Sunday, November 18, 2007

Privacy and the Internet

These are two concepts that really do not compliment each other. As an experiment I spent a few minutes Googling myself. I am not hard to find! There are traces of me on many sites, in fact there are thousands of mentions, from, to, there are links, either directly or indirectly to me. Now as it happens I don't mind. I am a reviewer and publicity is good for business.

Not all online publicity is good though, and a fine example is the coverage that Megan Meier's suicide has created. She is the teen that hung herself following some uncalled for comments left on her Myspace page. It transpires that the comments were made by the mother of a girl who had recently fallen out with Megan. A deplorable act, by someone old enough to know much better.

Over on Bloggernews we have a number of articles running about the sad story, and they have received great readership. The problem that Jan and I were faced with was the comments that were being left by some readers. I don't like to act as censor, but sometimes you just to. For example any comment that uses profanity is going to end up in the 'bit bucket', not because I am a prude, but because not all of our readers want to read bad language.

The comments left on the Megan Meier's stories though had a different kind of problem, and one I find very disturbing. The mainstream media has gone out of their way to not reveal the name of the woman responsible for the death. Likewise, we decided to tag along. There are many facets to the story that have not been revealed, and to subject someone to even more misery seems reasonable. We had people not only naming the lady, but her street address, home and cell phone number, the company that she runs, who her clients are, etc, etc,

There is no way I am going to publish this information. But i'll bet some sleazy websites will. Although I am deplored by this woman's actions, to be tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion with no chance to respond seems unfair.

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