back to article Today's Facebook fury: Coppertone-like baby pic ban baffles US mom

There has been much consternation in Middle America over Facebook's decision to ban from its advertising network a picture taken by a doting mother of a little girl pulling the woman's daughter's swimming costume down. The image is an homage to one of the iconic advertising images in the US, that of the little girl in the …

  1. frank ly Silver badge

    re . Poopy

    Poopy: adj. OldFrench: with receding hairline and great intellect.

    You'll be fine Tim; go ahead.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: re . Poopy

      It is not only an offense in France to insult a public official*, but also to insult anyone who is in charge of delivering a public service. That's pretty wide and includes teachers and postmen for example. It is however very unlikely that "poopy head" would be considered an insult in France; it's closer to a proposition actually. I would give example of what would be considered an insult in France, but even the individual bits would probably be so nasty as to crash El Reg's british server -and all the british routers on their way.

      *It's contempt actually, not insult, that is an offence, but close enough.

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Asymmetric laws and asymmetric justice

    > As an example of this, it is an offence in France to insult a public official

    Having something illegal in one part of the world and legal in another is just one, small, part of the issue. The other is enforcement.

    Without enforcement, laws mean nothing - as anyone who's accidentally stuck an upside-down stamp on a letter¹ will be relieved to know. Likewise, if a resident of one sovereign nation commits an offence in another country, if makes little difference unless the "victim" country presses for extradition and the "home" country grants it. Sadly for us, the UK seems to regard shipping individuals off to be tried in other places, sometimes on the flimsiest of pretexts and with scant evidence of a case to answer, to be a means of saving money by outsourcing law enforcement, rather than a duty of protecting it's own citizens' rights.

    So, apart from the question of "is it legal", there should be a bigger question of "will anyone care enough to do anything about it?"

    Further, we are all told that ignorance of the law is no defence. However, it would appear that we are now all personally responsible for knowing all the laws in every country (and in every language, too) else we could find that an innocent typo means something completely blasphemous (to take an example) in some place we've never heard of - and we're about to become the new "friend" of an inmate in a jail on a distant continent.

    It does seem to me that this state of affairs is neither practical nor just. Law-abiding people who innocently transgress some foreign diktat via their internet activity should not become criminals, simply because some faraway place objects something they have published. Conversely, there are some behaviours that are quite legal elsewhere, that we - or others - would find objectionable.

    What is the answer? Well, short of every country burying their differences and coming up with a common legal framework, judiciary and scale of punishments, I can see none. With the possible exception of making the whole enforcement issue moot by ensuring that your internet activity cannot be traced back to you - though that in itself is probably illegal somewhere.

    [1] The 10 stupidest laws - though #6 might even be worth getting pregnant for.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1568475/Ten-stupidest-laws-are-named.html

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Asymmetric laws and asymmetric justice

      else we could find that an innocent typo means something completely blasphemous (to take an example) in some place we've never heard of

      "I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle,"

    2. DaLo

      Re: Asymmetric laws and asymmetric justice

      Not everything you read on the internet is true ...

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17610820

      ..now it this post a paradox?

    3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Asymmetric laws and asymmetric justice

      I'm not planning to get pregnant, I'm too busy buying tropical fish in Liverpool.

    4. Martin Budden

      Re: Asymmetric laws and asymmetric justice

      #9 seems quite reasonable to me.

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: Asymmetric laws and asymmetric justice

        "#9 seems quite reasonable to me."

        Hopefully you are referring to the suit or armour and not the age of consent in Japan.

  3. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Conflation

    Strange juxtaposition of 2 different things imo. Facebooks paranoia or prudery has very little to do with the applicability or UK porno law apart from the face they were probably constructed by those of a similar attitude to "father knows best".

    Rather than outrage bear in mind that the key part of the UK law is - interpretation. The reason this is left some what open to judges is so they can use their judgment. It may involve some idiot plod erring on the side of caution occassionaly but that's how our justice system works over here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conflation

      Interpretation = licence to lawyers to print money.

      The German legal system is clear and logical; as a result most legal cases settle quickly and the fees are not high. I believe the cost of defending a libel case in Germany is around £7000, in the UK £100k just gets you to square 2 on the legal Monopoly board.

      Unless words like "indecent" can be clearly defined, they should not be used. Who is the "reasonable person" who makes the assessment?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conflation

      In recent years there was a rush to get new laws passed. The drafting of the bills was often done by giving a free hand to single-issue pressure groups. The minute scrutiny that the Houses of Parliament is supposed to give was curtailed.

      The result was laws being passed with many loose ends and paradoxes. The official attitude was that "the courts can sort out the detail". Case law is only made by the higher courts. In the lower courts an individual magistrate usually follows the letter of the law. A Crown Court judge may give a more reasoned direction to the jury - but is bound by sentencing guidelines.

      It is a brave person who elects to go for a Crown Court trial by jury. The sentencing guidelines will automatically increase the penalties if they are found guilty at that stage. To appeal after that is both costly and risks the severity of the sentence being increased further.

      English Law has a principle that people should understand exactly what is illegal. Given that "indecent" is not defined - and nudity per se is not illegal - then this basic tenet is broken and the laws are unjust as they are currently framed.

      The chilling effect is that people are persuaded to avoid things that are perfectly legal. They fear that the Police and CPS will attempt to stretch the boundaries and interpretations in order to create a precedent - if not actual case law.

  4. Grease Monkey

    Youtube for one seem perfectly willing and able to block content in specific countries. Why can't farcebook do the same?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "willing and able to block content in specific countries."

      VPNs.

  5. ma1010 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    So on the Internet you have to please ALL the people ALL the time -- or else?

    As someone once pointed out, "The law is an ass." It's clearly impossible to write ANYTHING of any significance that doesn't offend SOMEONE or transgress SOME law SOMEWHERE on this planet. These days it's hard enough to do anything in one's own country without breaking some law there at home, much less some law somewhere on the globe. So when this line of reasoning gets followed to its bitter end, apparently one should never post ANYTHING on the Internet lest one transgress some law somewhere. This seems a bit ridiculous to me.

    I don't normally take the point of view that America does everything right (we don't), but in this case, i do think we've got closer to right than most other countries. Here you have no libel or slander case against someone unless what they wrote/said was both untrue AND caused actual damage to your reputation. To me, that seems like a reasonable threshold for a lawsuit.

    Actually, the courts here go even farther if you're a "public figure," in which case you also have to prove "malice" -- which is next to impossible -- to collect damages. Such was the case where a major news magazine claimed that General Westmoreland (commander in Vietnam during that horror show) used nerve gas. He sued them but lost becuase, although he showed the claim was untrue, he could not prove malice. That's quite a distance from France where it's apparently illegal to say anything bad about a public official. What if the fellow really WAS a "poopy head" or, say, a corrupt, thief who commited malfeasance in office daily? If it were true and one had evidence to prove it, would it still be illegal to publish it because the subject is a public official?

    Also, consider that a regular "bikini pic" one might download (such as has been seen on el Reg), which is perfectly legal most places, can run afoul of the law in parts of the Middle East. And it goes on and on...

    Here's hoping that "globalization" doesn't reduce culture and communication to some "lowest common denominator," because if that happens, there won't BE any culture or communication.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So on the Internet you have to please ALL the people ALL the time -- or else?

      Dear legal system / MPs / judges / etc,

      Please give me a list, in one place, with changes updated no more than daily, of exactly what I need to filter out - in the case of the web or similar, exact URIs for each item; guarantee to me that it is filtered out of all newspapers, magazines, paper-based correspondence and any other form of communication as well; and give me blanket protection from any action and accept full personal (unlimited) liability for damages if I'm sued or prosecuted for not preventing access to anything that is not on that list - or don't contribute to the list, don't expect me to filter stuff that's not illegal in my country, and don't let anyone else expect that either. Idiots.

    2. Charles Manning

      Re: So on the Internet you have to please ALL the people ALL the time -- or else?

      "Here's hoping that "globalization" doesn't reduce culture and communication to some "lowest common denominator," because if that happens, there won't BE any culture or communication."

      Of course it does!

      Just look at that little European social engineering experiment: EU. Johnny Foreigner tells honest Brits how to make bangers.

      Now imagine the same degree of intrusion run by the UN or some such:

      No women drivers worldwide in case we offentd the Arabs.

      No beef worldwide in case we offend the Hindus.

      ditto pork Jews and Muslims.

      etc etc etc

  6. Yugguy

    Ok so I have a photo of my daugher, at the age of four, running butt naked on a beach in Devon with a huge handful of seaweed she found.

    If I was to post that on Facebook (not that I would ever actually have a Facebook account), would that be illegal?

    1. Black Betty

      Possibly. It would only take a single wowser...

      ...making a complaint to the plods. If you're unlucky someone will look at the picture and decide to investigate further. If you're really unlucky several departments will involve themselves and proceed to turn your life and the lives of your entire family inside out. It's certainly happened to people who put in rolls of film for developing.

      Like as not, a judge would ultimately dismiss, probably with some scathing commentary for the prosecution, but in the meantime: Children's Services have threatened to take your kids into care unless you move out of the family home; your spouse is looking at you sideways; rumours are flying around the neighbourhood, your kids' friends aren't allowed to visit; your car is vandalised; your job is gone.

      And even with a judgement in your favour, you're still not off the hook. Children's Services can still make you moving back in with your kids, dependent on you accepting counseling (ie admitting guilt) and in home supervision.

      1. Julian Taylor Silver badge

        Re: Possibly. It would only take a single wowser...

        Umm, you don't have to post it. You already have by mentioning on here.

        The dee-dah sound you can hear in the distance is the Rolf Harris Apprehension Society coming for you.

    2. asiaseen

      Yugguy

      Yes. And you better be careful not to upset Mr Plod or he'll be breaking your door down to search your photo albums.

  7. Simon Harris Silver badge
    Meh

    "children's bare bottoms may be considered to be pornography"

    does that include those advertising nappies?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: "children's bare bottoms may be considered to be pornography"

      As we have learned from the Internet (and codified as Rule #34), anything may be considered by someone to be pornography. There is no, as the philosophers1 say, "impenetrable2 context" which prevents some image or description from being found prurient.

      So it all comes down to a question of what the courts (in areas reliably under rule of law) or populace (elsewhere) deem unacceptable. And that's hard2 to predict.

      1E.g. Quine.

      2Heh.

  8. Someone Else Silver badge
    Coat

    Interesting juxtaposition

    This would be in spite of this statement being published in England, where “mere vulgar abuse” is an accepted exclusion from all of the libel and slander laws.

    And on the west side of the pond, "mere vulgar abuse" is otherwise known as standard political discourse.

    Interesting.

  9. Johnny Canuck

    So if one were to publish something that would be deemed an offense in a country which has sharia laws, say an image of Mohammad, then according to this reasoning, the sharia country would be justified in carrying out whatever punishment it deemed appropriate, provided the image could be viewed in said country. If that penalty was death then we should be OK with it if they send an operative to carry out the sentence (because we won't extradite a death penalty case). An extreme example, I know but slippery slope and all that.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      I think your case is a little exyreme, but obviously, anyone who has posted a photo on Facebook of a woman in which more than her eyes are visible should be banned, because in one corner of 1 state in the world, it's ilegal. Utter fcsking nonsence!

      Mrs bachelor is a newborn photographer, and she has to deal with this sort of shit every week! She even has edited photos of babies like Barbie, that have no arse cracks or nipples!

      1. Guus Leeuw

        Why extreme?

        Hi Bristol,

        why is the original commenter's comment a bit extreme? I seem to remember a case where such pictures were printed and made available online by a newspaper in Denmark. Journalist / Editor etc could have been beheaded by mentioned operatives.

        Similar happened to a Mr Bin Laden in Afghanistan....

        Just saying...

        Regards,

        Guus

  10. LDS Silver badge

    What was OK in the '50s may not be ok now...

    That ad was ok sixty years ago. Today, it would be regarded inacceptable. As many other ads depicting women as housewives or mothers only, African people as semi-human ones talking only a bad English, homosexual people as - well they were altogether banned. Cigarettes ads were welcome, and people could smoke everywhere.

    Years ago a naked children was ok in ads, while naked women weren't. Today naked women are ok and used to sell everything, while naked children are no longer allowed.

    Today children faces in news are blurred, at least here in Italy, just a few years ago they weren't. Today if you take photos in a public park, you risk to be identified as a pedophile - some years ago you were just a photographer.

    The world changed, sometimes it got better, sometimes it got worse. Just, it's the actual world you live in, not those of sixty years ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What was OK in the '50s may not be ok now...

      60 years ago my colleagues' father got rounded up and put in a camp because he was a Jew.

      Now the guy on the other side of me gets searched everytime he flies into Houston (but only Houston strangely enough ?) and is totally coincidentally a Muslim.

      Things change, but not very much.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What was OK in the '50s may not be ok now...

        "60 years ago my colleagues' father got rounded up and put in a camp because he was a Jew."

        70 years ?

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: What was OK in the '50s may not be ok now...

          70 years ?

          Maybe his parents were sending him to summer camp? "But I don't wanna make macaroni shakers!"

          (Does this de-Godwin the thread?)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is crazy, my (and most other) parents have pictures of me as a baby in the bath. Does that make them producers of indecent images? in the eyes of the law the answer is apparently yes.

    1. dzasterus

      Sorry but my parents don't have any pictures of you naked

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Mine do.

  12. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    I say bullshit

    Thus Facebook taking the image down is damn all to do with US law, decency or even moderate good sense. It's to do with protecting us from our own laws.

    I don't believe that for one minute. If America's supreme court ruled FB had no right to remove the image in question and doing so infringed the poster's constitutional rights; do you think they would allow it to be reinstated or would they continue to protect us from our own laws?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I say bullshit

      The supreme court might rule that Facebook had no legal requirement to remove the picture.

      But it didn't rule that FB had no right to remove the pictures, it's T&Cs quite clearly say it can do whatever it wants. If it chooses to remove a picture of a baby so that the Daily Mail doesn't start a campaign against it in the UK that's a business decision.

      1. Moosh

        Re: I say bullshit

        T&C's don't hold up very well in courts.

        1. Jonathan Richards 1

          Re: I say bullshit

          >T&C's don't hold up very well in courts.

          [citation needed]

  13. David Webb

    Nappy Ad's

    I ain't really watched TV in a while, but my memory of adverts for nappies seems to suggest showing the undressed rear of a baby, so I'm not really sure an innocent photo in a non sexual context would really be deemed indecent under UK law when we're showing an innocent video in a non sexual context of a naked baby (or am I missing something important?)

  14. Dick Emery

    Proof if ever there was

    That those that make overreaching (overbearing?) laws don't understand the future consequences of making said laws. Laws need to be more flexible to change/adjustment when those laws come into conflict with public interests. Unfortunately it is VERY difficult to change laws once they are signed off (at least in the UK).

  15. Ray Molacha

    The law is an ass.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nappy Ad's

      As far as I can tell the legal classification of images is very subjective at all stages of an investigation and prosecution.

      Context within a set of images apparently does not matter. Any image - or selected portion - can be presented in court as indecent. Conversely an assorted collection of images that are not in themselves deemed indecent - can be be argued to have been assembled for some sexual predilection. Therefore the overall collection is deemed indecent.

      There was a case where the prosecution presented a tiny clip from a naturist family's home video. The judge said that if the prosecution had not highlighted it - then he would have missed it. That formed the whole CPS case against the defendant for possessing an indecent image of a child.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Nappy Ad's

      If you are Johnson and Johnson and have a few 1000 lawyers and a few $Bn in the bank it's not obscene.

      If you are Joe Bloggs and happen to oepn Facebook and the local plod are bored - then you go to jail - or accept a police caution that means you never work again and are first to be interviewed everytime a kid goes missing.

    3. Jonski
      Big Brother

      Re: Nappy Ad's

      Here in NZ (a generally liberal and progressive country) we now see nappy ads that have the black censorship rectangle jiggling over the baby's bottom as he toddles down a corridor.

      A backwards step and panders to the Won't Somebody Think Of Teh Children brigade.

  16. armster

    What about Bikinis?

    So if I find some nation somewhere that thinks women in bikinis are porn then Facebook will remove all those images in all public profiles? I'm no international legal expert, but with the restrictive customs in many muslim countries I would not be surprised if such laws exist somewhere.

    I really think Facebook just wanted some controversy around censorship so people are less inclined to look at their current 'upgrades' in personalized advertisements.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What about Bikinis?

      If Facebook thinks it will lose more money in those countries than it gains in others then yes it will.

      We didn't used to use "4" in product numbers because Chinese/Japanese buyers might be put off (it's unlucky) and nobody else would care. We considered leaving off version 13 in the US but we got bought out and shut down before we got that far.

  17. RISC OS

    Somethings wrong with facebooks ethics department...

    ... naked children get pulled as indecent, but videos of people getting the head cut off with a chainsaw are ok! ...I really must close my facebook account.

  18. Herby Silver badge

    They had a full sized billboard here locally

    Back in the day the Coppertone people put up a BIG motorized billboard on the local freeway (motorway) in San Jose. It had the dog pulling down the little girl's bottom (just a little bit) to expose the tan line. In BIG letters, lit up for all to see were the words "Tan, Don't Burn" in sync with the motor reveal.

    We've come a long way in political correctness (which isn't by the way) in the years since.

    No, I don't know what happened to the billboard. Probably the dustbin of history!

    1. jake Silver badge

      @Herby (was: They had a full sized billboard here locally)

      There was another in Burlingame, near SFO, and another just south of San Rafael on Strawberry Flat. As of 1982ish, the mechanics of all three wound up at Alan Steel & Supply in Redwood City. Only one of the actual signs, though ... The toddler, bikini & dawg were porcelain on steel, the sign itself was 1-inch marine-grade plywood with nice enamel paint. The 4X8 foot sheets no longer had their supporting framework.

      I'm still kicking myself for not purchasing them for the asking price of $1500 for the lot. Probably worth over $150,000 today. It was probably sold as scrap before 1990.

  19. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    So the real story here is that someone has found a way of getting facebook to remove information it has about someone.

  20. DougS Silver badge

    Facebook's "reporting" is a problem

    You only need one person to report it, and Facebook seems to knuckle under and delete it. The rules are based on the most extreme viewpoints, rather than being in the center (or perhaps where they belong, on the 95% percentile or so)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is why the music copyright term extension seemed pointless.

    I can take some music that's pre-1963 and thus public domain in the UK, and upload it to a webserver hosted in the UK and operated by a UK citizen, and still get sued in the US.

    Which I've done, apart from the getting sued part, as a protest against the ridiculous length of copyright these days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is why the music copyright term extension seemed pointless.

      The composer copyright in the UK/EU is now 70 years after death.

      There was an anomaly where some works expired after 50 years under the old rules - and then they came back into copyright a few years later when the period was changed to 70 years. Apparently no one is sure what an English court would decide about the copyright of such works if the holders tried to enforce that.

      The "Happy Birthday" tune was written in 1893. It was copyrighted in 1935 - and with renewals in the USA enjoys a 95 year period to 2030 (2016 in the EU). It is calculated to have had the highest aggregated royalties for a song. The recent BBC4 programme "The Richest Songs in the World" estimated £30m so far.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: This is why the music copyright term extension seemed pointless.

        There's a difference between composer copyright and performance copyright.

        Composer copyright, as you note, is the one with the very long timeframes (of lifetime + X, where X is stupid). Performance or recording copyright, however, was until recently still a relatively modest "date of recording + 50 years". After that time, you're allowed to make/copy an old recording as much as you like, so long as you don't try to re-record or perform the same music yourself (that would infringe composer copyright).

        Recently, a bunch of aging musicians got together and realised they'd totally failed to make any pension provision for themselves, and the recording copyright of published works got extended to "date of publication or public performance + 70 years".

  22. Gray
    Facepalm

    Only corporations and governments allowed ...

    If there is no resolution of the "post here, violate the law there" problem ... then as the world grows increasingly contentious it will be too dangerous for the average citizen to express themselves freely on the 'net, in text or image. In one extreme example, a fictional online story involving sexual activity between two consenting persons under the age of 18 is legal in the US, but illegal in parts of Australia. The author could be charged and prosecuted. Or an unflattering depiction of Mohammed in relation to fanatical believers could result in a fatwa of death.

    Only governments and corporations could defend against such responses. An average bloke? Not a chance.

    Perhaps this was the intended result all along ... the 'net is entirely too dangerous to leave in the hands of the citizens,

  23. earl grey Silver badge
    WTF?

    "ditto pork Jews"

    I knew reform Jews who ate bacon all the time. They loved it. Meantime, i guess the piccies of the kids on a bearskin rug as babies are all pron now (to the perverts, anyway).

  24. johnwerneken

    F**K the Law

    How can it be argued that any person, group of people, or the entire human race unanimously less one, has any right to regulate or prohibit ANY information or image whatsoever, true or false, defamatory o9r not, insulting or not, racist or not, moral or not?

    The problem is that there is no way to prevent folks, and them assembling as a sovereign or world state makes no difference, trying to DO whatever they please also, such as punish people uttering, broadcasting, or obtaining disapproved information/images.

    The solution is that technology will enable one person to publish whatever they please, and any other to obtain it, without it being physically possible for any or ALL others to even find out, much less interfere. THIS is the GOAL!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Violating the laws of other legislatures

    Surely the fault lies with the authorities in the country where whatever you have posted is regarded as a violation. As China has done so effectively there should be a national firewall to filter out stuff the government doesn't want you to see whether than be news reports about the events centred on Tiananmen square or the suggestion that a French public official is a poopyhead - isn't that a globally practised prerequisite for becoming a public official?

    The filtering trend is catching on with UK David Cameron's porn filter legislation, surely better to stop me looking at a naughty lady in the first place than to break my door down at 5a.m. and take posession of my PC (or given pornhub's visitor stats, more likely my iPad if I had one) after the event.

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Facepalm

      Re: Violating the laws of other legislatures

      Surely the fault lies with the authorities in the country where whatever you have posted is regarded as a violation.

      The authorities only act when political pressure requires them to. They are an instrument, not the problem. Well, they are the problem, but only because they are a blunt instrument without any sense of judgement.

      The problem, to poorly paraphrase the Bard, is not in the authorities, but in ourselves. We need to get a grip on reality before it's too late. Surely there are bad people in this world, but they can be dealt with appropriately, without penalizing the vast majority of us, who want nothing more than the chance to let our kids run around without clothes on and not go to jail for it.

  26. Matt_payne666

    I fail to see the issue...

    Website decides to remove content it deems inappropriate...

    Facebook reserves the right to do what it wants... if it decides, rightly or wrongly to display or take down content then it can...

    If you are that offended by their decisions, then you are welcome to move to a different social networking site or create your own...

    If the woman had paid for a service that specialises in hosting photos of babies bottoms, then maybe she would have some sort of compliant, but she is using a free site with an audience that may (rightly or wrongly) include viewers that would find these images inappropriate...

  27. cortland

    Meanwhile in Brussels...

    http://www.brussels.be/artdet.cfm/4328

    1. asiaseen

      Re: Meanwhile in Brussels...

      Friends of the Order of Manneken-Pis - who needs enemies?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The fault is partly with the law on "indecent images" and pornography

    >Firstly, that children's bare bottoms may be considered to be pornography,

    I thought the law allowed for how the image was being used. For example if I saved this image for what it is, a bit of amusing fun, then there is no problem. However, if I saved it because I think a little girl's bare bum is a sexual object and I might have a quick one off the wrist later on then it's a no-no. I know the police will always go for the latter interpretation but the contents of your image colllection should show how you are likely to interpret the image.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Photos of kids

    We have, in our family, a photo taken by my grandfather at the family summer cottage in the 1930s. Taken from a swimming float in the lake, it shows all my uncles and aunts, clad in nothing but their birthday suits, standing on rocks and playing in the water (backs to the camera). It hung in my mother's dining room and we thought nothing of it, until one day in the 80s, she took it down, saying something about how it might be misunderstood.

    It's still one of may favorite photos on the subject of childhood innocence. Today, perhaps it exemplifies it more than the photographer originally intended. It is very sad, what we have come to, when kids can't be kids and we adults feel the need to sexualize everything. Even worse is the general feeling that "you can't be too careful" and should report even the suggestion of child endangerment to the proper authorities. I feel fortunate indeed to have grown up with a mother who would kick us out of the house in the morning and told us to be back for dinner.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @AC 17 Hours Ago[1] Re: Photos of kids

      A couple old posts from me:

      http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/search/?q=jake+%2BDaguerreotype

      [1] Whatever that means, ElReg.

  30. Gerry Doyle 1

    Surely -

    "This is a crucial point that really isn't well understood yet: the internet is subject to the laws of where it is looked at, *AS WELL AS* where it is created" ?

  31. Nanners

    Anyone

    Who puts up pictures of their kids on Facebook is pretty much irresponsible and a dumb dumb anyway. I don't care what she has to say.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anyone

      Why?

      My 13yo daughter considers her online Social experience to be as equally valid as her physical one.

      She has an Instagram Acct and a Twitterfeed (she doesn't want a FB acct - it's not cool enough, apparently) - we have access to that account - that was the deal for getting them.

      And why have I brought this up in response to your post? Well, because we know some of her friends have had sneaky FB accounts and Tweetfeeds from as early as the age of 9, unsupervised, secretive... (because their parents don't believe/don't understand/don't care that this generation of kids want to be online)

      We have introduced our children to the Internet and Social Media, slowly and cautiously, but it is their world now, so rather than pretending it's not happening, or forbidding access to it, or reading the Daily Mail and wailing "think of the children!" all the time, we have tried to empower our children to look after themselves - we teach them how to cross the road safely, don't eat the red berries off the trees, don't go off with strangers in the park in the physical world, so why not the equivalent on the 'Net?

      So, there are photos of my kids on FB - mainly because my mum, who lives a long way away, thinks FB is the Internet - having entered the world of Social Media and Smartphones simultaneously at the age of 60. My kids can veto anything we would like to post, that's the parental deal we struck with them.

      We are teaching them the Internet is, at its best, a fun, exciting place that needs to be used with some common sense and a modicum of caution, but I will not bring them up thinking every person in the world is a paedophile out to get them because in the real world and even on the Internet, it's not true and do tell them it is turns the real/virtual world into a dark, dark place.

  32. Billa Bong

    The Internet of Things

    In this day and age where pretty much anything could be connected to the internet and usually is without the owners needing to do anything this is a serious issue. I don't get the choice of what gets pushed through my facebook news feed, nor can easily control where stuff I publish goes via some other parties "routing".

    If publishers of content have to bow to the lowest common denominator law (is that China? Someone must know) then basically we're all screwed. Sorry, I just screwed myself by using the word screwed which will upset some law. And again. Oh fu..

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great discussion

    What a fascinating, thoughtful, polite discussion.

  34. Christopher Blackmore

    FaceBottom

    One of the reasons I closed my FaeceBook account was that although they very strictly forbid pictures of earwax, they were quite happy for some trolls calling themselves MarihuanaMakesYouViolent, or something equally stupid, to use a picture of the aftermath of a terrorist bomb, complete with detached limbs, shocked people standing in deep blood, guts all over the place, as part of an awful joke.

    They wouldn't take it down.

    I never, ever, look at FaceBarf. Babies bottoms? I've washed one, hundreds of times. They aren't sexy.

  35. Inachu

    certain races

    Certain races find the human form disgusting and would rather hide in their shame.

    I am sure if you forced those shameful people to live in a greek city they would be in jail in no less than 24 hours for using hammers on famous statues that have rock solid genitals in plain view.

    It is their religion that makes them do this and it is a mental sickness.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arrest all parents

    If a child's bottom was indecent, then we'd have to arrest ALL parents for looking at their kids nude.

  37. AndyJenk

    Watch. Out Mock the Week and HIGNFY!

    As satirical TV programs get syndicated around the world I can easily see the BBC deciding to drop them. Unless foreign laws protecting politicians specify the country then presumably OUR politicians are protected by the same laws (god help us!)

  38. englishgit

    Clarification of UK law Regarding Indecent Images of Children

    Part of my job involves categorisation of indecent images of children, and there is a clear distinction between indecent images and simple nudism pictures. The latter, according to the common interpretation of the law, are not indecent. The term "erotic posing" has previously been used in sentencing guidelines and most people use this as a guide. A naked child in a family photo is not illegal in the UK according to any sensible opinion. Facebook's policy is to cover against the US law, which is almost identical now with regards to images of children, and often more severe when it come to child nudity. There is no sense bashing UK law (especially when you're inaccurate) based on the policy of a US company.

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