Matt Williams (Privacy)

Every year that passes, we encounter new, frightening ways in which our privacy is intruded upon. Terms of Service for virtually any transaction, purchase, or online membership have become an inscrutable rats’ nest meant to overwhelm the average citizen to the point of ceding their rights without even knowing to what degree they have done so. Facebook and Instagram are probably, collectively, the largest photo album in the history of the medium. There have long been concerns, some well-founded, that the images we are sharing online will show up in an advertisement, or as part of some corporation’s “content.”
Even as recently as last year, the social media giant began updating its rights management systems, working with certain, undisclosed partners to grant them the power to claim ownership of their images and dictate when and where those images show up across the platform. How will this impact you in the future? This remains unclear.
What is undeniable, however, is the shift to accessible photography — pioneered by Eastman Kodak and brought to new heights over a century ago with their cheap little Brownie — started a conversation in the country that has since spilled into every aspect of public life.

3 thoughts on “Matt Williams (Privacy)

  1. shinichi Post author

    How the Kodak Brownie Changed Privacy Rights Forever

    by Matt Williams

    PetaPixel

    https://petapixel.com/2021/10/19/how-the-kodak-brownie-changed-privacy-rights-forever/

    It was the kind of summer day that your mind instantly recalls when you hear the words “summer day”. Warm, sunny, gorgeous. William Meredith’s daughters, as was their habit when a day felt this good, lounging in the backyard, sunning in their swimsuits. All was peaceful — until the girls entered the house, warning their father of an intruder in their backyard.

    Meredith grabbed his shotgun and bolted outside. He scanned the surroundings and quickly found his target, now creeping around a neighbor’s yard. Before too long, the snoop turned and headed back William’s way. He waited until the peeping tom had crossed over the property line, and…

    All it took was one shot.

    National Survey Finds 60% of Internet Users Don’t Trust Instagram
    But the visitor had not been alone. Four men approached his home from the front. William was ready. As the angry men approached, he issued a warning:

    “Cross my sidewalk, there’s gonna be another shooting.”

    The men decided to take their frustration to the local authorities. Shortly thereafter, William Meredith was arrested for the murder of… an $1,800 drone that had been flying around his neighborhood.

    The owner of the drone, David Boggs, claimed he had simply been flying around taking photographs of a nearby house for a friend. For Mr. Meredith’s part, he viewed the intrusion as tantamount to the home invasion you probably imagined I was describing. It is likely this is not the only such story you have heard over the last several years regarding drones and privacy. But while the technology is new, the argument is anything but.

    It has now been well over a century since Joel Benton’s poem “The Kodak Fiend” warned, in ominous verse, “Oh, de Kodak fiend, he’s sly an’ mean / An’ you can’t go out near his machine.”

    The democratization of photography has, from its very start, brought with it the risk — as well as the fear — of loss of privacy. The story of how society reacted to this phenomenon is rich and far-reaching, upending social norms and creating wholly new legal precedents. One camera, more than any other even to this day, helped build the world we occupy: The Kodak Brownie.

    In the late 19th century, the Eastman Kodak company had been making strides toward — and waves with — more inexpensive, portable camera options. Still out of the reach of many consumers, though, at $25 each (over $700 in today’s dollars), these first attempts found their way into the hands of a very particular class of citizens: reporters. It is no wonder, then, that the first group to sound the loudest alarms over privacy were not the common folk, but rather the well-heeled, upper-class types most likely to generate headlines.

    While American society has always been stratified and public personas of the powerful have always been carefully manicured, in the late 19th century the elite enjoyed considerable control over their separation from the rabble. With affordable photography, they found the veil being lifted, a click at a time, and they were not pleased. Gossip merchants and sleuthhounds were now empowered with a vastly more potent tool to shed light upon and wrest away control from their carefully crafted public image.

    It is no wonder, then, that the first major treatise on these concerns emerged from one of the nation’s most elite institutions. In 1890, the Harvard Law Review published an article entitled “The Right to Privacy” by Samuel D. Warren and Louis Brandeis. The document became one of the most influential writings in American legal history.

    While attributed to both men, the reality is far more telling. Brandeis, a Jewish immigrant and future Supreme Court Justice, handled most of the writing but had been urged toward it by Warren. Warren, the son of a paper mill magnate and a member of the high society so threatened by this accessible technology, was incensed by the intrusion of this proto-paparazzi upon his way of life. The article itself makes the concerns quite plain:

    The press is overstepping in every direction the obvious bounds of propriety and of decency. Gossip is no longer the resource of the idle and of the vicious but has become a trade, which is pursued with industry as well as effrontery. To satisfy a prurient taste the details of sexual relations are spread broadcast in the columns of the daily papers. To occupy the indolent, column upon column is filled with idle gossip, which can only be procured by intrusion upon the domestic circle.

    These concerns were not relegated to the wealthy for long, however. A decade after the influential article’s publication, the Eastman Kodak company released the first undeniably mass-market camera: The Kodak Brownie. For the price of $1 (equivalent to $32.66 in today’s dollars), anyone could grab a cheap cardboard box with fake leather coating and a meniscus lens and aim it anywhere they pleased.

    In our current world, news has exploded with revelations of Instagram’s effect on teenagers, particularly young girls, and how, despite this potential harm, the company was actively designing an alternate version of its app for an even younger audience. It has since been put “on hold” due to public pressure. The power of algorithms and information harvesting is significant, but the Kodak Brownie was doing it all first.

    The name “Brownie” itself was more than merely a reference to the camera’s designer, Frank A. Brownell — it was a bit of marketing genius. The cutesy name, accompanied by magical mascots from a popular series of children’s books, existed solely to target Kodak’s affordable camera to children.

    “Plant the Brownie acorn and the Kodak oak will grow,” was a popular slogan at the time. It worked like gangbusters. Eastman Kodak shipped more than 1.5 million Brownies in the first year of production. Forget the socialites outside their fancy soirees, the Brownie is when schoolyard had become a photo studio. At every level of American life, privacy had changed.

    The explosion of images was inextricably linked to an explosion of intrusions, new and strange to the culture. The public could not get enough of the Brownie, and their sense of propriety began to relax in order to accommodate their new fascination. Your average citizen could now capture moments of extreme humanity, poverty, embarrassment, and harm that had been unthinkable before. The common person was now also beginning to wonder, what were the new rules? The law was going to have to catch up with the times, and the very same year the Brownie was introduced, it would face its first test.

    Abigail Robertson was a teenager from Rochester, New York who had sat for a portrait at a local studio. This was, by now, a common enough practice. What was uncommon, however, is what Abigail saw in shop windows some time after her photograph was taken. All over the town of Rochester and well beyond, Abigail’s face graced poster after poster, advertising the flour of a nearby mill. Without her knowledge, with no agreement on her part, Abigail had become the mascot for a product, and in storefronts, warehouses, and even saloons, acquaintances saw and recognized her daily. All in all, 25,000 such posters were produced and distributed.

     
    For Abigail, this was horrific. The embarrassment and confusion she experienced led her to severe nervous shock, leaving her bedridden and attended to by a physician. This was simply not something a person of this time period was prepared to handle.

    Abigail sued Franklin Mills, the flour mill for which the advertisements were produced, and the Rochester Folding-Box Company, which were responsible for the production of the posters, for $15,000 in damages (nearly half a million dollars in today’s currency) and an order forbidding her likeness being used in any advertisement.

    At the first trial, in the Supreme Court of Monroe County, the defendants’ argument was simple: They had the right to use Abigail’s photograph because there was no law saying they did not have such a right. The judge was unmoved. Interestingly, his reasoning hinged a great deal on Abigail’s station in life as an everyday citizen. In good conscience, he could not rule that a normal person should be placed in such a position, as they had invited no attention on themselves and had sought no celebrity. He concluded that such use of Roberson’s likeness without consent was not only plainly traumatic, but the very act of selecting her image for advertisement indicated it possessed value, and the right to such value belonged to Robertson herself.

    Franklin Mills and the Rochester Folding-Box Company appealed, unwilling to cede payment and stop the use of their popular advertising campaign. The case finally traveled all the way to the State of New York Court of Appeals. There, over a decade after its publication, Warren and Brandeis’s “Right to Privacy” was invoked repeatedly by Abigail’s lawyers.

    Shockingly, it did little good. By a four to three decision, Robertson’s victory was overturned. The Court of Appeals ruled that Abigail’s face had no inherent value whatsoever, was not physical property, thus nothing had been stolen from her. Additionally, Chief Judge Alton Parker concluded “right of privacy” had no firm basis in present jurisprudence. It was a devastating conclusion, made more bitter by the court’s dismissal of Abigail’s suffering as “purely mental,” and Chief Judge Parker’s demeaning comments to the young woman about how she should be “flattered” someone found her so beautiful.

    Unsurprisingly, Abigail’s case had become immensely popular with the public, touching on concerns shared by many Americans at the time. To see her defeated in this way infuriated the public. The country was long past the self-pitying complaints of the bourgeoisie over gossip rags. This was about the common folk. If they could do this to this innocent girl, who was next? The outcry was so immediate and intense that the New York State Legislature was compelled to act.

    In 1903, New York became the first state to recognize a right to control the use of one’s name and image. Though limited in scope, it did criminalize the non-consensual use of one’s image for advertisement and trade. Others who had experienced invasions of privacy like Abigail’s were empowered to file a civil suit to cease further use of their likenesses and be compensated. Other states followed. Warren and Brandeis’s “The Right to Privacy” was used in over a dozen cases to bring about the recognition of the common law right of privacy.

    Within a few years, a manual on the law of advertising was already recommending written and signed releases from models. By 1909, the issue found its way to the Supreme Court, where a woman successfully won, arguing that a photograph of her used in a whiskey advertisement constituted libel. Mrs. A. Schuman argued reputational harm in being associated with such a product when she was quite proudly a woman of impeccable sobriety. In this new era of the snapshot, the new rules were quickly coming into focus.

    Brandeis, for his part, was not done with the topic. His passion for privacy rights followed him all the way to the Supreme Court, wherein in 1928, he wrote a thunderous, historic dissent in Olmstead v. United States, arguing evidence obtained by wiretap violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Though he lost at the time, some four decades later, the court would overturn the ruling and finally agree with his position.

    The right to privacy became a core consideration for Americans. Increasingly, this right found itself at the center of a variety of issues. In the 1960s, it was invoked to protect the right of married couples to purchase contraception, which set the stage for one of the most consequential victories for privacy in our nation’s history, Roe v. Wade.

    Every year that passes, we encounter new, frightening ways in which our privacy is intruded upon. Terms of Service for virtually any transaction, purchase, or online membership have become an inscrutable rats’ nest meant to overwhelm the average citizen to the point of ceding their rights without even knowing to what degree they have done so. Facebook and Instagram are probably, collectively, the largest photo album in the history of the medium. There have long been concerns, some well-founded, that the images we are sharing online will show up in an advertisement, or as part of some corporation’s “content.”

    Even as recently as last year, the social media giant began updating its rights management systems, working with certain, undisclosed partners to grant them the power to claim ownership of their images and dictate when and where those images show up across the platform. How will this impact you in the future? This remains unclear.

    What is undeniable, however, is the shift to accessible photography — pioneered by Eastman Kodak and brought to new heights over a century ago with their cheap little Brownie — started a conversation in the country that has since spilled into every aspect of public life.

    Reply
  2. shinichi Post author

    How did one camera shape ‘privacy rights’?

    https://gigazine.net/gsc_news/en/20211025-kodak-brownie-changed-privacy-rights/

    With the spread of mobile phones and smartphones, it has become commonplace for everyone to carry a camera in modern times, and with this, privacy issues have become familiar. PetaPixel, a news site specializing in photography and cameras, discusses the history of privacy being established as a right with the advent of Kodak’s camera ‘Brownie, ‘ which is a pioneer of inexpensive portable cameras that can be used easily.

    **

    In the United States, portable cameras became available on the market in the latter half of the 19th century, but at that time, each camera cost $ 25 (about $ 700 / about 80,000 yen when converted to modern value), so it is commonplace. It was the newspaper reporter who carried the camera with him, out of reach of him. As a result, the first people in the United States to raise the issue of privacy rights were the upper class, who were more likely to be targeted by paparazzi.

    Samuel D. Warren, one of the authors and wealthy man in The Right to Privacy , published in 1890 and later referred to as one of the most influential papers in American legal history. Warren expressed his anger, saying, ‘In order to satisfy the humble hobbies of lazy people, the crappy gossip that can only be grasped by stepping into the home has begun to dance on paper almost every day.’ I am doing it.

    However, with the launch of ‘Brownie’ by Kodak in 1900, ten years after the publication of this paper, the situation will change when privacy concerns are exclusively for the wealthy. Brownies for only $ 1 per unit (about $ 32 / about 3600 yen when converted to modern value) sold 1.5 million units in a year from the start of production, and quickly spread to young people, who were the main target in particular. Therefore, it seems that the American school at that time was like a studio for photography.

    A woman named Abigail Robertson, who lives in Rochester, New York, took a portrait in a local studio that made the public aware that cameras had penetrated American society. The poster production company that took the picture of Robertson used the picture to advertise the milling company without permission, printing 25,000 posters and posting them throughout the city.

    In modern times, it is not uncommon for model photographs to be used in posters, but it was an unbearable humiliation for teenage women at the time. Robertson, who became the mascot of the product without knowing his face, became bedridden because of embarrassment and embarrassment. He filed a lawsuit against a poster production company and a flour milling company seeking an injunction against the use of facial photographs.

    The poster production company’s claim in court was simple: ‘There is no law that prohibits the use of photographs.’ In response, a lawyer on the Robertson side appealed for respect for privacy, citing ‘The Right to Privacy,’ but lost the case. Judges did not recognize Robertson’s rights, concluding that ‘the plaintiff’s woman’s face has no inherent value and that her physical property was not stolen,’ and Judge Alton Parker, who was in charge of the trial, said Robert. He even told Son, ‘I should be rather honored to have a beautiful face.’ This famous 1902 ruling was called ‘Roberson v. Rochester. Folding Box Co. ‘ and is still often cited when discussing privacy rights.

    Many Americans at the time sympathized with Robertson’s appearance after losing the trial and raised his anger, and privacy became a problem for the common people at once from the bourgeoisie’s worries. In 1903, the New York State Legislature, driven by angry voices, issued a state law stating that ‘the mission, portrait, or photo of a living individual must not be used in advertising or commerce without written consent.’ Enacted. New York became the first local government in the United States to recognize right to privacy by law, and other states followed suit.

    The right to privacy that has become established in American society has led to the ‘Roe v. Wade Incident, ‘ which is considered to be the most important victory of privacy rights in American history. The trial ruled that ‘a woman’s decision on whether to continue her pregnancy is part of her right to privacy,’ which triggered the legalization of abortion in the United States.

    At the end, PetaPixel said, ‘Social media copyright and privacy issues are often talked about these days. It’s unclear what the consequences of the SNS controversy, arguably the largest photo album in media history, will be. But one thing is certain: Kodak pioneered affordable cameras and photography, and cheap brownies started a new era, which prompted privacy debates to spread throughout society. ‘ I did.

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  3. shinichi Post author

    1台のカメラがいかにして「プライバシー権」を形作ったのか?

    https://gigazine.net/news/20211025-kodak-brownie-changed-privacy-rights/

    携帯電話やスマートフォンの普及により、現代では誰もが当たり前にカメラを持ち歩くようになり、これに伴ってプライバシーの問題も身近なものになりました。手軽に使える安価なポータブルカメラの先駆けであるコダックのカメラ「ブローニー」の登場により、プライバシーが権利として確立されるまでに至った歴史を、写真とカメラ専門のニュースサイト・PetaPixelが論じています。

    **

    アメリカでは、19世紀後半には可搬式のカメラが市場に出回るようになりましたが、当時のカメラは1台25ドル(現代の価値に換算すると約700ドル/約8万円)もしたため庶民の手には届かず、カメラを持ち歩くのはもっぱら新聞記者でした。そのため、アメリカで最初にプライバシー権の問題に声を上げたのは、パパラッチの標的になりやすい上流階級の人々でした。

    1890年に発表され、後にアメリカの法制史において最も影響力のある論文の1つと言われることになる「The Right to Privacy」の中で、著者の1人であり資産家でもあったサミュエル・D・ウォーレンは「怠惰な人々の卑わいな趣味を満足させるために、家庭内に土足で踏み込むことでしかつかめないくだらないゴシップが毎日のように紙面を踊るようになった」と述べて、怒りをあらわにしています。

    しかし、この論文が発表された10年後の1900年にコダックから「ブローニー」が発売されると、プライバシーに関する悩みが富裕層だけのものだった状況に変化が訪れます。1台当たりたった1ドル(現代の価値に換算すると約32ドル/約3600円)のブローニーは生産開始から1年で150万台も売れ、特に主なターゲットだった若者を中心に瞬く間に普及したため、当時のアメリカの学校はさながら写真撮影用のスタジオのようだったそうです。

    こうしてアメリカ社会にカメラが浸透したことを一般市民が自覚するようになったきっかけは、ニューヨーク州ロチェスターに住むアビゲイル・ロバートソンという女性が、地元のスタジオで撮影した1枚のポートレートです。ロバートソンの写真を撮ったポスター制作会社は、その写真を無断で製粉会社の広告に使用し、2万5000枚のポスターを印刷して街の至る所に貼り出しました。

    現代では、モデルの写真がポスターに使われるのは珍しいことではありませんが、当時の10代の女性にとっては耐えがたい屈辱だったとのこと。自分の顔が知らない間に商品のマスコットになったロバートソンは、恥ずかしさと戸惑いから精神を病み、寝たきりになってしまいました。そして、顔写真の使用差し止めを求めて、ポスター制作会社と製粉会社を相手にした裁判を起こしました。

    法廷でのポスター制作会社側の主張はシンプルで、「写真を使ってはならないという法律はない」というものでした。これに対し、ロバートソン側の弁護士は「The Right to Privacy」を引き合いにプライバシーの尊重を訴えたものの敗訴。裁判官らは「原告の女性の顔に固有の価値はなく、物理的な財産が盗まれたわけでもない」と結論づけてロバートソンの権利を認めず、裁判を担当したアルトン・パーカー裁判長はロバートソンに「顔が美しいと思われたことをむしろ光栄に思うべきだ」とまで言い放ちました。この1902年の有名な判決は、「Roberson v. Rochester. Folding Box Co.」と呼ばれ、現在でもプライバシー権を論じる際によく引用されているとのことです。

    裁判に負けたロバートソンの姿に、当時の多くのアメリカ人が共感し怒りの声を上げたことで、プライバシーは一気にブルジョアジーの悩みから庶民の問題になりました。そして、怒りの声に突き動かされたニューヨーク州議会は1903年に、「書面による同意なしに、存命中の個人の使命、肖像、または写真を広告や商取引に使ってはならない」とする州法を制定。ニューヨーク州はプライバシー権を法律で認めたアメリカ初の地方自治体となり、他の州もこれに追随しました。

    こうしてアメリカ社会に定着したプライバシー権は、アメリカ史上最も重要なプライバシー権の勝利とされる「ロー対ウェイド事件」につながりました。この裁判では、「妊娠を継続するか否かに関する女性の決定は、プライバシー権に含まれる」とする判決が下され、アメリカにおける人工妊娠中絶合法化の契機となりました。

    PetaPixelは末尾で、「最近でも、ソーシャルメディアの著作権やプライバシーの問題がよく取り沙汰されます。メディアの歴史の中でも間違いなく最大の写真アルバムであるSNSの論争がどんな結果になるかは分かりませんが、1つ間違いないのは手頃なカメラと写真がコダックによって開拓され、安価なブローニーによって新しい時代が始まったことが、プライバシーの議論が社会のあらゆる場所に広まる契機になったことです」と述べました。

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