“I wonder if it’s ethical to watch a man with binoculars and a long focus lens. Do you suppose it’s ethical even if you prove he didn’t commit a crime”
Do his actions in the movie make you agree or disagree with this question?
The 1954 thriller, Rear Window, follows the life of a magazine photographer housebound due to breaking his leg. His boredom leads to spying on his neighbours through their windows, becoming his only source of entertainment. He rightly suspects that one of his neighbours has murdered their wife, and together he, his girlfriend and nurse go to extreme lengths to prove the murderer is guilty, eventually putting them in danger also.
Jeffries nurse whom visits him daily makes an interesting quote before any of the drama starts predicting something bad will happen, ‘‘First you smash you leg, then you get to looking out the window, see things you shouldn’t see, trouble’’. At certain points of film, I feel that Jeffries watching his neighbours with a long focus lens isn’t morally right, such as the mentally unstable woman living on the bottom floor. I felt he was using the woman’s private life merely as entertainment and felt he judged her in a way to cure his boredom. People also have the rights to their own privacy; Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights supports this right.
I also think you could argue against the fact that Jeffries watching his neighbours is unethical, as when he suspected something wasn’t right picking up on odd behaviour he had only the best interest morally in wanting to protect the victim. Article 10 of the ECHR regonzises a right to freedom of expression, which supports Jeffries actions. I believe that his constant worry and determination to prove the murderer guilty shows that even if he did prove otherwise and the suspect was found not guilty, Jeffries had an instinct and took the matter into his own hands risking his own life, proves that the actions he made were ethical and for the greater good.
Information regarding Privacy laws from University Lecture.