A lot of bloggers consider themselves to be private people. In fact, for various reasons, many don’t even publish a photo of themselves online let alone their real name.

However, with blogs and social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, our privacy could easily be invaded.

Today’s Lesson

It seems like everyone has access to a digital camera and with the ease of their use, snapshots and videos are being taken at an alarming rate.

We see them on Twitpics, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and on blogs; often with a description of who is in the photo.

These days it appears anyone is fair game for having their picture published online.

But, what happens if someone shares photos or videos of us without our permission? Is that an invasion of our privacy?

Although there are laws which are suppose to protect that which is published, it makes me wonder, due to the internet and all of the social networking sites, are we losing what we once held so sacred?

I’m thinking “maybe so”.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

How would you feel if someone posted photos or videos of you online without your permission?

Would you feel your privacy was invaded?

Would you ask them to remove them?

Or is this even a concern for you?

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  1. JeanneNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, the first thought that popped into my head was “if it’s a flattering picture, then hooray!” — If it’s a photo of me showing every minute of my age and/or physical unconditioning, then hey, TAKE IT DOWN, NOW!

    I’m trying to imagine my response to seeing a pic of me posted without permission, but I get nothing. I guess it would have to be a case-by-case thing. A friend posting my pic? probably OK. A perfect stranger using my pic? Eeek.
    .-= Check out Jeanne´s awesome post: Yep, Still Travelin’ =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeanne,

      You’re funny, but I agree, we may be less apt to be upset if the photo is flattering or posted by a friend and not a perfect stranger.

  2. There are exceptions when permission is not needed:

    1) You are in a public space – If you are walking down the sidewalk I don’t need that permission

    2) Newsworthy – If I see you running a red light and running over someone, I don’t need your permission.

    3) When you go to your town’s sports stadiums to see a baseball/hockey/basketball game, you gave permission for your image used as they see fit when you purchased the ticket. No one reads the back of tickets and reads those conditions

    4) Most clubs have websites where they show the photos of different events, they have a sign somewhere on the outside, not reading it is not an excuse.

    5) If I am at a party and say out loud that I will post these in facebook and you pose.

    6) If you pose for the photo, that is sort of permission (not a strong one however)

    7) If you are breaking the law…I take photos of people who smoke at the subway stations on the bus bay level waiting for buses, most of those bus bays are underground. You can’t smoke ANYWHERE in my town’s local transit property, even the few above ground open air bus bays.

    Note that I live in Canada, your country’s/state’s/province’s/etc…’s laws might be slightly different.

    If I am taking a photograph at an event that is taking place in my city/town’s open public square, I won’t delete any photos. I remember I was taking a photo at an event and this one person was drinking a beer bottle (event was booze-free), she bitched and bitched and threatened to shove things up my rear end hole, then my life. She threatened to call the police. Police came, I explained who I am, I also played the audio recording of the person threatening to shove things up my read end hole, and my life. I am a journalist, my bag-kit includes a video camera, photo camera and a digital voice recorder.

    Many people think that permission MUST be asked 100% times, which is not true.

    If I am taking a photo at an event, talk to the manager which gave me permission to take photographs, which you gave manager permission for your photos to be taken when you bought tickets.

    If they are extremely nice then I might delete it but most likely no.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Miroslav,

      Thank you so much for the “rules”. Like you said, you’re in Canada, but I’m guessing some of them may apply elsewhere, as well.

      The one that caught my eye was if you’re at a sports event. I was not aware the conditions are listed on the back of the tickets. I’ll have to check to see if the same applies here in the States.

  3. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    It is a concern for me. I left Facebook for that exact reason. I don’t want photos of me floating around the Internet.

    I’m not really a photo kind of person, never have been. I also tend to keep my personal life, for the most part, out of my online life. I think there needs to be some boundaries there.

    So if someone did post my photo up, I would ask them to take it down. I wouldn’t mind if they used my Avatar though. Perhaps that can be a happy medium.
    .-= Check out Chase March´s awesome post: Just Because I Used To… =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chase,

      Yes, what’s going on now with Facebook has brought this issue to the forefront. Closing our accounts is one way to avoid having our pictures online, however that doesn’t stop others from posting pictures of us if they choose.

  4. Yes, it’s a problem. Facebook founder recently announced that there’s no need for privacy anymore – lots of people have criticized him for saying that.
    .-= Check out vered | blogger for hire´s awesome post: Clutter Free Home: Six Useful Tips =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      I read that article, too. No need for privacy? Is that what it’s coming to? Hopefully not.

  5. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    Personally, I don’t like having my photos online. However, I do so as I understand that pictures can help build a connection with my readers. Other than that, I wouldn’t like having someone else take my photo and post it online.
    .-= Check out Evelyn Lim´s awesome post: 30 Power Words To Activate Intention Setting =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      That’s a good point. Our photo can help us to make a connection with our readers, but like you implied, it’s one thing for us to post a picture, but having someone else post pictures of us could be upsetting.

  6. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Actually Barbara – a while ago I was vaguely horrified to discover there was a terrible picture of me amongst Frank’s photos on Facebook – someone had tagged him, I was also in the picture and because I wasn’t tagged I didn’t know for ages. It could happen to anyone on Facebook – if you don’t log in for a while, someone could have tagged you and you might not know there is a disgusting picture of you sitting on your profile! You can un-tag yourself, but you might not realise it is there.

    Me being quite vain (heh) this will not do!
    .-= Check out Robin´s awesome post: My Last Blog Post =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Robin,

      LOL. That’s true. Family and friends on Facebook often post pictures without us knowing. Like you said, if we’re not paying attention we could have a disgusting photo posted online and not even be aware of it. Yikes!!!

  7. When I got a notice that I was tagged in a photo on Facebook, I immediately untagged myself. I like a little control, as much as is possible.

    When I visited some bloggers in the summers of ’08 and ’09 and they took pictures of me, I asked that they please let me review them first before posting them on their blogs. I hate how my weight gain makes me look and couldn’t bear to have certain photos published. Maybe when I drop 25lbs, I won’t care anymore! But for now, it’s forbid, forbid, forbid.
    .-= Check out Junk Drawer Kathy´s awesome post: When I Grow Up ….. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kathy,

      That is one good thing about Facebook. We can untag photos.

      That was very considerate of your blogger buddies to respect your wishes and not post photos of you unless you approved them.

      • Barb — It WAS nice of them! One of them even made an approved picture impossible to click on and make larger in his blog. He probably thinks I have a mental disorder, but I don’t care. I love that he respected my wishes 🙂
        .-= Check out Junk Drawer Kathy´s awesome post: So How Bad Did I Screw Up? =-.

  8. I would be extremely upset if someone posted a picture without my permission. As a professional, my image is very important to me. I may give permission to use my image if asked and was aware of what the picture looked like and how it was to be posted and/or presented. Should I ever come across a photo posted without my permission, depending on the context, I would at the very least contact the person and discuss the unapproved posting.
    .-= Check out Heather Villa´s awesome post: What Compels People to Hire You (Instead of Your Competitor)? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Heather,

      That’s a good point. For professionals, our image is very important. If we post the photos, we have control, but if someone else posts it, they may think nothing of posting a picture thinking it looks fine.

      I’m thinking, who isn’t critical of their own photo?

  9. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. It is a difficult one – some people are very private and that’s the way it should be – we need to respect our family and friends. I don’t like myself out there too much .. but if we’re intending to publish .. well we don’t have much choice.

    If we mix in circles where things might get out of hand – then we need to be aware. Equally the etiquette element comes in – we need to treat others as we would wish to be treated ourselves.

    I’ve been tagged by people .. heaven knows who and how I was there – & I’m not even sure my photo was .. but if we’re at speaking events etc – then that’s what will happen: another way of helping someone promote their product, in the hope that they’ll do the same for you in due course.

    As long as no-one resurrects some pictures from the past or tells tales of the past … ??!! We all have lives!

    All the best – Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Saint Hilary, Happy Anniversary, Hilary Term and .. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      I agree. We do need to respect the wishes of our friends and family, and hopefully they do the same for us. Although some people love to have their pictures plastered online, some don’t.

      Bring at a speaking engagement raises another issue. If we’re in the spotlight, chances are we’ll be photographed. Hopefully the photographer will use their best desecration and use complimentary photos if they’re going online.

  10. Hi Barbara,

    Interesting post. Due to the fact that so many people around the world are blogging and on social media, international laws apply in such matters. That said, not many people know about copyright laws and invasion of privacy issues. Also keep in mind, people based on their culture have different concepts as to what is private and what is not. Same for copyright.

    For example, when I lived in India, the concept of personal space does not exist. So if you stand in line, the person behind you is practically up against you. That is considered normal over there. I also know that in India copyright laws are not like how they are here in America.

    So to preside over such issues is kind of hard because what is the set standard? Human decency would be the guide but that is not always a guarantee.
    .-= Check out Nadia – Happy Lotus´s awesome post: The 60’s & The Harvard Psychedelic Club =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Nadia,

      You’ve raised some good points. And, I like the story you shared from when you lived in India.

      Yes. Human decency should be the guide and hopefully most will adhere to that.

  11. I’d be ok if it wasn’t a swimsuit photo…

  12. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    “Due to the fact future posts may discuss what is written in the comments, by leaving a comment here, you grant this site a perpetual license to reproduce your words, attributed to you (with your name and website). Questions? See Comment Policy”

    That is what you can read at the bottom of the box where you write a comment in this post. That is the way internet works.

    We must accept that internet is about reaching everyone and the more people reached, the less rules aplied. If we post a picture we must asume it is gone to fly on its own just as we espect our posts will do. We cannot expect the benefits for what we want without having to take the problems it implies. If we suscribe to a social site and post our pictures for our friends to see, the system will make them public and/or the public will make them part of the system sooner or later.

    I really don’t understand people’s view on this. They want cell phones with all kind of capabilities without considering that if you get it, the others also get it, and not everyone has the same moral concepts you have (have you heard of spam, viruses, etc?) so now even while showering at your local gym you cannot be sure if later you will be posted in a porno site.

    We want more facilities from technology so we can do more, easier, but we don’t see the other side of the coin; and is not just seeing it, we must live with it.

    .-= Check out Alien Ghost´s awesome post: The Lost Moments =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Raul,

      That’s very true. For every action, there’s a reaction. Some are good, some not.

      And like you said, with all of the technological developments, comes issues many who want and use the devices don’t consider. When you mentioned how people can go to a local gym and be photographed and have their photo end up on a porn site, it reminded me how the same can happen to defenseless children at the playground. THAT is what concerns me.

  13. PeacefulWmn9No Gravatar says:

    If our photo is on a public site, I suppose it’s fair game, as they say, but the worst thing is when others take someones face, expertly “paste” it atop a nude body and put it out there on a porn site or for mere spite.

    There ARE laws against that, or at least I would hope so.

    I do believe in many respects the internet puts us all “on our honor,” but some people have no honor or scruples. And its such a huge place, so hard to police. Sad!

    .-= Check out PeacefulWmn9´s awesome post: stillness of nature =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Karen,

      You’re right. The internet is hard to police and if an unscrupulous person decides to copy and paste, before we could get the photo(s) taken down, the damage would have already been done.

      Like you said, unfortunately some have no honor.

  14. Facebook tags make it easy enough to un-tag (oh no, is that like unfriending?) any picture I don’t want tagged. And usually I will untag them the second they are up. Pictures that are taken in the privacy of my home, or with my underage kids,…there are certain doors closed to the outside world for my family’s sake. I may not care what is shared out there, but they have some rights. Also, I’m not one who wants to put on full make-up and wardrobe in my own home. There are some very un-flattering pics out there and I wish the shutter bugs of the world had a little more compassion! But that being said, I really have nothing to hide. My weight goes up,it goes down, I look ok without make-up, better with it on and best when I’m smiling. That’s life. I’m no different then anybody else and I think we all know that when we see a picture of somebody.
    .-= Check out Wendi Kelly~Life’s Little Inspirations´s awesome post: Roadblocks to the Inspired Life =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Wendi,

      Hmmmm. I’m thinking untagging would be similar to unfriending. Don’t you just love these new words social networking is creating?

      You’ve brought up a good point. The normal person will realize ALL photos of others will not be the best. Granted we women may look our best with makeup, our hair coiffed, and a smile on our faces, but as we all know, that’s not reality. Hence, like you said, we’ll cut each other some slack if we see a “not so good” photo of someone.

  15. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    In a generation from now, I fear privacy will be a quaint concept no longer valued.

    I’d rather have control over my own image online, but if I were in public when it was taken, there’s not much I can do about it except ask politely for removal if I didn’t like it.
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Priceless self defense skills we all need =-.

  16. Doesn’t matter to me at all. I’ve removed tags a couple of times but otherwise whatever. I just posted old photos of myself on my site today.

    And I still think that in a country where the citizens agreed to the Patriot Act that worrying about privacy doesn’t really make sense. We don’t really have privacy and believing that we do, in my opinion, is an illusion.
    .-= Check out Kim Woodbridge´s awesome post: Me in the 1980’s =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kim,

      I saw those photos you posted from the 80’s. You – looking like a flower child. Cute!

      I’d like to believe we still have SOME privacy, but like you said, it may be just an illusion. (but I hope not).

  17. LinNo Gravatar says:

    Fortunately, this hasn’t been a problem for me. Yet. Hopefully it won’t become an issue on Facebook or anywhere else, but if someone posts a photo of me without even asking me about it…I won’t be very happy.

    I’ve attended a couple blogger Wordcamp conventions locally over the last couple of years, with cameras and video going non-stop. I knew that would be the case so I understood there would be the possibility that a photo with me in it might end up posted online somewhere related to the convention. Knowing about it ahead of time allowed me to decide whether to dodge the cameras and video cameras or not, and it all worked out fine.
    .-= Check out Lin´s awesome post: Husband Abuse: Abused Husbands and Men in Abusive Relationships =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lin,

      I hadn’t thought of that, but if we attend blogging conventions more than likely our photos (and names) will end up being published online. I like your idea of being prepared for that and handling the situation accordingly.

  18. HulbertNo Gravatar says:

    I would definitely feel an invasion of privacy if someone took a photo of me and put it on the internet without my permission. If I found out, I would probably ask them to remove it. I think it doesn’t matter who you are – celebrity or not – people should always respect the other’s right to privacy in real life or in digital life.
    .-= Check out Hulbert´s awesome post: Finding Relief: A Painful Way to Get Out of Pain =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hulbert,

      Respecting someone elses privacy is ideal. Personally I don’t know how celebrities handle it, but I’ve been told that’s the price of fame.

  19. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.
    This isn’t something that I’m too worried about to be honest. I am a private person and what I want to be kept private I keep private. We have that responsibility to ourselves and there are limits about what we choose to share. Anything else… well, it’s out there and whatever happens, happens. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: The Ride of Your Life =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      That’s a good point. If we don’t want something “out there”, then we shouldn’t put it out there. And as we know, once we do, it’s too late to take it back.

  20. DotNo Gravatar says:

    Posting photos of me without my permission is invasive, in my book. I think we need more controls on what happens on the Internet, since there are all kinds of people in the world with all kinds of motivation. I probably wouldn’t mind any photos of me that appeared, but it’s the principle — my image is not theirs to use freely.

    As for there being privacy or no privacy, there are degrees of privacy and there are many different situations. While we may (or may not) be wiliing to give up some of our rights for the sake of homeland safety, that doesn’t mean we’ve given the right to privacy in our homes, for instance, or the right to our own name or image.

    Young people on Facebook or wherever can be very cavalier about these things, but those of us who are more mature need to make sure that the proper controls are in place. For instance, when tried to “decide” that it could own the copyrights to all books. We need to defend our protections.
    .-= Check out Dot´s awesome post: Comment on Best Laid Plans by Davina =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dot,

      You’ve raised a good point. Might younger adults feel differently about their privacy than us older ones? In some instances, it appears so. Like you, my hope is we can continue to retain privacy to some degree.

  21. MitchNo Gravatar says:

    I wrote on this issue a couple of days ago myself, the general issue of privacy.

    Here’s the thing overall. There is no “right” to being on the internet. Once something is out there, you’ve lost your privacy. If you put something up then decide you don’t want it there, it’s too late because it’s out there. You can own the copyright to something, but it doesn’t mean Google won’t still have it available for others if they can find it.

    Also, there’s the thing about pictures and the like. Turns out that the person taking the photograph owns it, and if the other person isn’t using an image for the purposes of making money, aka advertising, they can do whatever they want with it and all you can do is complain and hope they’ll remove it if you appeal to their better nature. But am image just being unflattering isn’t enough; though I take almost no pictures, if I saw you beating someone and caught the picture, then put it up on my blog, you could beg me to remove it until you were blue in the face and I probably wouldn’t remove it.

    I guess it’s kind of like your policy down at the bottom underneath the message box. You’re telling people that they’ve given up the right to their “privacy”, so to speak, or ownership to be more accurate, if they write something here. That’s how it is if you happen to go outside and are in the wrong place, or right place, at the wrong time and happen to get your picture taken. If it’s your camera, or you took the picture, and someone else uses it, that’s one thing. Otherwise, just like the rest of our information, we have to be cautious as to what we’re sharing with the internet (world) because once it’s out there, we have few rights to say anything.

    Yeah, kind of long; sorry about that. lol
    .-= Check out Mitch´s awesome post: Do We Deserve Privacy Online? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mitch,

      Thank you for the great explanation. And you’re right. When we go online and share anything, it’s out there, even if we delete it or ask someone else to remove it.

      Your comment is a great reminder for anyone who goes online. It we don’t want it public, don’t post it. However, it’s unfortunate others can post photos of us just because they own the print.

  22. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I guess it depends on the context. I’m pretty easy going and if it was not done in the spirit of causing harm or embarrassment I’d probably ok with it.

    In the past, I’ve posted a picture of my daughter but anymore, I’ve realized that this is a very bad idea. Too many bad people out there, ya know?


    .-= Check out George Angus´s awesome post: Smashwords Means Ebooks Galore! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      That’s a great point about choosing not to post photos of your daughter anymore. You’re right. There are a lot of bad people out there and I’m sure you don’t want to feed their obsessions.

  23. Hi Barbara. after reading Facebook’s stance on “no privacy is the norm” and after the debacle with them last year regarding their assuming copyrights to anything posted there, I’m leery of so much that’s done online.

    The first time I was tagged with a photo at Facebook, I was shocked. Not at the photo, but at the ability of anyone anywhere to post whatever they want.

    It’s just an interesting phenomenon, a changing cultural norm. Not one I particularly like. However, I’m not going to hide.

    You raise such interesting points to ponder…….

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Barb,

      You’re right. We don’t want to hide, but instead be cautious of what we share online. Although others can post photos of us without our permission, hopefully they would be receptive to removing them if we ask.

  24. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    its invasive to me. If I wanted my pics up everywhere, I would had a facebook, myspace, etc. account. But I do not and that’s my story and I am stickin to it…. LOL!
    .-= Check out Linda´s awesome post: The Cooling Effects Of The Solar Tree =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      The unfortunate thing is, even if we don’t have a Facebook or Myspace account, others can post pictures of us. One thing about having an account is if your name is tagged, you’ll at least know they exist.

  25. VNo Gravatar says:

    hi barbara, i wouldn’t like it one bit if someone posted a picture of me without my permission, so i don’t do it to other people. i have in the past, but after being told that they don’t want to be on the web, i stopped or masked their face. i post pictures and information of me i’m willing to share, nobody else has a right to post or share information or photos that they are not authorized to share. when i’m online, i try to keep it about me as much as i can or give an alias name.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi V,

      That’s true. We should treat others how we want to be treated, in life and online. Although some love to have their photos plastered all over the internet, it certainly doesn’t mean others feel the same way. Asking permission is always the best route to take.