For Critics, Consent Is A Four-letter Word

Controversy-hungry critics, like Tony Ortega and Mike Rinder are famously insensitive to privacy concerns. Looking over their online posting history we see example after example of what the internet calls ‘creep shots’, pictures of people, their homes, their places of business, posted without consent.

While this activity this activity is in many cases not illegal under state or federal laws, it is on many levels deeply off-putting and decidedly creepy.

The issue is this – if you go around taking photos of people without their knowledge, you are being a creep. Full stop. This is true whether you have a pretentious justification for the practice (as Rinder might claim for his sham television program) or you are using the images merely to stoke hatred and trick people into reading your propaganda (as Ortega has attempted to make a cottage industry of.)

Ultimately, however, this is a social question. Technology has moved forward so quickly that social taboos and etiquette have not yet solidified around the issue. The ubiquity of the smartphones and cheap aerial drones (like the one Rinder used to take the creep shot above) have pushed this issue to increasingly worrying privacy extremes.

Perhaps what is needed is not new laws – we have plenty already – but a consensus to take the notion of privacy in a public place seriously. Maybe we could start by not giving the clickbait jackals a pass every time they publish their creepy ‘photojournalism’ without the subject’s consent.

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