Daily Archives: February 8, 2012

When The Lines Of Privacy Are Blurred

I was in high school in the 80s. I read 1984 and Future Shock and had discussions in class about Big Brother. And I remember thinking, I live an honest life. I have nothing to hide. So what if there will be cameras on the streets? That’s for the bad guys. The guys who deserve to be caught.

Case in point: Victim in Videotaped ATL Beating Identified

Now that the victim has been identified, hopefully the bullies will be brought to justice.

Then came YouTube. I remember watching a television show where a young girl video taped a man changing a tire who was swearing through the process. She posted it on YouTube and I thought, hmmmm. How many times have I been in public and displayed less than mature behavior? I certainly wouldn’t want my actions to go viral. Outside the confines of my home what kind of privacy can I expect?

With the advent of text messaging, camera phones and WiFi, our ability to spread the word or picture or live action is a matter of pushing a few buttons. A generation is being created who over-shares with virtual strangers and takes no issue with publicizing their own, a friend’s or a stranger’s poor choices.

As funny as viral videos can be, where is the line drawn?

My husband is a fan of Tosh.O. (Don’t judge. It’s his version of mindless entertainment.) The other night a video was featured of a woman, sticking her hand down the backside of her pants, pulling it out and smelling (tasting? I honestly don’t know. I was so grossed out, I left the room) what was on her hand. The person taping the event was laughing so hard the camera was shaking.

Obviously, she was displaying inappropriate public behavior. One could argue (and rightly so) that it was inappropriate private behavior.

What I find horribly inappropriate is that someone would…

a) think it OK to tape the action

b) think it fine to post the video evidence on YouTube

c) that others would watch, laugh and not feel the least bit squeamish that they might be watching something they shouldn’t

and…

d) that a television show would re-broadcast the video for anyone to see who might have missed it the first time around.

The more savvy electronics become the more detached we seem to be from each other. And the more attached we are to our plug-in devices, the more we disassociate ourselves from ethical responsibility toward others.

I’m stymied. I don’t have any answers. I want a manual, a guide and then laws to back up my distaste for this voyeurism that I find so offensive. I want others to join me in this disorganized crusade. I want someone or something to police the internet airwaves and root out immoral and offensive content. I want to be able to walk down the street, slip on the sidewalk with my dress flying above my waist, knowing that only a handful of people saw my thong. And as embarrassing as that would be, at least it wouldn’t be broadcast to the world, living on in infamy.

I know what I want.

But how do we get there?

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