Revenge pornography, privacy and dignity: a constitutional analysis of South African privacy laws

Bonongwe, Tough Mercy
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Privacy in the fourth industrial revolution has become a major concern. Accordingly, there are changes to how information is shared and received from one individual to another. This is the result of ever-developing information and communication technologies. These technologies have the ability to process information, which includes personal information, much easier and faster than ever before. Concomitant to these developing technologies are the threats that these entail for an individual’s privacy. An example of such a threat is revenge pornography. This research report seeks to evaluate the South African legal framework regulating revenge pornography against the Constitution of the Republic, 1996. In this regard, consideration must be given to relevant constitutional provisions and principles, the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (‘POPIA’) and the common law (as applicable sources of law). As my theoretical framework, I am using the doctrine of adjudicative subsidiarity to provide an integrated and constitutional reading of the different sources of law that apply to the regulation of revenge pornography. Furthermore, I am using the concept of informational privacy, as originating from the interaction between the common law and Constitution which implicate both the value of human dignity and the fundamental right to privacy, to act as the constitutional backdrop to discuss the interpretation and application of the POPIA. With that being said, it is important to note that POPIA provides the legal duty, cause of action and remedies regarding the adjudication of the privacy interests infringed by revenge pornography. At the end of this research report, I will provide an integrated reading and application of the abovementioned sources to the infringement of the aforementioned privacy interests by revenge pornography
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Law (by Coursework and Research Report) for the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, at the University of the Witwatersrand, 2021