The discussion yesterday led me down an entire new rabbit hole of how we manage communication and privacy in an electronic age, and how that impacts how we deal with things.
It started with me wondering about the Readercon situation – and how the outcry for the committee to be more forthcoming with what was going on with their decision about banning that guy for harassment. (and ultimately, the changing of their decision to a permanent ban instead of for two years). What did mean that the victim released his name? Especially when it was a board of a book convention who had taken her complaint.
It’s not like that was some sort of legally binding act. It might not even be completely enforceable – it *definitely* wouldn’t be without the con taking actual legal action.
What did it mean that the Con as itself (and several individuals from the committee) came out and made statements using the name of the guy that they banned?
Now when you google him – those things show up. Not based on a court case or being put on an official list somewhere – but because of internet activism.
In some ways, it’s a really good thing. In others – it got me questioning where we are going.
There was the Dietrich case http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2177048/Savannah-Dietrich-Teen-faces-jail-lashing-Twitter-naming-boys-sexually-assaulted-her.html where the outrage kicked in after the defensive attorneys filed a motion to hold her in contempt for violating a judge’s gag order. Most people see her case and went “OMG!” and rushed immediately to her defense and thinking that was insane. The defense eventually dropped the motion after the outcry.
BUT – should they? After all, she was quite blatantly saying that she didn’t care about the gag order.
If it’s “privilege” to restrict her from speaking – call it “judicial privilege”.
Now, granted, I happen to think the “boys” (or “monsters”, which is far closer, although an insult to monsters) should have been tried as adults. You want to do an “adult” crime, you should be prepared to be treated like one. Which would have taken the need for a gag order away… but since they weren’t, and the order was in place – not to mention that she said that she was more than willing to take the penalty… maybe she should have been forced to take that penalty. After all, she definitely did it, and she was proud that she did it!
I’m sure she would have received more than enough donations to cover the cost of the fine, and probably would have ended up with a first time offender program rather than the jail time…
Just because she was upset by the verdict (as a lot of people were) doesn’t mean she can act out…
OR, does it?
“But Gregg Leslie, interim executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said Dietrich should 'not be legally barred from talking about what happened to her. That's a wide-ranging restraint on speech.'
Ms Leslie said this sort of issue is becoming more common.
'In the past, people would complain to anyone who would listen, but they didn't have a way to publish their comments where there would be a permanent record, like on Facebook and Twitter, for people to see worldwide,' he said. “
That’s a question that seems to be coming up more and more lately, as the legal structure tries to frantically catch up with the technological one.
Are facebook “likes” protected speech? http://www.webpronews.com/facebook-likes-are-definitely-free-speech-says-facebook-2012-08
http://jezebel.com/5926326/justice-for-sexual-assault-maybe-but-thank-twitter-not-the-authorities - police weren’t even aware of the photos being distributed. But it’s clear that Twitter had a huge role in catching these monsters in India.
There are so many things going on with this particular case, some pretty deep and messed up things… including the low rate of convictions and of course, the “reporter” sitting there *filming* a sexual assault for a half hour!! But also included in that list of messed up things – is that instead of taking it to the police, it was taken to Twitter first!
Now again, there are cultural stuff going on, and the idea that the police wouldn’t actually do anything is certainly a real concern. But I can easily see this situation becoming more and more prevalent – where the internet mob is receiving the information directly to rant about, and wonder why no one in authority has addressed it, when the “authority in question” hasn’t even seen the evidence!
(Apparently, in the Readercon situation, there was an email sent, that the committee members never received, and didn’t know about until people started talking about how they never answered it!)
Taking the issue from the issue of “individuals” and what it means to due process – and moving to a more Romneyesque idea of “individuals”/business concerns. Which is where it becomes a little more complicated. Because most people wouldn’t have a problem with hitting the creeps and monsters of the world with every last bit of light that they can.
But when that intersects with everyday life?
http://www.continuitycentral.com/feature0994.html “As staff Tweet about their day, or post comments on Facebook about their boss’s latest antics, their right to freedom of expression and privacy comes into direct conflict with the company’s interests to protect its professional reputation.”
“So what is acceptable in terms of privacy? In the healthcare industry, new doctors are counseled on the use of social media. Friending patients on Facebook is discouraged or prohibited; doctors are encouraged to manage their online profile to ensure photos and other content is not incongruent with their professional reputation; and there are restrictions on the type of information that can be shared online, even in private doctor/patient portals. Growing up in an environment of openness and sharing, some younger doctors feel these guidelines are too restrictive.
The line is a gray one. Society is reshaping the boundaries of what is acceptable, and enterprise IT is left to balance accessibility, privacy, and security, while enabling the free flow of information necessary for employees to collaborate and for companies to excel. “
Some of this had to do with Readercon, and where my brain led me. But it also had a lot to do with rereading some of my old posts from the early days of my own journal.
I mentioned *a lot* of stuff about my life. Which is what blogging is about, revealing yourself and your world.
The nature of LJ has always had a safe haven aspect to it because of the use of user name and the feeling that it wasn’t connected… with LJ linking up with facebook and twitter, “to keep up with the times”, that line was crossed.
But it got me thinking about where we are going on issues of privacy in a culture of openness, where people seem to be willing to say just about anything, about anyone. Where is that line of personal responsibility toward what you say and “put out there”? Does it vary?
What about other people’s information? In a culture of “innocent until proven guilty” and “a nation of laws” (two things you always hear about) is there a needed counter-balance to meet “victims rights” involved in social media? Should the laws be changed to reflect that, or should people just be willing to pay the penalties if they step over the line as social activism/vigilantism?(depending on your view of it)
I don’t know. I just think they are good questions to ask ourselves as an internet culture going forward.