Saturday, June 07, 2014

OK to photo Obama working out; more on downstream liability, police surveillance of drivers


Was it OK for people to film president Obama working out in a gym in Poland while on a trip?  Was the president entitled to some privacy during such a more personal setting?

In fact, many gyms don’t permit photography of customers or employees under normal circumstances.  But perhaps this one did allow it.  If so, the president was in a public place, and unless there was some unusual issue of intimacy, I think it was OK to film him.  And, because he is the leader of the Free World, he is a public figure.  So what if it makes him look fallible when compared to Putin?  I think that analogy was rather silly. It's OK to photograph Obama at Ben's Chili Bowl, isn't it? The Secret Service doesn't seem to mind. 
  

There’s still another issue roaming around, whether the site “CreepyPasta”, by facilitation of the telling of horror stories with addictive characters (like “SlenderMan”) has some responsibility for the behavior of vulnerable and unstable tweens, in fact two twelve year old girls who chillingly premeditated the attack on their “friend”.  I think the answer is probably no, but the idea is surely coming up for debate.  A world that allows people to self-broadcast without gatekeepers (or with less stringent gatekeepning) does put the vulnerable at risk.  I talked about this on my COPA blog (June 3).


Today, CNN is covering an LAPD system that automatically reads the license plates of every car any police officers passes, and feeds the data into a system called Palantir, funded in part by the CIA and NSA.  The LAPD says that the system solves burglaries, auto thefts, street crimes, and foils terror plots.  How will this fit into the NSA surveillance debate? 


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