In the past 10 years the internet has gone from being unnoticed, to being the single largest communication network in the entire world. Almost everybody with a computer or Smartphone is connected to the internet, for both personal and business use. Now, as the internet begins to play an even larger role in our lives, bring us TV, Internet, phone, and providing a cost efficient platform for many a business we need to ask ourselves one question.
How much of our personal lives do we want on the Internet?
Our culture has charged headlong into cyberspace, but along the way we forgot all about our privacy, which is an extremely important concept in our lives. Everybody needs some sort of privacy, and our culture should reflect that need. But more and more our privacy is being invaded, our rights tread upon, sometimes in the name of business, sometimes in the name of the law, and sometimes by a spouse or a friend. Some of this is unintentional, a mistake, and some of it is so deliberate its sickening.
We have all heard of the RIAA, who at one point were illegally searching computers and suing anyone with music files that were not clearly purchased. Their penalties for downloading music illegally are outrageous, and at one point they wanted $75 Trillion from Limewire for allowing 11,000 songs to be illegally downloaded, even though Limewire is a file sharing program, and its creators didn’t have a hand in sharing that music.
One story you might not have heard is the case of Caroline Wimmer, a girl who was brutally murdered by a friend’s boyfriend two years ago. Her strangled corpse was found in her house two days after the incident, and pictures of her corpse showed up on the Facebook page of one of the paramedics who was on the scene. He had taken the pictures with his camera phone. Now, paramedics and EMT’s are very desensitized to this sort of thing. I know two EMT’s (and one wants to be a trauma surgeon), and they are extremely desensitized due to the fact that they deal with this stuff on a daily basis. However, having your daughter’s strangled corpse show up on Facebook isn’t fun, and it shows a lack of sensitivity on the part of the paramedic. In this case, it’s obvious where the paramedic went too far, when he photographed this girl’s corpse. But many privacy issues are not so obvious.
If you are a high school or college student (or are a parent of one) you have probably heard that you should be careful what you put on Facebook and Myspace (even though Myspace is all but dead) because employers tend to Google names. Go ahead, Google your name, and don’t stop there, use other search engines like Bing, and Dogpile. I bet you were not expecting so many search results, huh? Before I got a Facebook page, the first thing that popped up with my name was some weird passenger manifest from a LONG time ago. But now I have Facebook, Linked In, and a bunch more. However I am carful what I put on my Facebook page, and so are some of my friends.