The Right to Record

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The Right to Record

Postby Qaanol » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:51 pm UTC

I’d like to have a discussion about a hypothetical “right to record”. This would mean each person has the right to videotape, audiotape, take pictures, and in general to document what they experience. I’m not yet sure how I feel about the idea, but I think it is worth examining. For our purposes, we may suppose a nation or state decides to pass a law enshrining the right to record as fundamental. That way everyone knows the right exists, that they possess this right, and that everyone around them does too. In particular, no one would ever face legal penalties for recording what they see, and we may posit some punishment for a government agent who illegally tries to stop people from recording.

What would be the consequences, positive or negative, of such a principle? On balance, would the right to record be beneficial, detrimental, or neither?
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:07 pm UTC

It is absolutely illegal, and should be, to film inside someone's home without their permission. 'Up the skirt' cams are also illegal, though I'm not sure under what laws.

I think there's a world of difference and yet a legally very thin line between 'filming the things around you as you go about your day' and 'being a voyeur'. People should have the right to also NOT be filmed by the populace, and pointing a camera at someone who does not wish to be filmed and who is doing nothing illegal, should not be legal.

I think with cops the situation is a bit different. I don't think they need to be filmed the entire time they're on duty, but I think 'making an arrest' should absolutely be something that should be filmed by cops and bystanders and those being arrested alike.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby PAstrychef » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:52 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I think there's a world of difference and yet a legally very thin line between 'filming the things around you as you go about your day' and 'being a voyeur'. People should have the right to also NOT be filmed by the populace, and pointing a camera at someone who does not wish to be filmed and who is doing nothing illegal, should not be legal.

I don't have a right to be unobserved if I go out in public. If that means that someone else might take my picture, thats a risk I take by being out in public.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby eSOANEM » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:06 pm UTC

Seeing as it's basically impossible for someone to get by never going out in public, I don't think that logic's really fair to apply here.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby PAstrychef » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:35 pm UTC

That's my point. You have to interact with the world, although people have found ways to minimize the need to do so for centuries. Sometimes that interaction may include things you wish it did not. I'm outside, I take a picture. It has a person in it, walking past the thing I was photographing. How am I to know she doesn't want to be photographed? I can't expect anyone with a device to follow me and check, especially if I'm part of a crowd. What about the people who get shown on TV at sporting events?
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:40 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:I think there's a world of difference and yet a legally very thin line between 'filming the things around you as you go about your day' and 'being a voyeur'. People should have the right to also NOT be filmed by the populace, and pointing a camera at someone who does not wish to be filmed and who is doing nothing illegal, should not be legal.

I don't have a right to be unobserved if I go out in public. If that means that someone else might take my picture, thats a risk I take by being out in public.
Agreed, but you do (or I dunno, should) have the right to not have a camera hovering feet from you at all times. I don't know what harassment laws are like, but I do think cameras play into them, or should. I agree, you don't have a right to not show up in someone's selfie in a public space, but no one should have the right to follow you with a camera.

Up the skirt cam shots are actually illegal (I think????). There should be grounds for that on non-sexual aggressive terms as well.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Derek » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:52 pm UTC

I would support such a right. It's also rather inevitable. Discreet recording is becoming ever more practical, and there is really nothing that laws can do to stop it without far more significant side effects. Whether it's a right or not, I think it's important for people to realize and accept that they could be recorded at any time in public. It will happen regardless, but if people understand this then they can be better prepared for it.

It's like when your mother told you not to speak ill of people in public, because you don't know when they or a friend of theirs might be behind you. Except now what you're saying could go on Youtube in ten minutes. So don't say/do things in public that you wouldn't want to be heard/seen doing.

It is absolutely illegal, and should be, to film inside someone's home without their permission. 'Up the skirt' cams are also illegal, though I'm not sure under what laws.

You of course have the right to remove anyone from your property who is recording without your permission. This is because you have the right to exclude people from your property for any reason. You cannot however prevent them from recording from the edge of your property. Up skirts are (or at least ought to be) illegal regardless of whether or not they are recorded.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby eSOANEM » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:57 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:That's my point. You have to interact with the world, although people have found ways to minimize the need to do so for centuries. Sometimes that interaction may include things you wish it did not. I'm outside, I take a picture. It has a person in it, walking past the thing I was photographing. How am I to know she doesn't want to be photographed? I can't expect anyone with a device to follow me and check, especially if I'm part of a crowd. What about the people who get shown on TV at sporting events?


I'm not suggesting a France style "you need to blur everyone's faces" rule, but deliberately taking photos with the focus on someone who hasn't given you permission isn't justifiable in my opinion.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Qaanol » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:23 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:It is absolutely illegal, and should be, to film inside someone's home without their permission.

Whether or not something currently is legal in any particular jurisdiction is entirely irrelevant to the situation under discussion.

You say that you think it should be illegal to film inside someone’s home without their permission. Would you have similar objections to a law that said, “It is acceptable to film unless the property-owner specifically revokes permission”? This would be similar to how in many places it is only illegal to go onto another person’s land if “No trespassing” signs are put up.

Furthermore, what *exactly* makes you uncomfortable with the idea of, “If a person can see something, then they can record that thing”? I will make a possibly-unwarranted assumption and guess that you fine with people seeing and hearing the things around them, and you would not want to legally mandate blindfolds and earplugs. So, for what reasons do you object to people being able to recording what they see and hear, given that you are okay with them seeing and hearing those things in the first place? Again remembering that we are in a hypothetical situation where everyone else has the exact same right.

Izawwlgood wrote:'Up the skirt' cams are also illegal, though I'm not sure under what laws.

Okay, so one foreseeable outcome of a right to record would be that people who do not want certain parts of their body to be recorded, would probably take action to cover those parts of their bodies more thoroughly. On the other hand, it is also possible to envision a change in culture such that people simply stop being ashamed of their bodies and have no problem whatsoever being recorded.

This also brings up the situation of recording something that cannot actually be seen directly by the person doing the recording, so it may well fall outside the scope of the right. There is certainly a difference between, “I can see XYZ, therefore I should be able to record XYZ” and “Even though I cannot actually see XYZ, I still want to record it.”

Izawwlgood wrote:I think there's a world of difference and yet a legally very thin line between 'filming the things around you as you go about your day' and 'being a voyeur'. People should have the right to also NOT be filmed by the populace, and pointing a camera at someone who does not wish to be filmed and who is doing nothing illegal, should not be legal.

That is a very strong statement. As PAstrychef said, if a person is out in public, it hardly makes sense for them to expect *not* to be recorded even today.

Izawwlgood wrote:I think with cops the situation is a bit different. I don't think they need to be filmed the entire time they're on duty, but I think 'making an arrest' should absolutely be something that should be filmed by cops and bystanders and those being arrested alike.

I’d like to leave the question of “Should police officers have body cameras” to another thread. And I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone on these forums who actually thinks that police officers should be able to stop other people from recording them, so I don’t see much to discuss here.

Derek wrote:I would support such a right. It's also rather inevitable. Discreet recording is becoming ever more practical, and there is really nothing that laws can do to stop it without far more significant side effects. Whether it's a right or not, I think it's important for people to realize and accept that they could be recorded at any time in public. It will happen regardless, but if people understand this then they can be better prepared for it.

It's like when your mother told you not to speak ill of people in public, because you don't know when they or a friend of theirs might be behind you. Except now what you're saying could go on Youtube in ten minutes. So don't say/do things in public that you wouldn't want to be heard/seen doing.

What about in private? If someone requests that no recordings be made, perhaps by putting up “No recording” signs on their property, should that carry the force of law with potential fines or prison time for people who record anyway? We’ll assume the people recording were allowed/invited onto the property, and did not sign a contract specifically promising not to record.

For that matter, should such a contract be legally enforceable? To make the example more poignant, let’s say the property owner is a factory farm, and they make their employees sign a contract promising not to record on the farm. Then let’s say an employee sees something terribly wrong, like cattle being tortured or food being stored in unsanitary conditions, or heck, let’s say other workers being treated inhumanely. Should a worker be legally punished for recording those activities?

What if the farm is not actually breaking the law, but is engaged in practices that if the public knew about them would likely foster a strong movement to outlaw the practices in questions?

What if the worker just wants to take a picture of the animals on the farm? Should there be legal penalties for that? Again, we ware not talking about simply the farm firing the worker—the farm would still have that right, just like it could fire a worker for things they say or (almost) any other reason. We are talking about the police arresting and the district attorney prosecuting the farm worker for taking pictures or making recordings the farm owners did not permit.
Izawwlgood wrote:I agree, you don't have a right to not show up in someone's selfie in a public space, but no one should have the right to follow you with a camera.

I think the “following someone around” part is covered by anti-stalking laws, whether or not there is a camera involved.

eSOANEM wrote:I'm not suggesting a France style "you need to blur everyone's faces" rule, but deliberately taking photos with the focus on someone who hasn't given you permission isn't justifiable in my opinion.

I assume you are okay with *looking* at someone’s face though, right? Why do you find a permanent recording to be unethical, when it is a factually accurate way of documenting something that actually happened and was seen and was fine to look at when it occurred?
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:39 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:I’d like to have a discussion about a hypothetical “right to record”.
Are we talking cultural or legal? Legal laws should follow and support cultural mores, so I think there should be a discussion about cultural first, before we have the lawmakers make what turn out to be laws supporting the wrong things. And consider that the technology for ubiquitous surveillance is now commonplace, and we need to decide if that is the kind of world we want to live in.

Do you want your friends to feel free to wear Google Glass in your home, uploading its contents to facebook? Including perhaps the tax return you were working on that's sitting in your den? It's one thing if your friend sees something confidential; I don't feel like I have to lock my office when I have them over. But that would change if they came in wearing Glass, and society made it acceptable. And the idea that it's uploaded to "a private area" holds no water at all.

It's also one thing if I go skinnydipping in my own pool, and a neighbor or two happens to see. They probably don't care. But it's another thing if somebody you-tubes me and puts me on a porn site. That's what would happen under a "right to record" law.

Public and private are not mutually exclusive; there are many shades of grey and many circumstances that matter. So no, I am not in favor of I do not want to live in a world where the right to record is absolute.

I suppose if upskirts became acceptable to take, despite objection, they would become common, and the incentive to take them would diminish. But it's still an invasion. And public or not, a permanent record of what I am doing could be used against me much more easily than I could defend myself against it. Would you want twitter to have the links to every pot party you've been to? Because that's the way it would come down.

And with camera drones becoming cheaper, better, and more ubiquitous, it would be difficult to escape this kind of nonstop surveillance, whether by police, nosy neighbors, or the kid next door playing with his new toy.

Now this needs to be balanced against legitimate photography. Just by being in public you shouldn't have a right to prevent other people from taking ordinary pictures (such as tourist photos). And law enforcement already has too many tools they can use against us; I want to live in a world where their operations are subject to oversight by the citizens they dominate protect. It's part of the "right to be presented with the witnesses against you" that's enshrined in the US constitution, and for good reason.

What's happening is similar to putting (say) real estate records online - they are public records, but in the past technology did not exist that would let you go on a fishing expedition from afar. The underlying issues are the same. Technology is acting as an amplifier of what can be done, and polarizing what is perceived as "good" and "bad" uses of the technology. And when that happens, the individual tends to end up on the losing side.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby natraj » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:30 am UTC

in this hypothetical society that enshrines the right to record, does that include the right to do whatever you want with the recording? because i think there is also a difference between 'i have the right to make my own personal recordings of my experiences' and 'i have the right to post these publicly'.

as someone who has been stalked, attacked, and raped by someone who tracked me down at least once via things other people posted to the internets without my permission (not in any malicious manner) i am pretty exceptionally uncomfortable with the idea i have to either sequester myself in my room for life or be okay with people jeopardizing my safety.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Derek » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:38 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:What about in private? If someone requests that no recordings be made, perhaps by putting up “No recording” signs on their property, should that carry the force of law with potential fines or prison time for people who record anyway? We’ll assume the people recording were allowed/invited onto the property, and did not sign a contract specifically promising not to record.

The penalties can be debated, but as to whether it's enforceable, of course. We have a right to free speech, but I put a "no shouting" sign in my home or office and then kick you out if you choose to ignore it.

For that matter, should such a contract be legally enforceable? To make the example more poignant, let’s say the property owner is a factory farm, and they make their employees sign a contract promising not to record on the farm. Then let’s say an employee sees something terribly wrong, like cattle being tortured or food being stored in unsanitary conditions, or heck, let’s say other workers being treated inhumanely. Should a worker be legally punished for recording those activities?

What if the farm is not actually breaking the law, but is engaged in practices that if the public knew about them would likely foster a strong movement to outlaw the practices in questions?

Non-disclosure agreements are already a thing. The rest of this falls under whistleblowing, which I think is generally protected as long as the activity being exposed is illegal.

What if the worker just wants to take a picture of the animals on the farm? Should there be legal penalties for that? Again, we ware not talking about simply the farm firing the worker—the farm would still have that right, just like it could fire a worker for things they say or (almost) any other reason. We are talking about the police arresting and the district attorney prosecuting the farm worker for taking pictures or making recordings the farm owners did not permit.

I think this is getting unnecessarily specific. The question was, "Should there be a right to record", not "What should the exact penalties for recording without permission be".

At a high level, you should be allowed to record anything that occurs in public, or for which you have permission. In private circumstances, contracts can either permit or limit the areas in which recording is allowed, and can specify penalties for breaching the contract. Laws may additionally be passed to provide criminal as well as civil penalties for unpermitted recording in private, but the details of those laws are not the question at issue here.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:47 am UTC

natraj wrote:...because i think there is also a difference between 'i have the right to make my own personal recordings of my experiences' and 'i have the right to post these publicly'...
... to which I'll add that posting them "privately" only counts if it's on your own personal server, to which you have exclusive access. Otherwise, what you thought was private can (and will!) be made public at some point in the future when your host changes its policies. The list is long for this kind of thing.

Qaanol wrote:So, for what reasons do you object to people being able to recording what they see and hear, given that you are okay with them seeing and hearing those things in the first place? Again remembering that we are in a hypothetical situation where everyone else has the exact same right.

I think it comes to the fact that recordings can be used to bully people into not doing things that they would otherwise do. These things are not necessarily bad things, just things that the camera operator does not want to happen. It gives the camera operator power over the filmed, and the end result is a more repressed society. To the argument that "it will just make those things innocuous", that is only given enough time, and enough damage to the individuals being subjected to this. And no matter what, there will always be things that people will not want publicized, even if they are by nature public.

They'll just be different things. But there will always be something.

I want to live in a society that respects this... that "public" does not mean "free to publicize", and that "not quite private" does not mean "public". And that "private" does not have to be secret in order to not be public.

Therefore, I would not support blanket "right to record" laws, though I do think the discussion is important.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:54 am UTC


I don't have a right to be unobserved if I go out in public. If that means that someone else might take my picture, thats a risk I take by being out in public.

I am deeply uncomfortable with this kind of extrapolation. Being observed and being recorded are not the same thing, or people would not want to record anyway.

It used to be that you could go out in public, and typically expect not to be recorded. We're getting to the point where most public actions are recorded by someone. On cameras, and by all kinds of tracking mechanisms. That's a change about what it means to be in the public sphere.

As you say, it makes it 'riskier' to be out. Even without recording, you have to be more careful in public than at home. Moee careful not to make a social mistake, more careful not to make yourself vulnerable. To some extent that's unavoidable, but don't think it should be encouraged.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Derek » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:12 am UTC

ucim wrote:I think it comes to the fact that recordings can be used to bully people into not doing things that they would otherwise do. These things are not necessarily bad things, just things that the camera operator does not want to happen. It gives the camera operator power over the filmed, and the end result is a more repressed society. To the argument that "it will just make those things innocuous", that is only given enough time, and enough damage to the individuals being subjected to this. And no matter what, there will always be things that people will not want publicized, even if they are by nature public.
They'll just be different things. But there will always be something.

I want to live in a society that respects this... that "public" does not mean "free to publicize", and that "not quite private" does not mean "public". And that "private" does not have to be secret in order to not be public.

It's going to happen anyways. Discreet surveillance is only going to get easier. If you try to fight it then more people are going to get hurt before society changes. In the past "public" and "private" have been very blurry, and people have been able to get away with doing private things publicly, usually. But only because they were lucky or perhaps too unimportant for anyone to to dig into their "private" life. But as surveillance gets cheaper and more common, the line between public and private will only become more sharply defined.

Zamfir wrote:I am deeply uncomfortable with this kind of extrapolation. Being observed and being recorded are not the same thing, or people would not want to record anyway.

Not really. Memory is a recording device too. It's simply an unreliable recording device. So every time you are being observed but are counting on not being recorded, you're counting on someone having a poor enough memory to forget what you are doing.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:16 am UTC

There is a difference between going out in public and being observed by a few hundred people, all of which are probably paying you no attention whatsoever. And someone potentially uploading a video for perhaps the whole world to see.

I don't think it should be an absolute right to be able to record but I am very pro being able to record. (Although free speech and right to bear arms aren't absolute either).

Being able to record what I am able to myself see and hear, especially in public should be fine. How I could then use that recording should be where the legislation should be. Obviously not for blackmailing reasons.

I would be totally okay and would even encourage police filming of just about every public space. (I think we have better police here in Australia) They would be better equipped to be able to intervene in situations and prosecute.

Bicyclists here in Australia are increasingly attaching cameras to their bikes and helmets constantly taking footage. This footage is often used to prosecute dangerous and reckless driving, and sometimes just plain assault. And the footage taken from them is also often aired on the news, usually always of oblivious drivers crashing into cyclists. This has made the vulnerability of cyclists much more well understood and is allowing motorists to be held accountable.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby morriswalters » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:41 am UTC

Derek wrote:Not really. Memory is a recording device too. It's simply an unreliable recording device. So every time you are being observed but are counting on not being recorded, you're counting on someone having a poor enough memory to forget what you are doing.
I don't think it works that way, the power of a recording is in other people being able to see exactly what is recorded. I doubt that you can display what you see. And if your attention is not on it you may not see an event at all.

The same technology that makes recording ubiquitous might just as quickly make it useless. For video to be useful for anything other than voyeurism you have to be able to believe that it shows reality. Utility requires reliability. If I can create you digitally than I have removed the utility of filming you.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:48 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:Whether or not something currently is legal in any particular jurisdiction is entirely irrelevant to the situation under discussion.
It... most certainly isn't. Many parts of the world recognize an individuals right to privacy, for good reason. I am uncomfortable with it being legal to film inside my home unless I post 'no filming' signs on every window, for obvious reasons.

I find it super curious that people are enshrining the right to record above an individuals right to privacy. Again, no one is suggesting that camera's be banned in public spaces, but then, that isn't really a problem now anyway, aside from, hilariously/terrifyingly, with regards to filming police officers. What is being suggested is that some degree of appropriate reasonableness be considered for legally protecting an individuals right to not be stalked with cameras.

Qaanol wrote:Okay, so one foreseeable outcome of a right to record would be that people who do not want certain parts of their body to be recorded, would probably take action to cover those parts of their bodies more thoroughly. On the other hand, it is also possible to envision a change in culture such that people simply stop being ashamed of their bodies and have no problem whatsoever being recorded. This also brings up the situation of recording something that cannot actually be seen directly by the person doing the recording, so it may well fall outside the scope of the right. There is certainly a difference between, “I can see XYZ, therefore I should be able to record XYZ” and “Even though I cannot actually see XYZ, I still want to record it.”

Yes, because people don't need to post 'don't film down my shirt or up my skirt' signs. Again, I'm finding it more interesting that people are trying to defend the right to record rather than the individuals right to not be harassed. There should be a rather thin line for this, and the answer is not to say 'Maybe you should be less worried about your body being on the internet'.

An additional concern is that parents, particularly those who are subjects of paparazzi attention, are going to be hounded while caring for their kids. Anti-paparazzi laws are a thing, and notably exclude the right of the paparazzi to photograph children.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby eSOANEM » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:00 am UTC

To clarify my position:

I think that, by and large, people should be able to make a private record of their daily experience in public. They should not generally be allowed to go out of their way to obtain specific images/videos (i.e. no upskirts, stalking or paparazzi) but there are obvious exceptions for explicit photo-ops like state events, most red carpet events etc.

Private records of someone's experience when they're in a private space should be agreed upon by all parties. This could be like a bar putting up signs saying "no recording in here" or two partners agreeing "you can record anything except us having sex". Generally people should follow the wishes of the party who wants the least recording (obvious exceptions for people who might be put at risk through a lack of recording e.g. sex workers).

Private records should not be allowed to be made public without the permission of everyone who is a focus of the video. So people in the background don't get a say, but if I record a picnic in the park with my friends and someone doesn't want it to go on youtube because they said something they'd rather the world didn't know, I shouldn't be able to upload it.

If someone in public explicitly asks not be recorded, you should not be allowed to continue recording with them as a focus (again obvious exceptions if doing so would put you at risk e.g. that person is a cop, you are a sex worker, you think you're about to be mugged etc.).

Izawwlgood wrote:
Qaanol wrote:Whether or not something currently is legal in any particular jurisdiction is entirely irrelevant to the situation under discussion.
It... most certainly isn't. Many parts of the world recognize an individuals right to privacy, for good reason. I am uncomfortable with it being legal to film inside my home unless I post 'no filming' signs on every window, for obvious reasons.


Generally, law mirrors morals and so the two will correlate, but they are very rarely the same. As such, whether something is legal or not is irrelevant to whether it is moral. I think it's clear that this thread is about a moral right to record (i.e. whether there should be a legal right).

The reason you are uncomfortable with it being legal to film inside your home unless I post 'no filming' signs on every window is not because there is a legal right to privacy. It's because you believe you have a moral right to privacy. That is what this thread is about, that is why legal rights are irrelevant.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:24 am UTC

eSOANEM wrote:Generally, law mirrors morals and so the two will correlate, but they are very rarely the same. As such, whether something is legal or not is irrelevant to whether it is moral. I think it's clear that this thread is about a moral right to record (i.e. whether there should be a legal right). The reason you are uncomfortable with it being legal to film inside your home unless I post 'no filming' signs on every window is not because there is a legal right to privacy. It's because you believe you have a moral right to privacy. That is what this thread is about, that is why legal rights are irrelevant.
I fully recognize that laws, particularly laws surrounding changing technologies like the every increasing proliferation of recording devices and the means to distribute recordings, are outdated and probably not entirely reflective of the actual landscape. I'm not bringing up these laws to claim 'well there's a law so it must be so', but rather to underline that A ) this issue is not actually that new and the same conversations have been had for the last 100 years (you know, +/- 'some years') as cameras and the publics ever increasing obsession with celebrities wound up, and B ) my position on the matter is also shared by a number of other individuals, many of whom actually deal with this on a much more regular and personal basis than us random internet shmoes.

The legality of the right to record is relevant insofar as it provides context for what we're discussing. It is *not* a moral right to film everything and everyone you desire. It *should* be a legal right to not be persecuted for filming a cop brutalizing someone they are arresting, and it *should* be a legal right to photograph your picnic irrespective of which celebrity is getting ice cream in the background.

But it's like porn - you'll know it when you see it. Paparazzi across every street Princess Diana happens to on today while she shops with her kids? That's not ok, nor should it be. My point is the thin line exists between an individuals right to record, and another individuals right not to be harassed.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby paulisa » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:25 am UTC

Derek wrote:
Zamfir wrote:I am deeply uncomfortable with this kind of extrapolation. Being observed and being recorded are not the same thing, or people would not want to record anyway.

Not really. Memory is a recording device too. It's simply an unreliable recording device. So every time you are being observed but are counting on not being recorded, you're counting on someone having a poor enough memory to forget what you are doing.


Actually, I mostly count on most people in public not knowing me and not caring about me, and therefore not reporting my actions to (the rest of the public) where they could be used to my detriment by people who do care. Also, once a recording is public, fourth parties can make statements to my detriment, even if I am not acutally recorded. Hypothetically, someone who looks kinda like me (presenting female, hair colour X, height Y etc, there will be hundreds who fit the basic criteria) attends a demonstration; another attendee makes a video and puts in on the internet; a fourth party, for instance a FOAF who's seen me once or twice, puts my name to the video as having attended; a prospective employer does not employ me because people who attend demonstrations are silly.
Since I did not actually attend the demonstration and did not know of the existence of this video, I can't do anything against it. The prospective employer will certainly not tell me he thinks people who demonstrate are silly so I can't know why he thinks me silly, I can't defend myself at all.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:22 pm UTC

There's another factor with photos and video: people are currently spending a lot of money on face recognition software, and on the hardware to run it. Both Facebook and governments are working on a future where you will be recognized if you show up on pictures, even when the recording party doesn't know you. I don't know how powerful such systems will be eventually, but it's wise to assume they will become fairly powerful.

That's yet another example how recordings are not like people's memory, how they are far more powerful tools to check and control people.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:41 pm UTC

Shootings are going to happen anyway too. This should not give people the absolute right to shoot each other. There is still a question of whether it is moral to shoot people or not, or rephrased, whether I want to live in a society where casually shooting each other is acceptable.

In a similar way, I don't want to live in a society where ubiquitous recorded surveillance is acceptable. Society is racing there very quickly, and I don't like it. I think it has way too many downsides.

The focus of course should be on what is done with these photographs and videos after they are taken. However, in some cases the mere taking of the photograph in the first place should carry the presumption that it is to be used for no good (upskirts come to mind, but are by no means the only example), and in other cases the mere existence of the photograph in a certain entity's possession constitutes real power against the person in the photo (blackmail potential comes to mind, as does the gathering of tracking data by government, web operators, and cell phone companies).

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:26 pm UTC

I'm trying to understand what benefit such a right could possibly have. While I certainly agree that we, to some extent or other, already have a de facto right to record, it's not clear to me why specifically enshrining such a right would be in any way desirable, or even that the current state of available recording is itself desirable. As others have pointed out, even if such a right did exist, it does not necessarily imply a right to distribute those recordings.

My personal sentiment is that it is pretty rude to explicitly photograph or record someone without getting their consent first. If they happen to be in the background of some incidental shot, that's fine, but if you want to take a picture of me, specifically, then you ought to ask first. Likewise, I'd be pretty upset if someone decided to record my children playing at the park without my permission.

[edit]Since nobody else has mentioned it, I think this bears repeating:

natraj wrote:as someone who has been stalked, attacked, and raped by someone who tracked me down at least once via things other people posted to the internets without my permission (not in any malicious manner) i am pretty exceptionally uncomfortable with the idea i have to either sequester myself in my room for life or be okay with people jeopardizing my safety.


There are obviously some fairly significant negative outcomes that can arise from such ubiquitous surveillance, even if unintentional. Why should some hypothetical right to record/distribute to your heart's content take precedence over others' desires for safety and security of person?

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Derek » Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:54 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:But it's like porn - you'll know it when you see it.

I don't think "I know it when I see it" is any way to build a legal framework, and tbh I'm surprised to see that quote brought up non-ironically. What one person considers porn another may consider art, and what one person may consider to be intrusive surveillance may be another's persons candid photography.

Also, once a recording is public, fourth parties can make statements to my detriment, even if I am not acutally recorded. Hypothetically, someone who looks kinda like me (presenting female, hair colour X, height Y etc, there will be hundreds who fit the basic criteria) attends a demonstration; another attendee makes a video and puts in on the internet; a fourth party, for instance a FOAF who's seen me once or twice, puts my name to the video as having attended; a prospective employer does not employ me because people who attend demonstrations are silly.
Since I did not actually attend the demonstration and did not know of the existence of this video, I can't do anything against it. The prospective employer will certainly not tell me he thinks people who demonstrate are silly so I can't know why he thinks me silly, I can't defend myself at all.

What does this have to do with a right to record at all? If you were never in the picture, then you would never have any right to prevent it's production or distribution anyways. This is a problem with mis-attribution, not recording.

I'm trying to understand what benefit such a right could possibly have. While I certainly agree that we, to some extent or other, already have a de facto right to record, it's not clear to me why specifically enshrining such a right would be in any way desirable, or even that the current state of available recording is itself desirable. As others have pointed out, even if such a right did exist, it does not necessarily imply a right to distribute those recordings.

To me it represents two related things: First, that I have a right to my own experiences, even those that I would normally forget with time. As such, I have a right to record and keep anything that I experience. Second, that I have the right to document that these experiences are real, a right to prove that I am not lying when I talk about my experiences. This implies the right to share the things that I have recorded. I'm also not sure how you can grant someone the right to make a recording but not distribute it without infringing on freedom of expression.

Without such right, let's say that I see someone committing a crime, and I wish to testify against that person. Without a right to record, maybe they claim that the recording is illegal, and therefore inadmissible as evidence, and now all I have is my word against theirs. Or maybe I end up in a case that comes down to what happened in a certain event. I claim one thing, they claim another. If I have a right to record, maybe I recorded that event, and I can prove that they are lying.

This is exactly the reason that dash cams are becoming more common. In Russia insurance fraud and corruption is common. As a counter-measure people have started having dash cams that are always recording. If there is a conflict, they have video proof that they are telling the truth. As a side-effect, we get awesome footage of the Chelyabinsk meteor. In a country that bans dash cams (there are several), that can't happen.

Of course recordings can be forged, just having a recording isn't necessarily proof that something happened, but I would rather allow all evidence and then try to remove the false evidence than to exclude all evidence.

Of course you can try to make laws to allow these situations while excluding stalking, paparazzi, and such (which I will absolutely agree is harmful), but you won't come up with a law that doesn't contain some case that prevents justified recording, or that can't be abused by someone with power. In the same way that with free speech we must except hate speech, I think we just have to accept these abuses in order to protect more fundamental rights.

As I've said above, you can make someone suspend their right to be recorded as a requirement for allowing them on your property, in the same way that you can make someone suspend their freedom of speech on your property. This is fine. If you put a "No recording" sign in a reasonably visible places in or outside of your business, then no one can record inside your place.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:42 pm UTC

Derek wrote:
I'm trying to understand what benefit such a right could possibly have. While I certainly agree that we, to some extent or other, already have a de facto right to record, it's not clear to me why specifically enshrining such a right would be in any way desirable, or even that the current state of available recording is itself desirable. As others have pointed out, even if such a right did exist, it does not necessarily imply a right to distribute those recordings.


To me it represents two related things: First, that I have a right to my own experiences, even those that I would normally forget with time. As such, I have a right to record and keep anything that I experience. Second, that I have the right to document that these experiences are real, a right to prove that I am not lying when I talk about my experiences. This implies the right to share the things that I have recorded. I'm also not sure how you can grant someone the right to make a recording but not distribute it without infringing on freedom of expression.


Tell you what, next time you have a sexual encounter, make a recording of it without that person's knowledge or consent and post it online, also without their consent, then try this line on them and see what they think.

Or don't, because that would make you a terrible human being and arguably a rapist. You don't get the right to record everything you experience, just because you want to. You don't have the right to do harmful things to other people without their consent, and that includes recording them and distributing the content.

Without such right, let's say that I see someone committing a crime, and I wish to testify against that person. Without a right to record, maybe they claim that the recording is illegal, and therefore inadmissible as evidence, and now all I have is my word against theirs. Or maybe I end up in a case that comes down to what happened in a certain event. I claim one thing, they claim another. If I have a right to record, maybe I recorded that event, and I can prove that they are lying.


You could simply have a statement in the law that recording someone without their consent is legal if you have reason to believe that they are currently in commission of a crime. This in no way requires a universal right to record everything.

Of course you can try to make laws to allow these situations while excluding stalking, paparazzi, and such (which I will absolutely agree is harmful), but you won't come up with a law that doesn't contain some case that prevents justified recording, or that can't be abused by someone with power. In the same way that with free speech we must except hate speech, I think we just have to accept these abuses in order to protect more fundamental rights.


I don't see the right to record being in any way a fundamental right. The ability to ubiquitously record is a product of the last ten years of technological development. There is absolutely no reason that we couldn't simply ban recording devices entirely and return ourselves to the dark ages of 1995. I'm quite happy sacrificing a certain level of "justified recording" in order to prevent rapists from being able to find their victims. There is simply no need for the level of "justified recording" such a right would imply.

As I've said above, you can make someone suspend their right to be recorded as a requirement for allowing them on your property, in the same way that you can make someone suspend their freedom of speech on your property. This is fine. If you put a "No recording" sign in a reasonably visible places in or outside of your business, then no one can record inside your place.


I don't get this. Why are you willing to respect someone's right to not have you record on their property, but not willing to respect their wishes not to record them personally? Surely a violation of someone's personal space and personal autonomy is a much more serious infringement than that of their property rights.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Zamfir » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:11 pm UTC

To me it represents two related things: First, that I have a right to my own experiences, even those that I would normally forget with time. As such, I have a right to record and keep anything that I experience. Second, that I have the right to document that these experiences are real, a right to prove that I am not lying when I talk about my experiences. This implies the right to share the things that I have recorded. I'm also not sure how you can grant someone the right to make a recording but not distribute it without infringing on freedom of expression.

And that's all fine if you're in your own house, recording whatever you want. Once you're outside recording me, I want a say in it. Recording and publishing are not a consequence-free activities, they can have impact on the lives of the people in the recording. Natraj gave a particularly strong example.

Even when it comes to recording other people's misdeeds: I don't want a world full of righteous people recording all the small lies and petty crimes around them. Anonimity, ambiguity, deniability, such things are buffers against strict moral crusaders. People can turn the public space into an mess of little rules and social expectations. Don't cross the red light. Don't show too much leg. Don't give booze to your kids. Don't slack off in the boss's time, or even in your own time. Don't mingle with those people, always popular. Don't show deviant sexual desires, also a classic.

I am worried that the internet might turn the world into the stereotypical small town. With an electronic version of the gossip line so everyone when you're deviating from respectable, suitable, morally upright behaviour, as defined by your betters.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Qaanol » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:02 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I don't see the right to record being in any way a fundamental right. The ability to ubiquitously record is a product of the last ten years of technological development. There is absolutely no reason that we couldn't simply ban recording devices entirely and return ourselves to the dark ages of 1995. I'm quite happy sacrificing a certain level of "justified recording" in order to prevent rapists from being able to find their victims. There is simply no need for the level of "justified recording" such a right would imply.

I have zero expertise on the subject of rape prevention, so it’s really not something I am qualified to talk about. My understanding is that the vast majority of rapes currently go unreported, and those that are reported often do not result in a conviction, which is obviously not good.

Is it at least plausible that in a country with a right to record, the conviction rate would be substantially higher due to the prevalence of video evidence? And that the ubiquity of cameras would greatly reduce the number of rape attempts, because potential rapists would have to presume they are probably being recorded?

Again, this is way outside my realm of knowledge, and the intersection with sexual activity is probably one of the trickiest areas to deal with regarding a right to record, so I don’t want this to come across like I am asserting anything definite. I am just asking, in a country with a near-absolute right to record, what could we actually expect to happen with regard to rape occurrences and convictions?

LaserGuy wrote:
As I've said above, you can make someone suspend their right to be recorded as a requirement for allowing them on your property, in the same way that you can make someone suspend their freedom of speech on your property. This is fine. If you put a "No recording" sign in a reasonably visible places in or outside of your business, then no one can record inside your place.


I don't get this. Why are you willing to respect someone's right to not have you record on their property, but not willing to respect their wishes not to record them personally? Surely a violation of someone's personal space and personal autonomy is a much more serious infringement than that of their property rights.

Interestingly, if one takes the position that “the right to record what one sees” is a a fundamental part of personal autonomy, and that the photons reflected off a person are at most their property and perhaps not even that, then this exact argument yields the opposite conclusion.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Derek » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:19 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Tell you what, next time you have a sexual encounter, make a recording of it without that person's knowledge or consent and post it online, also without their consent, then try this line on them and see what they think.

Sexual activity is an act that requires consent, just like entering someone else's property. That consent does not have to be granted if one partner wants to record it and the other doesn't. I think informing the other partner before hand is a natural obligation.

Now if you're having sex in a public space, that's different.

I don't see the right to record being in any way a fundamental right. The ability to ubiquitously record is a product of the last ten years of technological development. There is absolutely no reason that we couldn't simply ban recording devices entirely and return ourselves to the dark ages of 1995. I'm quite happy sacrificing a certain level of "justified recording" in order to prevent rapists from being able to find their victims. There is simply no need for the level of "justified recording" such a right would imply.

And the Internet, Television, and Radio are all relatively new technologies too that make communication far more effective than ever before. But that doesn't mean that freedom of expression doesn't apply to them. Recording technology has been available as long as writing, or even drawing, has existed, and I would hold that the right has always existed (morally, if not legally) just as the freedom of expression has always existed. Technology has brought the issue to the forefront, but it has not changed the nature of it.

I don't get this. Why are you willing to respect someone's right to not have you record on their property, but not willing to respect their wishes not to record them personally? Surely a violation of someone's personal space and personal autonomy is a much more serious infringement than that of their property rights.

I think Qaanol gave a good answer to this, but to give my perspective: You have (near) total domain over your property. You can exclude someone for just about any reason you want. There is nothing special about recording here. But if someone is out in public, or visible from public space, then they have no such domain. Anything in the public space will naturally be observed by all kinds of people, there can be no expectation of privacy there, it's an unreasonable and illogical expectation. The implication is that I could shove myself in someone else's face, then accuse that person of violating my rights. Anyone out in the public has implicitly consented. In fact, they have not only consented, but they have imposed themselves on other people. Some people might not have even wanted to see them. Were those people asked for consent? Should those people be asked for consent? No, it's a public space. People are free to come and go in it as they please, they will see what they see, whether they want to or not, and they may record what they may.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:57 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I don't see the right to record being in any way a fundamental right. The ability to ubiquitously record is a product of the last ten years of technological development. There is absolutely no reason that we couldn't simply ban recording devices entirely and return ourselves to the dark ages of 1995. I'm quite happy sacrificing a certain level of "justified recording" in order to prevent rapists from being able to find their victims. There is simply no need for the level of "justified recording" such a right would imply.


Is it at least plausible that in a country with a right to record, the conviction rate would be substantially higher due to the prevalence of video evidence? And that the ubiquity of cameras would greatly reduce the number of rape attempts, because potential rapists would have to presume they are probably being recorded?

Again, this is way outside my realm of knowledge, and the intersection with sexual activity is probably one of the trickiest areas to deal with regarding a right to record, so I don’t want this to come across like I am asserting anything definite. I am just asking, in a country with a near-absolute right to record, what could we actually expect to happen with regard to rape occurrences and convictions?


If someone is recording the rape, that means that they have chosen to take that action instead of helping the victim, which, in and of itself, is a problem. But my impression is that more often than not, the use of cameras in such situations has generally been by the rapists themselves to further harass the victim. We already have a near-ubiquitous right-to-record, yet we do not see any indication that this phenomena has led to higher rape conviction rates.

LaserGuy wrote:
As I've said above, you can make someone suspend their right to be recorded as a requirement for allowing them on your property, in the same way that you can make someone suspend their freedom of speech on your property. This is fine. If you put a "No recording" sign in a reasonably visible places in or outside of your business, then no one can record inside your place.


I don't get this. Why are you willing to respect someone's right to not have you record on their property, but not willing to respect their wishes not to record them personally? Surely a violation of someone's personal space and personal autonomy is a much more serious infringement than that of their property rights.


Interestingly, if one takes the position that “the right to record what one sees” is a a fundamental part of personal autonomy, and that the photons reflected off a person are at most their property and perhaps not even that, then this exact argument yields the opposite conclusion.[/quote]

Why would you take "the right to record what one sees" as a fundamental part of personal autonomy? That is a complete non-sequitor. I reject that such a right exists at all, and believe it would be quite detrimental to the public good to recognize it as such.

Derek wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Tell you what, next time you have a sexual encounter, make a recording of it without that person's knowledge or consent and post it online, also without their consent, then try this line on them and see what they think.


Sexual activity is an act that requires consent, just like entering someone else's property. That consent does not have to be granted if one partner wants to record it and the other doesn't. I think informing the other partner before hand is a natural obligation.


Why? You say you have a right to record anything that you experience, and nobody else's opinion on the subject matters. Why does it make a difference if you're having sex? What if they consent to the sex but not the recording? Can you do it anyway? Do you even have to ask, if they're, say, at your home, or you're at a hotel?

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Derek » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:40 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Why would you take "the right to record what one sees" as a fundamental part of personal autonomy? That is a complete non-sequitor. I reject that such a right exists at all, and believe it would be quite detrimental to the public good to recognize it as such.

Why would the photons reflecting from your body be part of your personal autonomy?

Derek wrote:Sexual activity is an act that requires consent, just like entering someone else's property. That consent does not have to be granted if one partner wants to record it and the other doesn't. I think informing the other partner before hand is a natural obligation.


Why? You say you have a right to record anything that you experience, and nobody else's opinion on the subject matters. Why does it make a difference if you're having sex? What if they consent to the sex but not the recording? Can you do it anyway? Do you even have to ask, if they're, say, at your home, or you're at a hotel?

Have you even been reading my posts? All the answers to your questions can be found, multiple times, in my previous posts.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:17 pm UTC

Derek wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Why would you take "the right to record what one sees" as a fundamental part of personal autonomy? That is a complete non-sequitor. I reject that such a right exists at all, and believe it would be quite detrimental to the public good to recognize it as such.


Why would the photons reflecting from your body be part of your personal autonomy?


Your personal autonomy includes the right to safety and security of person. If someone is recording you against your will, that is a direct threat to those things. There are very few circumstances where someone refusing to stop recording you (or recording you circumspectly without your knowledge) should not be taken as a threatening action.

Derek wrote:Sexual activity is an act that requires consent, just like entering someone else's property. That consent does not have to be granted if one partner wants to record it and the other doesn't. I think informing the other partner before hand is a natural obligation.


Why? You say you have a right to record anything that you experience, and nobody else's opinion on the subject matters. Why does it make a difference if you're having sex? What if they consent to the sex but not the recording? Can you do it anyway? Do you even have to ask, if they're, say, at your home, or you're at a
hotel?


Have you even been reading my posts? All the answers to your questions can be found, multiple times, in my previous posts.[/quote]

You have answered none of these questions in any of your posts. Why is it a natural obligation to gain consent before you record them having sex, but not to record them circumspectly in your home when you invite them over for dinner, or follow them down the street training your camera on them? You're the guy who said that "I think we just have to accept these abuses in order to protect more fundamental rights". I'm trying to see how much abuse of this "right" you're willing to accept.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby jseah » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:59 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I don't think it works that way, the power of a recording is in other people being able to see exactly what is recorded. I doubt that you can display what you see. And if your attention is not on it you may not see an event at all.

What about someone who has exceptionally good short-medium term memory and decides to start a blog by writing down his day.

Even if it is only key points, things like "to the guy with the yellow cropped hair and the nike shoes who was playing with a baseball on the 6.30 Circle line train, that was dangerous! " could make its way onto the internet.

Or he makes it a point to dictate his memories to a speech recognition recorder whenever he's free. Including the complete text content of whatever document he happened to focus on, from the back of the newspaper at the coffeeshop to the title of the novel and the current page number of the random "reading and walking" person he passed on the street.
Said recorder may or may not write directly onto a blog-like webpage.


This is someone attempting to share all of his/her memory. I would be extremely hesistant to tell people "you cannot talk about what you saw" unless they signed an NDA.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:13 pm UTC

jseah wrote:This is someone attempting to share all of his/her memory. I would be extremely hesistant to tell people "you cannot talk about what you saw" unless they signed an NDA.
It's also kind of irrelevant in the context of facial recognition software. And verbal affirmation of someone doing a thing is a lot weaker evidence than photographic evidence of them doing the thing.

"Hey, everyone, jseah eats his boogers."

Is a lot less damaging than 'Here is a photo of jseah eating his boogers'.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby morriswalters » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:22 pm UTC

How many people can you focus on in a given day? You may well see thousands. If you have an artistic bent, try drawing an intersection and the surroundings at that intersection, one that you pass through every day. Which would be more accurate? Your recollection or a picture? You see and remember as much as you need to see an remember, and only if you focus on it. A camera on the other hand has a better memory as long as the media lasts.

However if someone thinks they need to capture anything they see let them. People with interesting lives are busy living them. People with too much time on their hands post pictures of cats. Sooner or later(sooner I bet) someone will bring Bogart back to star in a new film. Once that happens no one will need to make pictures of you and you significant other dancing under the sheets. There will be an app to create the video without your involvement at all. In the meantime makeup is already being designed to defeat facial recognition. Life goes on.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Trebla » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:34 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:It's also kind of irrelevant in the context of facial recognition software. And verbal affirmation of someone doing a thing is a lot weaker evidence than photographic evidence of them doing the thing.

"Hey, everyone, jseah eats his boogers."

Is a lot less damaging than 'Here is a photo of jseah eating his boogers'.


But it's only damaging because he did it in the first place. I disagree that "because pictures are more damaging than words" means the problem is the pictures... the problem is he did something that would be damaging to himself if other people knew. Blaming the pictures themselves seems nonsensical.

I also disagree (with other sentiments in the thread, not the specific quote) that there's a real balance between a "right to record" and "right to not be harassed"... the two are mostly unrelated. Harassment is reasonably well-defined. An implicit "legal" is trumped by an explicit "illegal" if you're harassment is taking place, whether the harasser is filming or not is irrelevant, and actually beneficial to the harassee in any attempt to get justice.

I also find many people assume they did something privately in circumstances that seem pretty public to me.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:00 am UTC

Trebla wrote:But it's only damaging because he did it in the first place.
No, it's damaging because somebody else can gain an advantage by pointing out that he did it. With a small audience, this is not very powerful. But with a large audience, and with the permanence of pictures, the damage can be immense, even if the thing done is harmless. Skinnydipping in one's own pool is an example.

I would like to live in a world where I could do that, should I desire, without helping sell cornflakes on the six o'clock news.

Trebla wrote:I also find many people assume they did something privately in circumstances that seem pretty public to me.
You are treating private/public as a binary characteristic. It is not - it is a continuum that runs between zero (private) and one (public). But with photographs and the internet, it now goes to eleven.

Jose
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Derek » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:37 am UTC

ucim wrote:You are treating private/public as a binary characteristic. It is not - it is a continuum that runs between zero (private) and one (public). But with photographs and the internet, it now goes to eleven.

What does that number represent? The probability of being seen? The probability of being seen in an ideal world? The consequences of being seen? The portion that can be seen?

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Qaanol » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:00 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Why would you take "the right to record what one sees" as a fundamental part of personal autonomy? That is a complete non-sequitor. I reject that such a right exists at all, and believe it would be quite detrimental to the public good to recognize it as such.

Well, for the purposes of this thread, as explicitly stated in the first post, one would take “the right to record what one sees” as a fundamental right recognized by a hypothetical country, in order to have a productive discussion about what the likely and foreseeable results of establishing such a right would be.

So far we’ve discussed numerous aspects including the ability to document and reveal crimes, the potential for blackmail, the reduction in privacy, and the interplay with private property.

The question was raised whether the right to record would also include the right to distribute the recordings, and also what the impact of facial-recognition software would be.

The conversation has repeatedly returned to sex-related topics, and I think we can all agree that those are some of the trickiest to deal with. So I’d like to move the conversation away from that area, since it may well be something for which specific exemptions to a right-to-record would exist.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:32 am UTC

Derek wrote:What does that number represent? The probability of being seen? The probability of being seen in an ideal world? The consequences of being seen? The portion that can be seen?
It represents the inverse of the degree of privacy, using any reasonable metric you wish to establish. All metrics are problematic to some degree, but that's not the detail that matters.

One such metric could be "number of people who could easily see it" divided by "number of people you interact with in your life".

In the past, you're mostly seen by people with whom you interact. When you're out on the street, you are visible to other people who are out in the street. If you pick your buggers, maybe twenty people could see it, and maybe five people notice, and maybe one cares. But it's still "public".

Somebody takes a picture, and now people you don't even know (or don't know yet) could see it... even after you are dead and buried. And when somebody posts it to Twitter, hundreds of millions of people could easily see it, and I'll bet there's a blog somewhere dedicated to people who pick their nose. This is far more than the number of people you actually interact with. It goes to eleven.

Sure, there's a bit of hyperbole in the statement, but I think my point is clear even without units and references.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Heartfelt thanks from addams and from me - you really made a difference.


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