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Right to photo freedom extends only as far as I let it

Sometimes words are spoken or written on television, the Internet or Web or anywhere else where they can be spread that are so untrue, so selfish, so poorly timed, that you wonder how or why someone would pay for them.

The words I'm referring to here have to do with "over-the-air" communications, also known as WiFi, a form of communications that was pioneered by Hams years ago and which conitinues unabated today.

"Net is down"

Except today, people take it for granted that they have the right to the valuable resources they use and pay for and when they don't work correctly they become upset, jump up and down and have tantrums when the "net is down."

This all began roughly 22 years ago when the Federal communications Commission (FCC) decided to start slicing up Ham frequencies above 2.4 GHz (the microwave bands) and then started to auction them off to the highest bidders. At first, no one knew what they were bidding on but companies like Apple, Sprint, Verizon, IBM, AT&T, T-Mobile bid away and the FCC made a ton of money.

Figuring they had a gold mind on their hands, the FCC began to hold more auctions and expected each subsequent auction to be as well subscribed as the early ones. There was a problem with this -- the core technologies of the Internet were still in the minds of the designers or were at research and development departments all over the country.

Yes, there were early attempts at using radio to step up in place of phones, but, unless you had a good line of sight to the early cell towers (there weren't that many anywhere) your signals started bouncing around like a ball of rubber cement and you never knew where it was going to hit.

More sophistication

Well, things sure have come a long way since that day as cellphones have become more sophisticated. The early cells cost in the vicinity of $2,000 and put out a whole 3 watts, but, that was more than enough with a clear shot. Once you had two cell signals bouncing around, then, you had to start putting in things like echo suppressors, specially tuned circuits and more. And, as more phones joined the gang, you had to add cell sites, add things like generators and batteries and more.

You also began to run into multipath enhancement, signal cancelation and other terms that are a little more sophisticated than you probably want to know about. At times, there were strange propagation circumstances like knife edge propagation where a signal bounced off the top of a mountain and headed anywhere.

Basically, it was the Wild West in a two-pound bag phone.

That phase only last a couple of years and cell phones began to get smaller and smaller and began to add features and when the right signal processing chips were finished, you suddenly had phones that could operate as wireless radios (literally) as long as they adhered to the 802.XX standard. They are now out to 802.11N which means there are lots of phones out there that can invade your privacy in a myriad of ways.

Wide standards

Today they put cameras on the front side of phones on the rear of phones and you have devices that can get in your face without your knowing about it.

I think the worst offender of the lot is the phone commercial that I just watched that said (I'm paraphrasing) today we have such great technology available that we can take it down to the pixel (picture element) level of 1 and 0 and we can share that information with whomever we choose.

It went one to boast that there are a billion photojournalists out there who can share their images with whomever they want.

The commercial seems reasonable when it says we place caps on this, but we shouldn't. Instead, we should let the data go wherever the photographer wants it to because the photographer "has no limits."

Expectation of privacy

In other words, your rights to privacy have just vanished because some yo-yo copywriter decided that the commercial should say so and some idiot account executive agreed.

But, here's the thing, you and I have a certain expectation of privacy. I don't want some joker with a camera taking my photo and then using my image without my permission. This is called invasion of privacy.

Now, there's only only Supreme Court ruling that I know of where this is even touched on. It was part of Times versus Sullivan in the 1960s where a person sued for libel becaue his image was part of a photograph of a news event. That ruling said your expectation to privacy ended when you became part of a public news event.

That is a reasonable standard. What is an unreasonable standard is some yo-yo claiming that because his Apple iPhone with its 5MP image camera (not even the best in the world, but good enough for the net) has the right -- the right -- to do whatever he wants with any image he or she takes.

Court set reasonable standard

So, where is my right to privacy. Has it washed away? Has technology made it go away? Do these "photojournalists" as they like to style themselves -- most of whom couldn't take a decent image to save their souls -- believe they have an unlimited right to use my image for whatever they choose, whenever, they choose to?

I think it's time we said no and took back our privacy. Would it hurt a "photojournalist" to obtain a release or promise to delete the image and then show the person in the image it is gone? I don't think so.

This is license run riot because the inmates have now taken control of the asylum. That's the best way to put it.

To be honest with you, if someone aims one of those cameras my way and takes an impage of you without your permission, you have every right to exercise your right to increase the amount of plastic recyclable that night.


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