This topic has been on my mind quite a bit lately as we’ve been working on a system to automatically publish information on the calls we (the North Karelia Rescue Department) get. I was originally planning on writing in Finnish about it, but the story (via) on Seattle Post-Intelligencer on how the Seattle FD changed its feed to prevent Seattle911.com from automatically displaying call locations on a map spurred me to write about in English first.
I’ve been following various discussions related to publishing photographs and the right to privacy of the subjects in the pictures. Partly of followed them because of my work and how the pictures that rescue (fire) departments take may be quite a breach in privacy.
In part the inspiration for this post has come from an article (via Kari Haakana) in Poynter and the reasons (via MeFi) why the New York times published the selected front-page picture of some of the child victims of the tsunami. While the reasons why the press wants to and can publish certain images differs in some cases from personal publishing, the basic ethical principles are the same and the same laws apply. While I will discuss the matters with respect to my understaning of applicable Finnish law, I feel that the principles are applicable in other parts of the world as well.