Experts say no crime likely committed by shutterbug at UH Manoa


An online account where hundreds of photos of University of Hawaii students were posted without their permission has been shut down.

That’s according to a UH spokesman, who also said a number of the students have filed police reports.

On Monday, we told you about a man who had been taking pictures of women and posting them online, with names in some cases, and derogatory comments.

But has a crime been committed and what can victims do?

KHON2 spoke with two attorneys about possible criminal and civil charges. They don’t believe it’s illegal.

“Based on the limited information we have, I do not believe so. These photos were apparently taken in public places. This is at public bus stops,” said attorney David Hayakawa.

Even though the women were fully clothed in the photos, if any undergarments were shown, that would be a crime, a violation of privacy, which is a misdemeanor.

“There are specific laws for invasion of privacy for what’s traditionally been called the ‘upskirt photos’ on the escalator or the secret showing of the underwear,” Hayakawa said.

Although a crime may not have been committed in the hundreds of photos that were posted, KHON2 learned the victims could sue because people have a right to privacy, even when they’re in a public place.

“That means they have the right to have their likeness or their image, their photographs kept private, not used for public purposes or commercial gain,” said attorney Tom Bush with Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing.

From hearing the facts of these incidents, Bush believes the victims could sue for invasion of privacy, right to control publicity, defamation, false light and infliction of emotional distress.

For immediate action, victims can ask the person who owns or manages the account to remove the photos.

“Use online search engines to find who is the organization and how to contact them,” said cybersecurity expert Chris Duque.

Some websites, such as Facebook, have pages where you can report this type of incident and they also have information on privacy rights.

You can report inappropriate pictures and comments, as well as harassment and abuse.

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