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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102523
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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Neighbour takes my pictures without my permission. Is it legal?

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My neighbor is photographing me from her yard without my permission- is that legal?

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you.

This depends - where are you at the time that she is taking photographs from her yard - are you in your home, in your back yard, out in the street, etc?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She is taking pictures from her driveway of myself, my contractors during a construction renovation we're doing. She is also taking pictures of their veichles and equiptment (all on my property). She doing doing all this from her own yard and NOT the street or public area.
Thank you for that information, Michael. But I need to know where your contractors and you are when she is taking this photo - inside the home At your back yard? At your driveway? It is important to know where you are as well as where she is.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I am in my backyard, some of the contractors are in the home, but are photographed when they come out of the home ( e.g. yard- driveway ). She also take pictures of their cars, and equipment, as well as my home and yard. She may have also taken pictures one time when my family and I were in my living room in my home.

It does not matter where she is, but it matters where you are. If you are in a public space, or are in a private place but have no fence, curtains, or otherwise blocked from the public, then you have no expectation of privacy and she can take the photographs (regardless of where she is). So it all depends on where you are, and where your contractors are. Anything going on outside on the curb has no expectation of privacy, so she can take those photos. This is because this is arguably public space. However, anything that is happening inside your home may be seen as an intrusion of privacy, especially if it cannot be naturally seen by a person's eye from the outside (and she is using s camera that allows zoom, etc). This would indeed be an invasion of privacy. Today the intrusion into a person's seclusion is recognised as but one of four separate branches of tortious invasion of privacy. These are set out in Section 652A of the Restatement of Torts 2d, at page 376, as follows: (1) One who invades the right of privacy of another is subject to liability for the resulting harm to the interests of the other. (2) The right of privacy is invaded by (a) unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another... Sustin v. Fee, Ohio St. 2d 143 - Ohio: Supreme Court 1982. So her snapping photos of people going in and out and curb vehicles, etc, is not improper; but snapping photos of you through the window may be. You can technically bring a suit against her. However, very often, the threat of a lawsuit does the job without the need to even file. While you may have asked her to stop yourself, she may not have taken you seriously. An attorney's "cease and desist" letter will go a long way to show that you are serious, and will threaten to file suit if she does not stop. Such a letter coming from an attorney's office carries much gravitas and is often effective. It is about $100 to $200 depending on the attorney. The cease and desist letter is not mandatory before filing suit, but is a good step to take. If it fails, you always have litigation.

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