A recent case, discussed by Omer Tene from The Center of Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, opens a few interesting discussion points around this issue.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals recently stated that you don’t need a person’s permission to tag them in a Facebook photo (LaLonde vs. LaLonde).
The case synopsis is that mother loses custody of her child based on evidence featuring, among other things, Facebook photos showing her drinking. The problem was that she had received mental health advice to abstain from drinking due to her medication regime. She did not post the pictures or give consent for them to be broadcast for the world to see, yet they directly impacted her life.
Ouch. And according to Tene, Facebook “evidence” is increasingly being used in court.
There are a lot of people out there with a much vaguer need for privacy than I seem to have. I often get this sense of dread when I hear of someone slapping up all sorts of nonsense (the good, the bad and the ugly) on sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I want to shout, “But that stuff will be there FOREVER – Are you mad???”
And, as we see in the LaLonde vs. LaLonde case, there are some really dreadful consequences to living out the open.
There seems to be a yawning chasm between the power of the internet (which give us ever greater abilities to communicate and share with one another) and the law, which moves at a necessarily slower, more considered pace.
As Tene rightly points out, “The delineation of the public and private spheres is increasingly blurred.” But I wonder whether we, as a community, have REALLY thought about the implications of this in both short and long term.
18 comments on “Should you need approval before posting and tagging a person’s photo on Facebook?”
I fail to see how Facebook could be taken to blame for this. If she hadn't been drinking there wouldn't have been a problem. This is just the same as a robber trying to blame a phone company because somebody rang up the police whilst he was robbing the bank.
Dont do the crime if you can't do the time.
Try that defense when you lose your health insurance because you someone took a picture of you eating chili cheese nachos at the ball park after your doctor told you to lower your cholesterol.
But this act wasn't criminal.
Remember the press about the teacher who was fired for a photo of her holding a glass of wine and another of beer, while she was on vacation with her husband in Europe? Adults do that, particularly when it's not, as they say, a school night.
The problem with these photos is that there often is no context, and people who are incapable of making a reasoned, unbiased judgment (an ex in a custody battle, for instance, or an employer who is looking for a reason to fire you) are the ones with your fate in their hands.
And what does having an effect mean anyway? The label on the Benadryl I take for allergies from time to time states that I should "Avoid use of alcohol." However, I don't have problems with the dizziness and drowsiness this precaution is meant to avoid. If I were a single parent and I took one and then was photographed drinking a beer, would my custody be at risk?
As Einstein said, "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." We haven't yet developed the social acumen to understand how to communicate when the audience we are communicating to isn't always the intended or obvious one, nor how to have a bit of patience with each other while we all figure it out. I think Facebook is highly negligent, and often quite deceptive, in the way they have opened our lives up to public viewing so suddenly and against their users' express wishes. And that is why you won't find me there.
I ALWAYS untag myself if a person tags me in a photo. It allows people who would not other wise be able to view your photos to view them!
It is possible to change privacy settings for photos posted and tagged by others. Click on Account, then Privacy Settings. Under Sharing on Facebook, use Custom Settings, then select Customize settings. Go down to Things others share, then edit settings for Photos and videos I'm tagged in. In the drop-down menu select customize, then in the next menu select to have these things seen by "Only me." Save settings. While it's not the easiest thing to figure out, it is possible. Or you can simply untag every time someone tags you.
This is the most sensible solution. It's also too easy for friends to lift your photographs and publish them elsewhere – a requirement for approval from the original poster should be mandatory and would remove all problems in this area.
I think the process of tagging people in Facebook pictures should follow the same priniciples used to untag a picture or add someone as a friend. The picture should be tagged, however before publication anywhere except the uploaders photo album, the tag should need to be approved by the person being tagged. This way we are all in control of our own content regardless of the desires of other people.
What this means is that if you want to avoid the possibility of being exposed to unjustified damage to your reputation, you should just lock yourself in the house, turn off the internet, and draw the shades. Almost ANY photo, video, or written material can be taken and twisted to show the person in a negative light. And there will always be someone ready to do it for whatever reason or no reason.
Society needs to have a serious conversation about privacy and what it means in the interconnected, always-on, completely searchable world. Justice Brandeis's famous words have never rung more true: People have "the right to be let alone."
proof that photography steals your soul: the facebook generation
Check out Eben Mogden. He goes on a bit and always tells the same jokes, but he knows his stuff, like Chomsky.
No1. Photos are easily edited, changed and manipulated. How can they legally be used in court. I know in the UK at least that photographic and video evidence can only be used under a very strict proviso. Security cameras have to be special cameras and tape to make it hard to tamper with.
No2. The woman should have some responsibility. She shouldn't have been drinking on medication. Has anyone considered that its probably in the child's best interest if its mother in on meds and getting drunk at the same time.
No3. It is America so I'm not overly surprised.
I would like Facebook to remove images when the person in the image asks too. After all its about them!
I had a friend/scout collegue that took an embressing video of me and uploaded it to facebook. I reported this picture but Facebook did not removed it. When I PM the guy to remove the pic, he just blocked me!
Here's the thing…
When someone tags you, you're notified.
If you don't want to be tagged, you can easily go remove the tag. Once the person that was tagged removed their OWN tag, the pic cannot be retagged. Not to mention, you CAN turn that option off in your privacy settings, where people will not be allowed to tag you. Much the same way you can prevent people checking you in on Places.
I mean, Facebook IS a social networking site. SOCIAL being the key. If you choose not to want to be social, anyone can totally lock their profile down.
Well if someone or potiential employeer looks for you face "visually" they can still identify you "drinking" with your mates or doing some "wild" things. They no need a tag to know who you are! I believe Facebook should include an option to complain about the img and have it removed if the person in it asks it too!
There is a similiar feature in Wikipedia so why not facebook?
"I know in the UK at least that photographic and video evidence can only be used under a very strict proviso."
LOL. Tell that to the thousands of videos from UK CCCams posted on YouTube. Not only is Big Brother (Orwell was a prophet re: the UK loss of privacy) watching you, but so is everyone else!
"in case that person didnt realize you can remove tags and things and facebook is not to blame
How about the case when a scum is using the tag feature to tag a big list of names in a spam pic?
And how can it be a solution to set your 'Things others share' settings on Only Me if you want some tags to appear in your profile and others not.
the real question is not "does someone need permission to tag you" the question is, "Can someone post a picture of you online without legal consent." I believe that the courts (although not here) have set the precident that any image reproduced or posted publically must have written consent from those depicted. Case closed…..