The twenty-first century has brought with it a very different phenomena, with an increase in people around the world publicizing their private lives through social media using their personal devices, mainly their smartphones.
This video is a great representation of how personal devices have allowed for private spaces to be turned into semi-public spaces with the various uses of mediums such as apps on smartphones like Instagram, Facebook and the newly popular Snapchat. People feel the need to publicly share everything through the use of their smartphones, such as important or even unimportant events like seen in the video; the proposal for marriage, birthdays, winning a bowling match, conversing at lunch with friends and even watching a live band show. Nowadays before even eating their plated food, people feel the need to publicize it. People cannot just enjoy a moment in the moment, but instead first thing they do is remove their smartphones and cameras and start semi-publicizing their space or view.
Looking into the video, it indicates in this day of age people are incapable of doing direct connection to people as they are always distracted by their personal devices. The couple walking on the beach, which is traditionally meant to be a romantic act, however turned into hollow, the male is too busy on his smartphone to even pay attention to his female partner/girlfriend.
Moreover, photographing or commenting on what you see in public spaces can easily be considered as sightseeing, appreciation or dislike for what people see. For instance, seeing a marching band show in public is usually appreciated and people do so by photographing and commenting. To most people they don’t find such an act illegal or a breach of someone’s privacy, but in ethical terms, it actually is especially if the photographer plans to use the pictures for magazine covers or for public viewing as there is currently no tort of invasion of privacy in a lot of countries, for example in Australia.
However, in ethical terms, people should seek permission before using photographs or videos of another individual especially if the material is going to be publicized. This avoids what is known as defamation which is the law that deals with injury to someone’s reputation. Even art is protected by copyrights laws, unless craftsmanship that is permanently situated in a public place, or in premises open to the public. With the increased use of our smartphones, copyright and defamation seems to be the last thing on people’s minds as the world moves into the electronic era.
Arts Law Center of Australia, 2015, ‘Street photographer’s rights’, accessed 09 October 2015, http://www.artslaw.com.au/info-sheets/info-sheet/street-photographers-rights/