New bill on privacy, regarding the case of Kobe Bryant

In response to photos shared by Los Angeles County sheriffs about the helicopter crash that transported Kobe Bryant and his companions, the California Senate last Friday approved the bill that includes as a (misdemeanor) crime photographing corpses by reasons other than those of official investigations, he noted Los Angeles Times.

This proyecto de ley was introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gipson after learning that sheriffs shared such images about the scene of the accident on January 26 of this year. Gibson took on the task "as a great responsibility to ensure that those who are trusted to secure scenes of great disaster and death do not abuse their power for personal pleasure. " On the other hand, the lawyer for Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant's widow, described the behavior of the bailiffs as "inexcusable and deplorable."

Such a bill includes as punitive measures up to (i) one year in jail and / or (ii) one thousand dollars in fines.

The regulation in force in California prohibits the reproduction of photographs taken by a forensic doctor for the purpose of a post-mortem examination or autopsy, but does not refer to the photos that could be captured by any other official who, due to his work, has access to the scene of the accident / crime, as is the case of lifeguards, firefighters, policemen, and other collaborators. Clearly, these officials can photograph these scenes as long as there is an official law enforcement purpose or in case there is a genuine public interest. In this way, any other use other than those mentioned will be subject to punishment.

The aforementioned bill involves the amendment of section 1524 of the Penal Code, regarding the invasion of privacy by "first assistants" at the scene of the accident / crime. This project will include the possibility of issuing a search warrant that will allow confiscation of items that represent evidence tending to show that a "first assistant" took unauthorized photographs of lifeless bodies.

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Marilú Lazo
Lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). She has experience in corporate advice, as well as in matters of personal data protection and new technologies.

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