Torts.  The term “invasion of privacy” refers to a category of torts involving an unreasonable and offensive publicity about an individual or intrusion into an individual’s personal affairs.

Torts that fall under the “invasion of privacy” umbreall include:

  1. Intrusion;
  2. Disclosure of private facts;
  3. Appropriation of likeness; and
  4. False light.


The tort of “intrusion” involves an unreasonable invasion of plaintiff’s right of solitude and seclusion that is objectionable to a reasonable person’s sensibilities.

Cases of intrusion generally involve evesdropping by the defendant (e.g., peeking through windows or keyholes, listening at doors, electronic evesdropping, etc.).  The intrusion can also involve nonphysical invasion of privacy such as repeated telephone calls to plaintiff in the middle of the night.

The law requires the intrusion to be “highly objectionable” to a person of reasonable sensibilities.

Disclosure of Private Facts

Public disclosure of informaiton concerning the private life of another that is highly offensive to a person of reasonable sensibilities and is not of legitimate concern to the public.

Appropriation of Likeness

Appropriation of one’s identity or likeness for commercial purposes, without consent.

False Light

Portrayal of a person in false light in the public eye that is objectionable to a reasonable person.

Reference Desk

Hamberger v. Eastman, 106 N.H. 107 (1964):

The four kinds of invasion comprising the law of privacy include: (1) intrusion upon the plaintiff’s physical and mental solitude or seclusion; (2) public disclosure of private facts; (3) publicity which places the plaintiff in a false light in the public eye; (4) appropriation, for the defendant’s benefit or advantage, of the plaintiff’s name or likeness.

‘It is evident that these four forms of invasion of privacy are distinct, and based on different elements. It is the failure to recognize this which has been responsible for much of the apparent confusion in the decisions. Taking them in order-intrusion, disclosure, false light, and appropriation-the first and second require the invasion of something secret, secluded or private pertaining to the plaintiff; the third and fourth do not. The second and third depend upon publicity, while the first does not, nor does the fourth, although it usually involves it.  The third requires falsity or fiction; the other three do not. The fourth involves a use for the defendant’s advantage, which is not true of the rest.’ Prosser, Torts s. 112 p. 842-843 (3d ed. 1964).

Caro v. Weintraub, 618 F. 3d 94 (2d Cir. 2010):

The four categories of invasion of privacy are: (a) unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another; (b) appropriation of the other’s name or likeness; (c) unreasonable publicity given to the other’s private life; or (d) publicity that unreasonably places the other in a false light before the public.

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