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Unintended consequences of publicly posting innocuous pics and details.
Your audience is wider than you think (or thought at the time), and wants to do stuff with the stuff you posted that never, ever crossed your mind. For example, have you thought about the fact the photos you upload to a photo sharing site could eventually be aggregated with other such photos and used to train/improve AI devoted to facial recognition tech, and thus, of course, surveillance? Read Facial recognition's 'dirty little secret': Millions of online photos scraped without consent. This is happening both with your “consent” (via sites’ terms of service or data policies), and without it (via scraping). You can check if your photos were included in the Flickr set scraped by IBM by using NBC’s tool here.
If so, 1) if your photos weren’t licensed for commercial use, I think you may have something to complain about (unauthorized commercial use of your intellectual property), and 2) if your photo subjects are residents of the EU, Illinois, or any U.S. state with right of publicity laws, I think they may have something to complain about (unauthorized commercial use of their likeness).
Finally, as is not the case with Facebook, it is extremely straightforward and easy to batch-edit everything you may have uploaded to Flickr. So, if you want to change privacy settings, or that hippy license you may have applied — you can’t retroactively revoke the license this way, but changes will apply going forward — it’s easy to do. Even with a dataset of thousands of entries.
What was that you were saying about unauthorized use of someone’s likeness? Inevitable: creepy dolls resemble celebrities like Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. The good news: these are only 1/6 size, and the celebrities’ legal authority for wiping these out via right of publicity claims is strong, even if the likenesses aren’t perfect. (Via Jonathan Annett)
Children’s books for parents and a modern age. If you yourself are, or perhaps know, that person who is inclined to photo oversharing online, please peruse WSJ Personal Tech columnist Joanna Stern’s “children’s” book, Mommy Where’s My Photo Going?" It’s about what can happen to photos made freely available online. Yes, she warns about pics being used to train facial recognition AI, among other things.
How ultimately do we fix these problems of usurped expectations and perceived privacy affronts? To fix the web, give it back to the users is a great read at Fast Company by Richard Whitt, “[l]ongtime Google business/policy director, now embarking on solo gig developing new governance regimes for emerging tech platforms.”
Listen: Flickr Co-Founder and VC Caterina Fake is among those surprised and unhappy with IBM’s use of her Flickr photos, and she has an awesome podcast called Should This Exist? I’m pretty sure the Black Mirror writers tune in regularly. “‘Should This Exist?’ invites the creators of radical new technologies to set aside their business plan, and think through the human side: What is the invention’s greatest promise? And what could possibly go wrong?”
Gear Grind. If you’re an Apple Music subscriber in the U.S., and also use Amazon’s Echo/Alexa devices, you’re in luck: now you can Play Apple Music with Alexa on Amazon Echo or Fire TV; here’s more.
(Want to see all the Inbox 5K Gear commentary? Here you go.
Support: While the tornadoes and storms that hit Lee County, Alabama a little over a week ago already seem to have had their moment in the national spotlight, that doesn’t mean the people there don’t still need help. Support the relief efforts here.
(Want to see all the Inbox 5K “Support” recommendations? Here you go.)
Sustain: Fast fashion and Marie Kondo are conspiring to make the turnover in our closets higher than ever, and this is bad in lots of ways. Good intentions in donating old clothes aren’t enough to keep them from being a global environmental and economic problem. See A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion's future:
“Clothes are an everyday necessity, and for many an important expression of individuality. Yet the industry’s current take-make-dispose model is the root cause of many environmental impacts and substantial economic value loss. Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. An estimated USD 500 billion value is lost every year due to clothing that’s barely worn and rarely recycled. If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget. As well as being wasteful, the industry is polluting: clothes release half a million tonnes of microfibres into the ocean every year, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles. Microfibres are likely impossible to clean up and can enter food chains.”
“As more and more of us take to ‘Marie Kondo-ing’ our closets, we need to find better uses for that ‘going-out top’ bought for $15 and worn only twice. Places such as Uganda, and Haiti, and India shouldn’t have to be - and very soon may choose not to be - responsible for our excess.”
What can and should you do? You should do everything you can to slow down the buy-and-discard cycle.
Support Stella McCartney in her efforts to bring change and transparency to the apparel industry. As Stella tells Vogue, the common misconception that textiles, leather, and fur are not bad for the environment is misguided:
“An animal decomposes when it’s natural, but after all of the chemical treatments [applied] to a leather handbag, it isn’t going to decompose in your wardrobe. That product is staying alive because of the chemicals that have been put on it—because if you just had a dead animal in your closet, it would be a very different situation.”
“If every single second there’s a truckload of fast fashion being incinerated or landfilled, then I’m a big, big believer in reusing that and [participating in] the circular economy,” she says. “I know the statistics on it; I know the numbers. I’m very well informed, and I’m also a fan of wearing vintage. Other houses feel threatened, and I think it’s ridiculous. It’s the biggest compliment for your product to have an afterlife—to me, that’s luxury. I look at luxury fashion as an investment, and when you buy a Stella McCartney product, I hope that if you don’t want to hand it down to your daughter or friend, then you can let someone else use it. The key to all of these [sustainable] solutions is that they can be inspiring—they don’t have to feel like a punishment. There’s $500 billion worth of waste in the fashion industry every year, and that, to me, is a business opportunity. The next generation will look at all this waste and say, ‘Let’s create something new out of it.’ That’s going to be the next exciting thing.”
Give clothes a longer life by shopping your closet and buying second-hand; if you can extend the life of a garment by 2.2 years, you reduce its carbon, waste, and water footprint by 73%.
If you’re in SoCal, the Golden Years Vintage Market is this weekend. Highly recommended! Or, if you’re not, find something similar near you. If you need to augment your closet, think about how something pre-loved can be better all around (including more fun) than something brand new. Other easy entry points to the resale clothing marketplace: thredUP; Crossroads Trading; Buffalo Exchange. These are great and reliable, but what’s even more fun is finding your own local alternative.
(Want to see all the Inbox 5K “Sustain” recommendations? Here you go.)
Imbibe/Ingest: My friend Joan Smith grows and sells the most delicious dates, from her Rancho Meloduco Date Farm. You can take my word for it, and you can also trust what Oprah, the Wall Street Journal, Sunset Magazine, Food & Wine, Forbes, and many others have had to say on the subject. These nuggets of sweet, juicy goodness will make you want to put dates in and on everything, as well you should: they’re a superfood. They will aid your emotional recovery from all the dry, cracked, flavorless date encounters you’ve known before. They will encourage you to explore exotic nut butters and Himalayan salts, because of how perfectly those things adorn these dates. And if you follow Rancho Meloduco on Instagram, you’ll know there isn’t a season or holiday that can’t be improved by the addition of a Rancho Meloduco date.
(Want to see all the Inbox 5K Imbibe/Ingest recommendations? Here you go.)
Programming note: I’m on deck to host the 3/15 and 3/22 episodes of Triangulation on TWiT.tv. Other Triangulation guests I’ve interviewed recently are St. John’s University Law’s Kate Klonick and Chapman Law’s Tom W. Bell.
Inbox 5K Note: endorsements, suggestions, and recommendations in Inbox 5K are unpaid unless indicated otherwise. I highlight and recommend things I like or find useful, in hope you might feel the same. Sometimes I’ll mention a company, product or service offered by a friend, acquaintance, or family; rest assured they’re not paying me or haven’t asked for placement here unless I tell you that’s the case.
Find me elsewhere:
Denise M. Howell, Esq., 1048 Irvine Ave., #141, Newport Beach, CA 92663, USA