It’s all fun and games until somebody gets their eye poked out — or caught on camera, uploaded, cached and mirrored across the internets. Maria Puenta in the USA Today article “Hello to less privacy” draws some rather dire conclusions from the countless crotch shots, sex tapes and general drunken antics of a generation of both celebrities and the hoi polloi. Everybody’s got a camera, and everybody has secrets.
Here in YouTube world, whether you’re a celebrity or a nobody, privacy can be a disappearing luxury, thanks to the technology in every pocket.
While the embarrassment occasioned by getting caught on tape urinating publicly (video above) is certainly annoying, the good news is that personal cameras can be a force for good — they’ve helped nab sex offenders, expose police brutality and capture significant world events. So where to draw the lines?
In the United States, “public figures” are pretty much fair game. Sorry, guys — you’ll have to wipe the tears away with a wad of bills, and remind yourselves that no publicity is bad publicity. Regular folks are not allowed to be photographed, recorded or videotaped without their consent if the situation presents them with a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”
But none of these are truly hard and fast rules, and because of the speed and distance at which information can now travel and reproduced, the damage may have already been done. And even if you do sue, you can hope for a settlement like Ghyslain Raza reached, but there’s no guarantee the defendant would ever be able to pay the damages.
In the meantime, you might want to either get a sense of humor or start wearing underwear, refusing cameras in the boudoir and quenching your thirst with a soft drink.
Hat tip, Heath.