The publication of topless photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing by some European publications is distressing, to say the least. Apart from the legal issues concerning invasion of privacy, though, there’s a question in my mind about the lack of organized response by consumers who are offended by such publication.
Rags publish these photos because they know that there’s a market for them and it will drive up sales. If they lose enough subscribers over their actions, they may be forced to reconsider.
So why haven’t all the pro-privacy people or people who are offended by such publications organized a boycott of every publication that used these pictures?
Why don’t I see web sites where consumers pledge that although they have been regular subscribers to or readers of [insert name of rag], they have decided to cancel their subscription and not read the publication for at least two months to express their disapproval of the rag’s invasion of privacy?
I wonder how many customers would boycott.
Yes, lawsuits are helpful – if the penalties outweigh the profits the rag made in publishing the pictures, but a court’s ruling may not mean as much long-term as a consumer uprising.
Just as consumers can influence browser privacy by using browsers that are more privacy-protective, so too may we be able to influence publishers.
Am I advocating consumer pressure to achieve censorship or to restrict freedom of press? No. I am, however, advocating that we put our money where our mouths are on privacy.