Viral videos are great until they're not. Filming without knowledge is a good way to get a natural reaction but is also somewhat insidious and potentially unlawful.

The article says the user in question - Pawluk - earns between £5,500 and £8,300 per month from his social media feed, including his videos. While it seems Pawluk generally films with consent, or gets consent afterwards, this scenario raises an interesting question about the need to obtain consent that the article doesn't really address. 

This isn't a question about filming children or celebrities where the answer is clearer. But an ordinary individual might still have recourse.

While the current government has threatened to tear up human rights (in the name of protecting human rights), the UK still complies with the European Convention on Human Rights. This provides a right of respect for private life and it seems unlikely that merely being in a public place and minding your own business will override that here.

Also, footage of someone featured prominently (as opposed to in the background or in a crowd) could amount to the use of personal data under UK GDPR. We all know consent is not the only basis for using personal data but it seems to be the only real justification here. And, as the article points out, it should be informed consent so the individual knows exactly what to expect.

Moreover, this type of filming doesn't appear to be journalism, freedom of expression or in the public interest. So video creators should beware.

If you need advice, contact me or +44 (0) 20 7611 2338.