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Privacy and False Light

There are generally five distinct rights to privacy, in tort law. The most common personal injury ones are:

Intrusion upon seclusion involves the intentional intrusion upon the solitude or seclusion of another individual. This could be an intrusion into one's home, office or hotel room. The intrusion need not be physical and electronic surveillance equipment may sometimes infringe on a person's solitude and seclusion.

Publicly disclosing private information is also a tort of privacy, where unlike defamation, the disclosed details need not be false. The key is that the information must be disclosed in a manner that would be highly objectionable to a reasonable person.

False light publicity places someone in a false light before the public. An example of this would be a misleading publication to the public may be a cause for action under this tort.

Appropriation of name or likeness involves the use of someone's name or personal characteristics without their consent. Usually, this arises in advertising cases.

Recently in Privacy / False Light Category

The fact that an Indiana couple found hidden cameras in their Florida Airbnb rental, and that local law enforcement believes dozens of renters at the same location may have been illegally captured on video going back years, is distressing. But it's not new. Airbnb was sued two years ago after a German woman discovered a hidden camera in her California rental.

Clearly the owners of the rentals are violating criminal statutes and could be civilly liable for the secret surveillance, but what about Airbnb itself? Can the company be sued if guests are filmed without their permission?

Revenge porn, or posting an ex's sexually explicit photos or videos on the internet, is a nasty and sometimes illegal business. And while state laws and courts have begun cracking down on those who post and facilitate revenge porn, protections for victims are far from perfect.

Take the case of one New York woman, who, while successful at getting surreptitiously recorded sex tapes removed from porn sites, is having a harder time scrubbing her search results from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Now she is suing the search sites in the hope that removing her name entirely will finally keep the more promiscuous search results from popping up.

Our medical data is some of the most personal information that we entrust to third parties. Our medical records are sacred and their privacy is paramount. Which is why we have federal laws protecting the privacy of our medical records and requiring hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers to report hacked, lost, or otherwise exposed medical records. And those reports aren't good.

Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has identified 1,634 breaches of patient medical information, and those are just the cases affecting 500 or more individuals. There could be thousands more medical data breaches (intentional and unintentional), possibly affecting your personal medical information.

Doctor Sued Over 'Cocaine Nose' Photos Posted Online

A Chicago plastic surgeon is being sued by a former patient after allegedly posting before-and-after pictures of the woman's nasal reconstruction surgery on his website and labeling them "cocaine nose."

Sabrina Kopp claims that when she underwent facial surgery in 2004, her plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Walton took photographs of her face with the understanding that they would be part of her secure medical records, reports the Chicago Tribune. However, when the doctor opened a new clinic in 2013, the images of her procedure were posted on the clinic's website as an example of "cocaine nose."

What is "cocaine nose" and what laws might the doctor have broken by posting the pictures on his website?

Can You Sue If Your Photo Is Used Without Your Permission?

Opening up a magazine or surfing the Web and unexpectedly seeing a picture yourself can certainly be surprising. And although some may be flattered by the extra exposure, some may be a little bit less than thrilled.

Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt was certainly not amused when she discovered a company called Slim Spray had been using a photo of her holding their product to promote its line of weight loss sprays without her permission. She's now taking the company to court.

So if you come across a photo of yourself being used in a way that you didn't agree to, what can you do about it? Here are three possible legal routes you may be able to take:

Hospital Sued Over Patient Records Posted on Facebook

A patient is suing a hospital for posting her patient records on Facebook, after her sensitive information appeared on a Facebook page called "Team No Hoes."

Shawntelle Turley was treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC) for syphilis, but she likely never imagined that her medical bills and diagnosis would be shared on Facebook. According to the The Cincinnati Enquirer, Turley's ex-boyfriend and at least two UCMC employees are also being sued for releasing her medical info on Facebook.

Can a hospital post your diagnosis to Facebook?

Gay Couple Sues Over Engagement Pic in Political Ad

A gay couple from New Jersey has sued a political group that used their engagement photo in an anti-gay attack ad in Colorado. But so far, the result in the courts has been mixed.

A federal judge has dismissed part of the couple's case against Public Advocate of the United States, a Virginia-based company that created a mailer against a Colorado political candidate using a doctored version of their engagement photo, reports The Denver Post.

Why did the couple have part of their case dismissed, and what can they do now?

'Hot Convict' Sues Website Over Mugshot Ad

A Florida woman is suing a background check website for using her mugshot in a "hot convict" ad that went viral.

Meagan Simmons, 28, of Zephyrhills, has filed a lawsuit accusing of using her image for financial gain without her permission -- and especially without giving her a cut of the profits, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Does this "hot convict" have a case?

Online Mugshot Lawsuit: Settlement Reached

A federal lawsuit over three Ohio mugshots has resulted in a settlement with the owner of two major mugshot websites.

The settlement between the parties was signed by a federal judge in late December. It calls for Citizens Information Associates LLC (the corporate owner of and to pay $7,500 and remove the offending mugshots for free, a lawyer for the company told The Plain Dealer.

This lawsuit is one of many against mugshot sites around the country, so how is this one different?

Disabled Girl's Pic Used Without Permission: $5M Suit

The Aleh Foundation, a high-profile Brooklyn-based non-profit, is facing a $5 million lawsuit for allgedly using a disabled girl's photo for a donation drive without permission.

The Aleh Foundation allegedly used a photo of Ayala Yakobzon -- a 5-year-old who was born with spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down -- to solicit donations. Yakobzon's family claims that they never gave permission to use Ayala's photo, and they never received a dime from the foundation.

But did the charitable foundation do anything unlawful?