Case summary

Peck. v. the United Kingdom

European Court of Human Rights
28 January 2003

The applicant Mr.Peck was suffering from depression and one evening was walking down the street with a knife in his hand thinking of committing a suicide. He was filmed by close-circuit cameras on the street (CCTV), thus noticed and brought to the police station. No proceedings were initiated against him. The footage of Mr.Peck was posted in several articles about the positive impact of CCTV and later – in TV shows about crime in Great Britain. 

Mr. Peck complained that the disclosure of the CCTV footage to the media violated his right to private life.

Court’s ruling
The Court ruled that the right to private life of Mr.Peck had been violated, as the interference was not necessary and proportionate. Among other things, the applicant was not informed before and had not consented to the disclosure of the footage. 

The Court found that:

  • Mr.Peck could not have expected and foreseen that his walking down the street will be showed to such a broad audience.

  • Although the applicant was on a public street he was not there for the purposes of participating in any public event.

  • Mr.Peck was also not a public figure nor was he charged with or convicted of an offence that may raise public interest.

  • The consent of Mr.Peck could have been obtained before publishing and broadcasting the video with him; alternatively, his identity could have been masked by using technical means.

  • The fact that Mr.Peck later himself willingly appeared before the media criticizing the usage of CCTV did not mean that he wished the CCTV footage to be revealed to public.

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