Monday, March 31, 2014

NBC Today discussion suggests most photography of people in public could become illegal; should people share fasts in order to raise money?

Today, a couple assorted topics will be distributed.
On the NBC Today show, there was a panel discussion of people taking pictures of minors in innocuous situations and posting them on the Internet.  The example that was given was your kid’s birthday party.  What’s wrong with group pictures, and then posting them on Facebook?  Well, one male panelist said, they could be parsed and used by criminals and place in the context of pornography.  This could happen with any young person’s photo (more likely with females).  Also, this denies minors the chance to build their own online reputation rather than having adults build it for them.
The tone of the discussion seems to be that the legal climate for taking pictures of persons in public, or at least posting them at all, is likely to change, even though right now it is generally legal.

A second issue concerns a recent charitable contribution.  It was to World Vision.  I got a call on a Saturday, early afternoon, minutes before I had to go out the door to get to something I had paid for a ticket to in time, from a youth group for a church I attend to support their 30-hour Fast.  I’ve written about this before (drama blog, Feb. 19, 2012).  I was on the spot.  I had to say that I haven’t supported this before, and let the call go.  I wondered if, given the very personal nature of the experience, direct participation by a non-parent was even appropriate.  I checked the website, and it was somewhat manipulative.  It appeared as though the teens are supposed to raise money for hungry children overseas while experiencing hunger themselves.  That seems manipulative.  Yet I know that this particular group sometimes makes short films during the fast. 
I went ahead and quietly added the group for a $30 contribution to my automated mechanism at Wells Fargo, and tried to add a note to give credit to the group.  The contribution, oddly, was returned by automated returns.  But then I got a thank you letter from World Vision (near Seattle) in the mail anyway.

More mateiral about volunteerism, mine anyway, is coming. 

Update:  Later March 31

I did find an article about World Vision's supposed Evangelical connections and "pragmatism" in changing positions on social issues, in an article by Leigh Daynes in the The New Internationalist, here. The "thank you" literature I got Saturday made no mention of religious beliefs or of positions on gay or other social issues other than poverty overseas.  However, could this factor have anything to do with the bank's record of a returned payment, in contradiction to the thank you note?

My regular donation goes to "Save the Children".  Even with that well known group, I have had to ask them not to call me repeatedly.  Am I indifferent?  That's for another day.  

Update: April 3

Gov. Jerry Brown of CA signed into state law a bill to make it a misdemeanor to photograph a child in an intrusive manner just because the parent is a celebrity or public official.  The law could test whether the idea of "right of publicity" can be applied in a criminal code.

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