“Children Photographed without Consent,” Cops Say. Uh…So?

Readers — Once again cops hbzbhnhrfy
have been called to the scene of a tragic crime
: Some children were photographed in a water park by a man.

Well, okay, maybe it wasn’t quite tragic. No one was hurt at all. And it wasn’t actually not a crime. In fact, you could call it a NON-EVENT. As the CBC reports:

As far as police know, the individuals taking pictures had no connection to the children present.

In the most concerning incident, on Sept. 21,  a man with what police called “a powerful lens camera” was seen talking to children while taking their pictures.

While making it clear that taking photographs in a public place is not a criminal offence, police say they are looking for public assistance to clarify the circumstances surrounding the photography in order to address public safety concerns.

The cops went on to warn parents to “closely monitor their surroundings when in a public place with their children, and to contact police if they see anything of concern.” (Gee, how many times can we use the word “concern” in one article?)

So, per usual, the takeaway is: If you are NOT “closely monitoring” your children outside the home, something of “concern” COULD happen…even though the article is not about any actual crime taking place. Moreover, we all KNOW to contact the police if we think they’re needed. So this is just another opportunity to remind parents that you never know what horrible people your children may encounter.*

*Who don’t put them at any risk.

Why would any decent man ever take pictures of anything other than items in his own home???

Why would any decent man ever take pictures of anything other than items in his own home???

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138 Responses to “Children Photographed without Consent,” Cops Say. Uh…So?

  1. Jessica October 2, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    We recently did a family photo shoot at the park. When you tell my 3-yo to smile, he does so then immediately turns away from the camera and thinks it’s hilarious. For most of the shots on this day, he just stares, no expression on his face. I think we got maybe one or two where he is actually smiling. That said, when he does smile, it is freaking adorable, so if someone can snap some candid shots of my kid when he’s smiling and email them to me, it would be much appreciated. That’s my only request: if they’re good pics, I wouldn’t mind a copy.

  2. Michelle October 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    Did anybody else hear about the Texas Supreme Court recently striking down the law that bans upskirt photography? Yes, that sounds awful, but the reason was because it was written so broadly as to ban ANYONE taking photos of ANY OTHER PERSON without their consent, if the photographer might also be thinking bad thoughts (or if they expected anyone who later viewed the photo to be thinking bad thoughts). That includes taking photos of sexy celebrities (so said the court). The case that struck the law down was a man taking photos of women and kids at a water park.


  3. Andrea October 2, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    Oh joy, another instance of “Change your legal behavior to make me and my life more comfortable. If you don’t, you’re a bad person that wants children to die.”

  4. Jill October 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    He used “a powerful lens camera.” Those are far scarier than the regular kind.

  5. Michelle October 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    “That’s my only request: if they’re good pics, I wouldn’t mind a copy.”

    Me too! If I saw someone with a nice camera taking pics of my kids, I’d be fishing out one of my contact cards to give them my email!

  6. julie October 2, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    “That’s my only request: if they’re good pics, I wouldn’t mind a copy.”

    lol that actually happened to me… I was snapping candid pics of my girls playing with my “powerful” camera and a dad said would mind grabbing some of my kids? “I never bring camera to the park because moms look at me like I am perv unless I am right up on my kids and then pose cheesy fake poses. “

  7. Peter October 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    Is this not happening all the time everywhere with car crash cams, CCTV in buildings, streets, stations, trains, buses and everywhere? We are awash in video surveillance.

  8. Heather October 2, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    Slow news day. And what a wonderful community if the police have time to go on calls like this!

    I’m trying to be charitable, okay? Because “The stupid, it burns!” is unkind.

  9. Peter October 2, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Is this not happening everywhere all the time? On car crash cams, on CCTV in buildings, in trains, on buses and all public places. We are awash in video surveillance.

  10. JulieC October 2, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    My sons both swam competitively for a year round team. About two years ago, a guy was seen snapping photos of teenaged girls who were on the blocks getting ready to race. If you know swimming, you will know that swimmers are bent down in the starting position until the starter’s ‘beep’ goes off. He was taking pictures from behind the blocks. Someone noticed him doing this and watched him as he took pictures from this position and then followed him out to his car where he was uploading the photos onto a website. The photos were, as you can imagine, closeups of the swimmers’ backsides.

    Photo taking from behind the blocks is now prohibited. There are always lots of parents taking pictures (every team does end of the season slide shows) but if you are acting strangely and trying to take pictures from behind, you will be stopped and questioned by the officials.

    I’m only saying this because there are in fact, some creeps around who do this kind of thing. No one is suggesting that adults can’t take pictures at a meet, but there is no reason to take photos from that position.

  11. Roberta October 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    Only it’s ok for strangers to photograph children without parents’ consent *if* the photos are to be used as evidence against the parents for failing to prevent strangers from photographing their children without their consent.

  12. Buffy October 2, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    @JulieC, were any children actually and truly harmed by someone taking photos of their butts? If so, how?

    Creepy, possibly yes. Hurting anyone? I don’t see it.

  13. Melissa October 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    I’m on the fence about this. Yes, LEGALLY it’s ok to takes pictures of anyone in public. However, is it not courtesy to ask a parent or guardians permission if they’re right there? A quick “mind if I get some shots for an article/blog/art piece I’m writing”? I wouldn’t mind that, but a guy taking pics of kids in bathing suits without mentioning it to anyone seems shady to me! Most people are saying they wouldn’t mind this, so why not just ask it’s ok and go on with your day? Why make it creepy and subversive?

  14. Don Whiteside October 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    It’s really weird to me how much this sort of thing comes up. Who cares if someone else has pictures of your kid? If you want to take pictures of my 2 year old I’m going to probably think you’re a little weird, but once you buzz off with those pictures what possible harm are you causing us?

    I mean, my kid is ADORABLE, so of course you want pictures! Maybe you’re going to use them in some commercial enterprise. If so, we’re going to have some legal words about compensation. Hell, maybe I’ll sue you. But he’ll still sleep just as well and as safely as night, will be just as healthy as he was before you took the pictures.

    There’s always someone who says, when this comes up, what if it’s some PERVERT and they look at pictures of your kid while TOUCHING THEMSELVES? Well, that’s gross, yes. But not only is it a billion times less likely than you make it out to be, but at the end of it there’s still no harm to my boy. The greatest violence going on here is to your own imagination, paranoiacs, and it’s self-inflicted.

  15. JulieC October 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    Buffy – I didn’t use the word “hurt” in my comment. I suppose if you secretly took photos of women using the restroom, blocked out their faces, and uploaded those onto a porn site none of the “victims” would be “hurt”. Not sure if we want to go there though.

    If you’ve never been to a swim meet then you will not know what I’m talking about. Many teenaged girls who wear a swimmer’s suit don’t fit completely in that suit. In fact, I’ve seen some that looked more like thong suits due to the size of the posterior in it. And when you are bent over with your backside in the air, well, maybe you get my drift.

  16. Melissa October 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    How can you say no one is hurt by photographs of teenage girls in bathing suits while bending over being uploaded to the Internet? I’m going to go out in a limb and suggest that the website they were uploaded to was probably not the kind of site where you want pictures of your CHILDREN. Give me a freaking break. Child pornography and sex trafficking is a huge problem. I believe in free-range too, but this is out of control. I’m not going to say it’s ok for some creep to take pics of my kid in a bathing suit for whatever creepy and vulgar reason. I call bullshit on that.

  17. Snow October 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    I remember once when I was 12 years old. A weird guy took a picture of me at the park! Then, he dared to come over and start talking to me. Ohhhhhhh! He asked me my name and also asked how old I was! SCARY! Yeah. He was a photographer from the local newspaper out taking pictures of kids having fun at the park on a beautiful summer evening. My name, age and park location were all in the paper the next day. My parents went out and bought several copies of the paper so they could send the picture to all of their out of town friends and family.

  18. Melissa October 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    I was born in the mid-70’s, and grew up as free-range as anyone in the 80’s. There was no “stranger-danger” talk, I walked to school by myself starting in kindergarten, and was a latch-key kid. And it was never a problem. When I was in high school, a guy started taking to me at my bus stop, and it was regular, good morning small talk and I didn’t think anything of it. It went on for a couple weeks, until he asked me where I lived and I told him my street because no biggie. Then he asked the street number and I got a little spider-sense and lied, and then I saw him on my street. Finally I told my dad who came with me to my bus stop one day, saw the guy and pushed him into the hood of our car with his hand around the guys throat and told him to stay away from his daughter. He got some information about the guy from someone he knew on the police force and turns out the guy was a criminal and sex offender. I never heard from that guy again, and actually the school changed my bus stop so didn’t have to walk the 0.9 miles to the bus stop anymore (can you imagine kids waking that far to their bus these days??). Anyway, long story short: that shit does happen. Did anything “bad” happen? Nope? Am I ok? Yep. But I’ll be fanned if that shit happens to my daughter, just as my dad was about it happening to his. I’m not a paranoid person, but I’m not blind either. Would my daughter be physically hurt if some jerk is pleasuring himself to a picture of her at a swim park? No. But f*ck you if you think I think that makes it ok.

  19. Nicole October 2, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    The example of the swim meet – yes that is creepy – we need to know the difference – use our common sense- what is sad is that now everything is creepy. I have friends that are photographers (some are aspiring photographers) . When they see a great shot they take it. They aren’t being creepy they are seeing and noticing good shots.
    Sometimes they are photo students doing a class project.

  20. Rose October 2, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    I was an abduction risk as a child. I had a father that tried to take me a few times and was dangerous. He wasn’t allowed to know where I lived, played or went to school. If someone were taking a photo of me without my mother’s consent, they would have heard a few choice words from her. Should she have just locked me up instead, just in case my history ruined a photographer’s good shot? Now, if the same person asked to take photos and explained their plans it would have likely been fine. You can still respect someone’s privacy in public.

  21. Warren October 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    First off seeking out which parents belong to which kids and seeking their permission is insane. The photographer would have to talk to every kid and adult in the damn park before taking a single shot.

    This photographer did nothing wrong or illegal. This topic has come up before, and my stance remains the same.

    If you do not want to been photographed in your bathing suit, or your kids in their bathing suits, then do not wear them in public. It is not up to the rest of society to change, because you are paranoid and insecure.

  22. lollipoplover October 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    “…clarify the circumstances surrounding the photography in order to address public safety concerns.”

    What is the concern? This isn’t Ebola. Pictures and images of all of us are everywhere. Don’t walk in public if you don’t want your image taken without your permission.

    Instead, educate the public on how to interact with their community members.
    Sample conversation:
    “Nice camera!”
    “What a powerful lense you have” (just kidding)
    “Are you getting any good shots today?”
    “Can you send some to me? Here’s my email address. I’d love to see your work.”

    Hobby photographers are usually proud to share images and I can personally say I have some of the my all time favorite sports images from a grandfather of one of her teammates I met using the above conversation. He asked me what number my daughter was and gives me pictures of her all the time. Instead of calling the police, have an actual interaction with another human being. You might just make a friend.

  23. Warren October 2, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    Sorry you custody issues are yours and not anyone else’s. Because your mom married an unstable man, the rest of society should change their behaviours and lives? Nope.

  24. M October 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm #


    A few years ago, a photographer took a photo of my son at an outdoor festival he attended. The photographer printed out a nice 5×7, matted it, and not knowing how to get hold of us, dropped it off at the local elementary school. It’s a gorgeous photo, and I display it proudly.

    Not once was I concerned, nor am I now, that he took a photo of my kid without my permission. In fact, I’m glad he did. Professional photography is expensive!

  25. Rose October 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    No, the rest of society shouldn’t be so self-centered as to assume that they can do whatever they want without asking first. And why punish a child for an adult’s choices? If you’re close enough to grab a face-shot of a kid, you’re close enough to ask if it’s okay first. Grabbing a once-in-a-lifetime shot is different. Take first, ask questions later. But still give them the chance to say no.

    If someone were taking pictures of my children, I would appreciate an explanation at some point if possible. Maybe I want to see the results. Maybe I can offer them more photo opps. My intentions when I ask questions aren’t bad, just like the photographer’s probably aren’t either.

  26. TM October 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    We clearly need to do something about the proliferation and easy availability or these high powered assault lens cameras.

  27. John October 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    Look, I don’t have any children so perhaps my opinion on this matter is ill founded but the way I look at it, if the picture the person takes is not compromising, I see absolutely no problem in them taking a picture of my kid. By compromising I mean nude pics or pics of him being deliberately harmed etc. But pics of him at a water park or sporting event etc would certainly not be compromising. I mean a picture is a picture is a picture. Unless you believe in voodoo, there is no way my child can be harmed through his photo! So one might ask, “But what if they end up on a pedophile site? Wouldn’t that be compromising?” My answer would be no because the only person compromised is the person looking at the pictures! And even then as long as they’re not child pornographic they’re legal pictures and nobody is getting hurt. If you Google “pictures of children around the world” you’ll find pictures of some beautiful kids (and I don’t mean that in a carnal way!!!!) But you won’t know who they are or where they’re from. So what harm can they be? Let’s use some common sense here.

    In fact I have pictures in my den of my many travels around the world and a few of those pictures are of children including a picture of a young Turkish boy balancing a tray of bread on his head, a picture of me with 2 cute little Palestinian boys near the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, a photo of Nepalese mountain kids drinking cokes that we bought them, a picture of Sri Lanka school kids in their school uniforms and my favorite, a picture of a group of young school boys in Bali in their school uniforms laughing and giving me the finger as I snapped their picture (Yes they gave me permission to take their picture).

    So do these photos I have on the wall of my den make me a pervert? I certainly wouldn’t think so but I’m sure the pedophile patrol we have here in the United States would beg to differ…..sigh.

  28. SOA October 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    If a man I did not know was taking my children’s pictures and talking to them, I would go up and find out what was going on. If he seemed fine and was polite and I did not get the creeper vibe, then whatever. If he was abrupt, rude, set off my creeper vibe, then we would leave or go elsewhere or I would make sure I was blocking his shots of my kids.

    I would not call the cops though because he technically broke no law.
    I don’t mind strangers talking to my kids as long as they are just being friendly. Same with picture taking. But an innocent person would not be bothered by the parent coming up and asking what is going on either.

  29. SOA October 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    I am with Melissa. I think it could hurt those teenaged girls to have those pictures on the net. Because what if a boy at their school found them and then showed them around to everyone at school? It would horribly embarrass those girls and for good reason.

    I know I would be embarrassed if I knew some guy got an upskirt pic of me and posted it online. If no one could tell it was me, I guess I would not care but yeah if my face is in it, I would be embarrassed. That kind of thing can keep you from getting a job.

  30. Jill October 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    And how many parents protesting these picture takers are the same parents that VOLUNTARILY post pictures of their kids on Facebook, Instagram, and their own public blogs??

    And whatever happened to communication? Another poster suggested that the picture taker be courteous and ask first. But why can’t parents nicely ask why the man is taking pictures? They may find out its something totally innocent or that the mistakenly thought the camera was aimed at a child when it actually wasn’t. Why are we so afraid to just talk with one another before jumping the gun and calling the cops?

  31. JulieC October 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    If I’m walking down the street, or sitting in my front yard, and somebody walks up and starts taking my picture, I would be curious, at the very least, as to why someone was taking my picture. I can’t imagine any of you would be saying, “oh hey no problem. Go head and take my photo!”

    Why would we not show that same curiosity to someone taking photos of our child at a public place? I’m not suggesting we outlaw photography in public places, nor am I suggesting we organize lynch parties to go after a photographer. But I fail to see why it is not appropriate to ask a damn question.

    By the way, I’ve seen many newspaper photographers taking pictures of kids. They all wear a badge around their necks identifying themselves and the paper they work for.

    In the swim meet example I gave, an overreaction would have been to ban all photography at meets. They did not do that. They appropriately banned a specific kind of photograph since they were able to ascertain that the photographs were being uploaded to a porn-type website.

  32. Donna October 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    First, pictures of children in bathing suits is not child porn. Second, sure, I would not be happy to KNOW that some stranger is jacking off to pictures of my kid in a bathing suit, but how the heck am I ever going to know this? I certainly don’t spend time on child porn websites to find these pictures myself. With the exception of my cop/lawyer friends who discover it during an investigation, I would think twice about my relationship with any friends or family members who find pictures of my child child porn sites. So, while it is one of those things that would make us go “ick” if discovered, we will likely never discover it, nor will our children, so there is no actual harm in the situation.

  33. Donna October 2, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    “I can’t imagine any of you would be saying, ‘oh hey no problem. Go head and take my photo!'”

    I’ve done this many times. I’ve had my pictures taken at events or just sitting around places and rarely ask what the picture is for. I’m sitting in a public place in whatever state of dress is appropriate for that location and where many people can already see me, so why the heck should I care if that gets out in the world? Should I be embarrassed for the world to know that I actually go places outside my house? Now if a photographer was taking pictures through my windows into the private sanctuary of my house, I’d have a problem.

  34. K2 October 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    Pictures are somewhat of a concern. Heads can be put with different bodies in child pornography. Pictures can be used for other undesirable purposes too. Usually other parents try to just get their own kids and established friends. Schools and churches ask permission. Most sporting events are limited to families of the kids, so if a kid is in the backround it isn’t so much of a big deal. It wasn’t until I was with a friend who had a security issue with a stalker that the obvious picture taking became a real issue. We still see each other, but not with the kids. Within the last year I have met 2 really nice people who have had serious stalking problems. I have also read about cameras being used to take pictures of debit/credit cards in lines at stores. Most people politely ask permission. The ones who don’t might really not be innocent. Sorry to take the opposing view.

  35. Alaina October 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Here’s the law: it’s perfectly legal to photograph anything you can see in a public place. Taking a picture of a person specifically is a gray area *only* if it’s a shot of the person themselves, not a shot of ‘This playground with kids on it who might be yours.’ And a quick google search says that park has gotten an award for ‘excellence in landscape design’. He had every reason to take pictures around it.

    But a question I had about this: did anyone talk to the kids? The kids who saw a guy with a cool camera? I know plenty of kids who would’ve walked up to a guy with a cool camera and asked how it worked. Taking pictures of a playground for a photography assignment/because the fall colors in the area were gorgeous/because he wanted to try out his new camera, and kids ask him about it, ask him to take their pictures, pose and make silly faces. Makes sense to me; I’d take their pictures, show them, laugh, and delete.

  36. Warren October 2, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    To all of you that think permission should be sought…………look in the mirror. When you have been out and about, taking pics of your kids, and such, do you stop and get permission from the people in the background, or who might just end up in the shot? If you say yes, you are lying thru your teeth.

    Suck it up, stop being paranoid, your kids are not that special.

    And K, the whole photoshop heads on different bodies and the like……….like Donna said, unless you or people you know are frequenting child porn sites, who gives a rat’s ass.

    They are not assuming anything. The law says it is okay to take the photos. There is no assumption whatsover. Get over yourself.

  37. Donna October 2, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    “Heads can be put with different bodies in child pornography.”

    So? How exactly does this impact my child? How am I even going to know about it unless I am perusing child pornography?

    “Pictures can be used for other undesirable purposes too.”

    Again, how are you or your child ever going to know this to be impacted by it?

    “Most sporting events are limited to families of the kids,”

    While I admit that most little kid sporting events are naturally limited to family of the kids because nobody is really all that interested in watching a bunch of 7 year olds play soccer badly, there is certainly no rule that other people can’t come. And take pictures.

    “I have also read about cameras being used to take pictures of debit/credit cards in lines at stores.”

    Snopes has pretty much determined this urban myth to be possible but implausible. Further, it is really only a problem with (a) stores and (b) adults. It has nothing to do with pictures of kids.

  38. TM October 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm #


    But ultimately this is the same thing that this site is about in general. Stopping the perpetual cycle of “what if” fears and putting them into perspective. Ok so faces can be swapped. So what? And yes, some people might be doing bad things with their cameras, again so what? What is the actual likelihood of that? To what extent are we ready and willing to alter our behavior and increase our stress levels because the guy with the camera in the park MIGHT be someone who MIGHT be taking pictures that they or someone else MIGHT find titillating and they MIGHT upload those pictures to the internet wherein the people in those pictures MIGHT be identifiable and then other people that those people know or their future boss MIGHT find those same photos at some later time and they MIGHT use those photos to discriminate or otherwise harm the individual?

  39. Jen (P.) October 2, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    “You can still respect someone’s privacy in public.”

    But how is someone who takes a picture of something occurring in a public place violating anyone’s privacy? By definition it’s public.

  40. K2 October 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    Point is, the only people who have ever just taken pics without permission were suspected criminals. I may not ever know what is done with those pics, but criminals have a way of doing things that can bite people in the butt later when they want a job that has some publicity to it like politics or entertainment. The chances of somebody finding the pic on the internet are high. Maybe it would be law enforcement that would be most likely to find it. It would then be awkward, embarrassing, time consuming, and costly to deal with. It doesn’t always just stay in another galaxy with no repercussions to the kid or family. I don’t think free range should mean that anyone can take pics of kids and do anything they want with them. There should be laws in place about using this type of pictures for illegal purposes. I don’t like the idea of the perv jacking off to kids in a bathing suit, any kids, expecially my own. In general, I;m not in favor of just letting the criminals roam freely throughout society, so that the whole society has to change. I think that there shouldn’t be a registry because there shouldn’t be a need for one. The worst offenders should be in jail for life and we shouldn’t trade our freedom for their rights and freedom. Unless close friends, I try really hard not to have other people’s kids in the background. It’s a small courteousy and most law-abiding people here do it too. A limited number of bad crimes are the reason we have lost free range, maybe forever. We should think twice about saying things that would support crime against children of any kind.

  41. BL October 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    “He used “a powerful lens camera.” Those are far scarier than the regular kind.”

    Maybe it was a fully-automatic assault camera.

  42. SOA October 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    I have had multiple people ask to take my and my kids picture. I always said “Yes” because they seemed fine and were polite enough to ask.

    So yes, if they asked permission I know I at least would be fine with it. They can even take the picture first and if I come up and ask “What’s going on?” and you explain why you wanted a picture, I would be fine with it.

    But I don’t believe anyone on this planet is cool with a random stranger coming up and snapping tons of pics of you or your kids without giving you some type of explanation. If for no other reason just for curiosity’s sake to wonder why you were doing so.

  43. Donna October 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    “the only people who have ever just taken pics without permission were suspected criminals”

    I’ve known MANY people who have taken pictures without permission, none of whom were ever suspected of being criminals. In fact, the only criminals who take pictures are those who do it stealthy and not openly in a public park since taking pictures in public parks is not at all criminal. Posting pictures of clothed children online is not criminal, even if you don’t know the children and even if people pleasure themselves to them.

    Heck, I’ve taken pictures without asking for permission. I took photography classes in both high school and college that required us to take pictures of various things and events. And then there was the fun we used to have snapping pictures of ridiculous looking people when we were much younger and meaner.

  44. Jen (P.) October 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    @K2 “I don’t think free range should mean that anyone can take pics of kids and do anything they want with them.”

    You seem to be missing the point. The free range aspect of this is people getting all worked up over something that is, in all probability, completely harmless and innocent, and then using that unjustified outrage to try to restrict the behavior of people who are doing nothing wrong. If a parent is getting a creepy vibe from someone taking photos in a public place, I see no problem with the parent politely asking the photographer about the photos or even asking the photographer not to photograph that parent’s children. But the default is – and should be – that if you’re in a public place, it’s perfectly ok for someone to take your picture (at least in the U.S.; I get the impression from your post that perhaps you live elsewhere).

  45. ChicagoDad October 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    A lot of strangers have pictures and video of my kids. The grocery store, the bank, our local Target, the park district, the kids’ school, the doctors office, the post office, library, and probably more than a few of our favorite restaurants. They take our picture every time we visit, always without permission, and the pictures are accessible to their employees, vendors, or even a determined hacker. And they can use the images however they want, sometimes even commercially, and not only do I do nothing about it, there are times I am even thankful for this intrusion because it might be keeping me “safe”.

    But the random guy at the park with a telephoto lens? We’ll, that is just crossing the line. /sarc

  46. JKP October 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    I think people have forgotten the point of cracking down on child porn. The damage is not from some pervert getting off looking at perfectly innocent pictures of your child captured in public. As gross as that is, it harms no one, and to totally prevent people from taking pictures of children in public stops the 99.99% of the time those pictures have a legitimate non-perv use.

    The point of stopping child porn is that real child porn involves a real child being forced to pose naked and in sexually suggestive ways. By stopping child porn, you are trying to save those real children who are being used and abused to produce those images.

    The camera should be accepted as an extension of the human eye. It’s a way for people to capture the memories of what they have already seen. If it would be ridiculous for you to walk up to a stranger and demand that they un-see something that everyone present can see or get your permission before being allowed to look in that direction, then it would be just as ridiculous to demand that they not take a picture or that they get your permission first.

    The example of the swimmers lined up and someone taking their butt shots… Frankly, people shouldn’t have been allowed back there to see it in the first place regardless of if they had a camera. The facilities should have blocked that area off as for coaches and swimmers only. If I was one of those girls, I would have been equally as uncomfortable with the idea of someone standing back there staring at my butt even if they didn’t take a pic.

  47. Chuck99 October 2, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    The important thing that I see here is that the Texas Court actually decided that something as small and unimportant as the First Amendment (if you see photography as either speech or press) actually outweighs ‘the good of the children’, when it comes to something that can’t actually harm them.

    As for all those who don’t like it, I can understand that, but is there actually a direct harm that comes from someone taking your kids picture? Not something you dislike or find gross, and not some weird, unlikely possibility, but actual damage?

  48. Maria October 2, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    No, the takeaway here is that some creep was taking picture of children in bathing suits. This has nothing to do with “monitoring” kids, but everything to do with those pictures possibly appearing on child pornography sites, but oh, right, you don’t mind sex offenders here.

  49. Jenny Islander October 2, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    @Maria: Did you know that you can Google up hundreds of thousands of porn pictures of children porn in bathing suits porn by knowing the special porn magic words porn that summon up porny porn porn porn? Here they are:

    children swimming
    children beach

    Seriously, do you have the Porn Song from Avenue Q going through your head at all times? Because porn porn porn porn…

    @Lenore: If I just did something awful to your search ranking, I apologize!

  50. Beth October 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    Every time this topic is discussed, I’ve noticed that it’s pretty hard to get anyone to address a) the actual harm that comes to children when someone takes their picture and b) the constant presence of CCTV on streets, inside stores, inside elevators, in parking garages, in stairwells, in hallways…just to mention some. Your kids are having their photo taken all the time when they’re in public, and I’ve yet to hear anyone complain, much less suffer harm from it (unless of course they committed a crime).

  51. Flurry October 2, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

    Can someone tell me the difference between seeing/observing something, such as kids at the beach wearing *gasp* swimming suits, and taking a picture of what I can see and observe?

  52. no rest for the weary October 3, 2014 at 1:09 am #

    Take all the photos you want of my kids if we are out in public.


  53. Jenny Islander October 3, 2014 at 2:17 am #

    @Jill: Indeed. I wondered the very same thing when somebody who has known me for years saw my tween daughter riding on a bike route commonly used by adult bike commuters, judged it to be unsafe for children, and called me to let me know that she had thoughtfully and nicely called the cops for me. Instead of, you know, calling me FIRST.

    As for the Facebook thing, I have long wondered about it. It seems that in many people’s mind the Internet (Web, Cloud, whatever it’s called this year) is divided up into three areas:

    1. My super special diary scrapbook coffee table book, which is magically only visible to nice people who I already know, and if you can see it and I don’t know/like you you must have done something bad in order to get in. Public setting? What’s that?

    2. That place where I shop and watch the news.

    3. A seething hive of perverts and terrorists.

  54. Celeste October 3, 2014 at 3:28 am #

    I can tell you from experience…when you’re a competitive swimmer up on that block, you’re thinking about more important things than how your butt looks in a photograph. This is meaningless!!

  55. Sigh October 3, 2014 at 5:57 am #

    Okay….the only thing I can see is maybe….you’re in a swimsuit at the beach and someone photoshops it to look like you were at church. The bigger and far more likely risk here is that a future employer googles your child and finds this and decides not to hire them. If you must get upset a out something, get upset about that. But just friendly asking should take care of that one.

  56. SOA October 3, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    Typically I know exactly what is done with any photos or video footage of my kids used in CCTV for security purposes. It is saved and then if they need to look at something for crime purposes someone watches it. That’s about it. It is not posted to the internet. It is not going to show up somewhere and embarrass my kid. So there is a difference.

  57. Dhewco October 3, 2014 at 7:08 am #

    The problem with asking permission is that it stops being a candid shot. Whether the kid is told, they can pick off non-verbal clues from their parent OR they notice someone with a camera is talking to the parent. They’ll either want or assume that their picture is about to be taking and change their behavior accordingly.

    Taking pictures in public isn’t always about the kid being cute…it’s about the situation. If the kid is doing something amusing or thought provoking, a photographer might want a shot. If you ask, you lose the shot. The kid is no longer doing it, or he’s (she’s) now overdoing it. I’ve never met a kid who could ignore the fact that there’s a camera actively taking pictures of them. If you’re close enough to ask, you lose the candid nature of the shot.

    That’s why I use the 8mp camera on the phone for a candid shot (I don’t do this often, because I’m paranoid someone would catch on and assume I’m a perv. I never post them either…that’s a violation of privacy, in my book.). I pretend I’m texting.

    PS: The swim meet photographer was skeevy. Taking pictures of a child’s backside is just wrong. Probably not illegal, but still wrong. Doubly wrong if they’re bent over. If that was my kid, I’d probably have reacted badly.

  58. Flurry October 3, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    So somehow we all know that every single person monitoring CCTV (and in stores, it’s not cops) is not a skeevy perv and don’t download or screenshot any images for their own personal use, but everyone with a camera at the park, pool, or athletic event IS a skeevy perv?

  59. Jill October 3, 2014 at 7:59 am #

    If it had been a woman taking pictures, would that have been cause for alarm?
    Why is it always a creepy guy and never a creepy woman? Women can be creepy too, you know. (Picture Niki Minaj in the video The Creep, especially the scene in the mortuary.)

  60. Donna October 3, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    “The swim meet photographer was skeevy. Taking pictures of a child’s backside is just wrong. Probably not illegal, but still wrong. Doubly wrong if they’re bent over. If that was my kid, I’d probably have reacted badly.”

    Then I’d suggest never having your child join a swim team. Our team photographer took many pictures from behind the blocks. In fact all of the actual racing pictures, as opposed to just candids of kids hanging out between their races, are from behind the blocks since in front of the blocks is a pool! Yes, there were a number of photos of kids bent over ready to go off the blocks taken from behind. Nobody was outraged. Nobody demanded that they be taken off of the public team Facebook page on which they were posted.

    Now this photographer may have been skeevy as it appears from what was given that he had no connection to the team and was just taking pictures of girl’s butts and uploading them onto a random website.

  61. Jill October 3, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    @Jenny Islander: You made me laugh so hard that it startled the dog.
    Right now, the internet is still so new to us that we don’t fully grasp how it works. We’re both awed and frighted by it in much the way primitive tribespeople are awed and frightened by, say, an iPod.
    The internet has yummy cupcake recipes! And pictures of kittenz! And, OMG porn! Loads of porn! Some of it with children! How did it get there? Will the porny internet be able to get pictures of my child, wearing a bathing suit, taken by a creepy man? Will the porny internet use its evil power to paste my child’s head on the nude body of some other child? Oh, nooooo! Somebody pass a law barring men with cameras who are unaccompanied by minor children from entering water parks! Because the internet has porny voodoo powers that put your child’s image at risk of being looked at by a random stranger somewhere.
    And thus the insanity continues.

  62. AmyO October 3, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    The phrase “powerful lens camera”, in quotes no less, made me laugh really, really hard.

    It’s been a long week.

  63. marie October 3, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    It seems people don’t mind strangers taking photos of kids if the stranger’s motives are pure. The trouble comes from imagining that we can tell what the stranger’s motives are from the power of his lens or the skeevy vibes he gives off. What do we do about strangers without cameras who go home and remember images of our children at the park and then pleasure themselves? What goes on in the heads of strangers is none of our business.

    There is so much paranoia about someone having impure thoughts about children, even though impure thoughts predate cameras by eons. Where does that paranoia come from? Why do we fall prey to it? Articles like the one Lenore posted do nothing but ratchet up unreasonable fear.

    As for those skeevy vibes…
    If I were the parent of a child whose behavior falls outside the norm, I would worry about his/her safety in this world where “vibes” seem to be reason to call the cops.

    @Jenny Islander… Bravo!!

  64. Steve S October 3, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    The important thing that I see here is that the Texas Court actually decided that something as small and unimportant as the First Amendment (if you see photography as either speech or press) actually outweighs ‘the good of the children’, when it comes to something that can’t actually harm them.

    The Texas court upheld part of the law and got rid of the portion that was overly broad and poorly written. Most other states have similar laws, but they were better written.

    As for the original story, I just don’t see this as something to worry about for me and my kids when we are out in public. The other thing that I don’t understand is that the police were looking for assistance to clarify what happened and address public safety concerns. Presumably, this was a legal act. What business do the police have in investigating the photographer?

  65. Warren Pacholzuk October 3, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Oh for crying out loud. How will strangers pictures be searched out and used against anyone? Unless they know and post a full name with the picture, it cannot come up in a search. Talk about paranoid.
    And if your employer is the type to regularly do these types of searches, you really don’t want to work there.
    And yes cctv footage ends up online all the time. Hell there were entire shows using cctv footage showing how dumbass we can all be in public.

  66. CrazyCatLady October 3, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    I am a bit shocked about the swim meet thing. Mostly, that parents were letting their kids wear suits that amounted to thongs if they thought those were inappropriate. On the other hand…a trip to the beach does seem to tell me that a lot of parents have no objections to minimal swim wear. So…it is up to the parents, I guess.

    I do emphasize with the students. When on the high school track team the girls had really funky and tight knit polyester suits that were pretty much skin tight, and left no more to the imagination that a bathing suit. ALL the girls hated them but there wasn’t much we could do about it.

  67. caiti October 3, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    @ Steve S: Agreed, that is something to celebrate!

    I am a photographer, and a mother of a 5 year old, AND I have had problems with stalkers and crazy exes (although they stalked me and not my child).

    First of all, I think it completely ridiculous to get upset about random people taking photos in public places and NOT get upset about what we all KNOW FOR A FACT the NSA is doing…. They have compromised privacy far more than a random citizen with a camera, even if the citizen has pornographic intentions. The fact that the NSA can store text, images, audio from what we used to assume were private spheres (like in our own bedrooms!) and then in the future use this data in a way that will make you look guilty of some crime scares the crap out of me. In comparison, the damage done from a perv taking pics with his uzi style lens (!), posting it online and selling it to other pervs who will use it to fuel their fantasies, is relatively safe. I don’t like to think about it, but there is no harm done to my son so I dont dwell on it.

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone mention the fact that everyone has smartphones now and the cameras on these things are pretty powerful. Anyone with half a brain who wants to capture swimsuit-clad kids without being noticed is going to use a smartphone! And they will then look like every other parent instead of a creep. Furthermore, it may be uncomfortable but its true: any time you are in public you cannot have the expectation of privacy. Why must we box ourselves in and make more laws that curtail our freedoms?

    Personally, I ask before taking pics of other people’s kids, but only if I’m directly and obviously taking pics of them. But I have struggled with shyness and sometiems its difficult for me to go up to someone and start a conversation. Especially when I was a a new photographer, because I was worried that someone wouold want to see my shots before I was any good, but taking pics is the only way to improve. So I understand a perfectly “innocent” photographer not wanting to ask permission, and he or she shouldnt have to.

  68. Neil M. October 3, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    I’m with JKP and Beth here; kids (and adults) are already photographed every day in many ways, by increasingly common security cameras, and none of us know what’s happening to those images. So the horse has definitely left the barn.

    Also, what is going on with us as a society when our minds turn instantly to the most lewd and tawdry explanation for what, thirty years ago, would have been seen as fairly innocent behavior? I suggest that those who spend their time obsessing over where those pictures might end up should elevate their minds. If you want to protect you kids, see to their nutrition, exercise and education, and stop worrying about threats that aren’t very threatening.

  69. Donna October 3, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    “Also, what is going on with us as a society when our minds turn instantly to the most lewd and tawdry explanation for what, thirty years ago, would have been seen as fairly innocent behavior?”

    I was just thinking the same thing. Or more to the point, why are the people here, mostly parents themselves, automatically thinking that swim suit pictures of children are sexual? Never once, while looking at the 700 pictures taken of kids in bathing suits during my daughter’s swim meets this summer, did I think “wow, these pictures are sexy,” or even “someone might want to masturbate to these pictures.” I just thought “aren’t they all so cute in their swim caps and googles.”

    And, if pedophiles were really jonesing for pictures of very cute kids in bathing suits, our public Facebook page that anyone can join would have more than 185 members for a 200 kid swim team.

  70. Papilio October 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    I’m completely fine with sex offenders jacking off to photos of children happily playing in the pool/on the beach/in the park if that keeps them (the sex offenders, not the photos) from actually touching real children.

    @Jenny: Heh heh heh 🙂

  71. Marni October 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    It’s a wonder anyone feels comfortable taking a picture at Disney World anymore.

  72. Buffy October 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    “And, if pedophiles were really jonesing for pictures of very cute kids in bathing suits, our public Facebook page that anyone can join would have more than 185 members for a 200 kid swim team.”

    I think this might have been pointed out above (I’m not sure), but there are probably thousands of images of kids in swimming suits already on the internet. That being the case, why do we assume that “pervs” need to take their own photos..thus why do we assume everyone taking photos is a “perv”?

  73. Papilio October 3, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    Very much off-topic, but Warren, your last name – Slavic? Or maybe Baltic?
    Just curious 🙂

  74. JP Merzetti October 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    The more photographic we get, the sillier we are. Imaging runs more rampant than imagination.
    Everything’s a camera.

    I remember photo geeks. They bought Nikons. They had darkrooms in the basement. They phtographed the world.
    A camera was not a weapon, a picture was not a threat.
    Often….their social skills were minimal. But their eyes were magic. They saw things the rest of us didn’t.
    We never saw them as dark strangers. We fell into their art, instead. And it was art. While the rest of us merely took posed snapshots, they were recording the soul of us.

    Now, I have my own Nikon. It mystifies me. All I take with it are snapshots. But then…I never was a photo geek.
    But I’m still glad some people are. I still love the art.

  75. lollipoplover October 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    I am much more concerned with what my children will see in water parks than who sees my children or wants photos(don’t these places take pictures and try to sell them on some rides?)
    And the term water park and toilets are interchangeable, btw.

    While climbing steps for the toilet bowl-flushing water slide at Hershey Park, we were behind a young man who was heavily tattooed. I honestly don’t care what you do with your body but this man had a huge crucifix covering his whole back that had a naked woman, like a big bushy porn star hung on the crucifix. I’m not a prude either but I didn’t want to stand behind this for 20 minutes with my bug-eyed kids and their persistent questions so I pulled them out and told Jethro he might want to throw on a shirt, he’s in a kids park.

    The second water park nonsense was in upstate New York. We were in the wave pool when my sister flagged me and told me to flee the water ASAP before the kids see it.
    Then I saw it.
    Bleaching my eyes will not undo what I saw.
    The large, earthy mama in front of us had what looked like a large, dead badger growing in her lady garden and her loose shorts couldn’t contain the beast with the waves hitting her.
    My daughter spotted it and started pointing in horror. We got out so fast and never went back in.

    Water parks are very, very scary places.

  76. Stacy October 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    My kids, including my preteen daughter, were photographed in their bathing suits at the local water park, and the photos were in the local newspaper. The young male photographer asked me their names after taking the photos, but no waivers were signed and no police were called. You can’t tell people before you take candid shots of them, and candid shots of kids are local newspaper bread and butter. My extended family obtained multiple copies to see my cute kids in the newspaper and no one was concerned that they were in their swimsuits, which they live in all summer long, being seen by thousands of people.

    OTOH, I could envision circumstances where photographing kids at the water park while talking to them could be a cause for concern, specifically if they were asked to pose in questionable ways.

  77. Warren October 3, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    Polish, all the way. Don’t read too much into that, as that is my dad’s name, that I got when he adopted me, after marrying mom.

    My biological origins are Irish and Scotish.

  78. SOA October 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Lollipop lover: you speak the truth. I have seen some pretty horrid things at water parks. But my kids are dense and so busy having fun they don’t even notice stuff like that usually.

    My husband and I tried to go to a water park on our honeymoon and left after an hour because we got tired of looking at people in bathing suits not flattering to them. gross.

    I am not a perfect bikini body either but that is why I wear a one piece and try to cover myself up.

  79. SOA October 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    FYI most employers now as a standard thing with google potential hires. I read several articles about this. So if there is a perverted or unflattering picture of you on the net somehow, with your name attached or even now facebook has technology that recognizes your face and will link to it, then the potential employer will see it and it can prevent you from being hired.

  80. delurking October 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    I find interesting the argument here between those who think that perverts looking at pictures of children causes no harm and those who think it does serious harm.

    Certainly, when it comes to child pornography, the overwhelming majority of society believes that children are victimized when perverts look at them. The US Supreme Court has explicitly recognized that children whose pornographic pictures are viewed are victimized not only by the photographer but by each and every viewer of the photos (in Paroline v. United States). This holds true for adults as well. You will certainly find mentioned in the popular press, over and over, how the celebrities whose private nude photos were recently leaked are being constantly re-victimized by new viewers of the photos.

    Now, granted, none of the photos discussed in this thread qualify as nude or pornographic, but certainly it is reasonable to by unhappy with someone photographic the girls bent over on starting blocks.

    To those of you who adopt a sneering tone when suggesting that people shouldn’t care if perverts photograph their kids in public, please recognize that you are actually a very small minority and your sneering tone is unlikely to convince anyone. I suggest that as a holder of a minority opinion, you have better odds of success if you actually try to make a reasonable argument.

  81. Donna October 3, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    The difference between porn (child or adult) and what we are talking about is extremely pertinent. My privacy is invaded by someone passing around naked pictures of me because I don’t choose to present myself to the world naked. I get to choose who sees me naked and anyone else viewing me naked is a violation of my right to choose who gets to see me naked. That is what makes child porn a violation for every viewing. Since the children never consented to anyone viewing their body naked, each viewing of those pictures is an invasion of that child’s right to control who sees his or her body.

    However, we are talking about pictures taken in public places by people who are actually viewing you at that moment. They aren’t using telephoto lenses and peering into your private moments. They are standing right there and capturing nothing more than how you choose to present yourself to the world. You have absolutely no right whatsoever to control who looks at you in a public place. Capturing you as you choose to present yourself to the world is not an invasion of your privacy.

    As for the harm, for all I know all my friends have masturbated to the pictures that I have posted on Facebook or pictures they took of me or pictures that I sent them. Who knows what some people find erotic. Maybe I have a friend who secretly fantasizes about me and my perfectly mundane pictures get him off. Maybe he has swapped my head onto a naked body to get his jollies.

    While my relationship with him would likely be harmed if I discovered this, I’m not personally harmed by it. First, the pictures are not of a provocative or private nature. Second, I will likely never even know this is occurring. I can’t read minds and my friend is not going to come up to me and say “I really enjoyed masturbating to the picture of you sledding last night.”

    I’m even less harmed by a stranger doing this. The pictures themselves are not provocative and there is almost no chance that I will ever know what is done with those pictures. I simply don’t have time in my life to worry about this complete non-issue. Or to fret over what people do with non-private pictures of me behind my back.

  82. Donna October 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    SOA – Yes, if you or your FRIENDS are posting provocative pictures of you online, it could harm your job prospects. However, we are talking about pictures taken by STRANGERS who don’t even speak to you so are not going to know your name to attach to the picture and, even if they do somehow magically know your name, they are highly unlikely to tag unauthorized pornographic pictures of you as that will get them arrested.

  83. Yocheved October 3, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    My kiddo wears a modest bathing suit for a few reasons. 1. I don’t want her to grow up being body conscious, and worrying about “looking good in a bikini”. I want her to be able to move around and have fun without constantly tugging every little scrap of fabric back into place.
    2. She’s whiter than a sheet of copy paper, and burns easily. Anyone who tries to take a picture of her for creepy reasons is going to be sorely disappointed at the lack of skin showing.

    Problem solved!

    I wish I knew how to post pics on here, she looks adorable – and very comfortable.

  84. SOA October 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Donna: there are very advanced face recognition programs out there including one on facebook. So any picture online of your face could be potentially linked back to you.

  85. Sigh October 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm #


    No, it’s not likely. It’s far more likely than pedophiles though. Also, 80% if employers google people before they even consider an interview so kind of ..restrivtive to say that you don’t want to work there and that’s assuming there’s enough jobs to be picky.

  86. Sigh October 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    It is likely, even, 80% is a reasonable thing to take safety precautions against. @Warren.

  87. SOA October 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    Now I am not saying that means people should freak out if someone is taking their picture, but I think they are within their rights to be concerned with someone taking their picture a lot and are within their rights to ask what you are going to do with said picture and ask you to delete it. If you are a considerate person, you would happily explain why you are taking their picture and delete it if it would not hurt you to do so.

  88. SOA October 3, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    I had a friend ask me to delete or hide a picture of her daughter taken by me and posted on facebook. Her daughter does professional modeling and acting and she is trying to monitor what ends up online of her daughter. In the picture she is going down a slide and her skirt went up a little bit showing a lot of leg. Nothing dirty or I would not have posted it in the first place, but it was enough for her to ask me to delete it. I made it a private photo meaning only I could see it and she thanked me.

    Easy peasy. I could have gotten all indignant and threw a fit about it and argued about my rights and told her she was paranoid blah blah. But I am not an insane person. Consideration.

  89. Sigh October 3, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

    Gah, Never mind, I’m too tired to make sense, I’ll try again in the morning.

  90. Warren October 3, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    Where did you get this 80% from?

    Been in position to hire and fire, and would never waste my time searching them. If I cannot get a good read from an interview and resume, then I should not be in the position to hire.

    And well yeah, you can be picky about where you work. Been there done that.

  91. Flurry October 3, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    So if there is a perverted or unflattering picture of you on the net somehow, with your name attached or even now facebook has technology that recognizes your face and will link to it, then the potential employer will see it and it can prevent you from being hired.”

    Worst-first thinking. I find it hard to believe that any reputable employer wouldn’t recognize that people’s photos can appear on the internet without their knowledge. And if an employer needs facial recognition software to decide if I’m a worthy candidate for the job, I didn’t do a very good job on my resume nor my interview.

  92. Donna October 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    Good grief, Dolly, no employer is going to use facial recognition software to search the internet for unidentified pictures of potential employees. A 5 minute google search? Absolutely. An investigation worthy of the CIA? No.

  93. hineata October 3, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    Can’t believe this is coming up again. Yes, it would be icky to actually know that some creep was jerking off to a picture of any of my kids. But seeing as I’m never going to know that, it’s neither here nor there.

    And while it might make me in a ‘minority’, delurking, though I have no idea what ‘fact’ you are basing that on, I really wish that perverts were jerking off to innocent photos of my kids, rather than to photos of children who were actually harmed in the taking of those photos. Have said that before and will continue to say it….

    And once again, you travel in certain parts of the world, not only will people not ask your permission before taking your child’s photo, at times they will physically grab said child and arrange him/her to their heart’s desire, in order to achieve whatever photo they had in mind. You just smile and tell the kid to suck it up – it’s about the only time ordinary kids like ours are likely to be treated as if they were famous :-).

  94. hineata October 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    Actually it makes me sick that we care so much about our own little darlings that we are worried about ‘creeps’ taking photos of them. Like, so what?! Lawdy, who do we think we are?

    I wish we were more concerned for kids with real, actual problems….

  95. SOA October 3, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

    Warren: I did not write the article. I assume the people that wrote the article did their research. My husband works in IT and yes, he said it is very very common for IT people especially to be googled when they are being hired. Not only will a negative thing on your google search get you not hired, but if they can’t find anything positive on you, they might pass you over. This is specifically for IT but they expect to have “heard of you” so to speak on the internet.

    He had to create some pages with info about him for hiring purposes with some of his programs and coding.

    It depends on the employer, but if you want high security clearance jobs, I imagine they can and probably do use facial recognition software. My father had a high security clearance job and it is no joke. They look at a lot of random stuff about you and your family before they will hire you.

    It is a legitimate thing to worry about that kind of stuff being out there for employment. I don’t care about someone whacking off to my kid but I do worry about them being embarrassed and not hired over something on there.

  96. Warren October 3, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    There is a difference between searching for work done by an IT pro, and searching for most other jobs in the world.
    As for security clearance, been there done that. You wouldn’t believe the hoops you have to go thru to be allowed out on the tarmac of airports, even more so for airports with international flights. But I can guarantee you, it is not facebook checks, or other insignificant BS.

    Your level of paranoia is off the charts. While your knowledge of how the real world works is astoundingly non-existant. Not every job requires the same level of scrutiny as say, oh Secret Service Presidential Protection Duty. Stop getting your facts from TV.

  97. Donna October 3, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    “but if you want high security clearance jobs, I imagine they can and probably do use facial recognition software.”

    No they don’t. I have a friend who works for the State Department, a couple others who are super high level military, another who worked with nuclear weapons. These agencies send people out to personally interview friends, family, former employers, co-workers and neighbors before they hire (these people are so serious that one sent someone to American Samoa – a trip that involves two days of flying and requires a minimum 4 night stay – to talk with a former employer in person) and not a single one uses facial recognition software to scour the internet.

  98. LRH October 3, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    I am a hobbyist photographer, and so I’m going to be blunt–you don’t want your photograph potentially taken, or your child’s, stay the “ef-you-see-kay” inside. It’s that simple, and it’s that open & shut.

    I’m sick of this. (By the way Melissa upskirt photography is still illegal, so is bathroom photography and the like.) Assuming a man with a camera to be a pervert is totally a form of profiling and discrimination. It’s no different than suggesting all women belong in the kitchen and/or should be home barefoot and pregnant playing nurse-maid to their husband’s every whim while begging for an allowance.

    No one legally OR MORALLY needs to ask for permission to take photos in public. With all apologies to Stephen A Smith–please. You flaunt yourself in a bikini in public, you have NO RIGHT to complain at the prospect of ending up in a background photo or at someone doing a little short amount of staring either for that matter. You put yourself out in PUBLIC that way, by choice. Stop griping. Besides, it’s not like we’re talking “peepshow” or paparazzi behaviors here.

    All of you who are paranoid–sorry, that’s your problem. I’m all for being courteous and passing if someone NICELY and GENTLY asks that maybe they’d rather you photograph someone else other than they or their children, sure, but to think you have the right to demand that we have to ask permission first or else we’re perverts–get over yourself. You’re being ridiculous and any such ridiculousness shouldn’t be catered to, but called out as the absolute bunch of nonsense it truly is.

    Now excuse me, I live in TX and I’m going to shoot some photos. I’ll be polite, but I’m-a-shooting. Don’t like it? Stay the “eff-you-see-kay” inside.


  99. Donna October 3, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

    And so what if they did use facial recognition software?

    (A) Assuming that you are not a child prodigy, you are many years beyond a picture taken at a water park when you are a child and facial recognition software would not identify that.


  100. Donna October 4, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    didn’t finish:

    (B) THESE ARE PICTURES TAKEN IN PUBLIC!!!!! Assuming you don’t walk around in public naked or engage in improper behavior in public, there is nothing untoward about any pictures that a stranger would take in public. Do you really think that any job with high level security clearance insists that its employees never go to a water park or otherwise wear bathing suits? I guarantee you that is not true since my buddy at the State Department both went to a water park and posted pictures of himself there, wearing a bathing suit, on Facebook while he was stationed in Mexico.

  101. Warren October 4, 2014 at 1:33 am #

    Was thinking that these employers that do such in depth internet searches….if they have advanced facial recog., then they would easily be able to say connect a screen name in here, to the real person. Say like SOA, and then filter out all her comments, take them to a shrink, and not hire her. Maybe even alert the authorities and have her commited for a psyche evaluation………..

    Sorry could not resist.

  102. lollipoplover October 4, 2014 at 5:56 am #

    I’ve worked in executive recruiting and have placed (and background checked) for IT positions and senior level management. Employers are more concerned with job performance and references from previous employers than any of this nonsense about face recognition. Yes, your LinkedIn, facebook, and twitter may be viewed for red flags, but a bathing suit shot is not one of them. Irrational rants and paranoia…now those are potential red flags I may report.

  103. SOA October 4, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    Bitch please, I don’t need a job and don’t plan on having one anytime soon. Jealous?

  104. Beth October 4, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    Lovely, Dolly. You’re proven wrong, by people who have more expertise in a particular area than you do, and that’s your response?

    Just lovely.

  105. SOA October 4, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    I mean if you want to really go that route then maybe they are helicopter parents and they will find your posts here too and not want to hire you because you are one of those crazy free range parents.

    So under that reasoning no one should post anything on the internet.

    The point is where is the benefit to me or my kids? We get zero benefit from someone else taking our photographs. There might be very minimal risk to it, but there is certainly no benefit. I have never benefited from a stranger taking photos of us without our permission.

    But there might be a slight risk from it. So in that case, while I am not going to go call the cops or freak out about it, I don’t have to like it either and I might say something to them.

    But the few times a stranger asked to take our photos, we happily obliged. Because they were polite and they asked and it was not a picture I minded being out in the world. If someone asked to take a picture when I felt it was not an opportune time, then I would decline.

  106. Donna October 4, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    SOA – Nobody said that you have to like it; just that you have to live with it because the world doesn’t actually revolve around you. You can say something to the photographer if you want, but s/he doesn’t have to listen to you, can continue to take pictures and there’s nothing at all you can do about it. So it seems like an idiotic thing to get your knickers on a twist over.

    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” More people should live by those words. Getting all upset and worrying over what might happen to those photos -something you will most likely never know the answer to – and irrational worries about future job prospects is pointless.

  107. Beth October 4, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Dolly, you know we’re no longer talking about asking permission to take photos, right? We’re talking about your assertion that employers scour the internet and use facial recognition software to determine if a potential employee ever had their photo taken in a swimming suit when they were 6.

    And your response to being proven wrong is “Bitch”? Look in the mirror.

  108. Jen (P.) October 4, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    “I mean if you want to really go that route then maybe they are helicopter parents and they will find your posts here too and not want to hire you because you are one of those crazy free range parents.”

    If someone doesn’t want to hire me because of views I’ve expressed about child rearing or frankly anything else I’ve said online, then I don’t want to work for them. Could you say the same? Oh, wait, you don’t have to worry about that. Nevermind.

  109. Warren October 4, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Not in the workforce, no intention of looking for work, and yet Dolly is an expert in hiring protocols and practices. You are so awesome.

  110. lollipoplover October 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    This thread has evolved from a good discussion about photography and children to bathing suit photos being used by “very advanced face recognition programs” and how it can limit future job prospects.

    This is not my circus.
    These are not my monkeys.

  111. Tamara October 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    LRH – you rock. I agree with your position. I don’t understand people who constantly over share on Facebook then turn around and get pissed that someone is taking pictures in public. My Privacy!! How dare you invade it! You are IN PUBLIC buddy, that’s actually the opposite of private!!

    And why are these same people not actually concerned about the massive invasions of privacy from our governments? Surveillance is everywhere via CCTV in the name of security. Here in canada our reactions to the NSA/CSEC spying crap, for example, is all, Oh well, it’s ok because after all, we don’t do anything wrong and if it’ll help catch the bad guys…….. Why are Canadians so nice?? Not my stance, of course. But it doesn’t feel like freedom and I don’t think privacy has ever been at a lower level ever. Maybe that’s why people are trying to defend what little they feel they have left of privacy – like people who take photos in public.

  112. Beth October 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Lollipoplover, you’re right and I apologize.

    I just really didn’t want a new free range-exploring parent reading these posts and thinking “I DO have to be scared of photos! They might affect the kid’s employability later in life.”

  113. Papilio October 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    @Warren: Ah, so my first instinct was right. I don’t read anything into that, my interest was strictly linguistic 🙂

  114. hineata October 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be fun to be so important that employers would employ face recognition software to try to find photos of us on the net? Sadly, I can’t imagine reaching that level, in this life anyway :-).

    Not sure about anyone else here, too, but any photos I’ve seen on the Web of me (all from friends and hubby on Facebook, btw) look better than my middle-aged self does in real life, LOL, so bring it on!

    A bit sad that it’s just someone’s fantasy 🙁

  115. lollipoplover October 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    No need to apologize, Beth. I was just pointing out we are no longer having a rational discussion here when it’s morphed from photos at water parks into a worst-first, employment-ending scandal because Facebook has face recognition.

  116. Maria October 6, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    All you weirdo’s who are okay with strangers photographing your kids in bathing suits are part of the problem. The point is that no one should do it without asking–it’s like taking what’s not yours. ASk, and fine. If it’s not shady, then ask. Further when your kids end up on some porn site, then I’d like to see how “cool” you will be. But oh, wait, you wouldn’t care because hey, you don’t like to parent. It’s everyone else that parents your kids. Your kids are the biters, pushers, grabbers, nasty mouthed little jerks running around the playground while you sit sipping coffee because hey, they are free ranging.

  117. Buffy October 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

    WOW Maria, there is absolutely NO WAY to address any of your, um, polite and thoughtful statements. I’ll just say that you don’t have a single clue about what free-range parenting is about, and possibly you should educate yourself before damning everyone else.

    Also. I’d hate to be the person that even glances in the direction of your kids at the water park. I think your response would be completely out of control.

  118. Donna October 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    Maria apparently thinks cameras steal your soul.

    But, beyond that, I am curious as to why some think that there are all these “porn” sites filled with pictures of kids in bathing suits. You clearly need to broaden your porn knowledge if you believe that porn sites are basically online versions the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

    And why you think a bathing suit picture is somehow more likely to be manipulated onto another body? Or why a person inclined to do this would risk running into a Dolly or Maria instead of just using some of the billions of pictures of cute kids readily available on the internet in ads, etc.?

  119. hineata October 6, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    @Maria – thanks for the laugh :-). My kids will be fascinated to learn that they were foul mouth little jerks who ran around grabbing, biting and pushing others. Must have done it in their sleep, lol!

    Have fun raising perfect kids. The rest of us will settle for raising responsible, reasonably well-behaved ones. Who hopefully lack the paranoia you seem to consider a requirement in life. 🙂

  120. lollipoplover October 6, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    Speak for yourself!
    I pride myself in raising perfect children that will never be visually violated with powerful lense cameras. I send the girls to the water park in burkas and cast my shifty eyes on the crowds for those pesky porno cameras to get everyone to sing PERMISSION forms. Never can be to careful!

    And no coffee on park benches for me! Only purified, cruelty- free water to wash down my xanax and prescription anxiety medications that I need to get through every parenting moment.

  121. Art October 6, 2014 at 11:34 pm #



    The second water park nonsense was in upstate New York. We were in the wave pool when my sister flagged me and told me to flee the water ASAP before the kids see it.
    Then I saw it.
    Bleaching my eyes will not undo what I saw.
    The large, earthy mama in front of us had what looked like a large, dead badger growing in her lady garden and her loose shorts couldn’t contain the beast with the waves hitting her.
    My daughter spotted it and started pointing in horror. We got out so fast and never went back in.

    Water parks are very, very scary places.

    HOWLING in laughter!

    Can’t. stop. laughing.

    And the keyboard didn’t appreciate the Dr Pepper I just spit up..

  122. hineata October 7, 2014 at 1:46 am #

    @Lollipoplover – hope those burquahs are organic cloth!

    And please tell me where to get Xanax without a prescription….I used mine up crushing them into the kids’ cereal. Made them easier to photograph …. 🙂

  123. Donna October 7, 2014 at 7:59 am #

    hineata – No need to go the illegal route. Xanax prescriptions are handed out like candy. Just go to your doctor and tell him/her that parenting is stressing you out. What you do with them from there ….

  124. Warren October 7, 2014 at 9:26 am #


    So you have sexualized children in bathing suits, you pervert!


  125. Jenny Islander October 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    @Donna: I as well.

    At the risk of ruining the humor, let me reiterate something that many people reading here seem not to understand:

    Child porn is not perverts looking at pictures of children in swimsuits and getting aroused. Child porn is forcing children to perform sex acts on camera. Not “if you squint and turn your head sideways you might be able to interpret this as too much skin or too-tight clothing.” Literally, acts of sexual intercourse, sometimes with each other, generally with adults.

    And I’d better stop here because I have too much stuff to do to have a sensory flashback today.

    Just: stop with the “OMG somebody might go all pervy over my daughter’s tankini” nonsense, OK? Stop. You are ignorant. Be grateful for that.

  126. delurking October 7, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    People love to see things as black and white, especially when challenged, without considering border cases.

    For example, let’s say you are walking down the street in a nice dress, and someone takes a picture of you and puts in on the internet. That is OK with you. Let’s say a gust of wind blows up the dress and exposes your thong, and at that instant someone sitting on the curb with a great angle snaps a picture and posts in on the internet. Are you OK with that? Let’s say you are walking down the street reading tweet on your phone and absentmindedly walk near a fence that tears your shirt and exposes your breasts. If someone takes a picture of that and puts it on the internet, does it still not bother you at all?

    As a practical matter, these things are not and cannot be made illegal. But many people would be unhappy with the photographer.

    The case of the girls on the starting blocks is related. The discussions about revealing and not-revealing bathings suits are completely beside the point. All bathings suits that competitive swimmers wear will make the shape of their bottoms and private parts visible in the standard bent-over starting pose. Normally, that pose is held only for a few seconds before the race starts, so without a camera no one can look at it for long, it is just a fleeting image. However, with the camera one can freeze the image in perpetuity. It is an unfortunate coincidence that the fastest way to start a swimming race involves briefly holding a pose commonly used in pornography and associated with sexual submission and exploitation of women. Someone taking a picture from behind is freezing what should be a fleeting image into a permanent one; it is reasonable that people would be upset by it.

    Now, again, there is no practical way to outlaw this behavior, but that doesn’t mean people who do it shouldn’t be criticized.

  127. Omer Golan-Joel October 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    It might be impolite to take someone’s picture without their consent. HOWEVER, what have the cops to do with that? In a free country, the cops’ job is to defend people from BODILY HARM and from THEFT OR DESTRUCTION OF THEIR PROPERTY. Taking a picture does NOT harm a person’s body or property, so no cops needed. There is NO crime here, just, possibly, some impoliteness.

  128. Donna October 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    “All bathings suits that competitive swimmers wear will make the shape of their bottoms and private parts visible in the standard bent-over starting pose.”

    No they don’t. There is absolutely no difference whatsoever between bent over and walking around the pool in defining the shape of bottoms and private parts, unless maybe if your children are swimming in bathing suits a size too big. Competitive swim suits are tight and defining for boys regardless, and are far less revealing than 99% of what you see on the beach for girls. And I say this after spending the entire summer looking at hundreds of kids in the bent-over starting pose for hours on end from a mere couple of inches away as a swim team time keeper.

  129. Donna October 7, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    And, again, you are throwing out straw men, delurking. There is a big difference between someone photographing you dressed in a way that you never intended to be for public consumption and someone photographing you exactly as you left the house that day. Continuing to insist that taking pictures of people naked or with private parts unwillingly exposed is the same as taking pictures of someone playing in a water park dressed exactly as they chose to present themselves to the world just negates any valid point that you may have had.

  130. delurking October 7, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    Donna, I am not throwing out strawmen. I specifically posed the example of private parts accidentally exposed in public because there are strident posts claiming that ANYTHING seen publicly is totally fair game to be photographed and put on the internet. It seems you agree with me that not everything that is seen publicly is fair game, even if photographing it is not illegal.

    Now we have a basis for discussion. Since we both agree that not everything that happens in public is fair game for photography, it is reasonable to discuss what is and isn’t. I specifically picked the example of girls bent over on starting blocks, and I specifically did not discuss girls playing at a water park. I contend that a stranger taking pictures from behind of girls bent over on starting blocks should be criticized, because he is freezing and creating a permanent image of something the girls and parents never intended for public consumption: the girls bent over in a pose commonly used in pornography and associated with sexual submission and exploitation of women. If you don’t believe prurient interests can be aroused by such photos, google could convince you. Someone could easily be taking of girls on starting blocks in the hope that one or a few might be caught with their swimsuit clinging to them in a way not intended for public consumption. I can’t think of many totally benign reasons for taking pictures from that position.

  131. Donna October 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    Delurking – If you don’t intend for bending over on the blocks to be for public consumption then don’t join a swim team. There are hundreds of people at swim meets, many of them milling around behind the blocks. The coaches, swimmers, time keepers, parents, spectators walking to the bathroom (bathrooms are directly behind the blocks at our pool). Yes, some of them are snapping photos.

    If you can’t see the difference betwren someone taking a picture of you as your covering is ripped (or blown) away against your will and someone taking a picture of nothing more than an activity that you chose to engage in willingly then there is no point in continuing this discussion.

  132. delurking October 8, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    I wonder if you are being intentionally difficult.

    I can see the difference between covering being torn away and being bent over on starting blocks for a moment. I specifically laid out my examples the way I did because they are different in degree. As I said at first, “People love to see things as black and white, especially when challenged, without considering border cases.” You are making the argument that a line should be drawn between the two examples, and that everything on one side of the line is black, and that everything on the other side is white.

    Can you see a difference between a coach, parent, swimmer, spectator, etc., snapping a picture with a cellphone, who happens to catch some girls bent over on starting blocks, and an unrelated person who shows up with a DSLR and snaps 10 frames per second for three continuous seconds of girls’ behinds, only taking pictures when they are bent over on starting blocks? Maybe you don’t care if someone does that to your child, but do you think is is actually unreasonable for some other parent not to want someone to do that to their child?

  133. Donna October 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    delurking –

    I don’t actually see the two things as degrees of the same things. I see them as comparing two totally different things. People taking a picture of something you never intended to be seen by anyone is simply very different than someone photographing something that you thought was perfectly acceptable for anyone in the vicinity to see.

    I said about 60 posts ago that I thought the photographer at the swim meet sounded sleezy from what was given. But, I really don’t see much of a difference between the parents of the 195 kids on my kid’s swim team who are total strangers to me having pictures of my daughter bent over and this stranger that I don’t know having a picture of my daughter bent over. Being a parent doesn’t make one impervious to being sleezy or a pedophile.

    Frankly, I do think it is fairly unreasonable to worry about pictures that do nothing more than freeze what you voluntarily showed everyone in the viewing vicinity. Particularly when those pictures cover all the necessary body parts and are really nothing more than pictures of a kid participating in a swim meet.

  134. delurking October 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    OK, then.
    The photographer is sleazy, but it is unreasonable to be bothered by him.

  135. hineata October 9, 2014 at 3:58 am #

    A butt, is a butt, is a butt. How in the world would anyone be able to tell who you were from an upturned image of your butt (provided it didn’t have your name emblazoned across it)?

    So who cares if someone takes a photo?

    Gosh, half the time I can’t identify my kids front on in the pool….

  136. Donna October 9, 2014 at 7:47 am #


    I never said that it was unreasonable to be bothered by HIM. If the story had been, “this guy with a camera at one of our meets gave us a sleazy vibe so we followed up and it turned out that he was doing weird things with the photographs so we banned him from swim meets and everything went on as before,” I’d be all for it.

    But that WASN’T the result. The swim team and several people here twisted one guy being a sleaze into the pictures themselves being sleazy and some kind of forbidden subject when the truth is to the vast majority of the population they are just pictures of kids at a swim meet, no more sexual than any other pictures of kids. The PICTURES aren’t the problem. The sleazeball taking them is the problem.

    I don’t think anyone here is saying that someone with a camera can never be sleazy or that we need to ignore people who give us the sleaze vibe whether they have a camera or not. What we are saying is that reacting as if everyone with a camera is a sleaze is no different than reacting as if everyone at a playground without a child is a sleaze.

  137. lollipoplover October 9, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    On swimmers and photos:

    All of my kids have been on our local swim team in the summer. Our swim team is HUGE, crowds of swimmers stand around in teeny-weenie suits, and folks with cameras EVERYWHERE. I’ve been a timer and had many an ass in my face for hours straight. It is not sexual, it is a SPORT.

    I have a start photo of my youngest daughter at age 7, given to my by a STRANGER with a POWERFUL camera who is now a friend, of her doing a perfect racing dive off the block high above the competition on each side. It is an amazing photo that I would never, ever be able to capture. She lost the race (she swims like molasses…but what a start!) but some stranger (a parent of one of the older swimmers) took photos without my consent of what delurking calls “girls bent over in a pose commonly used in pornography and associated with sexual submission and exploitation of women.”
    Nope. Not even close.