The 4 torts of invasion of privacy

Monday, December 27, 1999

Intrusion — The invasion of a person’s physical solitude, usually in a highly offensive manner. Courts have found the use of hidden cameras and microphones to be actionable.

Appropriation — The use of a person’s name or likeness for commercial purposes without consent.

Public disclosure of private facts — The publication of sensitive, private information about a person which is not of legitimate concern to the public. In many privacy cases, courts have not found truth to be a defense, because the truth can more damaging than falsehood.

False light — Placing a person in a false and highly offensive position in the public eye, as by signing the person’s name to a letter or petition or by attributing views to the person which he or she does not hold.

Source: “Privacy,” by William L. Prosser, 48 California Law Review, pp. 383-423.