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Monday News: Is Gawker the arbiter of internet justice; India selling...

Google Privacy

Q. How widespread is the problem of third parties viewing our data?

Seventy-five percent of employers require Human Resources to look at people’s online presence. A third turn people down because they see a picture of the person with a glass of alcohol in their hand, even though they’re adults and just drinking a glass of wine. Women who have a sexy picture on Facebook or MySpace have been denied custody of their children. The IRS is looking at whether you have expensive items on your Facebook page. … Doctors can’t blab about your privileged medical facts, but now third parties get around that by discriminating against you based on information from the web. Employers are asking for Facebook passwords. … since I’m a writer — I’ve written 14 books — I love Dictionary.com. But Dictionary.com puts 233 tracking mechanisms on your computer to follow wherever you go on the web. Business Insider

Gigaom asks the question of whether this is appropriate. Has Jezebel with the internet power it wields gone too far or are racist tweets something for which a person should be publicly shamed  and attached to one’s name for the rest of their google searchable lives? GigaOM

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

8 Comments

  1. Sunita
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 09:40:36

    The idea of a social media constitution is great in theory, but my mind boggles at creating one in practice, given different laws and norms about free speech around the world (and that’s just in countries that have laws). Evgeny Morozov reviewed this book in the NY Times earlier this year, and I think he nailed the strengths and weaknesses of Andrews’ argument.

    On the Indian tablet, I saw that Economic Times article as well, and I think it’s a great step toward bridging the digital divide. There is also evidence that computerizing certain bureaucratic government operations cuts down on corruption. But I missed the 3-hour battery life. Given the flakiness of the Indian power grid and the lack of access (not to mention ancient wiring when it does exist), I wonder how well the students can keep these things charged.

  2. Ridley
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 10:54:38

    [Are] racist tweets something for which a person should be publicly shamed for and attached to one’s name for the rest of their google searchable lives?

    There’s a reason that teenagers can’t vote and aren’t subject (as a rule) to adult justice: they’re not fully matured adults with the proper brain chemistry to make good decisions and control impulses.

    I said a fuckton of racist, homophobic and ableist garbage as a teenager. By the time I was a senior, though, I’d joined the gay-straight alliance club. THANK GOD there was no Twitter or Facebook or anything then where stupid things I said to be shocking stayed with me. Adults should be helping kids learn from these mistakes. Setting out to destroy their lives isn’t how to do that.

  3. Julia Broadbooks
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:17:50

    @Ridley: I agree. I read this on Jezebel over the weekend and at first it seemed a great way to deal with the bad behavior. But by the end of the article, all I could think was that these were kids. Stupid kids, but still just kids. And I’ve every hope that by the time they are old enough to vote for real, they’ll have seen enough of the world to understand it a bit better.

  4. Jess
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:48:28

    @Julia Broadbooks:
    I agree with Ridley and you. When people are young, they say things and do things that are disgusting. Most likely they’ll eventually feel terrible for it on their own. The last thing they need is popular websites trying to destroy them for things they may even have moved on from.
    Also, chalk this up to another reason I loathe Gawker and Jezebel (especially Jezebel).

  5. Beth
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 12:04:28

    @Sunita

    Keep in mind that Evgeny Morozov’s opinion is not a neutral one; he has also written a *directly competing* book on internet privacy. His review read like sour grapes to me, nd I found his rebuttals unconvincing. Just because the logistics of such a constitution would be complicated doesn’t mean the idea should be wholly discarded.

  6. Emily
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 12:16:16

    I think it is entirely appropriate that Jezebel called the school adminstrators. These kids need to learn that actions have consequences and that speech does offend. Most schools, particularly private schools have policies, that when you use the name of the school you involve the school. These kids represent the schools they go to. The school has a right to protect their image and punish their students.
    That being said I think rather than rebroadcast these kids the article could have responded to the kids as a whole and not used the kids’ name again. I think possibly Jezebel could have written an article with a blanket statement like this:
    “We called the kids’ schools and most of them apologized for the kids’ behavior and said it was not a reflection of the schools’ views. The schools explained there would be consequences for the kids’ behavior. A few of the schools were unable to be reached and we will continue to try.”
    That being said I wish Jezebel had found adults to include as well. I am surprised all of the offenders are young adults, when I read the first article I knew was that sh*t people posted made me furious. I think in general we need to call out more people particularly adults on their hate speech.

  7. Sunita
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 12:35:06

    @Beth: Yes, I’m aware of that, I have his book in my TBR for my day job. I’m also familiar with Lori Andrews’ other work and interacted with her professionally a number of years ago.

    I have a fair amount of familiarity with what goes into the process of writing a constitution for new nations, and some knowledge of the process of writing international treaties. Given that there is no “internet community” in the sense of a unified community with consensually held norms, and given that such a constitution would not only have to deal with competing norms but competing legal regimes, I find Morozov’s criticisms worth considering. That doesn’t mean I think the book is not worth reading and listening to; far from it.

  8. Jess
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 13:25:16

    @Emily:
    I do like your suggestion of Jezebel not repeatedly using the kids’ names and rather issuing a blanket statement, but doing so would require true journalism and I’m not so sure Jezebel (a snark site first and foremost) is up to the challenge.

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