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Monday, March 28, 2011

Flickering Ethics at Flickr: On the Ethics of Enforcement

The New York Times has an interesting piece on the ethics involved in providing a social media service for the public.  The article describes how “(t)wo days after using Flickr to display photos of police officers from Egypt’s feared state security force, Hossam el-Hamalawy watched in disbelief as they vanished, one by one, from the popular social networking site, which he had been using since 2008. ‘I thought I was being hacked,’ said Mr. el-Hamalawy, a prominent Egyptian blogger and human rights activist who had uploaded the headshots of the police from CDs found by activists early this month at the State Security Police headquarters in Nasr City. He later learned . . .  that the photos had been removed because he did not take the images himself, a violation of the site’s . . . rules. ‘That is totally ludicrous,’ he said. ‘Flickr is full of accounts with photos that people did not take themselves.’” 

The full essay is in Cases of Unethical Business: A Malignant Mentality of Mendacity, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.