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Right to privacy: crimes you may face if you release a sex video


What is the right to privacy?

The Diccionario del Español Jurídico defines the right to privacy as:

The right to enjoy one's own private sphere in which to develop a full and free personal and family life, excluded from the knowledge and interference of third parties.

Due to its nature as a fundamental right, the right to honour, to personal privacy and to one's own image is explicitly included in Article 18 of the Spanish Constitution:

1. The right to honour, to personal and family privacy and to one's own image shall be guaranteed.

2. The home is inviolable. No entry or search may be made therein without the consent of the owner or without a court order, except in cases of flagrante delicto.

3. The secrecy of communications and, in particular, postal, telegraphic and telephone communications shall be guaranteed, except in the event of a judicial decision.

4. The law shall limit the use of information technology to guarantee the honour and personal and family privacy of citizens and the full exercise of their rights.

right to privacy

What is considered a privacy offence?

A privacy offence is a criminal offence that infringes on the fundamental right to privacy, by means of the the seizure, modification, use or disclosure of data, communications or images of a person.

In this regard, we can name the following situations:

  • that someone disseminates images or videos of you without your consent.
  • that someone obtain images of you against your will or without your knowledge (computer intrusion or data interception).
  • or that a third party seizes, modifies or discloses a private conversation, among others.

How is an offence against the right to privacy punishable?

Offences against privacy are regulated in Articles 197 to 201 of the Penal Code:

1. Anyone who, in order to discover the secrets or violate the privacy of another, without their consent, seizes their papers, letters, e-mail messages or any other documents or personal effects, intercepts their telecommunications or uses technical devices for listening, transmission, recording or reproduction of sound or image, or of any other communication signal, shall be punished with a prison sentence of one to four years and a fine of twelve to twenty-four months.

Article 197.1 of the Penal Code

Analysis of a media case: Santi Millán

Recently, we have witnessed a crime against privacy: the dissemination of a sex video of the actor and presenter Santi Millán.

In the hypothetical case that the initial disseminator accessed the device without the consent of the person concerned and subsequently disseminated the video to a third party, we would be faced with a offence of disclosure of secrets -under Art. 197 of the Criminal Code - punishable by prison sentences of two to five years. In the case of only access to the device and not dissemination of its contents, the penalties would amount to one to four years' imprisonment and a fine of twelve to twenty-four months.

In addition, it is important to note that forwarding and dissemination of the video on social networks or instant messaging services also entails legal consequences.

Lawyer specialising in criminal law in Malaga

The Internet has become a conduit for privacy offences. In fact, cases of digital gender-based violence tripled in the first six months of 2021, according to data from the Spanish Computer Crime Observatory.

For this reason, it is important to know the limits that we should never exceed when we receive unauthorised content that may violate the right to privacy, honour and self-image.

Ódice Abogados, a law firm of lawyers specialising in offences against privacy and disclosure of secrets in MalagaWe are at your disposal to analyse your situation, advise you and report any possible offence.


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