Upskirt photos ruled legal under Georgia court

By Marina Souliman

Summer brought the election, zika virus and insane heat. What some people missed in the chaos was the Georgia ruling regarding upskirt photos. On July 15, the Court of Appeals in Georgia ruled 6-3 that Brandon Lee Gary, a man caught taking an upskirt photo of a woman did not invade the woman’s privacy.

The ruling in Georgia mirrored that of a ruling in Massachusetts about Michael Robertson, caught in 2010 taking upskirt photos of women, according to CBS News. In 2014, the Robertson conviction was overruled by the State Supreme Judicial Court due to technicalities in the law. Both rulings came down to the wording of laws that led to different interpretations.

“Unfortunately…our law does not reach all of the disturbing conduct that has been made possible by ever-advancing technology,” Judge Elizabeth Branch said in the July 15 ruling.

In the case in Georgia, it came down to the meaning of the word “place” as stated in the invasion of privacy law. The law specifies “the use of any device, without the consent of all persons observed, to observe, photograph, or record the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view.”

Essentially, the law defined the place as a physical location rather than an area of the body, leaving the action of taking an upskirt photo legal.

The defense argued with the fact the upskirt photo was taken in a public place meaning that the woman’s body was technically in the public view and thus Gary’s actions were, although offensive, still legal.

In regards to upskirt photos, many states have either changed or passed laws to address this possible gap. As these cases where men get away for taking upskirt photos arise, states are more inclined to change their laws.

This case brings about the need to reevaluate laws regarding privacy. In essence, as we become more and more technologically inclined, laws about privacy must be revised to include this new technology.

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