Is It Legal To Take ‘Creepshots’ In Australia?

Is It Legal To Take ‘Creepshots’ In Australia?
Image: Getty Images

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.


  • Thankfully the law is based on logic and reason and not wild assumptions.

    Not disputing that there are a small minority of people participate in these communities. But the kind of legislation which would make “creepshots” illegal would essentially make it illegal to take photographs of attractive people on the street.

    The other issue is that there is no invasion of privacy taking place if you are viewed doing something in public, because you are not in a private place such as a restroom, changing room or your home. And again, any kind of law which would provide this would essentially outlaw photography in public.

    Perhaps you should read the privacy act, or even the privacy policy which this site should have as it should summarise most of the important parts.

  • There are legal ways to stop someone taking creepy photos in some places without worrying about the legality of the photography itself. Instead you are relying on the conditions which allow someone to be in the place (this is for shopping centres, libraries, etc). If they don’t leave when asked, they are trespassing, which *is* a legal matter. Call security or the police and ask them to deal with it. It’s also a good idea for people whose job involves dealing with the public to have training in the laws applying to their workplace, and in dealing with difficult customers.

  • I 100% support making taking creepshots illegal. This would give men in public transit legal recourse against all of the creepy women taking cellphone photos of men with their legs spread.

  • It really is disgusting when this happens inappropriately. I’m very underage and today me and my younger sister were in the park when a man approached us and starting following us with his camera, taking photos of us very clearly. It wasn’t the scenery or anything, we were in a playground, he was just taking pictures of our asses. I feel disgusting now and couldn’t do anything to stop him. Even when we left, I turned around to see him taking photos of us as we walked away.

  • This is a can of worm that you do not want to open. The legal stance which you reported wisdom and is adequate. If you attack “creepshot” then you are facing legal charges for investigative journalist “spying” to find proof, cops legally stop you from filming them, public figure as well as politician can sue you and stop you from releasing footage that would compromise them, need i go further? What qualify “creep” is up to interpretation is solely base on the perspective of the “so called victim”. If you accidentally taking a picture of yourself in a public place and you frame in some people that doesnt want to be in camera, should they be able to sue you just because they don’t like it? Sorry but tough luck, you are in public space.

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