Let me tell you a little bit about Whitney. She is a lovely and in college, bright future ahead; beautiful person, both inside and out. Lots of pictures of herself online. She loves to share pictures of her having friends and family, having a good time.
Little did she know, a person stole all of those pictures, didn't use Whitney's face, and created an alternate identity on the internet used in chat rooms and online dating sites. When Whitney found out about this and went to law enforcement and got legal help, they went searching for the person. They thought, "If we can figure out who this is, what can we do to make this person stop?" They realized that our laws have not kept up with the digital age.
They didn't steal money. They didn't steal her identity. They only stole her likeness. Because they only stole her likeness, the laws cannot put this person in jail. What do we learn from Whitney's case? Number one, our laws haven't kept up. Number two, think about every post you do, every photo, every video. Unless it's trademarked or copyrighted, it no longer belongs to you post it to the net; it belongs to the world.
Those are some lessons and, unfortunately, some tough lessons for people to take away from this. The last piece that I want for people to think about is pictures. Facial recognition technology is getting cheaper, faster, and better all the time. More companies are using this to screen applicants for jobs and college. What do you think, when somebody sees somebody like Whitney, when somebody screens her pictures and wonderful posts and then they see this alter identity. Somebody that who isn't anything like her, different name, different posts, but the same exact picture pops up.
Do you think they are going to talk to Whitney about it or will they just close her file, push it away, and move on to the next applicant. We need to be very aware, not just that the laws haven't kept up, but that somebody using your likeness could create real reputation issues for you.