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Myron Kassaraba's weblog about digital photography on the web

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Power of the Lens + the Web

picturephoning.com: "dog-sh..-girl" a test of the Internet's Power to Shame

Picturephoning.com (a great blog) has a story about a Korean girl who's dog pooped on the floor of a subway car. After she refused a request from some elders to clean it up, a train rider took her picture or her (and the poop) and posted it on a public site. It looks like this happened in late May or early June based on some of the links I've found (here's one from June 8th from James Park's blog with a very active set of comments). The Popularguts blog also has some interesting perspectives in a more recent post. This story made the mainstream media in a July 7th article in the Washington Post.

She has since been tracked down, identified, accosted, villified and basically had this single event ruin her life by a cyber-mob.
In this specific incident I do believe this girl did the wrong thing at the wrong place and the wrong time and her punishment has far exceeded the crime (though we here in the US are not immune to this type of behavior - remember Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman who caught a foul fly ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, people wanted to lynch him and he was hounded by the media). I loved one of the comments on James' blog from Jonathan Marks, referring to "trial by Photoshop".

In our new connected, always-on, wireless society, there are lenses everywhere. Those lenses, such as the one's on the security cameras at King's Crossing that were used to identify the London suicide bombers, can be used for some very important and productive purposes. At other times, these lenses, many sitting in someone's purse or pocket can be used in other ways that are not so productive. Now we have lenses in the sky that thanks to Google Maps and Google Earth, anyone with a web browser can have access to. We are just now starting to understand the full implications of some of our recent technological advances on our privacy. This debate is just beginning and will be something we should all be watching closely and participating in.

In the meantime, think twice about what you do or don't do do in public..............

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