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Privacy is dead

28 Mar 2010
Posted by Shannon

Social media hammering nails into the coffin of privacy is a daily occurrence now.

Today’s highlights include CBC reporting a journalism professor at King’s College informing us that the New Brunswick courts “misunderstand the nature of social media today” when they’re foolish enough to issue a publication ban on naming sexual assault victims.

Apparently the Twits and Facebookers have been blithely naming the 54-year-old victim of a particularly creepy sexual offender – in addition to sexual assault, the charges include kidnapping and confinement, uttering threats, and theft using violence.

Tim Currie says that in the past bloggers haven’t been charged for breaking publication bans, and that charging people for chatting about a big story isn’t the answer.

 Alas, he offers no solution. Apparently we’re all supposed to just bow to the wisdom of the mob.

The political debate on whether to name rape victims or not has been going on for decades. One argument goes that in automatically shielding them, we’re implying that the victims are somehow complicit in the rape and guilty of something themselves.

Sure. Let’s debate that one in women’s studies classes. In the meantime, the fact is that there’s a prurient interest in all things sexual, and rape victims (of both sexes) feel exposed and shamed by that crime in a way that they don’t when they’re merely robbed.

With that in mind, I say we charge and fine the idiots ignoring publication bans. Citizens are obligated to know how their courts work. The right to Twitter comes with the responsibility to know what you can’t say.

Meanwhile Restaurant Hospitality, a trade magazine, advises its readers to use social media to screen job applicants and cites a survey from CareerBuilder.com that says 45 per cent of employers already do. Apparently people with “carefully crafted” images that include flawless resumes and lovely interviewing personae can turn out to be “…lousy people and worse employees once they start to work.”

One can only imagine what these employees are saying about any employer that presumes to judge someone a “lousy person” based on an unhappy job match. But let’s just say I suddenly understand why restaurants have such a high turnover rate.

“Is it creepy to spy on job candidates this way? We’ll leave that decision up to you. But at the rate HR departments across all industries are adopting this practice, we’re convinced it can be effective, ” the magazine says.

Presumably the job-hunters already got the memo that Facebook, Twitter et al are nothing more than marketing tools and are tailoring their online profiles to reflect their resumes.

Well, when they’re not using them to thumb to their noses at the courts, of course.