Paparazzi Privacy Invasions Towards Celebrities Impacts Everyone
Tabloids are replete with instances of celebrities being hounded by paparazzi. Even the most benign encounters (those that do not deal with verbal harassment, physical confrontations, car crashes or dangerous high-speed chases) between celebrities and paparazzi serve to draw into stark contrast a question that affects every person in every nation: when does a person’s right to privacy prevent disclosure of private details to the world at large?
In answering this question, the struggle of celebrities to protect what remaining private lives they have not only highlights the devastating effects of intrusions into private matters, but the result of that struggle greatly impacts what constitutes private activity for everyone. For instance, Governor Schwarzenegger of California just signed into law a bill that further protects privacy interests by imposing liability on publishers of illegally obtained photographs. Even though much of the impetus for this bill arose from paparazzi intrusions into celebrities’ lives, its scope protects all persons in California. Thus, the plight of celebrities to protect their own privacy interests is ultimately a plight to protect everyone’s privacy interests.
It is no surprise that with the increasing abundance of digital cameras, the ease at which images and videos are uploaded and distributed via the Internet, and the mass audiences such images and video uploads can reach, personal privacy is under assault as never before in the history of humanity. The problem of intrusive photography once was a problem relatively unique to famous persons. Now, in the Internet Age, it can affect anyone who is unfortunate enough to be the subject of a photograph that is posted on a hobbyist’s blog. It is then time for all of us not to dismiss the struggles of celebrities with paparazzi as a cost of being famous, but rather understand that they are on the front lines of a battle to protect the human right to privacy -- the outcome of which affects all of us.