September 11, 2010
Posting personal photos, recordings online not illegal
By CHRIS KITCHING - Winnipeg Sun
It appears a young Winnipeg woman didn’t break any laws by recording her stormy telephone calls with a former lover, but she might have opened herself to the possibility of legal action.
Taking a page from the Mel Gibson saga, Deborah Simmons uploaded several profanity-laden recordings between her and wrestler Monty (Kip) Sopp to the Internet. The pair was involved in an extramarital affair.
Canada’s laws require at least one person in the phone call to be aware the call is being taped.
A lawyer may argue publicizing a recording — such as posting it on the Internet for anyone to listen to — of a personal call is a breach of a person’s right to privacy, depending on the nature of the conversation.
Winnipeg privacy lawyer Brian Bowman said few people pursue such a lawsuit because a court case is time-consuming and costly. Plus there is some grey area because Canada’s privacy laws haven’t kept up with advancements in technology and forums such as social-networking websites, he said.
“In terms of individuals, there really is a big gap in terms of legal protection,” he said.
The recordings of Simmons and Sopp were posted on YouTube. Sopp does have the option of contacting YouTube or hiring a lawyer to ask the web company to delete the recordings.
Bowman said he has acted for clients who sought to have content posted by others deleted from websites such as Facebook, but it’s not a simple process.
“There’s very weak and minimal protections for these kinds of things,” Bowman said.