“If I cannot have privacy in my own hotel room, then where can I really expect any personal space at all?” Virat Kohli’s post last week after a ‘fan’ broke into his hotel room in Australia and aired his clean laundry was more than a peak at how voyeurism is testing the dictionary with a whole new meaning.
Kohli’s outburst went viral- in contemporary era it takes a lot less to trend, and pushed the P word now wobbly like a drunk man back into the public domain.
As boundaries go, even in a flaky social media bubble where the only rules are that there are none, this stirs the debate- has the fine line shifted?
Online provoking the offline
The crossover - online provoking the offline, may have made limits flexible but there has always been one constant, the permanence of consent and yet a man or, more think nothing of breaking into a hotel room, unhurriedly filming a private breather and uploading it as though sharing match highlights.
Two for the price of one, an invasion of privacy and a casual break-in, are the crossroads here? Next time all roads may lead to a bedroom at home.
At the centre of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 is the theme of privacy as an illusion, by breaking into a hotel room just for the sake of a video, the belief of the beholder has been channelled, choice compromised. Legendary singer David Bowie went through 18 months of cancer treatment, not once did the news leak.
Do intruders like these get emboldened from the self- manifesting in some prominent Bollywood stars who have chosen to forfeit their personal space by tipping off the paparazzi even when they walk their dog? Has the pitch been queered beyond redemption?
Click for a click bait world
The cocktail of the ubiquitous phone, a selfie and a click has tossed every privacy guideline into junk. An adult checks into a hospital with as much glee as he would to a holiday resort. In a click for a click bait world, scan, and scam are a twisted mantra with exclusive no longer only a television news band.
Virat Kohli and his actor wife Anushka Sharma earn crores through their Instagram posts but have zealously guarded their child’s privacy, it’s an unspoken but not an unreasonable plea and yet a broadcaster recently chose to zoom the camera on their daughter during a match.
Children and spotlight, it’s a memo that surprisingly isn’t carved in stone and globally parents share a slice of this blame.
The term ‘Sharenting’ a word unheard of till 2012 was coined by writer Steven Leckhart in the Wall Street Journal, he tried to make sense of adults sharing intimate details and photographs of their kids, the kind that never left the walls of the four homes when photo albums were physical.
Each to their own also needs to make sense. Influencers are guilty of using their children- or of others to monetise on social media like the case of a family who adopted an autistic child, leveraged the posts and then legally terminated the adoption. It’s a heady rush when short forms drop like overnight followers on Instagram but privacy and ethics need a long hard look.
Generations fed on a digital diet are busy juggling their own paradoxes and sending mixed signals. Getting catfished online, streaming live while screaming public is private. The rules have been re-defined, it’s not the gentleman’s game and someone will get hurt. Someone did.
This when the dice is already loaded. Appthority, a company that specialises in identifying risky behaviour in mobile apps flagged 95 per cent of the top 200 free apps for iOS and Android for making privacy a laughing stock by tracking the identity of the user, location and other personal details surreptitiously.
The deal with the digital devil is boundless, hacking- whether Instagram accounts of big handles or phones through a surveillance state are all dots that join, invasion of policy has many sides to the coin including biometrics as identity. In cyber space or on terra firma, private access can only be granted by its owner, at its core lies how much is too much.
Was the violation of Kohli’s space and hotel room waiting to happen? The entitlement over private lives of public faces is reaching a crescendo, social media portrays them as being just around the corner. In this infinitely changing landscape the worrying part is, what next.