Friday, May 29, 2009

Royal Privacy? Or Privacy Standards For All?

(Photo borrowed from

Story from the Mainichi Daily News, 5/28/09:

Suspected photo of Princess Kako leaked onto Internet

A photograph believed to be of Princess Kako, the second daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, was posted on a member-based community site and leaked over the Internet, it has been learned.

Gakushuin, the educational institution that Princess Kako attends, said that a student at Gakushuin Boys' Junior High School apparently posted the photograph without permission. The school has reportedly spoken to the boy about the issue. The photograph has already been deleted.

Leaked was one photograph apparently showing Princess Kako wearing a Gakushuin Girls' Junior High School uniform. It was posted on sites including the 2-channel bulletin board, where it received attention.

The leak was uncovered after a Gakushuin office worker noticed the photo posted in a diary on the member-based social networking site Mixi on Tuesday.

The student reportedly introduced the photograph saying that he had been a classmate of Princess Kako at Gakushuin Primary School, and said that the boys' and girls' junior high schools often got together at school festivals and other events.

"It has not been confirmed whether the photo actually is of Princess Kako," said a Gakushuin public relations official commenting on the leak. "We cannot provide any information on how the boy obtained the photograph."

Noriyuki Kazaoka, Vice-Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency, said he hoped there would be no recurrences.

"We cannot confirm that it is (Princess Kako), but from the perspective of protecting private information, we think that generally, going ahead and posting photographs on the Internet without consent cannot be called appropriate behavior. We hope that this sort of thing does not happen again in the future."

So is it appropriate behavior to post photos of your friends and family on Mixi and Facebook without their consent? And exactly what kind of consent is needed?

I've been participating in an interesting discussion about the privacy and image rights of geisha over at tokyo photojournalist - check it out.

Link to Geisha "image rights"

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