Complaints in Japan on Google streetview too following complaints in the U.K.

I just love this article on Wired by Steve Levy. He talks about how he feels about social networking…i.e. he loves it, but there are some costs in that he feels guilty when he doesn’t contribute. The most important message in this article is in the last paragraph when Steve mentioned his contact with the head of Electronic Privacy Information Centre.

‘We hear a lot about privacy violations by Big Brother and Little Brother. But what if the fault lies not in our siblings but in ourselves? For a reality check, I called Marc Rotenberg, head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and an utter hawk when it comes to protecting personal data. He told me to relax. “One aspect of privacy is the ability to project yourself as you choose,” he says. Services like Facebook and Twitter are strictly opt-in, so as long as the information isn’t divvied out to marketers, Rotenberg is OK with it: “That is freedom.”‘

Are we moving towards that transparent society as predicted in David Brinns book in 1999 (The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?)? A worthwhile read incidentally!

Does it really matter? Is it only the choice that is important, which include the option to “opt-in” rather than having to “opt-out”, and of course all of this twittering and social networking is fine so long as the marketers don’t get their greedy hands on it 😦

Well this is an interesting one. I have found at least two cases now whereby it has been ruled as a violation of the Data Protection Act (which I understand is called the Organic Law on Data Protection, LOPD) by uploading videos without the consent of the subjects of the material. Fines for grave violations run from 60,000 to 300,000 Euros.

The first case I am referring to was in the summer of 2008 whereby residents in Spain were fined for putting prostitute clients on YouTube.

Then there is the recent case that I can’t yet find anything in English or Spanish. The short of it is that the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) on Wednesday this week took enforcement action against those responsible for uploading a video clip on the Spanish site, and declared that publishing the image of a person on YouTube without that person’s consent is a grave violation of LOPD. The decision by the AEPD followed widespread media reporting on the case of Italian youths posting to YouTube a video disparaging a teenager with a disability, but this case involved a smaller, 1,500 Euros fine. Article 6 of the Spanish LOPD requires, with some exceptions, a data subject’s unambiguous consent for the processing of his or her personal data, unless laid down otherwise by law.

If any of my Spanish visitors have some reference to this article in English or Spanish, would love if you could share this with us? My searches in English are coming up with nothing useful.