Piaras’s post where he thinks a little less privacy for better customer service is not so bad, reminded me of a piece I wrote for the Trib about all these new technologies which when combined could easily stalk us. Tim O’Reilly mentions the UK where policemen will be wearing head cams and the privacy implications.
For someone that doesn’t want to be online, they probably are already in their friend’s Bebo profiles with pictures and videos of a 21st, at concert pictures with them in the background standing at the bar, in videos of people cavorting in public parks etc. etc. Is it just “tough luck” if you are in a photo and want it removed from the web? Is it “if you don’t want to end up online, then don’t step outside your house?”. We wouldn’t be talking about images that would ruin your reputation or anything but just images of yourself you don’t want others to be able to access. Will you end up like Michael Jackson with dark glasses, surgical masks and blankets over you? Or if a law comes in which says you have to get permission from everyone in your video before you can stick it online, does that totally screw over these streaming services? There doesn’t seem to be anything in the new TV/Media directives from the EU either to cover this.
Lifestreaming, like the movie Being John Malkovich will allow you to climb inside the head of someone and experience their day via a digital smorgasboard of public text messages, blog posts, gps tagged photos and (thanks to mobile broadband and tiny videocameras) a live video stream of them as they move around their world. Every person can now be their own TV channel and everything they do will leave digital footprints across the web on multiple websites. Something like this a complete surrender of privacy but as all these services stress, everyone opts in to this. However many of these sites seem to be like the Hotel California that the Eagles sang about: lovely places but can your data ever leave and what if your images were uploaded without permission?
Some of us might like our privacy and may never use these super-fad social networks but we’ll still show up in the peripheries of videos and photos and mentions in blog posts and texts. There may already be multiple websites where our image is stored online and we don’t even know it. If we do become aware of such things, we might have to go to two or four or even 12 different websites to try and have our data removed. When Google recently released street-level photos of cities in America, lots of people did not want the world to see them and asked for their images to be removed but Google demanded a scan of your drivers licence and a letter from you before they’d even consider removing your picture. That’s just Google and there are possibly hundreds more websites also hosting images and videos and text snippets about you.
Do companies *have* to remove your image on request? Can you tell them not to put your image up in future or do you have to chase down every image and request a removal for each one?
Update: Eoin replies.