Who owns the image in the mirror?


Personally identifiable Information

There are laws that define PII. We’ve heard in the past few years of great breaches by hackers of companies that resulted in the release of PII. But in the end do the PII laws go far enough?

I wonder.

In effect what is the me of me? There is information that is relevant because in the end it represents who and what I am. My SS# is an example of that. My finger prints would also be PII as they represent me. You commit a crime you waive the right to not have your fingerprints stored.

What about the IoT devices taking not only my picture but my heat signature as I walk by? Do I own that image or in the end is that image the property of the camera owner? A great line during a conversation yesterday. “I can go to the national mall and take pictures of tourists.” Interesting for two reasons, when you live someplace (near DC) you think of everyone who goes to the national mall as a tourist. The other point being you own those pictures when you take them.

Who owns me> I am now in procession of nearly 300 images taken of me as a child (right now until roughly age 3. Then starting again when I am about 30). They represent one thing to me and to those that read my personal blog they probably represent a boring flow of pictures so something else to my readers. The image itself though, I didn’t take those pictures. In fact my mother and father did. It still leaves open the concept of the image of me.

I remember years ago reading about a tribe of people who believed that capturing a photograph of a person in the end stole or captured their soul. That they, post the picture were less of a person than they were before the picture. I am not advocating that. Rather I am considering the question of who owns the image that is me.

Obviously if you have met me ever, you know that the owner of my images does not collect works of art (I am not the traditionally Hollywood handsome) J.

I’ve had a photo ID badge for years. But in the end they don’t really need my photo on it. I use the electronics behind the picture embedded in the badge to gain access. In the end as you continue your career at a company the badge looks more like that of Dorian Gray not, you. In effect it would be hard given failed electronics to effectively identity me based on the picture. Gray hair has replaced dark brown hair in my modern picture.

Does the company own that picture?

Your professional profile includes a picture. Why? What part of your skills and abilities has anything to do with the image of you? Yes the image is needed to identify you. But in the end it doesn’t do anything else.

Who owns the image of you?

I could run to the national mall and take hundreds of pictures. Each of those pictures then taken to image identification software and mapped to social networks. I could identity many of the people whose picture I had taken.

Is that too far?

I wonder….


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow