Digital Etiquette: Do not take photos of people without their permission

Do not take photos of people
in public places without their permission.

Communities with photographs of people in public places (especially in transport) gained popularity in the past year. Discussing and condemning people who eat on the subway or dress unusually for have become much easier – now you just take a picture of a person and upload to one of social networks.

But the object of inadvertent fame may consider it as an invasion of privacy and offense. Often, bullying on the Internet causes for such persons problems offline: they receive thousands of abusive letters or abusive comments, can not re-establish contact with other people, or even suffer from sleep or nutrition disorders. As a result they may unite against offenders. For example, so did the protesters against the group Women Who Eat on Tubes in the London Underground.

Put yourself in the place of the person you want to photograph,
and think – what would I feel?

It’s normal to photograph people, if they expect it (for example street performers), if they did a heroic act or, conversely, broke the law. Remember that sometimes we all are hostages of situation. Someone is late for an important meeting and can not eat anywhere but on the subway. Someone’s tired after a hard day and falls asleep with his mouth open. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you want to photograph, and think – what would I feel?

Dr Aaron Balick, author of The Psychodynamics of Social Networking says:

“The sharing of the photo is a psychological reflection of the person taking the picture, not the photographed. Individuals may stranger shame to evacuate their own bad feelings. Alternatively, when attractive people are photographed, it may also be a way of expressing the sharer’s sexual tastes and desires. In both cases…..the intention is to show up their difference, something they may already be quite sensitive about”.