The 'creepshot' is the latest online trend involving the non-consensual photography of women - and it's just as gross as it sounds. The stated aim of the creepshot is to capture "the beauty of unsuspecting targets" which are then shared online.
Creepshot purveyors claim they are just celebrating the female form. In reality, they are wilfully invading the privacy of strangers for their own gratification. It's definitely wrong on a number of levels - but is it legal? Let's find out.
The creepshot craze has been gaining steady traction in recent years, with scores of websites, forums and social media groups now dedicated to the practice. Unlike "upskirting" or revenge porn, creepshots largely focus on fully clothed women in public spaces.
This doesn't make it any less of an invasion of privacy - especially when the aim is to sexualise the subject without her consent or knowledge. Unfortunately, the law doesn't agree with this viewpoint. As explained by The Conversation's Andrea Waling:
Creepshots are not illegal in Australia. The reasonable expectation to privacy does not include public spaces, nor are they considered sexual violence unless involving people under 18.
The secretive nature of the creepshot also means women do not have the opportunity to confront perpetrators, and may put themselves at risk of aggressive retaliation.
Or, as one creepshot forum bluntly asserts: "When you are in public, you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. We kindly ask women to respect our right to admire your bodies and stop complaining." Charming.
Currently, your only legal recourse in Australia is to prove the image is defamatory, has violated reasonable expectation to privacy, is harassing and offensive or is an image of a person under 18. Failing that, all you can do is ask the offending website to remove the images. (If the crass disclaimer above is anything to go by, there doesn't appear to be much chance of that.)
If you manage to discover the perpetrator's identity you could also name and shame them on social media - but this may open its own legal can of worms. While these guys certainly deserve to be publicly roasted, we advise speaking to a solicitor first.
[Via The Conversation]
This story has been updated since its original publication.