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Alice meets Bob on a dating app and invites him to her place to have good time with him. Bob takes photos of the place's interior (walls, furniture etc.) without Alice's knowledge (and so without her explicit permission).

Bob keeps the photos for himself and does not share/upload anywhere.

Some time later Bob chats with Alice and shows her the photos. Alice becomes perturbed and accuses Bob of breaching her privacy.

If Alice takes this to the court, could she possibly be awarded any damages at all in any jurisdiction? If not, is this sort of thing that Bobs can do without facing any consequences, even though technically it may be called breach of privacy?

  • As he said, in any jurisdiction, whatsoever. – user6726 Jul 17 at 15:06
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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is governed by Shari`ah law. See this work for an overview of Shari`ah as it relates to compensatory damages in personal injury cases. It is a principle under Ijma (a second-order source of Islamic law) that if one is insulted or emotionally injured by another party, you are entitled to be monetarily compensated. Sharia law in Saudi Arabia is not codified, so there exist differences among the four schools of Shari`ah regarding compensating a victim monetarily for emotional distress, which may alternatively be answered with physical punishment. Under Shari`ah, it is highly likely that moral harm would be found, since privacy is a fundamental right in Islam (see this source, with numerous citations). The standards for "intrusion into seclusion" under Shari`ah are stricter that they are under common law. However, other premises of the hypothetical are a problem under Shari`ah law (e.g. the whole dating thing).

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In the United States, this would be unlikely to result in any damages.

Most states recognize at most four basic privacy torts:

  1. false light invasion of privacy

  2. public disclosure of private facts

  3. misappropriation of likeness

  4. intrusion upon seclusion

The first three generally require the defendant to publish something about the plaintiff, which you've indicated Bob hasn't done.

Intrusion upon seclusion is all that's left, but it doesn't work either. To collect damages, Alice would need to prove that Bob somehow got access to something that Alice considers private. If Alice let Bob into her home where he could see the walls and furniture, she didn't consider those things private in a way that the law recognizes.

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  • Would you answer differ I’d A had explicitly told B not to take photos? – Dale M Jul 18 at 1:23
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    I don't think so. If she showed them to him, she was not keeping them private in the way most American courts care about. – bdb484 Jul 18 at 1:55
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    I have, however, seen criminal cases where people end up with trespassing charges because they remained in a house acting violent to the homeowner, at which point the courts say B knew he no longer had consent to be in the house. Maybe you could stretch that logic to apply here? – bdb484 Jul 18 at 1:56

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