New York bill would ban many instances of photo-sharing as elder abuse

What?! A bill passed 61-0 in the New York senate, and promoted as curbing elder abuse, “makes it a crime for caregivers (including family) to post photos on social media if elderly, vulnerable seniors aren’t able to give consent.” [Eric Turkewitz]


  • What about all the other ages that can’t give consent? How about funeral pics, do corpses have rights? Not advocating, just asking… After all, there has to be some enterprising lawyer out there just raring to take laws like this and run with them… Even if it’s just a DA with a list of folks he doesn’t like…

  • It sounds like you could not post a picture of your family gathered around grandpa in the hospital if he is senile or not conscious. How this helps anyone is beyond me.

  • This is one of the strangest pieces of legislation I’ve read about. So many vague parts. And I don’t really understand the motivation either. Was there a problem?

    Or was it an effort from Nursing Homes to stop people from taking pictures there? (I’d suspect this, because it’s the only plausible reason that someone would push for it.)

  • It’s about time!

    Germany has had a law for some time (I forget the name of it) that says, if I take a picture of you in a non-public place, copyright in that photo is born belonging to you, not me. I can have the photo, but I can’t share or upload it without your permission.

    This would be an excellent law to have in the US, not only to deal with the problem the New York bill seeks to address (which, to be fair, is likely only an important problem to a few people) but also to put a stop to revenge porn.

    And unlike either the New York bill or earlier efforts at outlawing revenge porn, the German law would probably pass constitutional muster in the US, since it does not directly forbid any communication but merely assigns ownership of a copyright (and leaves it to the victim to enforce his rights by suing).

  • I usually roll my eyes as much as anyone as some of the stuff reported here, but this one actually makes some sense to me. A LOT of old people want to be remembered for how they were, not how they are. This is why you see so many “young photos” accompanying obituaries. When they’re completely out of control of the rest of their lives (dementia, illness, whatever), this bill gives them through the law some control, at least, at what images of themselves are out there. I would have voted for it.

    • Except that the text of the law (in the original post) seems not to differentiate the timing of when the image was created. Posting that decades old “young photo” of someone now infirm would seem to be equally illegal.

  • The bill is limited to “caregivers,” though the term is broadly interpreted as to someone residing at home. The family just has to make sure the photos are taken by an irresponsible grandkid or similar relative or friend. After all, the responsible relative/friend providing assistance can’t be trusted.