Yesterday was one of those rare days when I could run to Trader Joe's (and I use the term "run" very loosely since I might have broken my baby toe the day before) with only CC in tow, leaving Chicky behind to have a Father's Day cartoon-fest at home with her dad.
Going to the supermarket with two kids is a drag. Going to the supermarket with only one kid seems like a vacation in comparison. So since I hadn't made it to the store the day before (again, broken toe), Sunday was my day to market shop to gather all necessary food and sundries necessary to keep our family of four alive and not killing each other ("Moooom, Daddy at the rest of the cereal and now I have noooone."). Not to mention I needed the makings for that evenings Father's Day feast of goodness. Or as I like to call it, Chicken Piccata.
CC, despite having her one thousandth and one head cold of the year, was in good spirits and since I could brace myself on the shopping cart, taking some weight off of my now blackened toe, I was too. So as we walked down the narrow aisles I sang songs and she clapped and made faces. We were, in a word, pretty freaking adorable to watch. No really. No extreme maternal bias at all.
As I oogled the many premade and frozen culinary delights TJ's has to offer, a young woman walked up to us and remarked on whatever silly face CC was making at the moment. Since I was deciding between spanakopita and the chipotle chicken skewers, I wasn't really paying close attention.
(Note to self: no more grocery shopping while hungry. Or else you will yet again come home with two different flavors of ice cream and a large box of Asian barbecue beef instead of the broccoli and apples you went there for. Also, you won't be watching closely when strange people approach your very cute and very innocent baby. But I digress.)
The woman then proceeded to take out her camera phone to take a picture of my child.
Without my permission.
But before I could say, Hold on there, Snappy McSnapperson, CC stopped making whatever picture-worthy face that was there a minute before and instead stared at this strange person with a face I can only assume looked exactly like mine at that moment - a combination ofslack-jawed confusion and slight repulsion at this woman, who really couldn't have been any more than 25 years old, who was about to take an unauthorized picture of an unknown child.
The one thing that crossed my mind as I mumbled something about, Oops, oh well, the face is gone so we're going to move along now - after imagining myself punching her in the face - was, Wow, the BALLS on that woman. The second thought - after imagining myself making her eat her camera phone - was that she was probably a blogger.
I'm only partly kidding about that.
Maybe this is hypocritical of me since I do share my children's photos on the internet with, you know, strangers and, OMG, maybe there's a pedophile out there who stumbled across my blog and found the pictures of my child making dead fish faces and now he's COMING TO GET US...
... But I don't believe that some random person who hasn't even been properly introduced to me should whip out a camera and start taking pictures while we're in the frozen foods section of the supermarket.
This is my website so I decide what goes on it. I decide what pictures I want to share with the world. For the love of Pete, even at Chicky's preschool we were asked to sign a waiver authorizing the use of our children's likeness on their website and I've pledged my undying love for those people.
Of course, I have no idea what that young woman was going to do with the picture after she took it. Show it to her roommate maybe? Her mom? Her gynecologist? I don't know. Chances are, it would have been stored in her phone until the following weekend when drunken naked pictures needed to be taken at the raging party at her sister's boyfriend's apartment and then it would have been deleted to make more room. Because her best friend Bob passed out and drooling on the bathroom floor takes precendence, you know?
Whatever she was or wasn't going to do with it, the bottom line (or maybe I shold say, point 1) is this: Do our children have a right to privacy even when their parents are plastering their image all over the internet?
I say yes. But does that hold any water from a legal standpoint?
Like I said, I have no idea what the woman... okay, girl. What the girl was going to do with this picture. Probably nothing. What bothered me the most was that she was taking a picture of a minor child without express permission of the child's parent who just happened to be standing right there. What she was going to do with the photograph after the fact was anybody's guess.
I was a Communications major in college. I graduated with a degree in Broadcast Communications with a minor in journalism so I know the rights a private citizen has in public vs. private spaces in regard to print and broadcast. What I don't know, and maybe someone can clue me in, is what happens in this digital age of blogs and personal websites and social networking sites to that private citizen's rights (especially a private citizen who is a minor) when anyone with the most basic technology can snap a picture or take a video and make it available to anyone with a computer.
One who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of privacy.
But believe it or not, the main point of this post (Point 2) is not to bring light to the legalities of online media, whether it be personal or professional, but to ask this question:
Have we gotten a little snap happy now that we have digital cameras, camera phones, and video cameras that can be stored in your back pocket? Have we as a race of people lost our good sense and grasp of basic manners (if we had them at all) in regard to taking pictures of people, minor or not, and putting them on public websites or simply sharing them with friends and strangers?
How many times have you seen something that an unknown person was doing that struck you as funny and you took our your iPhone to take a picture? A picture that you eventually uploaded to Twitter or some other site? Did you take a picture that showed the person's face? Did you show them in a comprimising light?
How far is too far?
Before I'm seen as preachy I will tell you that I have taken pictures like that before. While getting a pedicure, for instance, I joked on Twitter that the woman painting my toes had an impressive rack. I then proceeded to take her picture without her knowing it, thinking maybe I would share it via TwitPic or something. Then I deleted it because I came to my senses. And that woman was an adult, not a 12 month old minor child.
CC was not doing anything out of the ordinary and there's a good chance that girl wasn't going to sell my child's likeness for monetary gain but still, it bothered me that she was so bold as to think she could take my child's picture without getting permission. Have we lost our good sense as a society because technology has become so easy? Now that we have access to pretty much everything has our voyeuristic tendencies gone crazy?
I'd like to know what you think.