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RainMom, thanks also for sharing your experience and reinforcing the fact that schools and perhaps business people do understand the basic rights to privacy, as well as the legal implications for invading that privacy.

As to the social media phenomenon, I've been wondering if it appeals to (1) some basic loneliness in people who need to connect with others but don't know how to make friends or engage in one on one contact, or (2) people who don't really have the social skills for extensive personal contact, or (3) people who just follow whatever the trend is without thinking it through.

Or maybe there's a larger social trend in process by which people disassociate with each other and instead segue back to being loners, such as the voyageurs and other early colonization explorers were - living alone and basically having minimal interaction with others.

Every so often PBS used to run a documentary about a man who moved to someplace remote, Alaska, I believe, built his own cabin, emphasized total self efficiency, and lived like that for some years. I don't remember his name.

I kept thinking how isolated his life must be, and wondered if he never even craved the company of others. I guess not.

I also recall an engineering professor I worked for several years ago in a brief stint to try business outside of law. This man was sooooo antisocial that it was an effort for him to just say good morning. He came into work, just grunted hello if even that, went into his office and shut his door.

If he's still alive, he's probably in 7th heaven, being able to have to deal with people w/o having interpersonal contact.

Someday, some of these privacy issues are going to end up litigated at the highest level. In the meantime, social media techies can roll in the dough they're making from commoditization of personal data.
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Ages ago a photographer took a pic of my disable son while at school - he's a very good looking kid, if I say so myself! Anyhoo - I'm not sure how it works with typical kids but in special ed, here you are given a form to authorize pics for publication purposesat the start of every new school year. I never wanted my sons pic taken and always replied "no". So - as it turned out they put his pic on the cover of an industry magazine that goes out to all special ed departments/teachers in our state. They figured out after they had printed the magazine, but prior to mailing that they did not have permission to us my sons image. Let me tell you, there was a lot of fancy dancing done to get my authorization! I was not a happy camper about it but finally said "okay" as long as he nor his school/school district was named or identifiable in any way. As long as I live I will never understand the social media phenomenon.
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Dejavu, good insights and helpful analysis, especially as to the legal issues.
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Posting photos and even videos on social media of people in all sorts of invasive, embarrassing, compromising, and offensive poses and situations is so common that people take it for the norm these days. Call me old-fashioned, but I find it appalling.

The legality of it is another matter and one that sometimes can only be settled in court. Having owned an event video business and currently on the board of our local public access television, I can tell you that your sisters are putting themselves in shaky territory by their actions. The NH as well could be liable for invasion of patient privacy if they were to be challenged by either your father or someone acting in his behalf.

Someone mentioned that wedding pictures are on public display, so why not sick bed or death bed photos? There is a world of difference. A wedding is at least to some extent a public affair, while a hospital room or nursing home is not unless all concerned have consented to (a) being photographed and (b) having the photo published.

There was a famous case years ago when someone tried to sue Life magazine when he saw his image in a group of people on the cover. The picture was taken during New York's St. Patrick's Day parade and featured people celebrating while dressed in St. Paddy regalia. The judge ruled that the event was a public one and anybody taking part, especially when dressed in costume, was not under the protection of privacy laws.

I could go into more detail about the laws and the vast grey areas of what constitutes privacy, harassment, obscenity, etc., but the legal aspect aside, common decency demands that your sisters remove the photos from public view and refrain from any more such behavior. They need to find a better way to resolve the emotional rift between themselves and your father. When he is gone they will realize that their actions were simply wrong, but by then it will be too late.
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At its crux, this seems to be about a dysfunctional family situation. The picture-takers were neglected as children. Is this "get-back" time for them? Father doesn't know about it, so it isn't hurting him. OP knows about it and it is hurting her (him?). But apparently (?) siblings are not on good terms and aren't particularly motivated to look out for each other.

I don't any discussion about the ethical or legal implications here have any real baring on a solution. This is just one more of those very sad dysfunctional family situations.
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I think its horrible to take pictures of people at their worst. The question to ask is if they would appreciate it. I don't care for my picture taken and have come up against people who feel they have a right to snap it without permission. I've already told my girls I want a closed casket.
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bookluvr, In the part of the world I grew up in, posting pictures of family members in the coffin was socially acceptable. In fact, I have seen pictures of dead people in their coffins hanging on walls in people's houses. Many years ago I couldn't get to my Grandmother's funeral and the Aunts sent me pictures of her in the coffin so I could see how well she looked. They meant well, but just an odd custom.
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I would tell them exactly how you feel.. In my opinion what they did was cruel...

Try to explain to them what they did was something you all know he would never do himself..
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I agree with the posting of if he's smiling, waving, having a good time celebrating a birthday that's one thing. Sick, ill, coma, etc., that's another. I know my mom would be mortified if I posted a picture of her in her current condition. My sister passed 3 years ago and the same went for her as well. She would have put a curse on me that I would have never gotten away from! Yes, this generation is different with social media however our Son would never do that to my husband or myself. It's private. Heck, I don't even like unflattering pictures of myself to be posted, texted, emailed, however or whatever. That's just my take on it but I say take some really unflattering pictures of your sisters and post those and see how they like it! Good Luck and God Bless
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I might add, if you are objecting, then sue. If he has dementia, then he cannot give "consent" in which case it is exploiting an elder.
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Absolutely! How disrespectful. Threaten them with a lawsuit.
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First this is in no way a HIPAA issue - HIPAA only places restrictions on medical workers (Drs, nurses, etc) NOT on family and friends (or even random strangers).

How you stop this depends on how far you are willing to go, theoretically, as POA you might be able to have them banned from entering his room; but you really don't want to do that over something as small as pictures.

Your best option is to try to reason with them and make them understand how hurtful this behavior would be to your dad if he knew about it.
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Max, to be blunt, I find the fact that you stated that your sister is posting pictures of your dad wearing a silly hat while he is sleeping and completely unaware that his picture is being taken is appalling. IMHO this is totally humiliating for your dad regardless of the details of any past relationship, good or bad. This is humiliating for your father, and you need to stop your sister from this (borderline) abuse for her own amusement. This is NOT how we treat seniors on this forum. I think your sisters behavior is disgusting. It seems to be your sister wants attention and is using your poor dads helpless situation for just that. I cant believe the NH lets her do this, you should let the NH staff know so she can be stopped, it is a privacy issue, and your sistee is violating your dads right to privacy. If sis is holding a grudge against him for the past, then there is no reason for her to visit him at all. Ugh.
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BookLuvr, FB is probably using some kind of facial recognition software like law enforcement uses.

It also has some type of e-mail linking software. I was linked to several people once in a FB unsolicited "invitation" to join. One of them was someone who had e-mailed me once. That's all; no correspondence otherwise. Yet he was listed, along with some relatives, in FB's solicitation. There's no way they could have known unless they were cross checking his e-mail with others to me. I found that offensive, really, really offensive.

I think the younger generation has grown up with these social media sites, which seem to create their own laws and bills of rights, and accepts that this is the way life is. Those of us who are older, like me, just find this mass exposure of personal lives troubling, unwelcome and potentially dangerous.


I find the action of those relatives who posted photos of your mother in her coffin not only in poor taste but insulting to the rest of the family. I'm with you and your brother - there's no excuse for such behavior.

One of my aunts was tech savvy, learned to use a computer in her 80's. But she specified in her instructions to her family that she wanted a closed casket. In retrospect, and even though the attendees at her funeral were older and mature people, I think that a good idea.
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RainMom, you raise an issue of privacy that I had forgotten about - photos actually have information in them that can indicate location. I don't recall the article, and was shocked when I read it, but apparently it's part of the digital process of taking photos.

I'm going to do some research to see if I can figure this out and disable the function.

I recall decades ago when tell-all books were somewhat scandalous, but I thought that movie starts needed some level of mass exposure that we noncelebrities don't need or want. There are a lot of unstable people in the world, and I wouldn't want them seeing my family, getting a location from the photo, and going after a vulnerable older parent.

Craigs List, although not a site for posting people photos, is a good example of how something with good intentions can be misused by someone with evil intentions. I had a close call once; that was enough.
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I'm a very private person. When I went on a trip last year, I posted several pictures of me on FB despite my reluctance to put it so publicly. I chose photos that me and my companions looked good in. I asked each of the person if I can post their photo in FB. I only have friends with family yet strangers I don't know have Liked the few I posted. FB recognized my brother's face and I Think linked it with his FB. I posted the photos without linking their names. I still cringe when my nieces would post photos of me in it. One was a candid shot - not at 'my best '. She later told me that I rarely laugh. She had to take that photo of me laughing so heartily and unrestrained.

At my mom's funeral, my family took lots of photos of mom in the coffin. I don't see the reason for that since they should have taken mom's photos when she was alive. Why now that she's dead and in her coffin? We even posed in front of it. Younger brother got pissed off that night when he saw in FB that a niece posted a photo of mom in the coffin. Another niece saw it and posted it on her FB also. He was so angry he told niece to take it down and to tell the other niece to take that down also. He said that mom and dad are very private persons. She would have hated her picture to be in full public view especially in a casket.
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Yes they live in the past what was done was done he is the only parent we have left yes he wasn't there for us when we were young and they hold that against him
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I don't blame you for being upset, the picture sounds in very bad taste. Your sibs seem to be either incredibly stupid and unaware or incredibly and maliciously angry at your dad.
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The pictures that they posted was staged they put a hat on his head that he normally does not wear while he's laying in a bed he was totally unaware of them taking the pictuce I found the picture very distasteful he was not even awake
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I can see both sides to this, I know that I don't have many pics of my mother since she has declined because she just looks so... not herself I guess. On the other hand if the sisters are just sharing pics with friends and family and not holding the father up to ridicule then I can't see the harm in it, it is reality after all.

When going through my uncle's possessions after he died I came across pics of people laid out in their caskets. Creepy? Well, I guess not to whoever took them!
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BTW, it is easy to report violation of privacy rights on FB. If you believe the photos violate privacy, simply report them. FB generally will remove photos without a lot of trouble.
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I'm so with you, GardenArtist! If one takes the time to really look at a photo, all kinds of private information can be gleened. My husbands daughter would post pictures of her kids- most likely clueless a bong was clearly visible in the background. I also think some of the comments here are a bit on the naive side. With the "younger generation" and probably some older folks as well Facebook can be an ugly place. I've seen all kinds of feuds and nastiness played out on Facebook for the world to see. With today's social media it seems acceptable to make public everything from the mundanely ridiculous to the most private, intimate moments - and no one blinks an eye about it anymore. Personally, my father would have been horrified if any photos documenting the hell he went through in the lasts months of his life were made public.
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Yes, GA, we do need more information. If the pictures are of him smiling and waving, it's one thing. If they are him with his mouth hanging open, it is another. It is all to do with taste and dignity.

Something I admired for David Bowie is that his last work showed the reality of old age. Lazarus shocked people because they had been shielded from what old age looked like and its relationship to death. Bowie took off the mask of make-up they tend to cover stars with and showed what old age looked like. People were shocked. That had a huge impact on me and how I thought about old people being surgically altered and covered up with makeup... or hidden from view.

Things are shocking only if we don't see them often. Old people shouldn't be shocking if the photos are in good taste. I don't photograph my mother often because she wears terrible looking pajamas and looks awful. Those pictures would be in poor taste. But I did put some pictures on FB with her raking the leaves a few years ago and her holding her great-grandson recently. Nothing wrong with it and totally appreciated by my mother's family.
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Ask your sisters to get in the pictures with him and post those so that you can see more of your family. Totally not creepy.
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I'm going to differ with CM and more so with Jessie's statements, adding that I highly respect their opinions so my opinion is merely a different perspective.

I really do see this as a rights issue, the right of someone not to unknowingly or w/o consent have his/her photo posted on a semi-public site. The adjunct issue is that if the site is FB, it is a commercial site, and as I've complained in the past, one that commoditizes personal information.

I wouldn't necessarily take the same position if the photos were e-mailed to family.

A few years ago a relative posted very unflattering photos of her mother in a coma, unresponsive, mouth gaping open, looking as if she was on death's door. She posted it on the hospitals portal forum, then notified family members of the photo.

I was appalled; the woman looked as if she was at death's door. I never showed it to my father as I knew he'd insist on immediately going to see her, even though she was unresponsive.

The rest of the family were also shocked, but the recalcitrant person just continued to post ghastly photos of her mother. (She was emotionally unstable, so that might have factored into this very poor decision.) However, to see those photos was very, very unsettling for other close members of the family.

I do think though that if the OP explained a bit more about her father's condition, where this took place, whether or not she and the sisters have since had a discussion on the issue etc., it would help in providing more targeted answers.
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I don't think we can really say much without getting information of why the pictures are offensive. We don't have to permission to post wedding or Christmas pictures. It would be crazy to expect people to get permission for pictures posted privately on FB.

In this case we don't even know if it's FB, since Max hasn't told us anything. One thing I wonder if it is because the pictures are in bad taste. Or is it because old people are not so pretty to look at. We do tend to hide away old people like we're ashamed of them.

All I would say that, Max, your father is also your sister's father. If the pictures are in good taste and posted to a private audience, then chill if she doesn't want to take them down.
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Also, would your father want pictures of himself laying in a NH bed all over the internet? If the answer is no, then there is your answer.
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If Dad is in a NH, then that is indeed an invasion of privacy and against HIPPA. Notify the staff where Dad lives that when your sister visits, she is not allowed to take pictures. I am assuming you are the health care proxy if not POA, so you have a say, certainly.
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My son had a serious motorcycle accident last year. HE posted fb pictures of himself in a hospital bed and in physical therapy and using his iPad as a mirror to shave with, etc. No harm done to anyone.

This is a different situation than your father's, but maybe it helps explain my easy acceptance of fb pictures of people clearly not at their best.
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If Dad isn't even aware of these pictures, how can they be hurting his dignity? I guess you mean that seeing these pictures made public hurts your dignity? Or makes you feel bad? Can you appeal to your sisters on that basis? "Sis, I really feel bad about this. Could you humor me about these pictures and remove them?"

POA gives you the authority to act on your father's behalf on financial matters. You can pay his bills with his money. If you have Medical POA as well, that authorizes you to make certain medical decisions if he cannot make them for himself. I don't think you have any authority over pictures your sisters take of their father.

What kind of comments are these pictures getting? Are people saying things like, "Oh I am so sorry he has declined so much. It is good that he still has a twinkle in his eyes!" or things like "I'm not going to be able to get there this month. Thank you so much for sharing this picture." Or what is the reaction?

I'm going to make an assumption (which isn't always safe) that you and your sisters all care about your father and that none of you want to hurt him. You and your sisters disagree about the appropriateness of sharing pictures of him taken at this time. People disagree about such matters all the time. It isn't evidence of lack of love or respect. It is just a disagreement.

If you can persuade your sisters to honor your feelings, go for it! But I'd refrain from pulling rank "I'm the POA you know!" or citing legal issues. These women are going to be your sisters long after your mutual father is gone. Don't alienate them over an action which really has no impact on your father whatsoever.
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