Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yes, It's Legal To 'Tag' Someone In A Photo On Facebook Without Permission

While I've heard the argument that in Europe, it's possible to use various privacy laws to demand that someone remove a photo or "tag" of the requester, in the US that's not the case (barring other circumstances that might require the removal). However, Evan Brown has the details on a custody case, in which a woman (the mother) sought to bar the use of a Facebook photo as evidence. The photo showed her drinking alcohol, which a psychologist claimed could interfere with medicine the woman was taking. The woman claimed that because anyone else on Facebook could upload photos and tag them with her name, she hadn't given permission, and thus the photos should not have been published. The court explained why this is meaningless:
The court held that "[t]here is nothing within the law that requires [one's] permission when someone takes a picture and posts it on a Facebook page. There is nothing that requires [one's] permission when she [is] "tagged" or identified as a person in those pictures."
Of course, it does seem that other issues could (and in some cases were) raised: including the accuracy of the photo, the proof that it was actually alcohol, etc. But simply protesting the use of the photo as evidence because it was uploaded/tagged by someone else appears to be a non-starter.

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