Boštjan Burger, a Slovenian photographer, has been ordered to remove 11,000 photos from his online website. Incredibly he has also been ordered by the Slovenian government to delete these photographs from his hard drives.
According to the government the photos, which all show peoples faces, contravene Slovenian privacy laws. Boštjan specializes in enormous 360 degree panoramic photos and the 11,000 photos must have taken him years to create. This seems like an incredible can of works though. Was he singled out by the government because his panoramas often showed so many faces in a single image ? Obviously this should not be the case but I can't help but wander where Slovenia is going with this. He is surely not the only photographer in Slovenia with photos that include people in a public setting so everyone else must now be wandering what's coming there way ? Will they receive a knock on the door from Slovenian officials?
The official Slovenian website www.slovenia.si actually has a section on it labelled photography. This section though does not go on to tell you not to take photos in public but in fact is a page detailing how “The history of Slovenian photography is very rich.” and goes on to explain about photography archives in the national museum. Well if this is the stand they are going to take then this rich history is all they are going to have left. Will they in turn rummage through their archive and toss out any photos featuring someone in a public place ?
For the moment any attempt to view one of Boštjan Burger's panoramas gives you the message “DISPLAY OF VIRTUAL REALITY PANORAMA IS DISABLED DUE THE SLOVENIAN GOVERNMENT INSPECTION”.
Slovenian officials threatened with either imprisonment or a substantial $20,000 fine if he did not take down the photos. A Facebook page set up to alert people to Burger's problem is suggesting that people write to the Slovenian Prime Minister.
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