Is it legal to share online an unblurred picture of police officers interacting with individuals (e.g., to discuss, taze or make an arrest) in a public place in France?

  • It's certainly 100% legal in NSW – Dale M Aug 28 '16 at 0:16
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    The rights in France differ from most common law jurisdictions - 'droit à l'image' is a good starting point for an answer. – jimsug Aug 29 '16 at 0:49
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    Your title and body are two different questions with diametrically opposite answers. Please edit one of them to have the same answer (yes or no*, not both). – Nij Oct 26 '16 at 22:06
  • @FranckDernoncourt : Did you expect more from my answer bellow? – brclz Nov 15 '16 at 8:20

It is illegal to take or publish a picture of someone without his consent in France.

There are five exceptions :

  1. people related to news events of public interest,
  2. public information purposes (when right to inform the public is bigger than right to privacy),
  3. people present in a public location when focus is not on them,
  4. public figures during their public functions and activities,
  5. people shown in a large group without distinction of one or several individuals.

If you respect one of the 5 conditions, you do not require consent. Policemen do not have extended or extra protection regarding these rights: they are treated as any individual.
This is described in a report from the CNDS (Commission National de Déontologie de la Sécurité):

"[Les forces de l'ordre] doivent considérer comme normale l’attention que des citoyens ou des groupes de citoyens peuvent porter à leur mode d’action. Le fait d’être photographiés ou filmés durant leurs interventions ne peut constituer aucune gêne pour des policiers soucieux du respect des règles déontologiques."

which translates approx. to:

"Policemen must consider as normal the attention that citizens or citizen groups can pay to their mode of action. Being photographed or filmed during their interventions cannot be seen as as an embarrassment to the officers concerned to comply with ethical rules."

See also this Wikimedia Commons internal policy that summarise the French law and (fr) the exceptions on droit-image.fr


In France it is legal to take pictures of the police.

In theory if the pictures were defamatory in some way, like if the policeman is doing something disreputable, and you published those pictures in a way calculated to damage the policeman's "reputation", then theoretically he could sue you for defamation, but that would be a civil, not a criminal matter, and he could only sue for "defaming" him, not taking pictures.

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    Do you have a concrete reason for thinking that it is legal to take pictures of the police in France? I think it should be legal, but I have no legal basis for claiming that it is. Did you find something? – user6726 Aug 30 '16 at 17:00

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