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Legally speaking, what is invasion of privacy? And what are your options if your privacy has been invaded?
Privacy is a hot topic these days, but how do things play out in the legal arena? Your computer may have been hacked and your personal information sold. But what can you do about it?
Whether or not criminal statutes cover the act, you may be entitled to file a suit alleging one of the following privacy torts.
Intrusion of Solitude
This is the most traditional of the privacy torts. It deals primarily with peeping toms, snooping neighbors, wiretapping and hacking.
You can file a civil action if someone has intentionally intruded into your private space or affairs. They can do so physically, or via electronic or other means. And you must have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that information or space.
Public Disclosure of Private Facts
It is illegal to reveal truthful, yet private, facts to third parties. The facts must not be of public concern, and would offend a reasonable person if made public. The information must also legitimately be private and known by few, if any, other people.
This privacy tort is primarily aimed at gossipers and news media. Think about situations where a friend has blabbed about a secret medical condition, or a sex tape has been released to the masses.
Unlike defamation, false light focuses on the public disclosure of true but misleading facts. It is illegal to publicly and recklessly make statements that place another in a false light. The statements must be highly offensive or embarrassing to a reasonable person.
You now have some tools to help you decide what isn't and what is invasion of privacy. If you feel like your situation falls into one of the above categories, consider contacting an attorney for more information.