Sunday, 20 November 2011

Saying No to photos

Having recently survived a family wedding, I just realized how I hate having my picture taken. There were just so many trigger happy people who I am sure only had good intentions of sharing in a happy occasion.

But when I was berated for refusing to join in a photo which was being taken by a serial Facebook uploader, I had to take a stand .

I did not want a photo which was going on a social network site with some silly tag or comment. Being called a 'lousy sport' just drove home my fear that people are caring less about what their photo subjects feel. This is a poor reflection of what is understood of the dangers of the use of social networking sites, especially by the young and clueless adults.

Gone are the days when a photo stayed within the covers of a photo album. Today any digital photo may be uploaded on the Internet, published for the world to see if it wants to.

There has to be some ethical boundaries for photos and tagging on social networking sites.

JK Rowling took a company to court for covertly taking photos of her son in a buggy while out on a Sunday stroll. The case of Murray v Big Pictures Ltd. is hailed as one of the groundbreaking authorities in the field of privacy law. The author, suing under her real name, won a claim for breach of privacy of her son David.

Although not many of us can make a claim to fame such as Ms Rowling's son can, the point made here is that you can have a say as to what is to be done of photos taken of you - especially if they are pictures of children.

Friends often ask what can be done of photos published on a Facebook site of a not-so-friendly acquaintance or someone with an axe to grind. The answer is 'Not much'. This may even be the case if objections were made to the photographer. The law on the tort of breach of privacy is still developing in the English courts. There is no similar development here.

So what can can you do? This brings be back to taking a stand when photos were being taken. I said a firm 'No', explained that I did not trust the photographer enough despite his promise not to post the photo online, and walked away.

I am not that naive to think that this will stop photos being posted online. The only way to protect myself from being seen doing something stupid is not to do something stupid.

Till the next time, stay safe online.

No comments: