Who’s Watching

During Berlin’s annual Fuckparade in 2000, Matthias Fritsch took a video of a bare-chested reveler whose hypnotic dance moves on the Rosenthaler Straße would subsequently earn him, in the blighted annals of internet virality, the moniker Technoviking. This parade attendee was not pleased by the sudden virality and sued Fritsch for infringing on his personality rights. A Berlin court eventually sided with the unwilling celebrity, who continues to remain anonymous, and ordered Fritsch to pay back what he’d earned from YouTube advertisements, as well as court fees. This past summer, New Yorker Lilly Simon realized that a stranger had taken a video of her while she was riding on the subway and posted it to TikTok, speculating that her neurofibromatosis type 1 tumors were monkeypox lesions. Simon posted a response calling the person out for filming her, and the original video was eventually removed—long after it had already gone viral—though it’s unclear if it was deleted by the poster or taken down by the app.

These incidents and their digital afterlives reveal the diminished extent, in an age where antisocial surveillance masquerades as social media, to which any of us might expect to have a right to “privacy” in public. In the United States, this right is a relatively new legal idea, despite the fact privacy as a concept predates its articulation. Originally conceived in the nineteenth century, it arose in response to one of the technological advances of the time: the camera. As more and more people started taking photographs—and

— source thebaffler.com | Marina Manoukian | Dec 1, 2022

Nullius in verba


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