Showing posts with label Privacy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Privacy. Show all posts

July 25, 2015

Med Student Takes selfie as he Performs cesarean exposing patient genitals

In Lima Peru, Doctors perform cesarean exposing the patient genitals and face.
 This case is in addition to the medial student story.
Doctors performing a caesarean. Photo via Flickr
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
 "Lady I can deliver your baby but first let me take a selfie," wrote smooth-talking Venezuelan student obstetrician Daniel Sanchez on his Instagram page last week. In the accompanying picture he smirks at the camera while a woman, naked from the waist down, gives birth behind him. Another obstetrician’s fingers are still in, or around, her vagina as she begins crowning.
 Med Student Daniel Sanchez
 Sanchez (who has since set his Instagram account to private) went on to boast that his team can "bring kids into the world and reconstruct pussies," claiming their skills are such that women (and implicitly their partners) can look forward to being "brand new, like a car with zero kilometers on the clock." How splendid, say the image's 31 likers. Unfortunately for Sanchez, more than 4,000 people who signed a petition calling for disciplinary action to be taken against him think it's less acceptable.
In an email exchange with the petition's creator (Jesusa Ricoy of the Roses Revolution, a global movement against obstetric violence) Sanchez has apologized for any offense while denying taking the picture himself. He carefully mansplains to us all that the woman in question is respected because "you cannot see her genitals or her face" and assures that she gave consent. He's also keen to make it known that he is one of the most empathetic students on the team and that women often request that he specifically perform their vaginal examinations, saying, "doctor hagame el tacto usted que es mas delicado" ("doctor you touch me because you are more gentle").
Even if Sanchez did gain the unidentified woman's consent before displaying an intensely private and vulnerable moment to the world, his priorities were skewed. She was busy pushing a small human out of her body. Having done that a couple of times myself I'm confident that posing for a photo wasn't at the top of her to-do list.
But that's only part of the problem. Most shocking to me is the power dynamic in the photo. The woman is surrounded. She's on her back, at a moment of birth where she can't move even if she wanted to. The doctors are standing, uniformed against her nudity. They have faces, feelings, and agency. She has been reduced to a torso. A reproductive channel to be rooted around in without regard.
Jesusa Ricoy started the online protest against the image to "tackle the culture in which this kind of thing is permitted and accepted." Her movement was founded in response to a series of cartoons in the Spanish Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists journal that shamed, mocked, and sexualized women. With oversized breasts matching their inane questions, reduced to splayed legs and genitals in stirrups or running with a vaginal prolapse dragging on the ground to the delight of chasing dogs; it was clear how these doctors viewed the women they were supposed to care for. Despite protests, the Society has never apologized for the cartoons.
Sanchez's photo isn't a lone example. This image of an apparently unconscious, naked woman after a caesarean section was again posted online by doctors. Over this weekend Ricoy found another medic instagramming dubious birth images. Nurse Francisco Salgado has now deleted his photo showing the post-birth stitching of a woman's perineum. A tastefully blurred and bloodied vagina and thighs is the background of an in-focus head attending to her. Salgado has added a caption that reads; "someone will be in my eternal debt #thankfulhusbandsstich." The “husband stitch" refers to the practice of painfully suturing a woman's vaginal opening to be smaller and tighter than before birth.
Of course the images in and of themselves aren't the real problem. They are simply hieroglyphics for much of what's wrong with the way women are treated in childbirth and, more broadly, throughout their reproductive lives. Away from the filtered reality of Instagram, the power is still usually in the wrong place.
Venezuela was the first country to legally recognize the term " obstetric violence." The law forbids abusive practices and anything that brings with it "loss of autonomy and the ability to decide freely about their bodies and sexuality, negatively impacting the quality of life of women." The legal definition has provided hope around the world, but the reality in many Venezuelan hospitals is still grim.
In Brazil last year Adelir Carmen Lemos de Góes was taken from her home by police and forced against her will to have a cesarean section because doctors didn't agree with her birth choices. Routinely, according to the recent Birth in Brazil study, vaginal birth is a lonely world of pain. Women are denied the opportunity to have a companion, access pain relief, or the freedom to move around in labor. The caesarean section rate is out of step with women's preferred choice of labor with a recent study showing that while 73 percent of women want a vaginal birth, 50-80 percent of them end up with cesarean sections.
This isn't a problem unique to South America. It's so endemic that the World Health Organization has launched a campaign explaining that "across the world many women experience disrespectful, abusive, or neglectful treatment during childbirth in facilities. These practices can violate women’s rights, deter women from seeking and using maternal health care services and can have implications for their health and well-being." While those in the developing world are often hit hardest by abusive practices and a culture that dehumanizes childbearing women, it would be naive to think this doesn't impact women closer to home as well. Activists Cristen Pascucci and Lindsay Atkins's newly launched "Exposing the Silence" photo project documents women in the US who have experienced obstetric violence. There are equally shocking forced cesarean cases in the US and a rising culture of punitive measures against pregnant women who seek to restrict their reproductive freedoms more broadly.
The UK does better, but women still report intimate, surgical procedures being performed without their consent. A lack of dignity and compassion is cited time and again in investigations into failing maternity units and tragic, avoidable deaths. Women say that they are made to feel like vessels, not human beings, in birth.
Humanity is the key to breaking down acceptance of practices that not only humiliate, imprison, endanger, and abuse women, but eat away at their basic rights. In South America the extent of the problem has provoked a revolutionary solution. Thehumanizing birth movement (resulting in government-sponsored programs like the Stork Network in Brazil) pushes for safe and quality care with a woman-centered, respectful approach at all times. Putting basic human dignity back in to childbirth and reversing the power balance is an approach now being watched and emulated around the world.
Forced cesareans, obstetric violence, and dehumanized care can seem a world away from an arrogant junior doctor with a selfie-stick. But women are shamed and dehumanized in the birth room every day. Their heads may as well be cropped out, as in Sanchez's photo, as they lie stranded, just identity-less vaginas awaiting rescue or pillage; the balance of power tipped entirely in the wrong direction. It's women, not doctors, who "bring kids into the world." Let's start with getting that on the first page of the obstetric text book.

August 7, 2013

Why FB Tagging Can Be Dangerous to your Privacy and More

Wonder why Facebook is so enthusiastic about tagging everyone, especially on their faces? They are amassing a huge database of facial profiles that can be linked to an array of personal information. Over 500 million people around the world have willingly uploaded – and basically given – Facebook about 90 billion photos, which in this data-driven, security-obsessed era means Facebook is sitting on the nest that offers one golden egg after another. To tap into this nest of golden eggs further, Facebook acquired, a company that specializes in facial recognition technology, which only confirms the conclusion ofunprecedented research undertaken by Carnegie Mellon University that Facebook “has essentially become a worldwide photo identification database.”
The idea being developed — and not just via Facebook — is that you (or the police, the FBI, CIA, marketing firms, evildoers or whomever) will be able to hold up a smart phone in public and scan each face as it walks by. Facial recognition technology, in fact, is already being used by the private sector in high-end stores who seek to identify celebrity shoppers when they walk in the door. Next, they will be identifying you.
Not only will the facial recognition software/app tell you with stunning accuracy who each person is, it will also likely be able to link to private info like addresses, phone numbers, employers, who your friends are and if you went to college.
If you are wondering how I know about this, I was at a blogger conference in Park City, Utah and one break-out session was titled, “What is the Social Network Technology of the Future.” This face-tracking scenario was described as inevitable, despite privacy concerns. It was noted that Facebook, which had struggled to find a way to monetize its service, is perfectly poised to make mega-bucks from the massive amount of data they are accumulating through our own innocent consent.
One way around this is to not tag — or to tag a non-descript section of the photo like a background tree, which is what I now do, when I do choose to tag. Of course, refraining from posting personal photos is the best option, but: a) what fun is Facebook if you cannot post photos and b) you cannot control what your Uncle Bob, roommate or teenage friend decides to upload and tag. You can also visit the privacy setting on your Facebook page and partially opt out of tagging features — but this feature will not prevent Facebook from mining biometric information in your photos.
Unfortunately, it is too late for me. I have dozens of facial photos tagged with my name and subsequently Facebook already recognizes me, as evidenced by Facebook’s seemingly friendly offer to tag me in untagged photos.
What once seemed like an innocuous gesture (facial tagging) and a great way to share photos with friends and family, now seems increasingly creepy. With the direction that facial recognition technology is going, 17th century masquerade parties are starting to look a lot more inviting.
To read more about the growing privacy invasion via Facebook check-out:

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