Experts Weigh In On Privacy Rights In High-Tech World
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In your car, in the park, waiting for a bus or just walking down the street, you never know who might be looking at you.
“It has gotten to the point now where anybody and everybody can just pick up anything and take pictures,” says Ewell Holmes, of Manchester.
However, Ken Gormley, the dean of Duquesne Law School, says, “There is no realistic way to control this technology.”
“The average video or photo that is shot on a cell phone of somebody else in public is not going to be legally actionable,” says Vic Walczak, of the ACLU.
That’s for one simple reason.
“The average person doesn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy, especially when they are out in public,” Walczak said.
With the proliferation of cell phones and cameras, you could be caught on camera just about anywhere.
Surf Facebook or YouTube and it won’t take long to find pictures and videos of ordinary folks caught in unusual and sometimes embarrassing situations.
Everyone is vulnerable, including your kids as they play in the park.
It’s a point illustrated to the Ersoz family of Ross Township when a KDKA crew approached them shooting video with a cell phone.
“It bothers me of course and I am conscious about it,” said Justina Ersoz. “I try to protect my daughter as best I can – that’s why I was kind of worried I didn’t see you coming, and I wondered why are you taking pictures of us.”
You don’t have to be a parent in a park to be concerned about someone creeping on you, no matter how innocent the reason.
For many people privacy starts in the home, unless you can be seen through an uncovered window from the street.
Fed by social media and the insatiable appetite of YouTube, we’ve become a snap first society.
“We have unleashed this beast with technology and what happens is the law eventually has to deal with this,” said Gormley.
All this considered – there are some cases where privacy is truly violated, but they’re rare.
“I think everyone is entitled to their privacy, how you regulate it that’s going to be a fine line and it’s going to be crooked,” said Walczak. “Where do you draw these difficult lines, and so far most states have not figured out how to draw these lines.”
Until they do…
“If someone is snapping pictures of you and putting it up on the Internet, we haven’t figured out how to control any of this frankly,” says Gormley.