Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Selfie

Robert Cornelius

The photo above is presumed to be the first "Selfie" taken in 1839 by Robert Cornelius.  With the advent of the Kodak box camera, Selfies moved from the realm of the professional to the amateur.

It wasn't until the advent of the internet and the camera phone that things really started to go downhill.

Child Pornography

A sixteen year old girl in Virginia takes a nude selfie of herself and shares it with her friends on Twitter.  Someone notifies a school resource officer who talks to the girl, her parents, and then notifies the authorities.  The authorities then charge the girl with one felony count of possession, reproduction, distribution, solicitation, and facilitation of child pornography.  The minimum sentence associated with the charge is five years.  Had any of her friends retweeted the image, they would also be guilty.

CBS News 

Rare but increasing

Involvement of the authorities is a rare but increasing phenomena.  Two teens in Los Angeles have been charged after swapping nude photos, two teens in Florida have also been charged.  In the worst case among the many I stumbled across browsing news stories was that of the State of Tennessee stamping out a "child pornography ring"... 24 teens who were swapping nude selfies amongst themselves.

Misapplication of the Law?

Laws that were written and implemented to protect children from adult predators are being used to prosecute, some say persecute, the children themselves.  Not confined solely to the United States there have been similar cases in Canada and Australia, as far as Europe goes I found one case in Malta (although that was a case of reposting by a third party).  

Of Questionable Taste

Other selfie phenomena that have manifested in our digital age are funeral selfies, including selfies with the deceased, homeless selfies in which one intentionally captures a homeless person in the background, and accident selfies in which one captures oneself in the aftermath of tragedy. One woman even captured a selfie with a man attempting to commit suicide off the Brooklyn Bridge.


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