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 is illegal to take or publish a picture of someone without his consent in France.
There are five exceptions :
- people related to news events of public interest,
- public information purposes (when right to inform the public is bigger than right to privacy),
- people present in a public location when focus is not on them,
- public figures during their public functions and activities,
- 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."
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.