Private individual

Unlike public persons, private individuals usually don’t act in a public context and are not of public interest. Therefore, they can expect that their privacy will be respected.

Private sphere

You, as a private individual, have the right to refuse your image being recorded in private settings and you enjoy a high level of protection of privacy. For example, it would be very hard to justify the secret taking of a photo of you at your home.

Public sphere

Being a private individual does not exclude the possibility that you may enter the public sphere and become of public interest. In such situations, the level of protection of your privacy may be lower. For example, you may be closely related to a public person and thus also become of interest to society. Or, you may become a newsworthy person due to a specific situation in which you have been involved such as taking part in a public demonstration.

Right to private life vs. freedom of expression

In situations concerning public interest, a person who photographs private individuals and publishes their images, exercises his or her freedom of expression and achieving the legitimate aim of informing society about situations of public interest and promoting discussion. However, the use of an image has to be lawful even in these cases.

Has your image been used lawfully?

See the questions below to evaluate whether your image has been used lawfully and whether your privacy has been sufficiently respected. If, in your situation, your answer to one of these questions is negative, your privacy may have been violated. In such a case, you have the right to complain. Read more about how to complain.


Last updated 09/04/2024