Photos with Flash

Piers YoungAsides, Thoughts2 Comments

A New York paper is running a story on Thao Nguyen’s transformation ” from quiet Web developer to feisty crimefighter”. [thanks Matt for the pointer]

Allegedly (and while I’ve every sympathy with her if it did happen, it looks like it may well have, but I still think it’s an “allegedly”), in response to the man below unzipping himself and pulling it out on a mid-afternoon uptown R train, she pulled out her phone and took a picture of him.


Not long after it was evidence submitted to the police, and posted on Flickr.

Tama Leaver has written a corker of a post about the ramifications of this.

“while I commend Thao Nguyen for her quick thinking and wish her every luck in prosecuting the man who appears strongly to have abused her, I simply want to add a few words of warning to the digital ether and ask you to think about the ramifications of digital images becoming a form of citizen “justice”. We need to be wary in such cases, or our new digital resources may indeed open a seductive but ultimately unjust hi-tech pandora’s box.”

Spot on.

On a broader level, it does make you wonder about individual freedoms and just how pleasant bottom-up life is. Stowe Boyd coined the term swarmth for all that wonderful collective decision making ability that networked people are beginning to be able to show. But I would hate it if we forgot that these swarms have stings too.

2 Comments on “Photos with Flash”

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