Posting pictures online, without permission, is becoming an increasingly more prevalent and serious problem within society with the development of social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to name but a few. Already the world has witnessed huge breaches of privacy, such as the recent Jennifer Lawrence scandal, but the question remains…what can you do if you or your children fall victim of similar assaults?

In New Zealand, under the Privacy Act, the Privacy Commissioner investigates any interference with a person’s privacy. However, once information is posted online in public forums such as Facebook, the Privacy Commissioner cannot force an agency to remove it and has no control over how the information will be copied or distributed once it has been released.

To prevent anyone misusing any images that you may post online ensure that you check your privacy settings on your social media accounts and make sure you know how to apply them to your profile.

For images that have already been posted online you will need to complain directly to the publishing agency to have them taken down. For example, Facebook provides users with ways to report any photos that they believe violate their privacy rights. If an unauthorised photo is posted of your child below the age of 13, parents and or guardians can request its removal from Facebook. However, children over the age of 13 will have to apply to Facebook directly to have the images removed.