Video streaming etiquette and privacy violations


    1. The quality or condition of being secluded from the presence or view of others.
    2. The state of being free from unsanctioned intrusion: a person’s right to privacy.

So you’re out with a group of friends in a pub, enjoying a few drinks, letting your hair down. As you do. And then one of them pushes a camera phone in your face and starts streaming video live to the web. And immediately announces the fact to 518 other people. Not only that but he’s oblivious to your protestations and pleas to stop.

I don’t mean to pick on Segala’s Paul Walsh because I’ve certainly enjoyed and appreciated his video coverage of events like the inaugural Irish Digital Industry Association Dinner in Dublin recently. But Paul is a guy who writes regularly about online privacy and is CEO of Segala, a company developing technology which, among other things, is designed to help you find websites which follow best practices for privacy and copyright.

However, it seems to me that during last night’s broadcast Paul crossed the line by invading the privacy of at least one friend. If someone asks you to stop, puts their hand in front of the camera and looks clearly uncomfortable when you refuse is that not a blatant violation of their privacy? I don’t presume to know Paul’s friends so perhaps I’ve misread the situation but if someone did likewise to me I’d be very tempted grab their camera phone and dunk it in my drink!


11 Responses to “Video streaming etiquette and privacy violations”

  1. Conor O'Neill Says:

    In particular, the live aspect means there is no opportunity to undo the posting of something you immediately regret doing. I can imagine a similar problem with Shozu when people are out on the tear. Qik Content Labels? “Warning, this video may contain scenes of drunk people” 😉

  2. James Corbett Says:

    Damn, that last line would have been a much better post title than mine! Yeah, I only bring the issue up for discussion because I think it’s something that we’re going to have to be increasingly concerned with. As I say I thoroughly appreciate informative videos like Paul’s other ones and your Cork OpenCoffee ones and Pat Phelan’s travel ones, etc. But I’m thinking ahead here and realizing we’ll probably have a few QIKers at the Irish Blog Awards and similar sociable events this year and wondering if we’re going to have people streaming video from inappropriate situations? What are the ground rules? What etiquette applies?

  3. Eoghan McCabe Says:

    It’s a discussion that has to happen and I think it’ll be a major issue as services like Qik are adopted by the greater web community. Over time, though, people will become comfortable with such invasions the same way we don’t think twice now about the plethora of CCTV cameras watching our every move.

  4. Mike Butcher Says:

    Having had people shove cameras into my face and say “Can I put you on my Flickr?” I’m pretty used to this, but there is a time delay between the act of recording and the act of uploading. Qik, and others like it, destroy that delay (as you point out), and without immediate web access – like in a bar – you can’t delete something that fast, and even if you could it would be already online. Once on the the Internet, always on the Internet, right? Mind you grown-up, ‘digital savvy’ people in a bar will pale beside what will happen when more nefarious people get hold of this mobile tech. Interesting post!

  5. Paul Walsh Says:

    @James – I think you’re right. We do face a potential problem and a lot of care should be taken when streaming live to the Web. I’ve since removed my videos of last night but for different reasons.
    Please note that everyone around the table were aware up front, that I was going to stream live. In fact, I spent about 5 minutes trying to change the SIM from my iPhone to the N95 so I could do it. With this post in particular I think you should have asked if anyone genuinely didn’t want to be filmed.
    Some people put their hand in front of the camera when in fact, they love it. No, I’m not saying that no means yes or maybe 😉

  6. Ina Says:

    Hi James,
    Am in complete agreement with you.
    Many people absolutely detest being in front of a camera or video recorder.
    You can be sure that there will be major invasions of privacy in the near future.

  7. Jessica Roy Says:

    No matter if that siutation with Paul was an actual invasion of privacy or not, you do bring a good point into view. Many people have lost their jobs bc of what pics they put on a social network, so why shouldn’t ‘streaming live’ be any different. People go out on the town or to events to have a good time and not to worry about their fun being broadcast via the web. If an event is going to be recorded or broadcast then it should be said in advance. And if someone says they don’t want to be recorded then don’t record them. No does mean NO!!

  8. Paul Walsh Says:

    I’d like to reiterate that filming people should/must be ‘opt-in’ and not ‘opt-out’. You’ll note that I informed people about all 5 cameras at the Facebook debate and I always ask people to let me know at events if they’d rather I didn’t take pictures of them.
    James makes a valid point – I’d just rather it wasn’t made at my expense.

  9. James Corbett Says:

    Sorry Paul if I jumped to any incorrect conclusions. This post wasn’t about making points at anybody’s expense, it was about raising an issue which I think needs to be urgently discussed as these tools and technologies proliferate. Just to re-iterate I’ve really appreciated and enjoyed your QIK videos Paul so I’d hate to throw a spanner in the works.
    That’s to everyone for your comments and providing more food for thought.

  10. Bernie Goldbach Says:

    The issue of decorum and the need for cross-tell collide in some respects when a live camera is rolling. Handheld streaming has become commonplace now, but its ease of use should not compromise the expectation of privacy. I used to argue that if people are in a public place, they should expect to become part of a public mosaic. Then I started losing friends and at one major industry event, I got bashed for handing placing a digital dictaphone in front of someone while asking them to make a comment for a podcast. That’s a lot less infringing than streaming a person’s face onto the internet when they’re shit-faced and helpless to delete the imagery.
    At this point, I am actively avoiding places, meet-ups and chat sessions where I know a lens is capturing content for the cloud. Said another way, Qik is putting me off from participating in real face-to-face meetings.

  11. Damien Mulley Says:

    Wherever did you get the idea you had any kind of privacy anwyhere but inside your head? Behind closed doors doesn’t apply in many situations, electronic communications?, forget it entirely. And they’re going for that headspace next I hear.
    At least we can still say today that it’s rude and the person will get a bollocking for sticking a mobile camera in your face. I think this will change though with the Bebo warts and all generation that share everything from the mundane to the deeply personal. Hold on to those moments where you could get peace and quiet in public spaces. They’re going.
    While Qik is bad, I think people sneakily taking photos of you or recording you is much worse. That’s almost like a form of entrapment.

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