Imagine spending extra time in prison because you happened to wear the wrong color clothes in a photo posted on Facebook.
It may sound far-fetched, but some teens have actually been given harsher sentences because they allegedly wore gang colors in pictures found online. Jobs have been lost, relationships have been torn apart, and reputations have been ruined by way of social media. According to law professor and author Lori Andrews, social network users often unwittingly risk damaging their personal lives and surrendering basic rights every time they log on. In Andrews’ book, “I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy,” the author lays out the legal, professional, and personal risks of social networking. She not only argues caveat Facebooker, but she calls for the creation of a constitutional bill of rights to protect users of networks like Facebook.
Have you ever offered up TMI – too much information – on the Internet? Have you seen other people do it? Know anyone who’s been disciplined in a job or at school for being too frank online? And should certain personal information be considered off-limits even if anyone with a browser can find it? Who should be responsible for determining any rights or regulations of social media?
Lori Andrews, law professor, director, Institute for Science, Law and Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology; author, “I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networking and the Death of Privacy”