By Gloria James-Civetta

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Legal Insights by GJC Lawyers on Filming without Consent in Public

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Reported in CNA on 4 Sept 2023

In today’s world, capturing moments in public has become effortless and common, thanks to mobile camera technology. However, this ease of photography also raises questions about the legality of taking photos or videos of individuals without their consent.

Recently, our firm’s Head Lawyer, Gloria James, and Associate Lawyer, Noelle Teoh, examined the legal aspects surrounding public photography and its boundaries.

When Do Actions Cross the Line?

Contrary to popular belief, Singaporean law generally permits the capturing of videos or photos of individuals in public without consent. However, certain situations cross the legal line:

  • Filming someone in a private place or during private activities, such as showering or breastfeeding, is an offense.
  • Capturing intimate body parts in circumstances where they wouldn’t be visible to others constitutes voyeurism and carries serious legal consequences, particularly if it involves minors.
  • Taking videos or photos with the intent to harass or intimidate someone can be an offense, causing distress to the subject.

Read more: When are Offenders “Warned in Lieu of Prosecution”?

Morality vs. Legality

While it might not always be illegal, it’s essential to consider the moral implications of photographing someone in public. The content may affect the individuals’ personal and professional lives, making it crucial to seek consent when possible, especially when it involves children.

What If You’re the Unwilling Subject?

If you find yourself unwillingly featured in a non-obscene video or photograph, it’s advisable to approach the situation calmly and request the other party to stop. Avoid confrontations and consider calling the police if necessary.

Don’t Stay Silent

If you witness someone else being targeted by obscene or harmful media, don’t hesitate to take action. Inform the person being recorded and report the incident to the police, ensuring that their rights are protected.

Seek Legal Advice

When in doubt about your rights or the appropriate course of action, consult a criminal lawyer. It’s important to preserve personal safety and ensure that you understand the legal options available to you.

In the recent incident involving local actress Ching Shu Yi, it’s worth noting that seeking advice and assistance from the police, or legal experts is always a prudent choice when faced with unwanted media attention.

For legal inquiries or guidance, contact Gloria James-Civetta & Co.

Gloria James is head lawyer at Gloria James-Civetta & Co, and Noelle Teoh holds the position of Associate Attorney within the firm.

What can we do for you?

Should you have any questions or would like more information, please contact our criminal representation lawyers at 6337 0469 or email us at

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Legal Insights by GJC Lawyers on Filming without Consent in Public