Privacy is a highly valued right. The explosion of social media and constant information sharing has markedly increased the risk that business owners, busy professionals, teachers, technicians, and indeed anyone of us that daily uses the internet could suffer considerable damage if their rights to privacy are invaded and shared with the world.
Invasion of privacy lawsuits are not reserved for celebrities, government officials or big companies. Rather, anyone can fall victim to another getting a little too close to their personal life. When this type of intrusion happens to you, you may feel overwhelmed by the breach of your personal security and trust. How can you hold such individuals accountable and protect your right to privacy?
Understanding the different types of invasion of privacy
When another party invades your private life, it can be challenging to know whether the invasion was significant enough to merit legal action. This can depend on exactly how the other party invaded your privacy. Examples of these claims can range from a “peeping Tom” peering into your living room to a former business partner sharing misleading photos or statements about you on social media. Below are four types of invasion of privacy claims, all of which Illinois recognizes:
- Unlawful intrusion upon seclusion. This claim recognizes your rights to privacy while in seclusion, such as in the privacy of your own home.
- Appropriation of likeness. This claim refers to another using your name or likeness for their own gain without your consent or knowledge.
- Wrongful disclosure of private facts. This claim involves publicly disclosing private details or information about you, which could cause you harm.
- False light. This claim guards against someone using information about you in a misleading, potentially harmful and public manner.
You can read more about these types of claims on Findlaw.com: Invasion of Privacy – FindLaw.
Some Illinois statutes, such as the Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/1 et seq., and the Personnel Record Review Act, 820 ILCS 40/0.01 et seq., also provide protections for specific types of invasions of privacy.
Your options to hold the offender accountable
When you have been the victim of an invasion of privacy, document what you have suffered in as much detail as you can. Take screenshots of social media posts, write down important dates and document anything else you believe could be critical to support your case.
Then, consult with a lawyer to determine how to proceed. These claims can have very specific requirements, and many have just a one-year statute of limitations. Depending on the details of your case, you could stand to win substantial compensation for the emotional, mental, financial or reputational harm you suffered.