Using photographs from social media—rights of privacy

Using photographs from social media—rights of privacy

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) recently upheld a complaint against a newspaper after it published an image taken from social media without consent. Duncan Calow, a partner at DLA Piper, explains the background to the complaint and the implications of the ruling.

What is the background to this complaint to the independent press standards organisation (IPSO)?

A national newspaper published an image taken from social media, without consent, picturing a man accused of murder with a woman described as a ‘friend’. The woman complained to IPSO that this use of the image breached the Editors’ Code of Practice in respect of Reporting Crime and Privacy.

The article referred to the accused’s relationship with a ‘glamour model’ and to the image as: the accused ‘with a friend’. The complainant said the photograph was taken in 2006. She said it identified her to family, friends and co-workers and might suggest she was the glamour model mentioned.

She argued the photo was taken where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy—a private event in enclosed college grounds. Even if it had been taken from a public Facebook page, she had not consented to its circulation and the page owner had been unaware of its unprotected privacy settings.

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