The way you look is one of the main aspects of your personality. Your image is unique and reveals your individual characteristics, distinguishing you from other people.
When you interact with society, there is a chance of being photographed or filmed. If that happens and your image is recorded by someone else, it may be reproduced and used later for various purposes. Sometimes you are obliged to let yourself be photographed, for instance, for a passport photo or for your employer’s personnel files. In other situations, you, yourself, actively share your image, for example, by posting a selfie on Facebook.
Right to your own image
Human rights, more specifically the right to private life, include your right to control the use of your image. The right to your own image covers your right to object to and refuse the recording, reproduction and retention of your image, as well as its publication by another individual or institution.
At the same time, your right to control the use of your image may collide with the rights of others. In most cases this will be someone’s right to freedom of expression. For example, when a journalist wants to publish an article of great public interest and your image is an important part of it.
About this section
In this section, you can learn about specific situations regarding the use of your image, how your interests should be balanced against the interests of others, and how to protect yourself.
This section is dedicated to the processing and publication of images obtained through photography or filming. Please read the video monitoring section of this e-guide if you want information about situations where you have been monitored by video cameras (CCTV) and you feel that this video monitoring is an intrusion into your private life.
15 January 2009
Joint publication by the the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and the Council of Europe