Home > privacy, social computing > Anyone feel a chill in here?

Anyone feel a chill in here?

I was about to follow a socialist acquaintance on Twitter this afternoon, and hesitated for a second. It wasn’t rational–it was just a feeling: Is this smart? Is someone watching who is watching radical people?

My own politics are pretty moderate, bordering on boring–I try to see both sides of issues. But I love far left folks–they make me think. And it appalls me that I hesitated with the “follow” button. This is the chilling effect of indiscriminate surveillance.

Categories: privacy, social computing
  1. June 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I’m used to this: We in the public schools are cautioned never to say or post or perform any action online which may later be used against us. I’d say that about half my peers have fake Facebook names to mitigate against being discovered by an angry student or his parents.

    • June 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Sigh. That’s depressing, Seth. But I’ve seen news reports about teachers fired for ridiculously innocent stuff online. Thanks for the comment.

  2. June 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Posting things in public and then having it come back to haunt you later is different than being worried about the government watching you for suspicious activity. They may lead to the similar caution, but the power dynamics are different.

    I have four kids, and a very cautious wife. None of my kids are on Facebook for a similar reason to the one Seth gave. Not to be careful of what could be used against them, but simply to protect them from publishing information that would embarass them or cost them opportunities later.

    I’m pretty sure, though, that while fake Facebook accounts can protect against snoopy parents or local school officials, they can’t protect from a snoopy NSA.

  3. July 20, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    It’s regrettable, but we should apportion part of the blame to the widespread practice of becoming little troopers for political movements. People study these issues while procrastinating at work and while watching comedy television programs. Based on what they learn, they become troopers for the cause, up to and including shouting their parents down and choosing who they’ll work with.

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