I Scream Social: New courthouse stocks are now set up onlineWritten by Kevin Cesarz | | firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s your expectation for privacy online? Many people expect to be able to adjust settings and filters, while many ignore privacy settings. Most people younger than 30 are amused at the notion of online privacy. They completely understand that the expectation is ridiculous. But how many of us expect the cloak of online anonymity for our speech and actions?
Recent revolutionary movements have used anonymous online speech and social media to challenge Iran, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries with opinions unpopular to those governments. New technologies and especially cell phone texting and email technology, have fueled the successful Jasmine Revolution, though Internet service providers have been pressured by governments to unmask addresses and identities of some users. The free flow of information and opinion — warts and all — is a healthy thing.
But what about anonymous actions that include criminal activity when it is captured and shared online?
Following the recent Vancouver riots, several websites including www.canucksriot2011.com sprung up to identify and punish people who sullied the image of the Canadian city after out-of-control Stanley Cup festivities.
These websites have supported identifying people involved in burning vehicles and breaking windows through a combination of crowd sourced identification and Facebook’s facial recognition software.
Facebook’s software memorizes the biometric data of all the faces in its database and tags the names of all the people in the photos downloaded to its database.
Woe to Nathan Kotylak, a 17-year-old water polo player, who clearly appeared in multiple Facebook photos to be lighting a Vancouver police car on fire.
There is even one YouTube video titled “Name That Moron — 2011 Stanley Cup Rioters Exposed” that asks viewers to identify rioters and share information with the police
Is public shaming — the new courthouse stocks — an efficient, honorable and legal way to expose criminal activity? Facebook states that its biometric data technology will “increase human bonds, networks and connections in a whole new way.” But there are chances to be tagged in inappropriate photos and labeled and associated with events out of context.
The Internet creates models that users adapt in unexpected ways. Social media is about shedding anonymity and creating transparency online. Good if you’re checking out a company and its employees, products and services; bad if you’re lighting a police car on fire.
Kevin Cesarz is director of social media and Web project manager at Thread Marketing Group in Maumee. He also helps create storytelling content for MrElshMedia (mrelshmedia.com). Find more ideas about social media at klcesarz.wordpress.com.