0

Someone on the Internet claims (I'll call this person "the operator" below):

  • They have crawled around 100TB of data from both mainstream social networking sites, and porn sites with user-generated content;
  • They have used facial identification, behavior identification and voice identification to match identities, linking 100 thousand social networking profiles to people appearing in porn;
  • They plan to offer a commercial service, where presumably users can look up a certain person to see whether they have appeared in porn. The service is touted as a way to "check whether your partner has been a sex worker";
  • They claim to be located in Germany.

Assuming the operator is truthful in their claims, my questions is: what kind of legal problems might they face?

  • Has the operator made an offense under criminal law in anything they did? Is it illegal to collect and store the data, do matching between such data, or provide the matching data to other people?
  • If other parties are to bring lawsuit to the operator, how likely are they to prevail?
    • If a person was identified to have appeared in porn, can they sue the operator for defamation or something else? Does the person need to prove that the identification caused damage? Does it matter whether the identification is correct or not? Does it matter if the "porn" is in fact surreptitiously recorded and uploaded without the person's consent?
    • Do the data sources (social networking sites, porn sites) have ground to sue the operator? What if the operator never state the source of the data in their service?
    • Since the persons identified, the users of the service and the data sources are likely to be overseas, which jurisdiction's laws govern these potential lawsuits?
  • 1
    off the cuff, they are doing many things wrong. Crawling sites? Probably a ToS violation. Data-mining the videos/pictures/images? Copyright infringement without permission from the copyright holders. Creating identifying profiles? That's processing personal data which is illegal without a suitable legal basis (→ GDPR). De-pseudonymizing actors? Likely a breach of their personality rights. None of that by itself would be criminal, but the vast scale might change this. Good news is that German website operators need to put their name & contact details on the website so that you can sue them. – amon May 28 at 9:13
  • I think the legality of this will vary WILDLY based on country. I was just watching a video where a lawyer was discussing the difference between defamation in India and the USA. As an example, most parodies that would be considered legal free speech in the US, would be considered defamation in India. In the US if you say something that is defamatory, but proven true, it is legal. In India if you say something defamatory and it is true, it still could be illegal. – Keltari May 31 at 18:51
2

If the commercial service is in Germany, then they are in for loads of trouble.


Persönlichkeitsrecht (in German)

https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pers%C3%B6nlichkeitsrecht_(Deutschland)

The right of protection of personality is a constitutional right that has been confirmed in many ways by the constitutional courts.

A corporation may only be registered / licenced (and retain that registry)

  • when they are knowledgeable of and obey all laws pertaining to their business

A corporation that bases it business on an illegal activity risks being reported to the responsible Gewerbeamt, where the process could be started to revolk the licence.

Charges can also be made, which could lead (when found guilty) to the same.

Each person effected can also do the same, with or without claims of damages, since the participation in a legal porn (i.e. no minors or force) is legal and is otherwise (other than when viewing the bought version) nobody elses business.

Illegal collection of private data will also cause them headaches.


For the perpose supplied (check if you partner has been a sex worker) the chances that it would succeed

  • are very high
  • Presumably they also face defamation charges if they get the identification wrong (and possibly even if they get it correct). – Mark May 30 at 2:34
  • Doing this on a large scale also runs the risk that one or more of the victims resort to extra-legal methods of punishment. – gnasher729 Jun 1 at 22:26
-1

They would basically be out of Business and the owners in prison in a very short time frame since they are breaching almost everything there is ruled under the Law in terms of Privacy...

  • Can you elaborate on what you're saying? E.g., if there are specific privacy laws that apply to the question you should cite them and explain how. Also, since you're new to the site, please take the tour. – feetwet May 31 at 17:36
  • What do want as details?! – Rui Freitas Serrano Jun 1 at 19:08
  • Under GDPR, you cannot share Personal Data with 3rd parties unless: the Data Subjects are aware of it or you have Legal Requirement as a Lawful Base. Under "common Law" it is a crime to expose individuals and gain benefit from it (in raw terms); then there is the "figure" of "extorsion"... GDPR does not foresee prision time, however GDPR is the least of their problems. Do you want specific Laws and articles that corroborate my statment... is that it? – Rui Freitas Serrano Jun 1 at 19:10
  • Helpful answers contain details (such as those in your last comment), and cite authoritative references or sources when applicable and available. It is not helpful to make general statements that could be nothing more than a layperson's opinion. – feetwet Jun 1 at 21:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.