimizing women is wrong, the accusations of wrongdoing are based on the victim. If only she would have dressed more conservatively,” (The Guardian).

    How do we as journalists prevent victim blaming from happening?


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