Teenager accused of shoplifting, shamed on Facebook and privacy

A short time ago, I blogged how a small business in the US put this picture of a suspected shoplifter on their Facebook page and asked their followers to help identify the suspect, and I wondered about the legality of doing this.

Well I made some enquires and today I received some response based on this case in New Zealand Privacy Commissioner.

What happened there was a clothing business posted a picture of a group of three teenagers suspected of shoplifting. Two were guilty, but the third was not. Then the father of the third teenager complained to the privacy commissioner about the photo which he said unfairly branded his daughter as a shoplifter. The shop paid some compensation at the end.

Two points are clear in the judgement

1) If you intend to use Facebook like this you need to make sure you have a sign in the shop clearly saying that such security footage may be shared on the shop's Facebook page.

2) If you have a group shot, and you are unsure of one person, blank that person out. If you have not got a photo editor program, the one I recommend that is fairly easy to use is PicPick

Note: I'm not a lawyer, so you should seek professional advice first before doing this ?