Prince Harry’s brush with radical transparency: you can’t stop the web

From Paid Content:

When the British royal family asked UK newspapers not to publish pictures of Prince Harry frolicking nude in Las Vegas, it seemed like a ludicrous request. But even though the media largely complied, the reality of internet life meant the pictures were impossible to suppress.

On the internet, just like everywhere else, time only moves in one direction: forward. But that doesn’t stop people trying to turn the clock back.

Take Britain’s royal family, who contacted the editors of the UK’s newspapers after TMZ published a series of photographs of the man third in line to the throne cavorting, naked, with young women in Las Vegas. Don’t print those photos, they asked: it’d be an invasion of Harry’s privacy.

Whether or not you believe that royals deserve such privacy, or whether there was public interest in exposing his exposure, the reality was that on a practical level it seemed like a ludicrous request. The images had already been seen by millions online, through social networks and on the web — in Britain as well as around the world.

And yet, incredibly, the request worked … at least for a while.

It took an entire day for Rupert Murdoch’s arch-tabloid Sun to break the silence, and by the time it did, it was forced to admit the absurdity of its position.

“Heir it is!” punned the headline. “Pics of naked Harry you’ve already seen on the internet.”

Just think about that for a second. What an astonishing admission of its own irrelevance for a newspaper to make.

And yet we’re seeing this sort of situation come up again and again in different ways as the world of secrets rubs up against the era of democratized distribution and radical transparency.

Continue reading the rest of the story on Paid Content