Who’s watching you?

In April, I wrote a post entitled When did going out in public mean you’ve signed your rights away? It was about people surreptitiously taking photos of others and posting them online.

Today’s Age has an article about professional artists and photographers who are making a living from this type of thing. Who’s watching you? discusses the ethics of this type of behaviour, but basically states

Simply by leaving our homes – private only to the extent that Google Earth is limited in its reach below our eaves – we give our permission to be watched.

Do we really? Is the alternative a life of a hermit? What happens to those people (and there are some, believe me) that haven’t even heard of Google Earth, let alone what it does? How can they give permission when they aren’t even fully aware of how their picture can be distributed instantly and globally?

I’m all for taking pictures and sharing them. I loved the instance earlier this year when students took a photo of their bus driver talking on a mobile phone and putting their lives at risk. The evidence in the photo led to actions against the bus driver that would never have happened on hearsay alone. The pictures weren’t published but shown to school and bus authorities.

But I think we need to be morally aware of sharing and publishing photos of people who are unaware of their photo being taken. Or those who refuse permission. We need to have some boundaries in our lives. If we don’t take pictures of ourselves and upload them, why should somebody else make that decision for us?

I’d love to hear your comments.