Home The Internet is not a safe haven for insults and threats

The Internet is not a safe haven for insults and threats

by admin October 10, 2010

The Internet is not a safe haven for insults and threats

by admin October 10, 2010

It’s hard to guess exactly what David Abitbol, or “Darkiller” as he goes by on Facebook, was thinking when he used an instant messaging service to send death threats to former teachers and classmates. He probably didn’t think anyone would take him seriously. But how could they know he wasn’t serious?

The 28-year-old unemployed man took out his anger out on a medium that is public. In this age of information, people need to realize that just because you are separated by a monitor and a couple of miles of fibre-optic cable, it does not mean you are not responsible for the things you write or access online.

Privacy, or at least the illusion of privacy, seems to provide any old idiot with the idea that they can write or say anything online without suffering consequences. Abitbol keeps claiming that he was “fooling around.” What kind of excuse is that? The details of his stupidity are cringe-worthy. It doesn’t help that that the police found child pornography on his computer. Abitbol is also being charged with improper storage of a firearm.

You are not anonymous online. You are accountable for everything you do and say. This isn’t a one-on-one transaction of information, and it never has been. The Internet is a very public place, as it was designed to be, and an information source accessible by anyone. In today’s society, certain aspects of our lives that are not necessarily on the Internet are accessible by others. From every debit transaction to every time you use your Opus card, you are leaving a trace of where you have been and what you have spent, regardless of your consent. In these cases, the convenience of the two technologies greatly outweighs the idea of going back to only using cash or bartering and walking or riding a horse. It is understood that there is a certain amount of privacy that we all consciously surrender when using those services.

I had a friend once say that Facebook is the soap-opera theatre of our generation, allowing friends, foes and stalkers alike a glimpse into our lives. From our vacation photos to past work experience, we allow the different members of our social life to experience what we think, act, and feel. However, that glimpse has grown to a systematic breakdown of our days, with constant updates published for all our followers to see. We all seem to enjoy the attention and like to pretend that people hang on our every word that is posted in our statuses. Even with the rise of location-based services, users fail to realize the extent of the information that they are willing to divulge to the public.

It’s time to face the facts: if we are willing to post publicly, we must understand the consequences and face them when the time comes. These do not diminish simply because you are using social media. Remember all the fine print about not publishing hateful content or bullying other users you supposedly agreed to when you joined Facebook? Most of us just clicked “I accept”, and didn’t bother reading it.

Let David Abitbol be a lesson for all us. As the old adage says, integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking at you. Maybe it’s time to realize that everyone is always looking.

Leave a Comment

It’s hard to guess exactly what David Abitbol, or “Darkiller” as he goes by on Facebook, was thinking when he used an instant messaging service to send death threats to former teachers and classmates. He probably didn’t think anyone would take him seriously. But how could they know he wasn’t serious?

The 28-year-old unemployed man took out his anger out on a medium that is public. In this age of information, people need to realize that just because you are separated by a monitor and a couple of miles of fibre-optic cable, it does not mean you are not responsible for the things you write or access online.

Privacy, or at least the illusion of privacy, seems to provide any old idiot with the idea that they can write or say anything online without suffering consequences. Abitbol keeps claiming that he was “fooling around.” What kind of excuse is that? The details of his stupidity are cringe-worthy. It doesn’t help that that the police found child pornography on his computer. Abitbol is also being charged with improper storage of a firearm.

You are not anonymous online. You are accountable for everything you do and say. This isn’t a one-on-one transaction of information, and it never has been. The Internet is a very public place, as it was designed to be, and an information source accessible by anyone. In today’s society, certain aspects of our lives that are not necessarily on the Internet are accessible by others. From every debit transaction to every time you use your Opus card, you are leaving a trace of where you have been and what you have spent, regardless of your consent. In these cases, the convenience of the two technologies greatly outweighs the idea of going back to only using cash or bartering and walking or riding a horse. It is understood that there is a certain amount of privacy that we all consciously surrender when using those services.

I had a friend once say that Facebook is the soap-opera theatre of our generation, allowing friends, foes and stalkers alike a glimpse into our lives. From our vacation photos to past work experience, we allow the different members of our social life to experience what we think, act, and feel. However, that glimpse has grown to a systematic breakdown of our days, with constant updates published for all our followers to see. We all seem to enjoy the attention and like to pretend that people hang on our every word that is posted in our statuses. Even with the rise of location-based services, users fail to realize the extent of the information that they are willing to divulge to the public.

It’s time to face the facts: if we are willing to post publicly, we must understand the consequences and face them when the time comes. These do not diminish simply because you are using social media. Remember all the fine print about not publishing hateful content or bullying other users you supposedly agreed to when you joined Facebook? Most of us just clicked “I accept”, and didn’t bother reading it.

Let David Abitbol be a lesson for all us. As the old adage says, integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking at you. Maybe it’s time to realize that everyone is always looking.

Leave a Comment