The content requests from the Boston Police Department and the FBI is just an extension of the old fashion wanted poster. Except that the community provides the photo or video.
This isn't the first time that law enforcement has asked for photos and videos of a crime scene. But I think we have to just take a moment to understand that not only was the FBI asking for content but folks on their own via other social networks are conducting their own independent investigations.
This is a different space we find ourselves in.
There might be questions we are going to have to ask ourselves. I am thinking about this from a U.S. perspective.
- What are my rights and responsibilities to provide that information?
- Will I be compelled to testify at the trial to verify that I did indeed take the photo and video?
- Can I retain my copyright and insist that I be fairly compensated for non-law enforcement use? This means having broadcast and cable news programs pay for the use of my content. I don't mean to be callous; not everything is for profit and there are instances where you need to show what you got. But if law enforcement turns over that info to broadcast media then that media company, as a business, should compensate the creator of the work. Is that going to happen?
- What will we do when it is found out that somebody fudged the photo or /video evidence? Not in malice; maybe the person edited a portion out that they felt was not important.
What about independent cyber investigations? Or crowdsourced vigilante crime fighting?
I'm thinking of recent incidents where people have been attacked on-line that slipped into off-line behaviors.
What if they have the wrong person?
Yeah. This is going to get increasingly messy.
There is a lot to think about.
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