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In Australia, Even Private Facebook Photos Are Public 71

littlekorea writes "Australia's telecommunications regulator has ruled that one of the country's largest broadcasters, Channel 7, did not breach the industry code of conduct by lifting photos of deceased persons and minors from social networking site Facebook. Significantly, the regulator noted that it doesn't have the legal authority to crack down on broadcasters that lift material tagged as 'private,' looking to the Attorney General to provide some legal clarity."
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In Australia, Even Private Facebook Photos Are Public

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  • Re:Makes sense. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <> on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:11AM (#38422396) Homepage

    It depends on the implementation. If once you have tagged something private only a select group of people have access to it then it is private, if it however is just a text tag and everyone still has access to it then it is public. Tagging something as private shows very clear intent from the poster and especially if access to it is also restricted then the intent is more than clear enough, atleast here in Finland. I suppose in the rest of the world common sense is extinct or outlawed.

  • by Archon-X ( 264195 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:15AM (#38422404)

    Your hunch is correct, and it's not the first time that Channel 7 have done this sort of this.
    4-5 years ago for the launch of one of their shows, they had stills of cityscapes. Curiously, it was a familiar set of stills - they'd gone to google images, and pulled down the top 10 photos.

    Noone had been contacted to ask for permission. There was a complaint procedure that went like this:

    Ch7: The images appearing in the transmission come from our media library.
    Right Holder: No, they're mine.
    Ch7: No, they really came from our media library. Do not make allegations that you're not prepared to defend in court.
    Right Holder: Here's 'your' image, with mine overlayed. Here's the other 10, and here's the matching google search.
    Ch7: We have been told by our lawyers not to respond to your communications. Any pursuit of this matter will see it terminate in court.

    Essentially, it's a media corp. They don't care, and they'll do whatever they can for stories.

  • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @05:54AM (#38422506)

    So I read the description of the story and thought to myself "this makes no sense, if you posted photos as private or friends only, how on earth did Channel Seven get hold of them?"

    So, shockingly, I read the story and it turns out the description is completely wrong. Here are the key parts (bold mine for emphasis):

    Australia's communications regulator has ruled that television networks are not breaking the industry's code of practice when publishing photos lifted from a public Facebook profile.


    "The ACMA found that due to the open nature of the tribute page, the absence of privacy settings and the non-sensitive nature of the photographs, Seven did not breach the privacy provisions of the code," the ACMA noted in a press statement.

    In short, they lifted photos tagged as public on a public tribute page, littlekorea completely twisted the truth (by mixing up "public" and "private") when submitting the story and timothy didn't do any basic editing.

    It'll be interesting to sit back with the popcorn and watch the comments from outraged slashdotters who didn't bother to read the story and the upvotes from those with moderator points who equally didn't bother to read the story ...

  • by robbak ( 775424 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @08:20AM (#38423028) Homepage

    If you place it on a site, marked as "public", you may be seen to have authorized its reproduction. This is the case here.

    And, of course, a journalist has a range of 'fair use' rights that may allow them to use a copyrighted picture. This may be the case in a future case where a picture posted to a private page may be used. ACMA will deal with such a case if an when it comes up.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury