Because we are leaving in an entirely digital age with all kinds of video recording devices, it would be fairly easy for someone to take a video of you without your consent and sometimes without you even noticing. Whenever you ‘risk’ going out in public, there’s always a chance that someone somewhere or a security camera will record you doing something (whether bad or good.) Posting a video of you can be an entirely different problem because once something is posted onto the internet it is nearly, if not entirely, impossible to remove it from there. That’s to say someone might save a copy of it onto their device and so even if it is removed from the internet, it may be posted again. The question then becomes what do you do is such a thing happens to you? What do you do if someone posts a video of you on the internet without your consent? Here’s what you can do.
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Is It Illegal For Someone To Post A Video Of You?
It is absolutely illegal for someone to film what you say or do (in public or in the comfort of your/ someone’s house) when you have an expectation, which would have been verbally disclosed, of privacy. That being said, if someone posts a video of you without your consent or knowledge it is punishable by criminal law. It is legal however to film in public, and with the explosion of social media platforms, this exception is being exploited on a worldwide scale with no repercussions.
If you have expressly told someone not to record or post a video of you taken in privacy, or on private property then it would be illegal for them to do so. However this doesn’t apply to public areas, except if the public area already has some policies on video recording in place. Here’s what you can do to absolve the issue regardless.
Report the matter to the police
You would need hard evidence to come up with a case that incriminates the person who posted the video (provided you know who they are.) This evidence should at least have text messages, voice recordings or some form of verbal agreement to be solid in court where the issue will eventually end up. Sometimes you may not know who the poster of the video is, in a generation filled with cyberbullies, the video may have been leaked by a hacker or somebody with a fair amount of access to your computer. You should still report the issue to local authorities where the person who posted the video of you can be tracked down and then apprehended using the state’s resources. Even when you suspect someone you know, present that evidence before the authorities.
Some people like police officers are authorized by law to secretly record you if they suspect that you might be doing something unlawful. So if you see a video of yourself on the news or on the internet, the police might be looking for you and enquiring help from the public to do so in the process.
Get the video taken down
Fortunately in today’s world you can report the matter to the place where the video would have been posted and the site or social media platform will take the video off their platform. But depending on how many places the video was shared it can take a while before the video is completely wiped off the internet. But as mentioned before, once something (either a photo or a video) of you is posted on the internet it is nearly impossible to then completely remove it from there. The video can already have made it all across the world in a matter of seconds. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have very strict rules on posting videos of people whether intimate or otherwise. Instagram and Google also follow suit, if you report and fill out the provided forms then these platforms will take down the video of you. It also wouldn’t be shared anymore on the platform, this is because the video contains metadata (which is structured information about a file like a video which includes the date of creation, the creator, software used to create it, the date it was last modified, video format, file fingerprint, etcetera.) This also makes it easier for authorities to track down the poster of the video and then take the necessary steps to apprehend the person. A law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (or DMCA) makes it illegal to reproduce videos or photos of you that you don’t want to be shared.
Get an attorney
Even with all of the above listed steps, you should consult an attorney to file for a civil law suit. The poster of the video may be a stalker or jealous ex-lover, in which case a restraining order can be filed. With the aid of an attorney you can get a legal order to have the video taken down which will help significantly simplify and speed up the previous step on this list.
There are plenty of free resources, organizations and laws you can use to help cope and take the necessary steps in order to ensure that the posted video of you is taken down. It is best to familiarize yourself with most of those resources and take advantage of each and every single one of them.
It can be a traumatic experience for people on the street to recognize you without you knowing why, only to find out a couple of minutes later that somebody has posted a video of you without your consent and it has gone viral. In such a situation it is best to stay calm, taking deep breaths so as to think rationally. The first thing to do is to immediately contact the site or social media platform the posted video is on, and then if it is taking longer than you would like, you can report the matter to the authorities to speed up the process.