Update privacy laws in digital era

There is a dearth of privacy laws governing the capture and use of an individual's image by a third party.

Presently, many digital natives snap images with their smartphones at will, with many of these images winding up on apps such as Snapchat or Instagram.

People whose images were taken without their knowledge or consent, and then misused, are left stranded if the other party is uncooperative.

Their only recourse seems to be to file a lengthy and costly harassment or defamation claim against the other party. However, the outcome is uncertain and the image remains the property of the other party.

With the lack of accessible and cost-effective means to deal with misused personal images, verbal or physical confrontations will remain commonplace (Youth pleads guilty to using criminal force on Amos Yee; Feb 2).

Singapore's privacy laws need an update in this digital era. It is time the authorities give people back the rights to their personal images.

Shaun Fu, 20,

Full-time national serviceman

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2017, with the headline 'Update privacy laws in digital era'. Print Edition | Subscribe