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For the families who become victims of 'clerical' errors, the fights end up in vain.

When govt uses your picture without consent Two families in Tamil Nadu who have suffered Image for representation/ Pixabay
news Thursday, September 03, 2015 - 16:49

How would you react if someone told you they saw a picture of you with red patches, in a government hospital, with tagline "There is cure for Eczema".

You would be puzzled, enraged and even embarrassed 

And why wouldn't you be?

Then when you go look for yourself, it is indeed you, where as the red patches are sunburns and the picture was created by an unknown photographer.

Don't be surprised if this happens to you. Two families in Tamil Nadu were acutely embarrassed when their photographs were splashed across the state: one to promote "Namma Toilets and other for AIDS  awareness.

A family from a slum in Coimbatore were victims of collateral damage, when Tamil Nadu's "Namma Toilets" scheme was launched with a bright and frolic picture of the family in the poster. 

The family just felt humiliated and disgusted when they learnt that the picture was circulated to many places in the State and in Andhra Pradesh. The picture was taken by civic officials during the census a year earlier. 

Children were ashamed to go to school as people asked them about the poster.  A woman who is a part of the family alleged that the picture was used as they were Dalits, reported NDTV.

The Tamil Nadu government doesn't seem to have learnt its lesson from the 2009 episode, despite the high court's strictures against using pictures of families / individuals without their consent. 

In 2009, Tamil Nadu AIDS control Society (TANSACS), came out with a poster that said that 'HIV neeedn't get passed on from mother to child'. And for this poster, they used a picture of a young mother Thilagavathi and her child, which was simply taken off the net.

The mother and the child in the picture were ostracised by the landlord who asked them to vacate. Though the Madras high court gave TANSACS a week to take off every single poster, Thilagavathi's case to get compensation was dismissed by a judge after 4 years, on a technical ground. 

The government and various government affiliated organisations seem to be taking the easy way out by using pictures without considering copyright violations or privacy issues. And for the families who become victims of 'clerical' errors, the fights end up in vain.

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