Invasion of Privacy Law Massachusetts
Invasion of privacy refers to someone deliberately and knowingly invading another person's personal space without their knowledge or consent. When a person has reasonable reason to believe that they are alone, and their privacy is intact, it is illegal to secure any kind of information about them without their explicit consent. Invasion of privacy laws protects a person against having their likeness or information used in a way where it negatively affects them.
In Massachusetts, invasion of privacy is considered a serious crime. The State has passed various Acts defending a person's right to feel safe and secure within their space.
What is considered as Invasion of Privacy in Massachusetts?
Laws on the invasion of privacy in the State recognize all four major kinds of crime. These include:
- If a person is alone or in seclusion, and they are within their legal right to do so, another person cannot invade their personal space. There are many ways this personal space can be invaded without the knowledge of the person, from physically being present in the location without the consent of the person, to using digital media or other means to obtain information illegally. As long as the offender deliberately intended to, and then proceeded to enter another's person's personal space at a time when they had a legitimate reason to believe they were alone, the offender can be charged with invasion of privacy.
- If the offender deliberately and knowingly discloses private information about a person in a public space, it is also considered an invasion of privacy. In this situation, the information that was disclosed must be personal and private information, and that information must have been made accessible to people without the knowledge or consent of the person the information is about.
- Painting an incorrect picture of a person in a public space is also considered as invasion of privacy. This is considered a false light invasion of privacy. What this means is that the offend or deliberately tarnished the image of another person and did so with the intention of negatively affecting them and their image.
- It is also considered illegal in Massachusetts to use another person's likeness, picture, portrait or name for commercial purposes without their written consent.
Celebrities do not enjoy the same access to the protection of privacy as most people, as they are considered newsworthy. By virtue of being a celebrity and being of public interest, invasion of privacy is dealt with more leniently when it comes to them. However, any serious transgressions involving invasion of privacy that negatively affect the reputation and lifestyle of a person, even when they are celebrities, can be tried in a Court of Law.
Massachusetts also has passed Acts that make it easier to understand what the State considers as an invasion of privacy. The Massachusetts Right of Privacy Act basically ensures that every person in the State has the right to feel safe and secure in their personal space, without having to worry about their personal information being leaked, or their reputation being tarnished. The State also passed the Massachusetts Eavesdropping Act, which makes it illegal to tape or record a person without their permission.
Any recording obtained in this fashion also cannot be used as evidence. All communication, whether through it wire or oral, cannot be recorded and used against a person. The act of making such a recording is also a crime by itself, and the offend or could face serious repercussions, such as both fines as well as jail time.
What is the Punishment for the Invasion of Privacy in Massachusetts?
Invasion of privacy laws in the State protects people from having their likeness, their information, or their personal space invaded by another person without their consent. While the plaintiff will use be awarded compensation based on the damages incurred by the offender invading their privacy, if a criminal act was also involved, then they will be tried for that as well.
Criminal behavior will lead to incarceration, unlike civil cases, which usually only involve monetary compensation.