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The question, in broad terms, is this: a ) is it illegal, unethical, or in poor taste to take photos of people in public places and b) to then use them in one’s blog?

The background: The Captain and I were in our local paneficio this morning, and there was an awfully cute little girl there… so of course I took her picture.  Then I got to thinking it would be fun to take some pictures of the crowded shop, because one of these days I want to start writing about some of the Best Places to Buy in Rapallo.  So I wandered around looking for a good shot, which in any event I couldn’t find.

Just about then I realized there was a lot of loud talking going on – it’s still an effort for me to concentrate and understand Italian, so I tend to tune out a lot of it.  Anyway, it turned out a woman in the shop took exception to my taking photos of anyone or anything in the shop on the grounds that it was a violation of privacy.  The Captain weighed in on my behalf (my hero!) as did another patron, an elderly woman; everyone else just shuffled around and smiled.

I hastily assured the woman that she was not in any of my photos and if she had been I would erase them, but she opined it was a violation of everyone’s privacy.  I couldn’t tell where the padrona fell in the discourse; she mentioned ‘publiccita’ – I’ll apologize to her at a quieter time and ask if I can photograph the shop for this blog.

Usually when I’m taking a ‘portrait’ of anyone I ask first (but not always), and I’ve never been turned down. So this was rather a surprise, but it got me thinking. (I’ve begun a long-term project, working title ‘Beauty in Italy’ – a lot of it depends on anonymous shooting.)  Are there guidelines out there somewhere?

A quick noodle via Google has not been overly helpful with this issue.  I would really value hearing your comments, counsel or just your reactions.  Thanks!