We are all entitled to privacy, but we tend to take it for granted — right up until the point that it has been violated. Invasion of privacy is illegal, and with advances in technology and the rise of the internet and social media there have been increasing examples of it in the news: people sharing intimate photos or videos as “revenge porn”; posting clips of famous people who were unknowingly recorded having sex, or getting out of the shower in a hotel room.
You do not have to be famous to have your privacy invaded. If somebody shares and disperses private information about your private life — whether about your finances, your sexual habits, or your health that is not of legitimate public concern — you can take legal action and be awarded monetary damages to compensate for your embarrassment or loss of standing. To prevail, you will need to be able to prove that specific elements of the violation took place.
There are five points that you’ll need to demonstrate in order to prove that you’ve suffered an invasion of privacy. They are:
- That a public disclosure took place
- That the disclosure was of a private nature
- That the content within the released material would offend the average person
- That the information that was disclosed was not of legitimate public concern
- That the person or entity that published the information published it without any concern about whether it was true or false
Once a secret or piece of private information has been shared there is nothing that can be done to erase its memory, or to mitigate its impact. The only recourse that a victim of invasion of privacy has is to pursue monetary damages to compensate for emotional or psychological damage that the individual suffered, whether due to shame, embarrassment, or actual economic damage to their business or brand. In the famous examples cited above, sports reporter Erin Andrews was awarded $55 million after the video was released of her exiting her hotel room shower, and former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan was awarded $115 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages following the public sharing of a sex video.
You do not have to be famous to be a victim of invasion of privacy: there are many examples of everyday people successfully suing over listening devices being installed in their apartment bedroom, or photos and recordings of accident victims being published without their permission. If you believe that your right to privacy has been violated and you would like information about the options available to you, contact our office today.