No, we are not violating Christopher Sengseng’s right to privacy
Christopher Sengseng, branch manager of a KFC outlet along North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), became an overnight Internet sensation in recent days when a netizen uploaded a photo of him while refilling the gravy cup of a customer.
Clad in his maroon work uniform, Facebook and Twitter users immediately noticed Sengseng’s good looks and well-built biceps, plus his minor resemblance to actor Daniel Padilla.
It didn’t take long before netizens discovered through Sengseng’s social media accounts that he is from Pampanga (he’s a graduate of Angeles University Foundation) and that he is already married and in fact has a son. A quick search via Google will show that shirtless photos of him has been uploaded on the Internet as early as 2011.
In the midst of all these hoopla, some netizens questioned whether this blatant stalking of Mr. Sengseng constitute a violation of his right to privacy. One Facebook user, for his part, went as far as condemning the “lustful” nature of the comments made by a lot of girls and gays about Sengseng.
Let’s focus on the first claim. Are Internet users who scoured Sengseng’s social media accounts to get information about him or to download his pictures guilty of violating his privacy? The plain and simple answer is no based on American and Philippine jurisprudence.
A district court in Georgia, United States ruled in 2013 that individuals effectively jeopardize their expectation of privacy whenever they post something to their Facebook profile and share those posts with their Facebook friends.
“When an individual shares a photograph with his friends on Facebook, that individual “has no justifiable expectation that his ‘friends’ would keep his profile private,” and any “legitimate expectation of privacy ended when he disseminated posts to his ‘friends’ because those ‘friends’ were free to use the information however they wanted,” United States District Judge Timothy Batten Sr. elucidated.
More importantly, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled the same way last year when it upheld the right of St. Theresa’s College – Cebu’s administration to impose disciplinary actions (prohibiting them from joining the graduation ceremony) against five senior high school students on the basis of photos uploaded on Facebook. It happened March 2012.
Let me end this piece by giving an unsolicited advice to all good looking guys and girls: If you want to avoid having intense admirers and stalkers, well don’t post photos of yourselves on social media. Also, don’t join activities in public where people will most likely take pictures of you. In other words, magkulong na lang kayo sa bahay. LOL