Monday, 27 November 2006

Privacy & photos or videos of you

Just thought this Times article "Snap... privacy and 33.5m camera phones" from a couple of weeks ago was worth pointing out, for those concerned about privacy and how easy it is for people, especially with cameraphones, to take pictures or videos of you and share it with the world on the Net.

Not that the press would be willing to pay for photos or videos of me, anyway... but as I blog anonymously, I do want to keep pics of my face off the Net if identified with "Improbulus".

The article, by Christina Michalos, a London barrister who wrote The Law of Photography & Digital Images, says that "Broadly speaking, if a person takes a photograph of you in a public place there is no legal basis to prevent either the taking of the photograph or the publication of it. But this general principle is subject to some exceptions which are largely dependant upon what the subject of the photograph is doing or whether there is harassment by repeated photography".

It offers a few suggestions e.g. the Press Complaints Commission for people to try who want to protect their privacy, but data protection law doesn't seem to help here and basically it says that (in the UK at least) "as things stand, the citizen in the public street is fair game for the mobile phone photographer."

I guess we have been warned!


Teri said...

Hmmm, makes me want to check my hair and makeup twice before going out. And, in the future, I'll be re-thinking my auto-reflex to grab for jeans! I do not blog anonymously.

I just used a picture of an angry child that someone posted on Flickr and shared via Creative Commons. I gave proper credit, but as I posted the image, I was wondering how the little girl's parent would feel. I am pretty sure that the little girl hadn't been asked for her permission to be "famous" on my blog.

Improbulus said...

Well hopefully I'm just being a tad too cautious, Teri. But you never know...

Your story about the child's picture really highlights the issue. It's the photographer who owns the copyright in the photo, yes, and they can give permission to others to use it freely under a Creative Commons licence, but what about the little girl's privacy? Not an easy one.