Monday, December 10, 2018

No Privacy on the Net

by D. E. Carson (writer), , July 12, 2007

If you think Big Brother isn’t watching, think again. With the proliferation of cell phone cameras, credit card size cameras and micro-recording devices, there is a pretty good chance that something you do in public – or in private – could end up on the Internet where the whole world can see it.

Case in point, Miss New Jersey Amy Polumbo has found out the hard way that things that are supposed to be kept private are not secure when they are on the Internet. This morning on NBC’s Today show, Polumbo revealed the photographs that someone has been trying to use to blackmail her. These supposed “concerned citizens” are actually shit-for-brains scumbags looking to make a fast buck. They were demanding that she give up her crown or they would release the photos. Polumbo’s lawyer says that the blackmailer alleges to be a representative of The Committee to Save Miss America.

Regardless of who the scumbags are and whether or not Polumbo’s photographs violate the morality clause of the Miss America Pageant, Polumbo has learned a valuable lesson: nothing on the Internet is private.

Sites such as MySpace and others provide a place for people to get together – virtually party rooms and share their crazy antics. Cell phone cameras and small digital cameras in general have made it impossible to “miss a shot” now. No more, “I wish I had a camera” moments. If you have a cell phone less than two years old, chances are it has a built in camera. The incident involving the tasing of an uncooperative UCLA student was recorded on someone’s cell phone camera and made its way to YouTube in a matter of hours.

The biggest rule – in fact the numbers one two and three rules of the Internet – says NOTHING ON THE INTERNET IS PRIVATE! No matter how secure the server on which you have stored your photographs, if it is connected to the Internet, someone will find a way to hack into that server, download your photos or videos and if you’re a celebrity, they will get out into the public domain.

It is impossible to know what kind of fruit loop shit-for-brains scumbag is looking at your pictures or videos. Consider how many children are the victims of Internet predators because the parents of those children don’t monitor their child’s Internet usage. This is why I don’t have a MySpace page. It is also why my BrooWaHa profile photo isn’t really me – it’s a Photoshop altered image. The person in the photo doesn’t really exist. Any photo I have placed on the Internet is of people who are already in the public spotlight – celebrities, politicians, newsmakers – or they are of things. I do not post pictures of my family or friends and I certainly don’t put myself into situations where some unknown cell phone camera can get a photograph to be used against me later.

The same goes for e-mail. You people using your work e-mail account may not realize this, but your e-mails are not private. Corporate Internet Usage policies specifically state that at no time are e-mails considered private. They also go on to inform the users that at any time, the network administration or corporate management may review e-mails to ensure proper functionality of e-mail systems and that this may require opening and reading e-mails. I know these clauses exist because I have written many of them with the help of corporate lawyers. Many battles have been waged on this front already. You do not have the right to an e-mail account at work. You may not like that idea, but so far, courts have sided with the owners of the systems and not the users. If you want to gossip, do it verbally away from the office – better yet, don’t do it at all – but certainly don’t do it on the company e-mail system.

I am not saying that I am better than anyone else, I just use common sense and realize that the Internet, while it is a useful tool, it can also be used against anyone at any time for any reason. Miss Polumbo has found out the hard way that she erred in judgment. I really don’t see how this should cost her a shot at Miss America – from what I’ve read the photos weren’t vulgar, just people acting a little immature. But still, they made their way from what was supposed to be a private arena into the general public. So take this piece of common sense advice, which shouldn’t have to be repeated but apparently needs to be done: live you life so that you wouldn’t be afraid to sell the family parrot to the town gossip. Those words were spoken nearly 80 years ago by a philosopher from Oklahoma, Will Rogers. Times have changed but Will knew the nature of people would never change. Today’s family parrot is MySpace and other sites like it. They’re also the Internet’s town gossip.

About the Writer

D. E. Carson is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on No Privacy on the Net

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By Steven Blake on July 12, 2007 at 01:25 pm
You are right here D.E. I believe though that you should be okay with how you are. For me people can find out whatever they want about me. I cant be blackmailed and I would tell them to shove it where the moon don't shine if they tried and then I would probably make some crazy web page where could see my "Crazy" antics! HAHA But you are right and people should be aware if you want a secret kept its going to be tough these days and so stand tall on what you do.
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By AM Nelson on July 12, 2007 at 02:51 pm
The definition of moral upright does not include sharing private photos with the world. This blackmailer is obviously full of self deserving motivation, not interested in the purity of pagents. Why does the pageant system give leverage to these bad guys? Who doesn't have a classy lingerie shot, or who wasn't caught doing naked cartwheels on a golf course?? Taken out of context these antics might appear sleezy, when seriously, it is just having a good time...with photo documentation. Being a role model doesn't mean you haven't been a model for Victoria Secret. Even Laura Schlessinger has nudes. I don't mean a Night in Paris, but come on...young beautiful people are going to lay out nude, have a jacuzzi party, or do something silly. The pageant system shouldn't give moral rightness and power to those individuals who try to shame others.
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