Thursday, December 22, 2005

Blog confession nets 5 years in prison

A Florida teen has plead guilty to manslaughter charges after he confessed to causing a fatal accident on his blog.

Blake Ranking wrote "I did it" on his journal three days after the October 2004 crash that caused a friend's death and left another seriously injured. He had previously told investigators he remembered nothing of the crash and little of its aftermath. |Washington Post|
I think this reveals an interesting phenomenon about privacy in general. For some reason, many people seem to operate under the premise that if you do not see their face, then they are anonymous.

How else can you explain the countless stories of people who commit online sexual harrassment or blog about starting riots or commit online hate crimes or look at child porn on their computers when they must know somewhere in the back of their minds that all Internet traffic can be traced?

One of my fellow students at UCLA did a study where she asked people in a survey if they thought their email was private and most said yes. A few questions later she asked these same people if they were aware that IT people could access their email and most of these people said yes. It's a textbook case of cognitive dissonance!

I think this is part of the reason why people tell pollsters that online privacy is a serious concern, but these people will rarely do anything to improve their online security and privacy.

To my mind, it's similar to an ostrich sticking it's head in the sand. If you can't see my face, you don't really know me...

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