The Right to Record

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Derek
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Derek » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:07 am UTC

ucim wrote:
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".

Delegating it to "degree of privacy" doesn't answer the question. How do you measure "degree of privacy"? The only reasonable metric I can think of is the same way computers deal with privacy: A set of boolean flags indicating who has permission to see or know something and who does not. But even this is weak, because in this case permission is transitive (if someone knows your private information, they can tell others), so it only takes one person with a big mouth to ruin your privacy. And as I've said in other threads, wants something is public it is always public, you can never make it private again.

Your proposed metric does not seem very good. If someone does something so that only one person can see, but that one person could be anyone in the world, is it really private? The implication is that any non-zero amount of publicity (ie, at least one person can see) may as well be entirely public, because any particularly person could see it and there is no telling what they'll choose to do with that information. This metric is guaranteed to create an endless stream of disasters where someone said or did something "privately", but the wrong 1 person saw it and exposed them. Any model that encourages people to act privately while not guaranteeing that privacy is an untenable model, imo.

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Zamfir
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Zamfir » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:15 am UTC


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

That's the core of the matter, isn't it? Going by the proposal in the OP I would leave every expectation of privacy behind once I step out behind my own walls. As ucim puts it, that's a very binary conception of privacy. Either you are in a private place, or anything you do can be recorded, stored and published for the world to see.

That's not how I want the world to be. I strongly value a public space where I can be among strangers without that escalation to recordings and publishing. Not for every public place and all circumstances, but as the default setting for public behaviour.

So, I wouldn't say that people assume they did something privately while they were in public. They have a different expectation about the norms governing public behaviour. Norms that you would associate with a more restricted private sphere.

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LaserGuy
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:34 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:

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

That's the core of the matter, isn't it? Going by the proposal in the OP I would leave every expectation of privacy behind once I step out behind my own walls. As ucim puts it, that's a very binary conception of privacy. Either you are in a private place, or anything you do can be recorded, stored and published for the world to see.

That's not how I want the world to be. I strongly value a public space where I can be among strangers without that escalation to recordings and publishing. Not for every public place and all circumstances, but as the default setting for public behaviour.

So, I wouldn't say that people assume they did something privately while they were in public. They have a different expectation about the norms governing public behaviour. Norms that you would associate with a more restricted private sphere.


I would say that while you don't have an expectation of privacy in public, you do generally have an expectation of anonymity. That is, given a sufficiently large urban area, it's unlikely that you're going to come across people that you know in an arbitrary location at any given time. This, in turn, allows people to have functional private lives without the need to worry about those private lives intersecting overly much with other aspects of their life, like their work. For example, a gay teenager might face severe discrimination at home from fundamentalist parents, or at school from other kids, but could in principle still maintain a functional relationship with a same-sex boyfriend or girlfriend across town nonetheless, simply by the virtue of the fact that they aren't likely to encounter those people outside of those settings. Ubiquitous surveillance, however, would generally prevent such things because it greatly increases the risk of exposure. It leads to scenarios where socially non-conforming or "deviant" behaviours, however harmless they may be, are much more likely to come to light and be punished. When all of your behaviour is de facto public record, people are much more likely to censor behaviours that don't conform.

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ucim
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:42 pm UTC

Derek wrote:Your proposed metric does not seem very good.

You're missing the point.

As I said before, all metrics of privacy are problematic in some form. That doesn't however obviate the clearly credible notion that some situations are more private than others. Do you disagree with the basic premise that there are degrees of privacy? If you're on board with that, pick any measure you want, and "right to record" (given the internet) takes it to eleven.

It vastly increases the chance that a yenta will see it, and vastly increases the consequences if one does.

Jose
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Trebla » Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:14 pm UTC

ucim wrote:As I said before, all metrics of privacy are problematic in some form. That doesn't however obviate the clearly credible notion that some situations are more private than others. Do you disagree with the basic premise that there are degrees of privacy? If you're on board with that, pick any measure you want, and "right to record" (given the internet) takes it to eleven.

It vastly increases the chance that a yenta will see it, and vastly increases the consequences if one does.


I would say that's an illusion. Either something is private.... or it's not private. "Sort of private" is completely in the "not private" category. You can certainly assume there are degrees in your day to day calculation of whether or not you'll pick your nose in a mostly empty subway car.... but there's no objective level of privacy... anything you do there is completely in the public eye (whether or not it's recorded and distributed).

LaserGuy wrote:I would say that while you don't have an expectation of privacy in public, you do generally have an expectation of anonymity. That is, given a sufficiently large urban area, it's unlikely that you're going to come across people that you know in an arbitrary location at any given time. This, in turn, allows people to have functional private lives without the need to worry about those private lives intersecting overly much with other aspects of their life, like their work. For example, a gay teenager might face severe discrimination at home from fundamentalist parents, or at school from other kids, but could in principle still maintain a functional relationship with a same-sex boyfriend or girlfriend across town nonetheless, simply by the virtue of the fact that they aren't likely to encounter those people outside of those settings. Ubiquitous surveillance, however, would generally prevent such things because it greatly increases the risk of exposure. It leads to scenarios where socially non-conforming or "deviant" behaviours, however harmless they may be, are much more likely to come to light and be punished. When all of your behaviour is de facto public record, people are much more likely to censor behaviours that don't conform.


Expectation of anonymity is just an expectation, and is often wrong. How often are you somewhere you expect to be anonymous and run into an old acquaintance? Not often maybe, but sometimes.

Pragmatically, it's far easier in the short term to hide something that doesn't conform to expected behaviors than to change the norm.

Philosophically, I disagree completely. If the "deviant" behavior is harmful, the individual (and probably society) is harmed by hiding it and allowing them to continue. If the behavior is not harmful, persecuting it in the rare instances it's discovered while some people hide it seems like it's more harmful in the long run as it perpetuates the problem indefinitely while a subset of the practitioners are punished. Far better is to deal with the actual problem rather than hiding it.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Derek » Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:45 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I would say that while you don't have an expectation of privacy in public, you do generally have an expectation of anonymity. That is, given a sufficiently large urban area, it's unlikely that you're going to come across people that you know in an arbitrary location at any given time. This, in turn, allows people to have functional private lives without the need to worry about those private lives intersecting overly much with other aspects of their life, like their work. For example, a gay teenager might face severe discrimination at home from fundamentalist parents, or at school from other kids, but could in principle still maintain a functional relationship with a same-sex boyfriend or girlfriend across town nonetheless, simply by the virtue of the fact that they aren't likely to encounter those people outside of those settings. Ubiquitous surveillance, however, would generally prevent such things because it greatly increases the risk of exposure. It leads to scenarios where socially non-conforming or "deviant" behaviours, however harmless they may be, are much more likely to come to light and be punished. When all of your behaviour is de facto public record, people are much more likely to censor behaviours that don't conform.

I run into people I know randomly enough that I would say that that is a terrible plan. The couple is almost certain to be found out eventually. You can reduce the chances by traveling further away, but you can never eliminate it and you're always taking a risk.

ucim wrote:You're missing the point.

As I said before, all metrics of privacy are problematic in some form. That doesn't however obviate the clearly credible notion that some situations are more private than others. Do you disagree with the basic premise that there are degrees of privacy? If you're on board with that, pick any measure you want, and "right to record" (given the internet) takes it to eleven.

It vastly increases the chance that a yenta will see it, and vastly increases the consequences if one does.

Jose

Yes, I disagree with the notion that privacy can be measured as a continuum. You can measure the probability of being caught on a continuum, but any non-zero probability is not really privacy. I think that's the mistake people make.

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LaserGuy
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:40 pm UTC

Derek wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I would say that while you don't have an expectation of privacy in public, you do generally have an expectation of anonymity. That is, given a sufficiently large urban area, it's unlikely that you're going to come across people that you know in an arbitrary location at any given time. This, in turn, allows people to have functional private lives without the need to worry about those private lives intersecting overly much with other aspects of their life, like their work. For example, a gay teenager might face severe discrimination at home from fundamentalist parents, or at school from other kids, but could in principle still maintain a functional relationship with a same-sex boyfriend or girlfriend across town nonetheless, simply by the virtue of the fact that they aren't likely to encounter those people outside of those settings. Ubiquitous surveillance, however, would generally prevent such things because it greatly increases the risk of exposure. It leads to scenarios where socially non-conforming or "deviant" behaviours, however harmless they may be, are much more likely to come to light and be punished. When all of your behaviour is de facto public record, people are much more likely to censor behaviours that don't conform.


I run into people I know randomly enough that I would say that that is a terrible plan. The couple is almost certain to be found out eventually. You can reduce the chances by traveling further away, but you can never eliminate it and you're always taking a risk.


Certainly it's a risk, but sometimes it's just a practical reality. There are many, many things that people cannot do privately that are nonetheless private matters in principle. If you want to get an abortion, you have to go to an abortion clinic. There are places where being recorded doing such a thing could carry serious consequences, even though the abortion itself is a completely private matter. The same is true of addictions treatment, mental health services, religious practices, political activism, to name a few. Just because you are engaging in a legal, even beneficial, behaviour, does not necessarily mean you want your employer, say, to know about it.

Derek wrote:Yes, I disagree with the notion that privacy can be measured as a continuum. You can measure the probability of being caught on a continuum, but any non-zero probability is not really privacy. I think that's the mistake people make.


[edit]In that case, privacy doesn't exist at all. Your email may be "private", but there is some non-zero chance that I can guess your password, or that the information within can be compromised in some other way. Your home may be "private", but there is some non-zero chance that anything you do in your home can nonetheless be surreptitiously observed. All we have is an expectation of privacy, and when we speak of the right to privacy (or the right to anything, really), we speak of the explicit legal protections designed to deal with the case when that right is violated. Likewise, for example, you have the right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment. That doesn't mean that it is impossible for the government to inflict cruel and unusual punishment on you; it means that if it does do so, you have some recourse to protect yourself.[/edit]

Trebla wrote:Philosophically, I disagree completely. If the "deviant" behavior is harmful, the individual (and probably society) is harmed by hiding it and allowing them to continue. If the behavior is not harmful, persecuting it in the rare instances it's discovered while some people hide it seems like it's more harmful in the long run as it perpetuates the problem indefinitely while a subset of the practitioners are punished. Far better is to deal with the actual problem rather than hiding it.


If you have a way to eliminate the social stigmas surrounding these sorts of issues, I'd love to hear it.

Trebla
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Trebla » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:23 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:If you have a way to eliminate the social stigmas surrounding these sorts of issues, I'd love to hear it.


Only time and effort. Hiding your actions so they won't be judged just allows this generation to teach the next that your actions can be discriminated against... confronting the stigmas in society (and, I realize this is VERY optimistic) allows them to be changed over several generations.

It doesn't mean we should do the wrong thing just because it's easier for us.

Though again, in practice I can see how appealing that is. And how easy it is for me to by a hypocrite. If I held beliefs that could get my family killed by expressing those beliefs, even if I could guarantee that my actions would lead to their acceptance, I would not seek to change society.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:28 pm UTC

Trebla wrote:If I held beliefs that could get my family killed by expressing those beliefs, even if I could guarantee that my actions would lead to their acceptance, I would not seek to change society.
If you wanted to do something harmless that could get you (or your daughter) fired, would you do it?

Would you be in favor of measures that made it less likely that those harmless actions would result in termination?

Jose
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Trebla » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:28 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Trebla wrote:If I held beliefs that could get my family killed by expressing those beliefs, even if I could guarantee that my actions would lead to their acceptance, I would not seek to change society.


If you wanted to do something harmless that could get you (or your daughter) fired, would you do it?
Would you be in favor of measures that made it less likely that those harmless actions would result in termination?


To the first question, that depends on a lot of other factors. It's basically a lesser version of "getting killed"... that would depend on how strong my beliefs are in the validity of that action and how much I value my, or my family's, job(s).

For the sake of argument, call it eating apples. I firmly believe that everyone should be allowed to eat them apples, and in fact, it's not illegal, but some people are biased against apple-eaters. At risk of my job with an anti-apple-eating company, I'd probably be willing to eat apples, and wouldn't try to hide that, in order to affect social change (assuming the predicted financial outcome for me isn't disastrous). On the other hand, if some people went out and killed apple-eaters and their families, I wouldn't eat apples... I'd try to support the practice passively in a way that doesn't risk harm.

To the second question... I'd normally be in favor of measures that make apple-eating less likely to result in termination if it doesn't affect other aspects more negatively. I would not, for instance, support the banning of growth and import of all apples. Similarly, I would not support measures that said "Don't ask people if they eat apples, and don't tell anyone if you do... keep that to yourself because other people will fire you if you eat apples"... that just prolongs the problem (And the Teenage Guide to Popularity tells us that "prolonging the situation only makes it worse") without addressing it and sends the message that it's ok to fire people for eating apples if they slip up and you find out about it.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Thesh » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:50 pm UTC

I think there needs to be a right to record because without that right journalism would be incredibly restricted. I think you should have the right to record things you see, incidents you come across, and I think that right stops when it becomes harassment.
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Zamfir
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Zamfir » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:03 pm UTC

Trebla, the relevant question is no justt what you would or should do in a hypothetical situation. It's also whether other people should be able to make that choice for themselves. The 'right to record' is also a right 'right to expose'. It takes away the choice whether to hide or to be in the open. Away from the people who might want to hide, and it gives that choice to the other people who want to expose them.

It can be brave to decide ' I will not hide, I will bear the consequences, bring my situation the open and hope it will bring about social change'. (of course, it's less brave to decide that on a hypothetical issue). It's brave because it likely to fail. It's not a choice you should force on others.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:55 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote: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.


Probably more possible now than at any other point in history, though.

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.


Such a law can be used to persecute people who wish to expose injustice, police or otherwise. It's an issue in my state, as we have a similar law in MD, and of course, the police are mostly pretty anti-recording. It does not, of course, apply to them recording us...but even if it WAS fair, it'd still be troublesome.

I'm pretty ok with allowing recording in public. If something is reasonably expected to be publicly visible(outside of your house, your face in the mall, whatever), taking a pic of it shouldn't be a big deal, focus be damned.

And yes, I agree that right to record is not necessarily the right to use in any way you wish. No doubt slander, libel, public safety laws, will still apply.

However, more important than if a right to record exists or not is an equality of recording rights. If the government gets to record me for no particular reason and without a warrant, I should get equal recording rights.

Zamfir wrote: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.


If you've got the money and the know-how right now, they are quite effective indeed.

The question is not so much if government and industry will have access to such tech. They do and will almost certainly not give it up. The question is really about if individuals also should.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:59 am UTC

Trebla wrote:I would not, for instance, support the banning of growth and import of all apples.
Nor would I. But I think I would also be against laws that made it hard for people to eat apples undetected. And that's what's happening.

Unmitigated "right to record" is in that sense a lot like outing gays to promote equal rights.

Thesh wrote:I think there needs to be a right to record because without that right journalism would be incredibly restricted.
I agree there, so long as it's not an unmitigated right to record. Because one can't reasonably assume that it's always the Good Guy behind the camera.

Tyndmyr wrote:
eSOANEM wrote: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.
Probably more possible now than at any other point in history, though.
Actually, the other way around. I presume you are referring to "on the internet nobody knows you're a dog". But nowadays, not only do they know you're a dog, they know what kind of dog food you just ate, and where you bought it. It seems anonymous because you don't see their eyeballs, but just look at the list of tracking cookies in a typical browsing session, each one tied to all the other cookies you've "eaten" in the last umpty ump days.

Tyndmyr wrote:If the government gets to record me for no particular reason and without a warrant, I should get equal recording rights.

Absolutely.

Tyndmyr wrote:The question is not so much if government and industry will have access to such tech. They do and will almost certainly not give it up. The question is really about if individuals also should.
... and if it would actually make a difference.

Jose
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Tyndmyr » Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:25 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
eSOANEM wrote: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.
Probably more possible now than at any other point in history, though.
Actually, the other way around. I presume you are referring to "on the internet nobody knows you're a dog". But nowadays, not only do they know you're a dog, they know what kind of dog food you just ate, and where you bought it. It seems anonymous because you don't see their eyeballs, but just look at the list of tracking cookies in a typical browsing session, each one tied to all the other cookies you've "eaten" in the last umpty ump days.[/quote]

In a sense...but mostly, this just means that facebook will show me an ad for the thing I just bought on Amazon. Cookies are not all that(and you can wipe them at will). In olden times, houses were smaller, towns were smaller, people were more likely to know each other, and of course, ordering literally everything without leaving your home has never been as easy as today. We still don't have perfect privacy, but there's a difference between some distant corporation knowing some random facts about you, and your neighbors knowing just about everything about your life.

Tyndmyr wrote:The question is not so much if government and industry will have access to such tech. They do and will almost certainly not give it up. The question is really about if individuals also should.
... and if it would actually make a difference.

Jose


Well, forcing them to wear cameras seems to make a difference. It seems anonymity for those in power results in abuses of that power. Accountability and evidence for abuse seems to be huge. I suspect that more cameras wielded by more people makes police misuse of their own cameras, or stifling recording rights harder. Everyone having a cell phone cam has already helped to document a great many wrongs.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby elasto » Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:40 am UTC

I do there there should be a right enshrined in law permitting the recording of on-duty public officials - eg. the police. It's the best and only logical way to 'watch the watchers'.

I also think there's no law banning someone from walking around with Google Glass turned on. Not in the UK at least; Some US states may have draconian laws against it I'm not sure.

Being up in a stranger's face recording them, or, worse, following them, is not only extremely impolite and might provoke a confrontation but probably falls under existing harassment/stalking laws - and the recording aspect should be an aggravating factor.

In short, I think the balance is probably struck at about the right level already, in the UK at least. I certainly wouldn't like to see it pushed too far in one direction or the other from where it's at.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:11 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:In a sense...but mostly, this just means that facebook will show me an ad for the thing I just bought on Amazon.
So much no.

It also means that the New York Times can show you a different version of the article your friend linked you to. It means that Amazon can change the price it offers you based on where you buy corn flakes and where you are in the latest Harry Potter novel. It means that the real estate agents you use to rent an apartment will find that this particular unit "isn't available for viewing today" when you show up, because later on somebody better is predicted to show up.

Convenience has certainly increased. However, it is much less easy to not go out "in public", and the "public" you go out in is vastly larger. You are exposed to many people that are not exposed to you. That is a big change, and one that makes your every action much more public than it has ever been before.

Tyndmyr wrote:Well, forcing them to wear cameras seems to make a difference.
No, making that video public is what makes the difference.

I agree that those who wield power must be monitored. But that is not the same as supporting an unmitigated right to record.

Jose
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Tyndmyr » Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:12 am UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:In a sense...but mostly, this just means that facebook will show me an ad for the thing I just bought on Amazon.
So much no.

It also means that the New York Times can show you a different version of the article your friend linked you to. It means that Amazon can change the price it offers you based on where you buy corn flakes and where you are in the latest Harry Potter novel. It means that the real estate agents you use to rent an apartment will find that this particular unit "isn't available for viewing today" when you show up, because later on somebody better is predicted to show up.

Convenience has certainly increased. However, it is much less easy to not go out "in public", and the "public" you go out in is vastly larger. You are exposed to many people that are not exposed to you. That is a big change, and one that makes your every action much more public than it has ever been before.


The vast majority of cookies are fairly trivial. And you can blow away them all whenever you feel like it. A number of popular browsers even have "anonymous" modes that offer isolated sessions. If you're someone who cares about anonymity at all, you can be fairly anonymous online. It's not ENTIRELY so, but the level of privacy/anonymity enjoyed in practice is fairly solid, even for random internet trolls and so forth. Those who record information usually do not make it public, though they may be interested in a making a few more bucks off you or what not.

Tyndmyr wrote:Well, forcing them to wear cameras seems to make a difference.
No, making that video public is what makes the difference.

I agree that those who wield power must be monitored. But that is not the same as supporting an unmitigated right to record.

Jose


You cannot make public what is not recorded. And relying on the police to monitor themselves is less robust than allowing anyone to monitor them.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:08 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The vast majority of cookies are fairly trivial. And you can blow away them all whenever you feel like it.
It's not about cookies - it's about the back end. Cookies (which are not evil in and of themselves; they are just a kludge to overcome the web's inherent statelessness) are the least of it. And though you can blow them away, if you do so you can't go anywhere on many sites. Ditto javascript, which is also becoming pervasive. Web designers are beginning to insist that foreign scripting be enabled, so that they can automate tasks you don't necessarily want to do. And browser fingerprints are also used to track you; that's harder to avoid.

Also, anonymous mode in browsers is primarily about records kept on the client computer. It does not much affect records kept by the sites visited.

Yes, it's possible to browse privately, but it's increasingly difficult, and less of the web is amenable to it. The average Joe pretty much can't.

But this is a different aspect of private/public, giving yet another illustration that it's not binary. While "The neighbors" can't see you on the net (so it seems private), registered overseers (the companies that are behind the pages you browse, and those that have "affiliations" with them) can and do, making your dealings very much not private. Whereas if you pick your nose on the street, your neighbors can see that (public) but except for the "security" cameras there are no registered overseers watching. At least none who care about your nose.

Tyndmyr wrote:You cannot make public what is not recorded. And relying on the police to monitor themselves is less robust than allowing anyone to monitor them.
Very true, which is why I think that there should be a right to record law enforcement wherever they have a right to record us, and that the affected parties (though not necessarily the general public) should have the right to know about and review police recordings. We must consider the possibility that doing so could undermine their ability to actually do their job (i.e. through undercover work), but such work must also be monitored somehow, lest we become a police state.

Jose
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Qaanol » Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:59 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:The 'right to record' is also a right 'right to expose'.

I think it is more accurate to say the ability to record is the ability to expose. Whether or not recording is legal has negligible impact on that fact. The technology exists.

Moreover, there is already a precedent in many places for a separation of the right to record and the right to distribute. You can tape a song off the radio or DVR a TV show, but you are not allowed to give copies to other people—even though you have the ability.

So the right to record need not grant the right to distribute, and I think that is one thing that has come out of this discussion so far.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:49 pm UTC

So.
1) We have a legal right to privacy. (Griswald)
2) Someone mentioned "I know it when I see it". There is a complex legal definition of obscenity (Miller) and violating it will result in prison. However --- its still imperfect.
3) You have an expectation to a level of privacy in public (see skirt cams)
4) You have a legal right to your likeness. (I can't sell images of you without your permission).
5) Copyright comes into play (Fair Use).
6) Intent is going to play an important role, as it does in all crime.

I think this is a great topic and the legal world should probably start formulating better laws as the technology becomes more available/abundant. I feel like the legal framework is already there, it just needs to be codified and adapted to the modern world of video/picture technology.
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:54 pm UTC

In most jurisdictions, I don't believe that (4) is true. Or, at least, it's only true insofar as your likeness is protected by (1), (3), and libel laws in your country,

[edit]For interest's sake, here's a handy table that lists a by-country breakdown of privacy laws as they apply to photographs. Depending on your jurisdiction, consent may be required to take a picture, publish a photograph, or publish a photograph for commercial purposes.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Trebla » Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:15 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Trebla, the relevant question is nor just what you would or should do in a hypothetical situation. It's also whether other people should be able to make that choice for themselves. The 'right to record' is also a right 'right to expose'. It takes away the choice whether to hide or to be in the open. Away from the people who might want to hide, and it gives that choice to the other people who want to expose them.

It can be brave to decide ' I will not hide, I will bear the consequences, bring my situation the open and hope it will bring about social change'. (of course, it's less brave to decide that on a hypothetical issue). It's brave because it likely to fail. It's not a choice you should force on others.


I guess it's really a matter of if you value the ability to hide "harmless" things more than the ability to expose harmful things. The idealist in me finds more value in preventing the child abuser from hiding his crimes than allowing the closet pot-user to hide his habit. For every example of "Well, I'd hate for so-and-so to not be able to do such-and-such privately" there seems to be a much stronger counter-example.

And it also seems to me, if exposing the harmless things causes harm to come, then by the same assumption that exposed those things, the harmful repercussions would be exposed and ideally brought to justice. E.g., if apple-eaters were exposed and then beaten for eating apples, the beaters would be exposed and could be punished appropriately.

ucim wrote:Nor would I. But I think I would also be against laws that made it hard for people to eat apples undetected. And that's what's happening.


I would not be against laws that had great benefits, that had the side-effect of making it harder to eat apples undetected. I place so little value on my euphemistic ability to eat apples undetected, that the other benefits realized by the social changes (or laws) which make it harder to stay undetected while eating apples make it worth that little loss.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:14 am UTC

Trebla wrote:I guess it's really a matter of if you value the ability to hide "harmless" things more than the ability to expose harmful things.
I guess I'm of the opposite persuasion. It's the basis of "guilty until proven innocent"... that allowing harm is better than doing harm.

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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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Qaanol » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:48 am UTC

ucim wrote:
Trebla wrote:I guess it's really a matter of if you value the ability to hide "harmless" things more than the ability to expose harmful things.
I guess I'm of the opposite persuasion. It's the basis of "guilty until proven innocent"... that allowing harm is better than doing harm.


So ucim, are you saying that you favor allowing people to do what they want, and if one of those things actually causes harm then you would deal with that harmful act through the judicial process?
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:32 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:So ucim, are you saying that you favor allowing people to do what they want, and if one of those things actually causes harm then you would deal with that harmful act through the judicial process?
That is my general inclination. It's of course untenable as an absolute, and I am in favor of preemptive rules about what can be done based on the harm it is likely to engender.

As regards the right to record, this is an example of why it would be untenable as an absolute, and how freedom cuts both ways. It is both freedom to do {stuff} without interference. The interference being prevented is explicitly governmental (you are free to do whatever is legal), but implicitly societal (you may not interfere with another's pursuit of {stuff} either). Without that, vigilante justice has far greater rein than I think should be allowed.

Outing gays interferes with a person's right to his own sexual and romantic life. Upskirt videos interfere with a person's right to dress (legally) as they see fit. Drones in the public airspace over private swimming pools interferes with a persons right to "quiet enjoyment of their property" (which includes skinnydipping, should they so choose). And throwing it all up on Facebook, which is all too happy to tag and invite (and will only get better at it) seriously interferes with a person's right to remain anonymous. (Anonymity played a very important role in the creation of the US constitution; if the Founding Fathers could not be anonymous when they wished, many discussions might never have happened and things might have turned out differently).

Now granted that videotaping slaughterhouse abuses (for example) was important in bringing this to the public, and helping get matters corrected, but that should not make it legal to do so. Breaking into the neighbor's house to expose an alcoholic parent and get that person into treatment is, and should still be, illegal, despite any good it may result in.

So no, " favor allowing people to do what they want" does not lead to "unmitigated right to record".

However, in setting up the rules for what rights to record one does have, it should be considered and weighed significantly.

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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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Gnomish8 » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:20 pm UTC

Congratulations, I've been stalking for a while (years), and you guys finally got me to register.

My $0.02:

We are already being recorded indiscriminately. You walk into a store, you're on surveillance. You drive down the street, still cameras there. The second you enter the public sphere, you have no right to privacy in-so-far as images. You have the right to privacy in-so-far as searches & seizure of you and your property. Although this can cause some harm, we're negating the positive benefits it has.

Anecdote time:
I ride motorcycles and have a mounted GoPro that I ride with. Occasionally I'll throw videos on YouTube, usually instructional things when I screw up (i.e., this is what panic braking is... don't do it). Yup, there are pedestrians, people in cars, planes, trains, buildings, you name it in my videos. About a year ago, a State Trooper attempted to change lanes on I-5 without checking his blind spot. Despite my braking, his driver-side rear bumper still took out my front tire, ejecting me from the motorcycle and totaling my ZX-7. The officer's statement was that he was on I-5, and saw a motorcyclist lose control of their (my) bike, probably due to speed. As there was no damage on the police cruiser, I was cited in my hospital bed with reckless driving, failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle, and speeding (with "pace" as how they measured my speed).
After I got home, I went to work recovering the video from the GoPro. I then submitted the video to the local State Police command center along with my story, and the officer was cited with reckless driving and charged with failure to perform the duties of a motorist and vehicular assault, and with the video and my day in court, the charges against me were dropped.

Hounding people with video cameras is one thing, and actually protected under law via both harassment and stalking laws. However, recording what I see as both a record for me, and evidence if needed, is something that I actively do, and will continue to do.

Regards.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Reko » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:10 pm UTC

Gnomish8 wrote:Congratulations, I've been stalking for a while (years), and you guys finally got me to register.

My $0.02:

We are already being recorded indiscriminately. You walk into a store, you're on surveillance. You drive down the street, still cameras there. The second you enter the public sphere, you have no right to privacy in-so-far as images. You have the right to privacy in-so-far as searches & seizure of you and your property. Although this can cause some harm, we're negating the positive benefits it has.

my first 2 cents:

These are my thoughts on the matter as well (including signing up to comment on this one first, I feel unqualified in most SB threads). I'll add that some police departments in the states also have or are working on license plate scanning technology to track cars. I don't know how much scope these things have in terms of tracking, but the theory is it will help them track stolen cars, people with warrants, and suspicious behavior (gang hideouts, etc). So even if we ourselves are not being recorded, the location of our belongings are (as I said, in some locations at least). [will edit in source after/if I make 5 posts]

Do I find this disturbing and a little intrusive? Yes, I do. Do I think it is unconstitutional? No.
Where I feel like the line will be drawn here is what is done with data on people who have no probable cause other than, say, exiting a bar and driving off. But I feel that is another topic.


Back to my point, I don't think it is illegal to record people out in public, even if I do find it a bit creepy or weird. As another user mentioned, there are anti stalking/harassment laws on the books already. Perhaps the question isn't do we have the right to record in public, but rather do we have the right deterrents in place for people who infringe on other's rights to privacy/security?

my other 2 cents:
The issue I have isn't that I am being observed in public doing something I don't want too many people seeing. Lord knows I've busted plenty of horrendous "dance" moves in public. But as far as I can tell, my audience is the x number of people in the bar or party or conversation or wherever I am at. If I am have a politically charged conversation or any controversial conversation with someone, it is face to face (or over the phone/Skype/whatever). I can judge responses to my audience. I can see facial features and/or hear tone of voice and tell appropriate response. In this thread I think we have all made points that there are times where recording would be beneficial and other times where it would be harmful. Same as any actions we do on a daily basis. If I make a remark in a conversation, I can see where I've crossed a line (if at all). With the audience of the world, I can't do that. I am no longer able to defend, retract, or otherwise edit what is done once it is videoed and out of my confines, even if what was said/done wasn't illegal or harmful in any way because I don't know how the people viewing it are reacting or interpreting it. They could let me know in an appropriate response, but I'm sure we're more likely to see a pitchfork reaction instead.

That's my beef with potentially being recorded at all times. It isn't really a privacy issue with me, more so a consequence of other peoples interpretation or reaction to my actions/words if my recording were widely distributed. If I want privacy I'll stay home or just have to deal with people finding out what I want to keep private.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby hppavilion1 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 6:43 am UTC

eSOANEM wrote: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.

Challenge accepted.
You can order groceries online, work from home, and that's all you need to do in life as far as I can remember.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby ucim » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:23 pm UTC

Reko wrote:...some police departments in the states also have or are working on license plate scanning technology to track cars. I don't know how much scope these things have in terms of tracking, but the theory is it will help them track stolen cars, people with warrants, and suspicious behavior (gang hideouts, etc). So even if we ourselves are not being recorded, the location of our belongings are (as I said, in some locations at least). [will edit in source after/if I make 5 posts]

Do I find this disturbing and a little intrusive? Yes, I do. Do I think it is unconstitutional? No.
Where I feel like the line will be drawn here is what is done with data on people who have no probable cause other than, say, exiting a bar and driving off.

The data will be saved. Indefinitely. It will be available to the next administration, and the one after that, as processing power continues to increase. When times change, and your perfectly innocuous recorded activity is seen as harmful, depraved, or even just useful to your opponent (perhaps at a job interview, a credit application, an apartment lease), it will be there, cross-correlated with everything else.

"Did you inhale?"

Jose
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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:30 pm UTC

hppavilion1 wrote:
eSOANEM wrote: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.

Challenge accepted.
You can order groceries online, work from home, and that's all you need to do in life as far as I can remember.


It is possible. However, the expectation of someone not doing so is unreasonable. If you had the right to freedom of speech, but not in public...cmon, that would obviously be a violation because the expectation that the right is restricted only to private grounds is kind of unreasonable. Likewise, it's unreasonable to expect someone to never go out in public to avoid being recorded.

Sure, incidental recording happens, but intentionally recording a person who isn't a public figure at length, in a public space, is still creepy and stalkerish. It is the abnormal behavior, not the behavior of "going into public" that is strange.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Reko » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:09 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Reko wrote:...some police departments in the states also have or are working on license plate scanning technology to track cars. I don't know how much scope these things have in terms of tracking, but the theory is it will help them track stolen cars, people with warrants, and suspicious behavior (gang hideouts, etc). So even if we ourselves are not being recorded, the location of our belongings are (as I said, in some locations at least). [will edit in source after/if I make 5 posts]

Do I find this disturbing and a little intrusive? Yes, I do. Do I think it is unconstitutional? No.
Where I feel like the line will be drawn here is what is done with data on people who have no probable cause other than, say, exiting a bar and driving off.

The data will be saved. Indefinitely. It will be available to the next administration, and the one after that, as processing power continues to increase. When times change, and your perfectly innocuous recorded activity is seen as harmful, depraved, or even just useful to your opponent (perhaps at a job interview, a credit application, an apartment lease), it will be there, cross-correlated with everything else.

Jose

I think we are in agreement, but you made your point a little more straightforward than I did. I didn't really give it much thought to the future, more so just the here and now.

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Re: The Right to Record

Postby Reko » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:26 pm UTC

Came across this article on MSN this morning. Looks like photography can be protected as a work of art. An "artist" displayed pictures of his neighbors that he took of them through their windows, unbeknownst to them.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/family ... ar-AAaEQij


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