My daughter, Riley, was born about a month ago. Months before that, our families were already asking for pictures – of the ultrasounds. (An AVG Technologies study found that 1 in 4 unborn babies has a digital footprint.) Now that we’re in the heart of babydom, the photo requests are piling up. So, we needed a way to share the life of Riley with our world.
Much of my recent Facebook feed is comprised of friends and people from my accumulated network posting pictures of their kids. Presumably this happens over other social media platforms as well. Here’s my problem with this: digital anonymity cannot be reclaimed, and giving it up should be a personal decision. I don’t care about your Facebook privacy settings, as there’s still a chance that your baby is going to show up in a Gerber ad on my news stream. Riley should have the right to decide, when she’s good and ready, whether she wants to drop the digital veil and go public in the world just as I had the option to do so when Facebook debuted back when.
There’s an interesting writeup in the New York Times thinking through whether a baby has an actual Right to Privacy. It sounds ridiculous, but, I can empathize: I want control over my own digital identity, and I wouldn’t have wanted my parents spreading my baby, toddler, and child pictures all over the web.
Some interesting dialogue on the topic over at BabyCenter.
As tech-savvy parents, we opted for a middle ground: a password-protected and controlled site through which we could post photos to only those people whom we give the password. This site idea is not perfect, but it is also not crawl-able and not index-able, and so I can feel comfortable knowing there’s no corporation making money from my baby’s photo stream.