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June 23, 2016

Data Protection, Revenge Porn and Privacy #elss16

If you've done nothing wrong

THE COMPELLING DOUBLE ACT of Eoin O'Dell and Fergal Crehan during the DIT e-learning summer school (#ELSS16) should be bottled and distilled for the required viewing of all Irish educators. Both learned men explained relevant issues about protecting privacy of student records and brilliantly supported their points with regulations and case law.

While listening to their presentations, I stated thinking about revenge porn and data protection constraints that make it difficult to share information when it contains the face, voice or work of a separate party who does not consent to the use of personal data.

Revenge Porn and Privacy

It's not hard to find examples of people circulating intimate photos or videos of former partners online. "Revenge Porn" is a well-form genre of expression where images taken during a relationship are subsequently shared when it ends. I'm surprised to see NSFW "ex gf" channels on Tumblr easily pass through content filters on many third level internet connections.

Revenge Porn is classed as cyberbullying but it is not illegal unless it is persistent enough to qualify as harrassment, under Irish legislation dating from 1997.

However, if the video contains copyrighted content such as a backing track from a mainstream musician, it's possible to file a takedown notice for copyright infringement against the revenge porn clip.

Data Protection and CCTV

While the e-learning summer school was underway in Dublin, Tania McCarthy, a Clare mother, was convicted of using her 5yo son to steal clothes from Penneys. Security camera footage shows the little boy dragging a heavy bag full of stolen goods from the shop before his mother was detained and charged. Earlier CCTV footage shows she had previously used the same tactic, when €200 worth of clothes were taken.

However, Penneys cannot share the CCTV footage with other shops since Irish Data Protection laws protect the privacy of the perp. The law currently prevents retailers and even gardai from sharing images of prolific, repeat and convicted shoplifters for fear of breaching their privacy, unless the ordinary decent criminals grant their consent.

In Northern Ireland, retailers are deemed "data holders" who follow strict protocols regarding their sharing of shoplifing images "for training purposes".

+++ Bernie Goldbach attends the e-learning summer school in Dublin every year, upskilling in digital literacies.

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