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Saturday 21 October 2017

YouTube voyeur stalks women

Fury as secret recordings made on city's streets appear on the internet

Fiona Ellis

A SECRET voyeur is stalking women in the street, filming them from behind without consent and posting the images on the internet.

Young women have been followed around some of the busiest streets in Dublin and furtively filmed from behind by a hidden camera and the images uploaded on to YouTube .

The YouTube user was yesterday suspended and had their collection of videos removed.

There were 14 videos in all ranging from 17 seconds long to 4 minutes 27 secs. All had been filmed at hip level and have lurid descriptive titles.

The women seemed unaware that they are being filmed and in some cases, the videographer is mere inches away from the women he is taping.

A YouTube spokesman said: "YouTube is a community site used by millions of people in very positive ways.

"Sadly, as with any form of communication, there is a tiny minority of people who try to break the rules. When people see content that they think is inappropriate they can flag it and our staff then review it.

"If the content breaks our terms then we remove it and if a user repeatedly breaks the rules we disable their account."

Disturbing

Women's Aid director Margaret Martin said it was a "very worrying development".

"Women's Aid has been made aware of this disturbing practice where women are being filmed, unbeknownst to them, and sexually objectified online," she said.

"It is clear that many women are being subjected to unacceptable abuse and objectification through technology by their partners, boyfriends and husbands and by strangers in the street. This is totally unacceptable," she added.

In one of the clips, the videographer stands on Grafton Street and follows a young girl for the entirety of the street.

She is filmed firstly from behind then the camera moves in front of her, at times showing her face.

"This type of thing is a grey area and depends on a number of different factors. But essentially if the person in the video is anyway identifiable, then there is a clear breach of the Data Protection Act 1988-2003," said Karen Murray, barrister and lecturer with the National College of Ireland.

"There also could be human rights breaches. The European Union Convention of Human Rights article 8 protects a person's private and family life and section 40 in the constitution gives people innumerable rights to privacy.

"Although, if the person filmed is not identifiable then there is no remedy," she added.

The anonymous user also films a young woman as she is sitting in Connelly Station and follows a mother around the supermarket while she shops with her child.

"In order to ascertain the legality of such videos, a full investigation would have to be carried out," a Garda spokesman said.

A Department of Justice spokeswoman said: "It is open to anyone to make a complaint to the service provider and it is not for us to interpret the law in this case."

Irish Independent

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