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Invasion of privacy

Invasion of privacy is the violation of a person’s freedom to control their image and be left undisturbed in private spaces and conversations.

What is invasion of privacy?

Invasion of privacy is the intrusion of an unwanted individual or business into the private affairs of a person without consent. It’s one of the insurance risks for small businesses covered under the personal and advertising injury section of a general liability insurance policy or with professional liability insurance for some professions.

Types and examples of invasion of privacy

Common invasion of privacy torts (or wrongful acts) against businesses include misusing a person’s statements for marketing purposes, publishing someone’s likeness without permission, and making email or telephone communications without the opportunity for the recipient to opt out.

Your liability insurance coverage could protect you from financial losses if you or your business is accused of one of these types of invasion of privacy:

Misappropriating a person’s name or likeness. This occurs when a business uses a person’s name or image in marketing materials without consent. Celebrities typically have legal teams to address this issue, but it can apply to anyone. By publishing the celebrity’s name or photo without permission, a business is invading that person’s privacy.

Intruding on someone’s seclusion. Intentionally violating someone’s privacy when they’re in solitude or seclusion could be grounds for a lawsuit. For example, if you tape a private customer conversation without approval and use the remarks on your website, you could face an invasion of privacy lawsuit.

Portraying someone in a false light. This occurs if something you say or publish puts a person in a negative light. Even true statements can sometimes fall into this category if they are damaging to the person’s reputation.

Publicly disclosing private facts. Whenever you disclose sensitive, embarrassing, or private information about a person, you could be at risk of invasion of privacy. Generally speaking, you can get sued whenever you:

  • Disclose information about a person’s private life
  • Say or write something that is offensive to a reasonable person
  • Make revelations that do not legitimately concern the public

How can you protect yourself against invasion of privacy charges?

Several liability insurance policies provide coverage for invasion of privacy, including:

Make sure you have coverage for invasion of privacy claims in your liability insurance policies. Having an insurance safety net against privacy-related lawsuits will not only give you peace of mind, but it will also save you a lot of money should you ever get sued.

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