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Old 09-30-2010, 07:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Invasions of privacy in our electronic times

So I came across this article this morning while reading the NYTimes and was deeply disturbed:

Quote:
Private Moment Made Public, Then a Fatal Jump
By LISA W. FODERARO

It started with a Twitter message on Sept. 19: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

That night, the authorities say, the Rutgers University student who sent the message used a camera in his dormitory room to stream the roommate’s intimate encounter live on the Internet.

And three days later, the roommate who had been surreptitiously broadcast — Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman and an accomplished violinist — jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River in an apparent suicide.

The Sept. 22 death, details of which the authorities disclosed on Wednesday, was the latest by a young American that followed the online posting of hurtful material. The news came on the same day that Rutgers kicked off a two-year, campuswide project to teach the importance of civility, with special attention to the use and abuse of new technology.   click to show 
I hope the kids involved are thankful that all they are being charged with is invasion of privacy.

But it did get me thinking. Do you think people have to be more vigilant than ever in securing their privacy? Do you think that even in this day and age, we still have certain expectations of privacy?

Personally, I think we do have the be more vigilant. I think twice about what I put on the Internet. I think about where people can see pictures of me. I ask my friends not to tag pictures of me on Facebook. If I do see pictures tagged, I remove the tags. Prior to being able to remove tags, I had all pictures tagged of me limited so only I or the person who took them could see that it was me. Yet despite this online vigilance, I take my privacy in my own home for granted. I don't expect someone to get into my home computer, turn on my webcam, and watch me do stuff (however, I should note that because I use the video chat feature on TFP, I DO know what it would look like were mine to turn on). While the person involved in turning on the webcam only got into his own computer, I still feel like he should have known that it was wrong, but I also think we've become numb in some sense to voyeurism (reality television, etc).

Your turn.
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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We totally need to be more vigilant. There are so many venues for information to be leaked to the public with or without a person's knowledge.

I'm sure there is way too much about me online, but honestly the only way to prevent that is to simply have never signed up for Facebook, Twitter, forums, etc. That would be no fun though.

That being said, I'd say there is still an expectation of privacy in your own home, apt, dorm, etc. Granted, some is lost when sharing a room, but nothing justifies an intentionally malicious webcast of someone's private life.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, they need to stop posting so much superfluous yet personal information online.

Total sidetrack:

It's absolutely disgusting how much one can even find about people on TFP using Spokeo/Pipl/Spock.

It really makes me glad that my online footprint consists of TFP and DuctTapeFetish.com.

...

Webcams creep me out. I always put tape over mine. In a computer forensics class the instructor demonstrated how easy it was to turn on the cam without any indicator lights appearing on the computer itself. Really freaky. I wonder who has seen my "OH!" face.

Last edited by Plan9; 09-30-2010 at 11:09 AM..
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I was bothered by this news article.

There is a mentality shown here that seems pretty common among the freshman college crowd. I want to call it idiocy, but there's more to it. Those kids likely had no idea that their actions were anything other than playful silliness. They might have had a hint that they were acting like bullies, but if they had any idea, they wouldn't have risked 5+ years in prison for this crap. They're going to learn a hard lesson in all of this. It's a lesson they could have learned as children or teens, but instead they are learning some very basic concepts as adults, and destroying everyone's lives in the process.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Some people need to unplug—for an extended period—just to remember that they happen to be human beings, and that others around them happen to be human beings too.
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This makes me sick. Including the Rutgers President's lukewarm appeal for civility as a curative for this kind of thing.
I think that this is about more than just privacy. In an increasingly value-neutral world, no one likes to even use the word "wrong." Actions are now deemed inappropriate, incorrect, unsuitable, improper, making poor choices, unacceptable, etc. so that we can't be accused of trying to force our values on others.

Can we agree that what Mr. Ravi and Ms. Wei did was wrong?

Or shall we just send them off to a counsellor to teach them how to be more appropriate in their uses of technology?

If nothing is true, is all permitted?

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Old 09-30-2010, 06:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plan9 View Post
Webcams creep me out. I always put tape over mine. In a computer forensics class the instructor demonstrated how easy it was to turn on the cam without any indicator lights appearing on the computer itself. Really freaky. I wonder who has seen my "OH!" face.
At work, I can dial into any videoconference room at any of our campuses and if the system is off, it will connect without letting them know. I can spy on classes, meetings, whatever. Then, even with the little encryption icon in the corner reassuring me, the IT people at the main campus can drop in and watch any ongoing conference.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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yeah, this story sucked some of the air from the world i think.
i also didn't take it as being primarily about privacy---more about thoughtlessness or stupidity, that special kind of 18-year-old stupidity that can make otherwise innocuous things like a webcam and live feed into a weapons that result in the ending of a life and wrecking of other lives...and i would be amazed if either of these boneheads thought out what they were doing at all. not until later, when the shit hit the fan.

if i were the president of rutgers, i would like to think i'd have the spine to say more than he managed. civility is nice. no shit.

it's hard to say, though---these two boneheads had access to technology that made this feed very easy to do. at no point in it did any ethics, any consideration of ethics, of harm to others, enter the picture. and i don't think that "talking about values" would have changed anything, really--and i say that because none of us knows anything at all about the backgrounds of either ravi (the main actor) or wei. none of us knows anything about them at all. it's entirely possible that they grew up immersed in endless talking about values and such. or it's possible they didn't.

what we do know is that at the critical moments, when they decided to flip on the camera and stream it, none of those words got connected to their actions.

o and we know that tyler clementi jumped off the george washington bridge.

it'll be interesting to see whether this story is followed in the press as it moves toward the legal theater and what infotainment surfaces about these folks.

and i dont know what else tyler clementi could have done to protect his privacy. i suppose one could say that he tacitly expected it would not be violated by others. and in that he was wrong.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy View Post
yeah, this story sucked some of the air from the world i think.
i also didn't take it as being primarily about privacy---more about thoughtlessness or stupidity, that special kind of 18-year-old stupidity that can make otherwise innocuous things like a webcam and live feed into a weapons that result in the ending of a life and wrecking of other lives...and i would be amazed if either of these boneheads thought out what they were doing at all. not until later, when the shit hit the fan.
I don't disagree. That was one of the things I was thinking of when I started this thread--that mindless 18-year-old stupidity. I still remember it well.
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