If you’re an activist and an amateur videographer and you see Border Patrol agents wandering around your property inspecting footprints (that happen to be yours), what do you do?
Get out your video camera and start filming, of course.
Or at least that’s what Alison McLeod, Southern Arizona Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) field organizer, did last week.
When McLeod spotted Border Patrol agents snooping on and around her property on foot, on horseback, in SUVs, and in a helicopter, she started filming and asking questions. McLeod’s curiosity lead her to the site of an arrest of a man with a bloody nose (presumably a Mexican national, since he was handcuffed).
Not 24 hours after she posted the above video to her You Tube channel, McLeod received a notice from You Tube that “someone” (ahem, like the feds) complained to them about it. Below is the e-mail she received. In addition, a Border Patrol representative visited her house the same day– unannounced and uninvited.
Dear loneprotestor, This is to notify you that we have received a privacy complaint from an individual regarding your content:
The information reported as violating privacy is at 2_55-5_30
We would like to give you an opportunity to review the content in question and remove any personal information that may be used to uniquely identify or contact the complainant. You have 48 hours to take action on the complaint. If you remove the alleged violation from the site within the 48 hours, the complaint filed will then be closed. If the potential privacy violation remains on the site after 48 hours, the complaint will be reviewed by the YouTube Team and may be removed pursuant to our Privacy Guidelines (http://www.youtube.com/t/privacy_guidelines). For content to
be considered for removal, an individual must be uniquely identifiable by image, voice, full name, Social Security number, bank account number or contact information (e.g., home address, email address). Examples that
would not violate our privacy guidelines include gamer tags, avatar names, and address information in which the individual is not named. We also take public interest, newsworthiness, and consent into account when determining
if content should be removed for a privacy violation. If the alleged violation is located within the video itself, you may have to remove the video completely…
Politicians and other public servants are becoming increasingly annoyed by amateurs photographers and citizen journalists with video cameras and video-enabled smart phones because they’re catching people in the act of… whatever… and posting videos on You Tube and blogs.
With the demise of investigative journalism in the US, we need the wild and woolly world of citizen journalism and amateur videos to keep government servants honest. If unlimited, secret corporate campaign contributions are considered “protected speech”, then so are amateur videos, still photos, and blog posts.