Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2020


COLLAB: The optics of the policy

And vice-versa

Photography policies have begun to appear at free-software events in recent years. These policies typically seek to address personal privacy concerns for event attendees, but they sometimes conflict with the event's desire to record talks, Q&A periods, and social gatherings in public spaces. If not drafted with care, photo policies also run the risk of creating ambiguities for journalists, other attendees making personal photo or video recordings, and members of event-hosting organizations or the public. This session will be an open discussion about photo and video-recording policies, online tagging policies, and related personal-privacy policies, with the goal of clarifying the requirements, needs, and intents of all stakeholders in the FOSS community, so that future event organizers have a solid framework from which to draft clear policies that fit their situations.

Free-software events, like free-software projects, have to maintain a delicate balance between openness as a broad principle and privacy as an individual concern. In the past few years, more and more free-software events and community projects have developed "photo policies" that are intended to define when and how individuals and groups should be captured in media from the event and when and how those same people should be identified in the media. But a haphazard approach to policy writing can create unintentional ambiguities, such as how to define when an individual is the "subject' of a photograph or merely in the background. And free-software communities must also take care to write policies that do not come into conflict with local law, especially when events take place in public spaces. Finally, event organizers need to ensure that their photo policies, real-name policies, press policies, and session-recording consent policies work in concern with one another, not in conflict.

This session will be a broad discussion of photography policies and how they interact with other policy concerns. The intent will be to enumerate the concerns of all stakeholders, identify potential areas of confusion, note best practices, and — most importantly — establish resources and spaces for further discussion for project and community members creating photo policies in the future.


Photo of Nathan Willis Nathan Willis