[Linux-aus] Photos at conferences

Tennessee Leeuwenburg tleeuwenburg at gmail.com
Tue Jan 21 11:05:12 EST 2014

In my opinion, any photography policy will be challenging to enforce, and
open the conference up to a lot of criticism when the policy is breached.
There's not really any such thing as a right not to be photographed. See
one article on the topic.

I think it would be potentially problematic for LA to try to put in place a
policy over the top of that. Perhaps you could have a website for
"official" photographs which allow a request for photograph removal.

I, personally, am not really comfortable with a no-photographs policy which
puts the onus on individual photographers who are just going about what is
seen generally as a perfectly reasonable activity. However, I think there
could be huge subjective issues with that where either the subject of the
photograph is uncomfortable, or where the activity being photographed is in
some way compromising to either the individuals concerned, or, possibly, to
the event and image of Linux Australia.

However, I'd caution against LA choosing to enter the space of being the
guardians here without real knowledge of the law (which I don't have). What
do other conferences do, including non-IT conferences? Is there a 'best
practise'? Is there a voluntary code of practise LA could distribute to
conference-goers about respectful photography.

Personally, I think it would be a huge problem if the policy:
  -- ended up either preventing the video and photography of audience shots
  -- prevented video and photos which include people in the background
  -- imposed a culture of control over photography and video
  -- resulted in individuals relying on the policy becoming severely
impacted upon when that policy becomes infringed and turn out to be

A voluntary policy of respectful photography and upholding common standards
of publication, which tries to strike a balance, sounds like a pretty
reasonable thing to me.


On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 10:41 AM, Peter Lawler <linux-aus at bleeter.id.au>wrote:

> On 21/01/14 09:24, Michael Davies wrote:
> > If you're in a public space you can be legally photographed without
> > your permission.
> Is LA always a public event though? Whilst this year's Penguin Dinner
> was held on public land any (from my understanding) anyone could've
> wandered past and the talks held on university grounds, some venues in
> the past or future may not be one to which the public ordinarily has
> access, whether or not by payment or invitation (eg, common rooms in Uni
> dorms may be keylocked to people who only have access to that site's
> dorm accommodation)
>  > That's the law of the land.
> You could well be talking about every other state and territory but it's
> certainly not that down here in Tasmania[1]. AFAIK no case law exists as
> to whether Princess Mary is due privacy if popping out to get some
> nappies, but I reckon if you asked some reasonable people around the
> time former NSW Transport and Roads Minister David Campbell had his 15
> minutes of national fame, they probably would have said 'Yes, that is a
> private matter.'[2]
> I close on the note that at this time, LA has no privacy policy. At
> all[3]. Unless folks are seriously suggesting "Be excellent to each
> other" is it. In which case, I don't see why LA bothers having any
> policy beyond that.
> Cheers,
> Pete.
> [1] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/tas/consol_act/poa1935140/s13a.html
> [2]
> http://ebonyathertoncmns3420.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/public-interest-versus-privacy.html
> [2] https://github.com/linuxaustralia/constitution_and_policies
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Tennessee Leeuwenburg
"Don't believe everything you think"
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