Digital Whakapapa and image considerations
Digitising whakapapa records and images of tipuna to be shared on the Internet is increasingly becoming common practice without any discussion about the consequences. Internet protection agencies such as NetSafe have no cultural resources to advise Maori of potential issues.
Whakapapa and tipuna images including images of the dead, that are accessed via wifi Internet enters everybody’s body and things such as food, as the wifi signals can not bounce of human beings and soft things.
Whakapapa and images that are accessed via Internet cables can spiritually contaminate the ocean and land as the tapu information is in the ocean and the land. Rahui would have been placed on these places in traditional times. People need to consider that there are Internet fiber and and cables that run next to and over and under sewer pipes.
Every key you push on a keyboard emits a specific emission into the air. So typing whakapapa into a computer also sends the names and whakapapa into the environment where you are working. When typing whakapapa one should be aware of the environment as tt is still transmitting tribal whakapapa, just in a new way.
You have no control of where people will read your whakapapa or look at images of your tipuna. It could be in the toilet or other inappropriate place.
Adding whakapapa and images in social media is the most dangerous way to share a and loose whakapapa. Most social media Terms of Service agreements give the conglomerates that own the services, exclusive Intellectual Property Rights to anything you share and often the right to reproduce anything you share for their advertising etc.
A simple act of storing whakapapa and images on a computer is also an issue. Once stored on a computer the information is then mutilated and mixed into thousands of pieces of data and then locked into the software. Much like leasing a prison from an unknown intentional corporation and putting your whakapapa and photos in there, so you can pay for the right to access and store them.
Images can be manipulated and used as Internet memes and shared with the world very quickly. In fact this is very common and at least once instance tipuna were published onto a shower curtains and sold in an international online store.
The old argument that it is ok to publish whakapapa and images on the Internet as our old people published in books, is an argument based on flawed logic. In former times a paper book had a small print run and the paper book had a limited readership, often confined to the library. The book printing process involved steel plates. In today’s society it is often a digital process and books are mass published for an international audience. There is a real potential that books will be digitised or parts will be digitised.
One also has to ask or at least consider if the the previous generations who contributed to paper publications had a choice or really had an idea of what a publication was.