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When can’t you take photos in public?

Watch above: Police searching for man said to be taking photos of young kids. Mark Carcasole reports. 

TORONTO – You are allowed to take pictures of anything, anywhere at any time – as long as you’re in a public place.

But Toronto Police allege a man recently took a photo of a six-year-old girl outside of her home near Danforth Avenue and Coxwell Avenue.

“A man drove up to a home in the area and took a picture of a six-year-old girl in front of her home and drove off,” media relations officer Constable Jennifer Sidhu said.

The man is described by police as having white hair and a white beard. Police said he was driving an older car with the taillights across the back and below the license plate.

The man is not facing any charges – yet – but police do want to talk to him about why he’s taking pictures.

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But it’s not illegal to take the photo.

“An individual is allowed to take pictures of anything in a public place, it’s what they do with the pictures where it becomes an issue or a gray area,” Sidhu said. “So police are interested to speaking with this man in regards to why he’s taking pictures in the area.”

Borderline photographs have made headlines before – most notably, when the Reddit forum “/r/creepshots” got widespread attention after an article on Gawker.com exposed one of its users.

The now-banned forum featured posts which linked to surreptitiously taken photos of women in public places – the photos themselves weren’t hosted on Reddit but generally on an image-sharing website, Imgur.com.

That being said, legal analyst Lorne Honickman said the photos – even if legally taken – can be used illegally.

“You could take pictures of children and do all sorts of things to [the photos],” Honickman said. “Maybe he’s a photographer and he has a portfolio, he still might not be allowed to use those photos. It may not be illegal from a criminal point of view, but from a civil point of view.”
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Honickman explained people have a right to deny the use of their image if a person were to try and profit for the photo.

The mother of the young girl whose photo was taken refused to be interviewed.

– With files from Mark Carcasole 

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