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One Step Ahead: Almanac Security Tips - 2014

In each issue, Penn's Journal of Record, The Almanac publishes helpful tips and hints for dealing with information security and privacy matters. This page is a collection of all those published thus far.
New! You can now receive new One-Step-Ahead Security and Privacy Tips automatically!
You can subscribe via Email or RSS.


Table of Contents (view all)

Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability
Security and Privacy Tips for World Travelers
Filing Taxes Online This Year? Take Steps to Protect Your Information!
If your computer runs Windows XP, you must update it now!
Why Should You Report Security Incidents? And How Do You Report One?
Photo and Video Privacy Issues
The Password is Dead, Long Live the Password!
Data Privacy Month: NSA Surveillance Panel at the National Constitution Center
Protecting Your Finances During This Year’s Holiday Shopping Season
Beware of Phishing E-mails in the Wake of Typhoon Haiyan
No E-mail from Penn Will Ask For Your Username/Password or SSN
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act: Does It Apply to Your Website?
October: National Cyber Security Awareness Month; Free Secure Disposal of Paper and Electronics
What Basic Rules Protect Student Information at Penn? (September 2013)
Protecting Privacy and Security on Penn + Box


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Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - Almanac Vol. 60, No. 22

Photo and Video Privacy Issues

The ability of millions of people to take photos and videos on personal mobile devices and spread them globally is a reality today worth pondering. Consider this in light of famous quotes from a time well before this capability was in place:

  • A picture paints a thousand words. (Frederick Barnett, 1921)
  • With great power comes great responsibility. (Voltaire, published 1832)

Now that so many of us have the technological power to take and spread photos and videos, which can tell us quite a lot about the people involved, we consider what it means to do so responsibly. Opinions differ widely­ - some resting on First Amendment rights, some on the Golden Rule and many in between.

At Penn, several offices have taken on a discrete component of this topic, focused on guidance to Penn's communications professionals on privacy issues in taking photos and videos as part of their job function. The guidance describes that there are no "one size fits all" rules about using photos and videos. Indeed, this area is highly context sensitive, turning on how public or private the setting is, the individuals involved, how identifiable the individuals are and the intended use of the images.

The guidance explains that there is greater latitude in capturing and disseminating photos and videos in public spaces, of public figures and for newsworthy purposes. It also describes that in many other cases, there is a need for caution and often special notice or permission, for example when capturing images of:

  • identifiable students particularly when the FERPA (federal student privacy) law is involved;
  • children and other vulnerable populations;
  • sensitive-topic large gatherings, such as events where political, identity or health concerns are central;
  • hospitals and healthcare settings;
  • classroom environments, particularly when recordings will be posted publicly and/or
  • images that will be used for commercial purposes.

The guidance also covers the value of using a photo management system that documents the rights, both in terms of privacy permissions and copyrights, to use and disclose photos and videos.

For more information or questions or comments about this guidance, contact University Communications at ucomms-web@lists.upenn.edu or Penn's Privacy Office at privacy@upenn.edu

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