Without Consent

Recently Deutsche Telekom released a rather arresting “social experiment campaign” on YouTube called “Without Consent”.  It revolves around the comment practice of sharing family photos and videos online, specifically of children, and highlights the full extent of what this practice could lead to.  It aims to highlight the extent of digital footprints, and educate on the risks related to them, particularly with the rise of AI and “deep fake” technologies that can recreate someone’s likeness in a manner that is almost impossible to perceive isn’t real.

The video revolves around a young child called Ella, whose parents share various media of her online, just like many families do.  Using a single photo, the creators used deep fake technology to present a grown up version of Ella who speaks back to her parents about the future consequences of their online activity involving her.  Click the image below to watch what happens:

If nothing else it is great to see mainstream corporations taking on the consent and privacy agendas, moving them more and more into the public consciousness.  But the video does raise some very important questions.  Clearly, like many other facets of technology and the internet, this is a very real risk that many may not yet comprehend, or at least have front of mind as they go about their daily activities… but is it something that can even be avoided?  Is it just another fact-of-life risk that we must all manage?  Should nobody even post anything with children in it?  Would that outweigh the positives of social connection?  Some go as far to suggest that sharing of children’s images should be prohibited by law.  A noble, if perhaps impractical aim.  

But is this just scaremongering or should we all be paying more attention, taking more action?  It certainly all starts with awareness, but then what?  Leave your thoughts below…