Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Myspace: Friend of Police

There's an article in Newsweek this week about the police using Myspace to get information on criminals and those suspected of committing crimes. I don’t have a link currently, but I’m sure there is one.

This article disturbs me. One of the incidents described in the article is about the police checking the profiles of all the friends of one kid to see if they were at his party, and possibly caused some damage (including sexually abusing the girl). Isn't there a Right to Privacy infringement here somewhere?

This also reminds me of when colleges were using to crack down on underage drinking. If they saw you holding a beer on campus in one of your pics, they gave you a reprimand.

I was slow to come onto Myspace (and Facebook) because I didn’t like what these sites did. They more or less set up a database where any person can come and find all your information and everything about you. Now I don’t mean rapists or murders or anyone like that, I mean the government. These sites seem like the first step to a dystopian sci-fi movie. Everyone is registered here, and all their info is here, and can be accessed at the click of a mouse. I’m really shocked that in this post-9/11 world people let their guards down for this. How did we go from not having listed phone numbers to filling out surveys and writing blogs describing everything about you? Honestly, this is friggen disturbing.

Then again, I guess I’m a hypocrite, cause I bought into it just as much as everyone else. I’m on Myspace finally (after saying no for like a year and a half) and I’m on Facebook (I’ve been there for almost 2 years) and I’m even on Friendster (joined that around 3 and a half years ago...haven’t checked it since). Both Friendster and Facebook were done kinda out of peer-pressure from my Nonsense Humor Magazine cohorts, but Myspace I joined on my own...why? Because I liked the self-expression option. One could express themselves in anyway possible on Myspace. Either through writing like I do, or through distracting backgrounds, slow loading pictures, horrible layouts, and loud songs. Any option you choose, you’re still expressing yourself and being an individual...the complete opposite of an Orwellian society were everyone’s the same.

Or are we just made to think that? I noticed that most peoples profiles do look the same because they’re built by the same profile builders. Maybe that’s just coincidence. Maybe.

That's why I like writing...whether it be blogs, or the extravagant amount of surveys that I fill out (my friends know what I’m talking about). The first amendment is one of our most important amendments, because it allows us to say what we want, whether that be our opinion, or the facts. It allows us to criticize our government. Criticize authority. Say what we want. If the government ever tries to take that away, tries to suppress our rights and freedoms, then we use the only amendment that’s more important than the first amendment: the second amendment. We follow what John Locke suggested in his Second Treatise on Government and we overthrow our government by force (though this is a measure you take only when all else fails), because the government is based on us. We are in a Social Contract with our government where we allow it to rule us in return for its protection and limits on its power. When they break that, we have the right to break our side of the contract. As Alan Moore wrote in his graphic novel V for Vendetta: "People shouldn’t fear their governments, governments should fear its people."

But I’m getting off topic here.

Yeah, sometimes the way the police or the government or formal authority is using databases like Myspace and Facebook makes me feel like I’m in a Ridley Scott movie (or commercial). But as much as I don’t like everyone in the world possibly knowing everything about me, I also like bragging. Speaking of which: Ladies, I’m single, in two honor societies, and graduating in May with degrees in TWO majors. C'mon, you know you like it. lol

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