Monday, 5 April 2010

What price privacy?

I had my attention drawn over the weekend to this news article concerning an allegedly illegal surgical procedure carried out in what appeared to be a piercing/tattoo studio. One of the questions it raised in my mind straightaway was who the anonymous 'mole' was, and the same question has since stirred up something of a hornets' nest, as only a small handful of people would have had access to the original videotape.

Over the course of the last eleven years I've had somewhere in the region of a couple of dozen genital piercings performed, a few of which of which I still have, and because I had many of them done in the company of like-minded friends, I had pictures taken of them, and submitted them to BME. All except one I think are disembodied shots of male anatomy which could belong to anyone, but on one memorable occasion after I had a guiche done, the piercer grabbed the camera and took a shot of me with a huge grin on my face displaying his handiwork! I'm not going to re-post it here. Not because I'm ashamed of it, I'm not. Nor because it depicts anything illegal, it doesn't. It's simply that, taken out of context, at best it's just going to titillate and at worst possibly shock the unsuspecting viewer.

This brings me to my main concern. Whenever I've been photographed doing something incriminating - be it just potentially embarrassing (say if my employer had discovered it), or actually illegal (and I don't think there is anything that falls into that category) - I've taken a risk. In my case the risks were fairly minimal, but they're there all the same. My privacy, in terms of who can see what I get up to, is important to me and while whatever is posted on the Internet is always liable to be illicitly downloaded, copied and circulated for a purpose other than that for which it was intended, the principle of safeguarding hidden identity should be both paramount and sacrosanct.

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