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Naked judge’s photos used on website to promote nudist resort without his knowledge

Feb 16, 20164 mins
Data and Information SecuritySecurity

A New Zealand judge serves as an example of how your photo can be used without your knowledge for advertising purposes.

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Credit: Thinkstock

Like it or not, you are lawfully free game to be surveilled and photographed when you leave the privacy of your house.

If you commit a crime, then you should expect the police to release a surveillance video – although why the police found it important enough to release a video of Victoria Secret underwear thieves is unknown; the fact that the male and female team allegedly stole 80, then 120 sexy pairs of undies valued at $2,500 might have something to do with it.

Then there’s photos, which can be taken with or without your consent, that could end up online.

Did you read the fine print when you checked into a hotel, resort or a cabin? If you don’t bother to read the long and tangled legal jargon of an online privacy policy or terms of service, do you do so outside of the cyber world? Did you agree to have your likeness posted on a site to be used as an endorsement or promotion?

A New Zealand judge serves as a recent example of how your photo can be used without your knowledge. An unnamed judge was vacationing at nudist camp Pineglades Naturist Club, which suggests that once you are inside the gate, you can “shed your stresses with your clothes.” But the NZ Herald on Sunday reported that pictures of the naked judge “were used to promote the resort without the judge’s knowledge.”

When the newspaper started sniffing around, Pineglades Naturist Club took down the photos. It’s unknown how long the judge’s images, showing full-frontal nudity, had been posted on the website as promotion; it’s also not known if the judge asked for the photos to be removed or if they were removed after newshounds caught scent of a scandalous story.

Although the judge allegedly had no knowledge of his pictures being used to advertise the nudist camp, Pineglades president Chris Nee told the Herald on Sunday that the resort had obtained written permission. “Those photographed gave written consent that the club, which owns the copyright, could use them.”

As you can imagine, there’s a stink being raised about whether or not to penalize the judge and if his pictures constituted a breach of the “official Guidelines for Judicial Conduct.”

Facebook’s answers to snaps you didn’t take

At any rate, you are free game to be photographed when you are in public. Some selfie snappers are fine with that, constantly posting their images on Facebook or in tweets. Heck, they post other people’s pictures as well; some people rely on Facebook’s Photo Magic face recognition tool to share such snaps. Facebook also discontinued it mobile photo-syncing feature and instead launched its photo-sharing Moments app. The app is advertised as “get the photos you didn’t take” and as “an easy way to get all the photos of yourself trapped on your friends’ phones.”

But what if you think Facebook is Satan’s spawn and anyone posting your picture there is not a friend but a frenemy? If your friends and family honor your wishes, then you might not need to be concerned about finding your photo on Facebook, so what about your image posted other places?

Waldo to the rescue?

If you want to keep track of those photos taken without your explicit consent, or if you hate playing “Where’s Waldo” while trying to find yourself in a sea of faces such as when photos are snapped in huge arenas and crowded events, then consider the Waldo app.

Waldo, which will be released as a free iPhone app later this year, uses “facial recognition, GPS and time-stamping to track the images down,” according to Technology Review. With Waldo, you snap a selfie and the app uses facial recognition and “your locations over time” to find pictures of you and drop them into a photo album.

What Waldo is really aiming at is professional photographers who snap shots at events; Waldo finds your image and shows you a watermarked proof which you can then purchase. Waldo will take a cut of photographers’ profits made through selling photos via the app. Hopefully it won’t share your info or app profile with photographers as we certainly don’t need new types of spam, unsolicited selling, robocalls or robotexts. But it just might help you have find some photos snapped without your knowledge.

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.