Involved in sharing images of dead bodies can be liable for vilification. The family can sue the involved for moral damages.
The singer Marília Mendonça had photos of the body taken during the autopsy leaked. The images were part of the police investigation that investigated the plane crash that caused her death. g1 talked to experts to understand what punishments are applicable for this type of image sharing.
Judge Marianna de Queiroz explained that the punishment can be criminal or civil. Everyone involved can respond by sharing, including the social networks on which the images were released. According to her, if the disclosure of the image hurts the memory of the deceased person, the family can sue those involved for moral damages. In addition, disclosure can be considered vilification.
“It is a crime provided for in the penal code that can be committed online,” he said.
Lawyer Marcelo Gonçalves, the specialist in digital law and personal data protection, explained that the disclosure of photos or videos of the corpse can be considered vilification depending on the context. The penalty for vilification is imprisonment from one to three years and a fine.
“If in the disclosure there is any act of disrespect for the corpse such as spitting, stripping or any action that disrespects that body, it is vilification”, explained the specialist.
The lawyer added that sharing this type of image also violates constitutional guarantees, such as intimacy, image, and privacy.
Marcelo Gonçalves pointed out that platforms must keep records of their users’ access in their databases for up to six months. So, even if the person discloses such images through fake profiles, believing them to be anonymous, it is possible to track this data and identify the author.
The lawyer pointed out that, in the case of Marília Mendonça, this is a situation that should be restricted only to the environment where the procedure was being performed.
“Leaking the police investigation can also constitute the crime of breach of functional secrecy, which is when the public servant publicizes the fact that he became aware of due to the function he performs”, he said.
The expert reported that the minimum penalty for violating functional secrecy can be from six months to two years in prison or a fine. However, when the crime is committed in its qualified forms, it can reach up to six years of imprisonment.
Marcelo Gonçalves said that he believes in raising awareness and digital education to prevent this type of behavior.
“It used to be believed that the internet was a lawless land, so, under the cloak of anonymity, people believed they could practice any type of offense without being discovered. However, today we have extensive legislative ballast that, in addition to guaranteeing our security on the internet and the protection of our rights, gives us the possibility of identifying, through a specific request to the court, who is the author of any criminal practice”, he said.