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Pratfalls on CCTV: Public property?

Rory Cellan-Jones | 16:16 UK time, Friday, 21 January 2011

"If I fall into a shopping mall fountain while I'm engrossed in texting, do I have any right to feel aggrieved when the footage appears on YouTube?"

When I rang the Google press office today with that question, YouTube's owners told me it was the most unusual inquiry they had received all day. Apparently, they have been busy with some other news.

But seriously, the case of Cathy Cruz Marrero and the viral video of her tumbling into a fountain does raise important questions about privacy in the age of constant surveillance.

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Ms Marrero was walking through the Berkshire shopping mall in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, totally absorbed in her mobile phone - a not uncommon sight. What she did not spot was that she was heading straight for the fountain.

The fact that she ended up drenched would have been a matter solely for her and a few passers-by, if the incident had not been caught on the shopping mall's security cameras. Someone connected with the mall appears to have filmed the CCTV footage on a mobile phone, and then uploaded it onto YouTube.

Where, of course, it has proved a huge hit. The unfortunate texter is not amused - in fact she is threatening to sue the shopping mall's management.

Some are accusing her of a sense of humour failure, but you can see her point. Closed circuit television is installed to catch criminals and give the rest of us an added sense of security, not to capture entertaining footage for viral videos. How happy would you be if you were pictured falling over in the street - perhaps while gazing into the eyes of someone you shouldn't be with?

Hence my phone call to YouTube's owners. They responded with this:

"YouTube has clear policies that prohibit inappropriate content on the site. A 'flag' button underneath every video to enable any user to report inappropriate content, or any content that they feel invades their privacy. If uploaders repeatedly break these rules we disable their accounts."

Now I am not sure what the legal situation is in the United States, but a call tot Britain's data protection regulator revealed that anyone who did something similar with CCTV footage here could be in deep trouble. The Information Commissioner's office told me that it's fine to release images to the police but "it would not be appropriate to disclose them to the media or put them on the internet for entertainment purposes."

In other words, if you're a bored security guard and you spot something funny on the camera, just have a laugh but put your mobile camera away.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    It's the commentary that makes this clip.

    If the 'victim' hadn't been identified no one would have cared to cause trouble.

  • Comment number 2.

    I firmly believe that we all own the copyright for our own image. In fact, I don't think the BBC should be even showing the video of this incident without the woman's permission.

    I wrote about this topic myself recently.

    http://ayeright.com/2010/04/dont-i-own-my-own-face/

  • Comment number 3.

    Although this has been highlighted as "entertainment" (nice touch of schadenfreude), what about other cases where CCTV footage is released not via the police? From recollection, the Cat Bin saga started out as someone finding a video funny, went viral and then the investigation started.

  • Comment number 4.

    The cat bin saga was not public CCTV. It was the cat owners private system.

  • Comment number 5.

    Were I still in my last job, that video clip would be used in sixth form tutorials to illustrate the perils of concentrating on fiddling with a mobile phone when you ought to be paying attention to where you are going.

    How many times do you see someone crossing the road, head down and thumbs going?

  • Comment number 6.

    Well, at least she made a splash on TV.

  • Comment number 7.

    Without wishing to appear too flippant, surely this video id educational? It highlights the perils of not looking where you are going, I'd rather this lady fell into a pool than knock over my child.

    The video was taken in a public area, therefore it's fair game and if the subject is thought stupid, well....

  • Comment number 8.

    A shopping mall is private property unlike the High Street so that the laws pertaining to CCTV footage maybe different. Possibly the owners of the mall may claim rights to footage of customers making fools of themselves as a condition of entry!

  • Comment number 9.

    She has a point .. up to a point. But that point in this context isn't worth making ..unless of course its a strategic decision to grab one's 15 minutes of fame.

    The sub text for me .. this incident is a by-product of a sad generation who don't use phones to TALK to people.. if she did, this would not have happened.

    Madam .. grow up ..

  • Comment number 10.

    Someone else just made the same point that I was going to make, so this will be a boring comment. But... a shopping mall isn't a public place, it's private property.

  • Comment number 11.

    So Pennsylvania's now part of the UK is it? Didn't think so, yet the US, an object of slavish adoration by Mr.Rory, is too mighty to deserve reference as surely we should know that the British Broadcasting Corporation is hooked on the US.

  • Comment number 12.

    Who identified her...she identify herself!

    The image was significantly obscure it could have been anybody. In fact, it doesn't look anything like her.

    "I own my image" is interesting, but from distance I don't agree. You'd not be able to televise anything without fogging out the background. That'd make a football game an interesting watch!

  • Comment number 13.

    Is it too simple to say that if you do something in public then you are assenting to what you do being public property?
    Whether CCTV should be used is a different matter, it seems odd that it can be legally used at all. But the issue of any recoding being used? I can't claim my face is copyright and then ask people to pay to look at me can I...?

  • Comment number 14.

    re: #2 Stephen ODonnell

    I am sorry mate but there is only one reason people will talk about copyrighting their own image .. and it ain't nothing to do with retaining personal dignity and privacy.

    If this appeared on 'You've been framed' and she didn't get her cut - you might have a point. She could have flagged it on YouTube as soon as she knew.

    Nope .. this is either 1. about 15 minutes of fame OR 2. she really is quite dim and cannot appreciate how more dim she looks by coming across as humourless.

  • Comment number 15.

    Well I thought it was very funny! ;-)

    Sorry, not an ounce of sympathy from me. 1) Watch where you're walking & 2) don't go publicising that it was you.

    This could have been any foolish American woman. Why did she have to come forward & identify herself? And if network TV ask if it's her, deny it. But instead, she's secretly chuffed to be interveiwd on TV.

    Grow up woman. Nobody owes you ANY sympathy for acting like a 4 year old.

  • Comment number 16.

    I didn't think the clip was funny anyway. It wasn't even particularly unusual. Compare with the the clip of the snow plow falling backwards into a large hole which was funny.

  • Comment number 17.

    The Data Protection Act, which the Information Commissioner's Office is the watchdog for, legislates for personal data stored that can identify an individual - I would say that the images shown on the Youtube video make it difficult to tell what gender the person is, let alone identify her. So, whilst it is best practice not to release the video, I doubt it is a breach of the Act.

  • Comment number 18.

    If the video footage i saw on this, is ALL the footage, I am at a loss to what this lady is complaining about! The image of the person falling in the water I saw, is so small that it is difficult to identify who it is! If this is the case, and then by allowing herself to be interviewed so that she can complain about losing her privacy, she loses ANY sympathy I would have had for her, HAD she been clearly identified!

    Stick these images up! but do not humiliate people! Hopefully these people might learn to pay more attention to what they are doing! Imagine if she had walked into someone else and knocked them in! How would they have felt? Would she have objected to the video then?

  • Comment number 19.

    The woman can't be identified from the clip, on which she is pretty much a shapeless blob, so it's hardly "personal data". The only way in which she could have been associated with it is by her self-identification, which is what she apparently has done; she therefore has only herself to blame. Or has this been merely another way to garner one's Warholian fifteen minutes?

  • Comment number 20.

    This case was effectively harmless. The woman could have chosen to stay anonymous. (Do we know how her nephew identified her?)

    But the next case may not be. The next case may involve footage of activity that is perfectly legal and moral, but helps bullies, bigots and criminals identify that individual as a potential victim.

    So yes, people with access to such CCTV footage should be prevented from just uploading it to Youtube without good cause.

  • Comment number 21.

    In the UK it matters not whether this happened in a public place or not. Forgetting for a moment that it is impossible to identify the woman from the cctv images, all personal data stored by an organisation must be done so in a secure way and not released to the general public. In fact, without a warrent or court order, the organisation is not under any obligation to release it to the police even for crime detection/prevention, although in practice most organisations are happy to help the police.
    With regards to assenting to what you do in public being public property, in most cases this is not true, the same rules apply. However, the law is not a total ass in this case and there are exceptions. For example, by attending a televised sporting event you are effectively agreeing to having your face on TV - as long as the club has a privacy policy stating this. Look at any UK organisation's website and there is always a privacy policy - it's the law, if it's not there, they are breaking it. It should state what personal data they keep, why they are keeping it, what they intend to use it for and how you can see what they are storing about you (you can, including cctv footage of yourself), and how you can stop them using it in certain ways.
    Sorry this is very long, but Data Protection takes a lot of explaining.

  • Comment number 22.

    She claims that no one took her feelings into account, yet freely admits in the interview that it was funny??
    She's also unidentifiable from the video so why come forward, admit it was her who was stupidly walking and not looking where she was going?
    She then thinks she can sue the mall owners????

    I don't think it's right that the video was recorded and released into the public domain but without her coming forward the only people who would ever have known who it was, is her immediate family who she probably told or ahd to explain the dripping clothes to.

  • Comment number 23.

    Ignoring the detail of US vs UK law, and the ownership of the land on which the incident takes place - surely the important thing is that people should not have photos taken of them where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. If you're in a place that is "open to the public" (even a paid-for event with bouncers on the door to keep out the unwashed) then it's not unreasonable for your activities to be say reported on by a newspaper. Ditto if someone snaps you with their phone and uploads it to Youtube. On the other hand, you do have a reasonable expectation that CCTV of the event would be used only for crime detection and not for public amusement.

    Same location, same incident - but the expectation is different.

  • Comment number 24.

    @21 but we cannot forget that it's impossible to identify the woman in the CCTV images because this is central to any data protection argument. She is not identifiable in the pictures: therefore, they are not personal data under the Data Protection Act.

  • Comment number 25.

    This incident did not occure in the UK. But if it did....

    I firmly believe that whatever the image I see through my eyes, it belongs to me and that if I capture that image using a recording device, then I own the copywrite.

    Thankfully, that is how the law operates in the UK.

    If that was not the case then the courts would be jammed with cliams for breach of copywrite.

    Naturally, if a company holds the image of a living identifiable individual, then under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) that individual is a data subject, the image is personal data and the organisation is a data controller and must process that personal data in a way that complies with the DPA.

    Given the quality of the footage, I do not believe that those posting it, whether individuals (in which case the DPA will not apply to them), or companies will have anything to worry about.

  • Comment number 26.

    If someone claims a right to privacy somebody else claims public interest, the expression 'free-speech' turns up again and the winners win and the losers lose. Anything funny, straight on Youtube, only this question asked. (interview Rowan Atkinson if complaints continue perhaps).

  • Comment number 27.

    I think the shopping mall should ask her to prove that it was really her. She cannot be identified by the footage, and for anyone knows it's not even her.

  • Comment number 28.

    Interesting to compare the comments on this thread to the comments on the article in the magazine section on CCTV. It seems we are not okay with CCTV being used to capture motoring offences and petty crime, but we are okay with it being used to capture innocent people having accidents. That says it all about the average Briton really.

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm calling male-cow-faeces on this one, if she kept her head down everyone would have forgotten soon enough and it would just be another 'funny clip' on youtube. She brought this attention upon herself. Probably intentionally.

  • Comment number 30.

    Funny has !! lifes to short

  • Comment number 31.

    A very similar thing happened to me as a teenager. I was entering a college sports hall gym and tripped over the carpet in the entrance, landing flat on my face. Embarrassing enough but I got up and got on with things. When I left the building 30 minutes later I spotted the gym staff playing the incident back on a monitor and having a good laugh.

    This incident firmed my stance against CCTV. It is one of the many reasons (a minor one admittedly) that I am a strong opponent of CCTV and indeed would actually ban most CCTV. If you want security employ security guards. If you want to feel safe on the streets, employ more police officers. I can then watch who is watching me.

    "In other words, if you're a bored security guard and you spot something funny on the camera, just have a laugh but put your mobile camera away."

    -Rory, I think this attitude is part of the problem. I want my privacy, and I object to being laughed at by any anonymous security guard, let alone millions of web users like this poor woman. Privacy is more important to me than perceived benefits such as crime reduction.

    Anyway I hope this woman does sue and cleans them out. Good luck to her.



  • Comment number 32.

    CCTV on public property should be used for it's sole purpose of what it was installed for, whether that be crime detection/prevention or health & safety monitoring.

    if someone uploads a video of you captured on CCTV without your consent, then in my opinion they have breeched your privacy, because that cctv footage has not been used for it's intended purpose.

    In the UK under data protection, you can contact any company that has CCTV cameras and request them to send you a copy of any video footage they have that contains you personally appearing on that footage (for an appropriate fee to cover admin costs and charges), you are within your rights to receive any material containing yourself. but you are not in your rights to request footage of anyone else other than yourself.

  • Comment number 33.

    To 'R', a few comments up.

    Not necessarily, it could equally be an indication that different types of briton read and/or comment on different things.

  • Comment number 34.

    Perhaps the woman ought to have learned something - don't try & walk whilst texting - but now she has shown herself to be an even bigger fool!

  • Comment number 35.

    I fell over once because of a piece of loose carpet - which was captured on CCTV and played back to the amusement of others. I wasn't texting or 'not looking where I was going' - do I deserve to have my privacy invaded also?

  • Comment number 36.

    A classic case of the Striesand Effect. The woman wasn't identifable from the video, but now that she has announced herself to the world she will become the target of fun. If she had kept quiet no-one (or very very few) would have known about her. Now her current court cases for theft have been announced to the world as well - all because she didn't keep her mouth shut.

  • Comment number 37.

    If it had been a child, then any 'stranger' taking or possessing images - particularly taken without the knowledge or consent of a parent or guardian - could find him/herself placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

  • Comment number 38.

    @ 31. Bloofs - So do you propose the employment of a separate security guard assigned to each person in every shopping centre throughout the country? Without CCTV, how else would we keep an eye on things? It is idiotic to say you're against CCTV in this context. I don't mean to get too serious but imagine, for instance, if there had been no CCTV in the shopping centre where James Bulger was abducted...

    Anyone with a clear conscience has nothing to worry about. And if you fall face first into a fountain while texting, well...it's funny, people will laugh, stop crying and deal with it.

  • Comment number 39.

    Has everyone had a sense of humour bypass? Last week whilst on holiday I fell waist deep into some soft snow - everyone with me thought it was hilarious and spent so long laughing I had to get someone else to help me because I was pretty stuck. Once out, I found it hilarious too because I am capable of laughing at myself and these silly things that happen. I think a lot of people have just lost the ability to laugh at themselves, at others, and to stop taking everything so seriously. This is the human race - we are not a solitary species, we are a close group - stop harking on about all this privacy and start living and laughing!

  • Comment number 40.

    In response to 25, I'm afraid that isn't the way it works here. If you take pictures of a model and she hasn't signed a model release form then she can take you to court.

    I have long thought that this is how images should be handled in all cases then we wouldn't have so much hassle and there would be no distasteful images being snapped. I recognise that there needs to be some common sense else how would journalists work, as it would be impracticable to get everyone to sign release forms.

  • Comment number 41.

    @ 40 (Martin Hollands). In wat capacity could a model take an individual(not a newspaper) with whom she has no contract with to court for taking pictures of her?

    It could not be a claim in contract, there is none. So what would be the tort?



  • Comment number 42.

    Hey,

    Since this is a bbc blog, maybe it'll be possible to actually get an answer to this question - is recording a video of a CCTV monitor (whatever it may be displaying at the time) the same as using the video from that CCTV camera directly, legally speaking? It seems that it shouldn't be, since the owner of the CCTV camera has various data-protection and privacy obligations, but as a third-party you shouldn't be affected by them (the fault in this situation should lie with the CCTV owner, who should take reasonable steps to prevent access to its CCTV data in whatever form). Or is this naive?

    jmh

  • Comment number 43.

    If I tripped over a piece of loose carpet and it was recorded on CCTV I think that I would probably sue under Health and Safety and use the recording as evidence!

  • Comment number 44.

    @40,

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Although the wording and basis of his posting wasn't quite on the button, the author of post 25 (Matt) is substantively correct - copyright in a photograph subsists with the photographer.

    (If you use a photo-booth, the copyright in the images BELONGS to the operator of the booth; if they want to use 'your' photos to promote their service, they may do so.)

    As to the notion of requiring a release from the photographed person, what arrant nonsense!

    It might be a desirable development - a paparazzo's job would all but disappear overnight - but not yet, not here.

  • Comment number 45.

    @42

    Copyright in the CCTV coverage would subsist with the operator.

    If such images were visible to, and recorded by, a third party, that party would own the copyright in his/her new images (e.g. obtained by placing a camera in front of the monitor) but would be unable to make any legal use thereof without copyright clearance of the copyright holder of the featured images (the CCTV operator).

    Otherwise, there would be no legal protection for, say, video recordings of TV images (from a Blu-ray/DVD or ex-broadcast).

  • Comment number 46.

    @40, Martin Hollands

    My condemnation of your post (@44) does, however, rather depend on where your "here" refers to. I have assumed UK, but if not, then perhaps you have a point.

  • Comment number 47.

    I do not know the rights & wrongs of this case but I do know one thing, this video appearing on YouTube shows exactly what big business dose with the surveillance they subject the public too. Its creepy and I hope she sues them for every cent.

  • Comment number 48.

    I am sorry to say if your stupid enough to fall into a indoor water feature while playing on your phone, and then admit it was you!! Then honestly you should take a very long look in the mirror and say am I tryng to make money out of my own stupid mistake, should she even be allowed to take action. No way, for once lets have some common sense in the world, before its to late. Its like trying to take action when all flights are grounded due to a volcano going off!! Oh that happened also, remember that other woman, "we should have backup plans in order, this is a disgrace. We are a disgrace to the plant.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    ..or another hypothetical example could be if a photographer is hired by a young couple to take photos at their wedding , and due to some technical fault, he only manages to capture one good photo of the happy couple, then if in the background of that photo he accidently captures one of the married guests appearing to - how do we put it - cop off with one of the bridesmaids, then that guest would not be able to say to that photographer, ‘ I want the original image and all copies handed over to me so that I can destroy them.’

    To do so would mean that the photographer would have to breach his contract (or rather, further breach his contract!) with the happy couple. It would be nonsense if that was the law. Thankfully, it is not the law.

    Whilst you cannot control people recording images of another, you can control the images that they record: do not wear silly clothes; if you are married then do not try to cop off with a bridesmaid at your friends’ wedding, but most importantly, do not text and walk at the same time so that you risk falling into a fountain!

  • Comment number 51.

    If you don't want to be made an idiot out of, don't do anything stupid! If you don't want to be seen with someone, don't meet them! Simple!

  • Comment number 52.

    Oh what a crazy world we live in! World wide 'candid camera' and the much noise from the chattering (or should I say tapping?) classes

    Why do the antics of a typical mobile phone user - head down not looking where they are going - require the generation of such a mass of comments? Why should anyone want to dignify this with any discussion?

    What a sad commentary on what is considred important in the world today.

    Oh how I wish I had never clicked on the link!!!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    What really happened, Miss C's nephew said" hey come look at this clip of this really dumb woman",
    Miss C " omg that's me",
    Nephew " really, you can't tell, youd better get on tv and start telling people its you otherwise no-one would know!.

  • Comment number 54.

    Not sure of the legalities of this but we have CCTV where I work, it is continuous 24/7.
    I will not release footage to anyone except the police and only then if it is in relation to a suspected crime.

    Occasionally we get a request from a customer as to whether an incident (usually a minor bump between cars on the carpark) has been captured, all I will say is that the cameras cover the whole area and that they were working at the time of the alleged incident. I will not let them watch it.

    I have had insurance companies ring me up and request footage, I tell them that they will need a court order and they will need to pay for the footage to be pixellated before we would consider release, so far no court order has been forthcoming. (I will not tell them if an incident has been captured or not)

    If one of my co-workers captured footage on their mobile then I would ensure that that person was dismissed for gross misconduct (Ts & Cs clearly state no mobiles during work) and we would take all steps to recover the footage and any damages we suffered as a result.

    Customers have to know that we take (at least at my site) our responsibilities seriously and that we know that our customers interests are paramount (without customers we have no jobs).

    I imagine that particular mall has already suffered a drop in footfall and if I rented a unit there I would be considering sueing as well.

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 54 - "..if I rented a unit there I would be considering sueing as well."

    Read the following cases;

    Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington Hospital Management Committee [1969] 1 QB 428

    Overseas Tankership (UK) Ltd v Mort Dock & Engineering Co. ( The Wagon Mound (No 1)) [1961] AC 388.

    You might change your mind.

  • Comment number 56.

    #55 Matt

    go on then give me a clue (or even a link)

  • Comment number 57.

    #Matt,

    I would assume that I am a customer of the mall, rather than a customer using the mall to access one of the shops situated in the mall.
    One of the selling points of the mall is the footfall of the customers entering the mall (this is why I, as an independent business of the mall, consider renting a pitch in the mall rather than elsewhere).
    If the mall owners erected barriers to the entrance of the mall, this might be in the Ts & Cs, so my right to restitution may be restricted.
    It's not really good customer service though is it, alienate your customers and where is your business?.
    If I rented a pitch and did not get value for money then I would either move or default (what is my incentive to stay or pay?)

  • Comment number 58.

    After initially finding this humorous like most people probably did, as a firm believer that CCTV is intrusive, I can see her point.

    But, on the other hand - she is so absorbed in the virtual herself, that she is waliking and texting, she has to acknowledge she is responsible for putting herself at risk.

    If I was walking backwards, photographing her as she fell into the fountain, and I cracked my head on the lamp-post, I wouldnt complain about who put the lamp-post there.

    So in that sense, she should literally, wake up! if she hadnt fallen in to the fountain, but someone had been filmed stealing her phone, she woud be praising the value of it. So on that sense, the reaction she has made is worthless.

  • Comment number 59.

    @44 Actually your post highlights a rather grey area in the copyright law: what happens if the photographer takes a photograph of something that is already copyrighted by someone else?

    Whilst I completely agree that if a photographer takes a picture of a beautiful sunset, then they should own the copyright in that photo, but if I were to paint a picture of a beautiful sunset, and a photographer were to take a photo of my painting, he would own the copyright in the photo, not me, even though I own the copyright in the painting. And because he owns the copyright in the photo, he could make prints and sell them, and I have no recourse under the law, as it presently stands. According to the law, the copyright rests in the physical artefact, not the image.

    This actually happened to a friend of mine: an expensive professional copyright lawyer was hired to look at the case, but his advice was to learn from it and let it go: due to the ambiguous wording of the copyright law, a court case would have been far too expensive to pursue, despite the blatant unfairness of the situation. It seems the copyright of the photographer somehow "overrides" the copyright of the artist, despite this not being the intent of the law. Until the Act is rewritten, the only recourse if you're an artist, is to take your own photos!

  • Comment number 60.

    @38 - 'Anyone with a clear conscience has nothing to worry about.' OK then blackpage2 why not let us install CCTV in your home so that we can be certain no crimes are taking place. It would be monitored only by deeply professional security officers.... nothing to worry about eh?

    I would ban most CCTV. Sorry but that's my view. We managed for hundreds of years without it. Some criminals 'may' get away with crimes where we don't have CCTV but I feel it's a price worth paying for privacy. This concept seems alien to many of my fellow Brits, and I recognise that. For citizens of many other countries it's actually the natural response to be suspicious of CCTV rather than your fellow citizen. At the end of the day you can't CCTV bad people out of existence, and I think we sometimes try too hard in this country to prevent bad things happening at the cost of freedom and civil liberties. Anyway, when I fell, I *was* looking where I was going.... and I didn't even own a mobile phone back then.

    @39 - I take your point but I just generally don't find it hilarious when I fall over, and as I'm not an actor I can't fake it. I think a lot of the time you can tell when people fall over and 'laugh' they are doing it for the benefit of others so not to be labelled 'humourless' but you can tell it's a fake laugh. Also, when I fell over the carpet I found it hard to laugh because I was in pain - it was a heavy fall. When I fall over I first tend to worry if I've hurt myself more than start laughing hysterically to prove I'm 'fun'.

    @43 - very true but this happened when I was a teenager and not exactly full of self-confidence. And I felt a bit humiliated and just wanted to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. If I had complained I would probably have been labelled as not having a 'sense of humour' as loxias above might say. So you're stuck between a rock and a hard place. The woman this blog is talking about has chosen to stand against those who would say 'get a sense of humour' and good luck to her! LOL.

  • Comment number 61.

    This is a bit of a different debate for me and it's concerned with what CCTV is used for. I put up with CCTV's scandalous invasion of my privacy because I'm told it's for my 'safety and security'. The moment it starts being used for anything other than that is when I have a problem, so in this case I have a problem.

    Should the woman be embarrassed for tripping into a fountain while texting, absolutely! But we all do stupid things and the guards should have tracked her down and asked if she was OK, not publicised it.

    And while we are on the subject of people being responsible in their jobs, Rory if you admit publishing this wouldn't be legal in the UK, on what ethical ground do you justify blogging the clip just because the US laws are different? Haven't just started a privacy debate by violating a woman's privacy?

  • Comment number 62.

    She obviously wants a share of the you tube advertising royalties so that she can carry on with her retail therapy ,no doubt American churches could advertise their baptismal services around the clip.

  • Comment number 63.

    From the clip shown it is impossible to determine anything about the person involved let alone identify them, yet we still have the cries of invasion of privacy; only one person made her identification clear and that was the "victim". This could almost be shown in the background of one of the wonderful adverts "have you had an accident recently, was it completely down to your own negligence, nevermind we'll chase someone for some money anyway". I may have paraphrased but that's the sense of it. I'd hate to start another debate about the lack of understanding irony in a certain continent but that's what it comes down to. I'd like to identify myself as someone who want to be anonymous, please, how else can I sue them unless everyone knows it was me???
    And the person who makes the video gets the £250 from YBF not the numpty who provided the entertainment.
    So someone laughed at you falling over, and you think that is more important than seeing who raped someone, or beat them to death, get a sense of perspective.

  • Comment number 64.

    Stuart @63 - If the woman WAS clearly identifiable from the footage, would you think she had any right to privacy, or not? Just curious.

  • Comment number 65.

    If she wasn't so engrossed in texting, this would not have happened. It us just as bad as texting while driving. And do i agree that it is impossible to identify her as the image is blury at best. The shopping mall's management lawyers have noticed this and if she takes this to court, her appeal will most likely fail (based on that technicality) and she will end up with a huge legal bill. My advice to her is to leave things as is and lighten up know and again:)

  • Comment number 66.

    So what’s the legal status of secretly taping a conversation then publishing it in a newspaper, secretly photographing someone discussing match fixing in a hotel room or releasing off air footage of a football commentator making inappropriate remarks? Just curious. The media seem able to get away with it.

  • Comment number 67.

    Given the recent BBC cuts, this'll be leading entertainment in a few years. Oh wait, it's already on, only it's called Hole in the Wall...

 

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