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This cartoon focuses on video recording – how people readily whip out their phones to record events involving people in distress. The “bystander effect” is often invoked to describe the phenomenon of why people watch an emergency unfold without trying to help the victim. Perhaps there should be a modern update to the “bystander effect” called the “video recording effect” to describe how people will take videos of people in distress rather than help them.

In an interesting article, Why Do People Film Others in Distress Instead of Helping Them?, Angela Lashbrook discusses research on the bystander effect (it’s not as strong a phenomenon as many accounts say it is) as well as the effects of surveillance and video recording on people’s behavior. The research points in many different directions.

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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy and data security training. He also posts at his blog at LinkedIn, which has more than 1 million followers.

Professor Solove is the organizer, along with Paul Schwartz, of the Privacy + Security Forum an annual event designed for seasoned professionals. 

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