Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chipping Away At Our Rights

In Photographic privacy is over from Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer, Wes tells us that,

“Back in April 2009, a California court ruled photos posted to an online social networking website (MySpace in this situation) cannot be considered “private.” This latest case from Indiana will put this plea to the test again, but in slightly different circumstances since the posters DID share the images with privacy controls enabled.”

The story Wes shares with us is about two female athletes who posted summer pictures of themselves (with privacy controls enabled) that caused them to be barred from participating in athletic activities at school because some people printed the pictures out and submitted them to administration.

This is just one more example of how our rights are slowly being taken away from us a little at a time and many don’t even realize it. These girls sent them privately to friends and didn’t expect anyone else to see them. It is not like they sent them out to the general public. Of course, I’m not excusing behaviors that put people in the position of being judged, ridiculed, or even humiliated. I also tell people that you shouldn’t say, do, or post anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want your own mama to see. I’m just saying that we don’t seem to have freedom of speech anymore.

Another example of this was when I recently read that a college football coach was fined $30,000 because he disagreed with an official publicly. He felt an official missed a call and when asked, he made that statement. Apparently the rules say you can’t say anything negative about officials publicly. That is absolutely against our constitution! What happened to freedom of speech? Am I the only one who seems outraged by this?

One last example is when a congressman disagreed with our President and called him a liar. I admit that it was rude to do that and embarrassing but it wasn’t the end of the world. People acted like it was the most horrific thing next to murder. Many people felt this congressman should be removed or sanctioned. Again, I ask, what happened to freedom of speech? If you disagree with the President, you should be removed from office or be penalized in some way? If his constituents are unhappy with him, then they will vote him out of office next time but who are we to tell him that he doesn’t have a right to speak out? Maybe he was representing his constituents who elected him to represent them. I don’t know the answer to these questions but I don’t see that he broke any law or physically hurt anyone. How many government protests happen every day and no one does anything about them. Will that be next? Will it be illegal soon to meet and protest? (Is this starting to sound like the Revolutionary War times?)

I thought that the freedoms we have are what makes America what it is. I’m not happy about the many ways that some people speak or act but they have a right to do this as long as they are not harming someone. If they are committing slander or libel, then the court system is there to protect the people concerned.

I worry that we will be teaching our students that it is not alright for them to disagree. Shouldn’t we be teaching our students critical thinking? Shouldn’t we be teaching them the appropriate way to share their views if they disagree with someone else? We should not be stifling them because they don’t agree. We shouldn’t mold them to be little robots with no minds of their own. I don’t feel this is the way they can be successful in today’s society. What do you think?

Original image: 'Packed in like sardines' by: ▄█▀▐█▌█▄▐█▌

1 comment:

luckeyfrog said...

It has always been explained to me that students' freedom of speech (and even to some extent, teachers') is partly given up when students enter a school.

I would assume that the same holds true in this case. I wonder how this case might have been different if the pictures were physical rather than digital. If a picture had been taken of the girls without their knowledge, would they still be punished the same way they were for posting the pictures to the Internet (even privately)?

In any case, I agree that students need to know Internet skills. We used to have to take a Life Skills course in middle school and I hope those courses now include some Internet Ethics.