The intrusion into the personal life of another, without just cause, which can give the person whose privacy has been invaded a right to bring a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity that intruded. However, public personages are not protected in most situations, since they have placed themselves already within the public eye, and their activities (even personal and sometimes intimate) are considered newsworthy, i.e. of legitimate public interest. However, an otherwise non-public individual has a right to privacy from:
a) intrusion on one’s solitude or into one’s private affairs;
b) public disclosure of embarrassing private information;
c) publicity which puts him/her in a false light to the public;
d) appropriation of one’s name or picture for personal or commercial advantage. Lawsuits have arisen from magazine articles on obscure geniuses, use of a wife’s name on a hospital insurance form to obtain insurance payment for delivery of a mistress’ baby, unauthorized use of a girl’s photo to advertise a photographer, and “tabloid” journalism treatment of people as freaks.
Information Technologies have invaded many aspects of people’s daily lives, creating new possibilities but also raising concerns in term of privacy and trust. Protecting the privacy of individuals is one of the main challenges of the Information Society but it is difficult to achieve as individuals constantly leave digital traces of their lives, often without even being aware of this. If an unauthorized entity gathers these digital traces, he (or she) can use them for malicious purposes ranging from targeted spam to profiling, and even identity theft. From the technology viewpoint, a number of Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) and Privacy Aware Architectures have been proposed. So far, these technologies have not stimulated a strong public interest and are not widely used yet. However, the European Commission is putting forward the “privacy by design” principle, which integrates the privacy issues in the design phase of a system or application.
Dra. Vicki Belo and Argee Guevarra had a scuffle when Guevarra posted some malicious remarks on his Facebook wall conveying Belo as “Reyna ng Kaplastikan, Reyna ng Kapalpakan” (Queen of Phonies, Queen of Failures). The post originated from a case client who nearly died after a failed procedure (butt augmentation) under the direct supervision of Belo.
The case was junked by the Regional Trial Court Judge Mary Josephine Lazaro after deciding on the matter. The case was dismissed because it was filed in an “improper venue”, according to the statement issued by Guevarra.
Guevarra reasoned out that Internet libel does not exist in our laws and will require legislation to govern on issues like this. The Department of Justice had already issued a ruling that there is no such crime as Internet libel in the Philippines.
Luke Espiritu and Resty Mendoza, Guevarra’s lawyers, appreciated the court’s decision to junk the case. “It is a step forward in making Facebook one of the freest forums for the Filipino and giving them the right to exercise free speech and expression”, in a statement made by Espiritu.
Facebook is a “personal” space which should not be subject to incursion by the government or any public entity. Cases filed against people who circulate their opinions via social networking
sites are against one’s privacy.
The Philippine Law that I’ll apply in this dilemma/issue is Intellectual Property rights and the agency that I’ll implement is Department of Justice.