Friday, August 21, 2009

Mind Your Internet Ps & Qs - Or Else! Security & Decorum Is A Must.

Anonymity is no longer guaranteed after a woman who feared for her safety successfully sued Google to release the identity of a person who'd posted derogatory comments referencing her online. Yea!
Asked why she fought so hard to find out who was tormenting her, Liskula Cohen said: "Why would anybody let it go? If somebody attacks somebody on the street, you're not going to let it go. I couldn't find one reason to ignore it." Good Morning America interview
Unfortunately some of us DO let it go because we think we're safe from assault behind our keyboards. We even let insults go. Other people who display mean-spirited or anti-social behavior feel as if they have free reign to say whatever they wish because it's not IRL (in real life) but they should NOT be given the benefit of the doubt or cover simply because we may not see them face to face.

I know in my own communication I try to be careful in how I conduct myself. I don't say anything online that I'm not willing to do in person. Employers and recruiters now scour social media sites or conduct searches of people and use that info in their hiring practices. I've warned my younger relatives to watch what they post lest it bite them in the butt later! Even when I'd like to throttle some people online I know our exchanges could be likely held in perpetuity due to some of the more draconian property rights some of these social media sites employ. We learned that emails weren't secure during the Bill Clinton impeachment attempt because he'd refused to send any over concerns about lack of privacy.

Internet security is always a concern for corporations and government entities. They have entire departments dedicated to placing firewalls that deter hackers and thieves. Child predators have moved online in force and law enforcement struggles to keep up. Paramilitary groups recruit new members by reaching out to others online. As consumers we certainly want to know our personal information is well protected. Somehow when we engage with others on blogs there's a bit of disconnect. There are far too many incidences where men have invaded our spaces and tried to disrupt our discussions. Some bloggers have allowed these Internet Ike Turners to take over their spaces in an attempt to "get along". There's a big difference between having a conversation where readers have an ideological difference and having someone manipulate and try to silence you.

Some have even gone so far as to threaten women online, make videos that they post to YouTube, send comments without a verifiable address, use dummy email accounts and other means of subterfuge. We can counteract that by taking a minimum of security measures such as moderating our comment threads, monitoring IP and geographical info and tracking email accounts. We also need to file police reports.

Some women engage in the harassment as well, as highlighted in the Cohen case. We need to take these exchanges seriously. Asia McGowan was threatened online before her tormentor escalated it to actual violence and murdered her. What was especially galling is how the police didn't take the threat seriously. Ms. Cohen didn't wait for law enforcement to catch up with technology or dismiss her concerns. Now we will be able to get access to vital information that could save our lives. We should all send her a message of thanks.

h/t Lorraine
Bookmark and Share

No comments: