I read an article yesterday from Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch, in which he challenges the validity of online reputations. In his opinion he feels that in a few years online reputations will not mean a thing and indiscretions will be ignored. He is basing his opinion on a new startup service which will publish the good, the bad and the ugly about you personally for the world to see. He does not state the name of the service but does say that anyone will be able to post anonymously without fear of legal or social fallout.
My first thoughts were two fold. First I personally believe that our online reputations do matter. Hopefully many of you who read this will feel the same way. I have seen comments made here that because of their vivid language and/or attacks to other readers were not fit to post and were junked by myself. I believe these types of comments would reflect on my reputation because someone could look at these comments as something I either agree with or approve of.
My second thought was about the posting of indiscretions. Arrington goes on to say in his article that those who have a picture of them smoking pot will in a few years not matter much. He is at least hoping this will be true. But who decides what is right and what is wrong? This is where I believe that reputation does matter and so do the indiscretions that happen to get posted.
What do you think?
This should be an interesting case which involves a dead blogger and possible inflammatory remarks he made prior to his death. It seems that the dead guy had posted some remarks that the victim didn’t think were fair. But the remarks, blog, can not be removed since the dead blogger left no one in charge of his web site. The victim is suing not for money, but to force Google to take down the web site.
In a recent article is also explains that:
The complaint alleges that Sean Healy created a blog at unknowncolumn.blogspot.com and posted defamatory content about speedskater Shani Davis’ mom, Cherie Davis. [I believe the post in question is at http://unknowncolumn.blogspot.com/2006/02/memo-to-cherie-davis.html — I’m not going to link to it, but it did show up as my first search result for “Cherie Davis”]. The complaint further alleges that Healy is now deceased, so he can no longer remove the content on Cherie’s demand, and he did not have a “probate estate” to take over his blog. As a result, Cherie feels like she has nowhere to turn to clean up the alleged defamation, so she is suing Google’s Blogspot for a takedown injunction.
On the face of it, the lawsuit is clearly preempted by 47 USC 230, and Google ought to get a quick and unambiguous win. However, there are some lurking policy issues about dealing with online content posted by now-deceased individuals:
* Presumably the content and the account passed through Healy’s estate. Even if there was no “probate estate,” whatever that means, there is still a legal protocol for succession of Healy’s assets–including the copyrights in his blog. So someone now owns Healy’s blog, and it should be possible to determine who that is.
Which made me wonder? What if I said something that offended someone? Could I be forced to take it down without the offending party proving that what I said was untrue? How does the constitution fit into this mess? Namely freedom of the press or does it even apply?
In a disturbing video from the streets of Hartford, CT., a elderly 78 year man is gunned down by a hit and run driver who fled the scene. The video shows what appears are two vehicles that cross over on the wrong side of the street and gun down the elderly pedestrian. Cops are showing the video in the hopes of identifying the suspects in the case, while the victim is in the hospital paralyzed from the neck down.
It is unfortunate that incidents such as this do occur. But what is disturbing in this video is that none of the citizens seen on the street come to the mans aid. He is just left there in the street. Vehicles are seen traveling in the opposite direction and don’t even bother slowing down.
What the heck are we becoming when we have such a disregard for others? I think that this should not be just a local incident of shame and disgust, but we as Americans should be ashamed of this behavior.
What do you think?