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19 September 2012

I was watching the news last night, saw the item on the French magazine’s photos of Kate Middleton and I was disgusted. It’s bad enough when people are intrusively photographed in public places on the pretext that it’s ‘in the public interest’. But when you’re on the deck of a private home, 500 yards from the nearest public access, and you still aren’t safe, it’s disgusting. There is no genuine ‘interest’ in these photos. The interest is in the money the photographer and magazine will make. “In the public interest’ is when photographs appear of a ‘good christian candidate for public office’ with his hand up a child’s skirt. Or photos of a financier luxuriating on his deck with dinner – partridges in aspic with $250 a bottle wine – served by a butler, while the investors he defrauded lose their homes. That sort of thing is in the public interest. It exposes a private face at great odds with the public one and may suggest criminal acts. A view of Kate’s chest is not ‘in the public interest.’ It may have the public interested, but that’s not the same thing.

I believe that a law should be enacted to prevent this kind of breach of privacy. A person, royal, celebrity or ordinatry Jane Doe, should have a reasonable expectation of privacy on private property. Alternately, some public-spirited person should reverse this – take a powerful long-lens camera, and follow a photographer responsible for this type of intrusion for several months while they take photos of his every private moment. Have a forensic accountant hack into the photographer’s banking account and see if everything is kosher. Steal his rubbish and double check everything that’s found in it. Why, it could be discovered that he’s cheating on his wife, the Inland Revenue, has hidden bank accounts – and he drinks like a fish. All of which proof could then be posted on line for hisfriends and neighbour to goggle at – and sent to his wife and the IRD. It would be amusing to hear the screams of outrage, the cries of “unfair!” The complaints of breach of privacy. But why is he any less a fair target? Money? Oh, yes, it’s probable that no magazine would pay for him to be exposed. Although I believe that the Inland Revenue in some countries does pay a percentage of recovery on unpaid taxes, and the wife might well pay for a set of the photos and the bank account numbers too. But best of all, it would give the paparazzi a taste of their own medicine. If they didn’t get the message, it could continue until they too are afraid to do anything at all in public or private that could be misconstrued. Sometimes a dose of someone’s own medicine cures a problem, and if not, then up the dosage!







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