With Cyberspace — Nothing is Safe!!

Call me paranoid, but I truly believe that anything done using technology is never guaranteed to be safe. There are hackers, viruses, not to mention mistakes can be made like leaving your Facebook account open. Now, I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have private conversations via the internet or texting, I’m just saying BE AWARE that anything you put out there could possibly be seen by others than just yourself and that other person.

This seems relatively obvious to me, but, how is it that so many people in the spotlight seem to be somewhat oblivious to this. Prime example — Anthony Weiner. While at the Museum of Sex this weekend with the Moxies, I couldn’t help but focus solely on an exhibit which had all of the Facebook messages between Weiner and Meagan Broussard. Weiner, a congressman from New York, proceeded to have a relationship with Broussard via Facebook messages, twitter, and text message. They had sexual conversations and also sent each other sexually explicit pictures.


I do not want to focus on the things Weiner said, or the relationship that he had. What I want to dig deeper into is HOW someone, especially someone in the public eye, can feel “safe” doing something like this. Doesn’t he know that these things could always be dug up and shared with the entire world!? After seeing so many scandals that happen with people in the public eye, whether its from other politicians, Tiger Woods, etc., how is it humanly possible for Weiner to think that doing something like this would not get him into some sort of trouble. Is it a generation thing? Is it him thinking that he is totally invincible because of the power of his political position? Does he secretly want to get caught? WHAT IS IT that makes a person like Weiner believe that he could keep something like this hidden. There are so many scandals that happen every year with people in the spotlight- how are people not learning from each other’s mistakes and learning NOT to use technology as a means of this type of communication!?

5 thoughts on “With Cyberspace — Nothing is Safe!!

  1. This is interesting to me because I completely agree with you but I’m somewhat surprised by that. You’re of the generation that has lived a lot of its life online and doesn’t seem to have the same expectations of privacy that I and others in my age group do – or so I thought. But maybe this kind of apparent real world ignorance transcends views about privacy or sharing your life online or maybe you hit the nail on the head with the idea that he – and others like him – really believe that no one will find out. That’s a little mind boggling in this day and age but it’s also the only explanation that seems to make any sense.

  2. I like your pointing to the reality that nothing in cyberspace is safe or truly private, and Christy, I like your reflection on Melanie’s post. Melanie, while you point out a high profile illustration, your remarks apply to more mundane matters as well. For example, how many people think about how a future employer, future partner, or future colleague might view their posts? What thoughts do you have to increase awareness among others about the dangers of indiscriminate posting in cyberspace? It is an especially important topic among a younger generation who may make regrettable posts that could harm them in later years.

  3. There is also the flip side. If we were not willing to put ourselves “out there” online, this conversation would never be happening. What about the value of a digital identity and life?

  4. Hi Nancy- would you mind defining a bit more what exactly you mean by “a digital identity and life?” Thanks!

  5. Sure, Melanie.

    Digital Identity is the accumulated digital manifestations that we and others leave about us online. It is how people “see” us online. So that may be from all the profiles we filled in (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, that forum you joined 10 years ago….), all the artifacts we have created (with my blog, I have a fairly long lived digital identity) both intentionally and unintentionally (that awful thing we posted online and now regret!)

    I did some work a few years ago w/ Reading University in the UK as they worked to help their students have a sense of the scope, importance and ways to use their digital identities positively. You can find more at http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/this-is-me/ – I did some derivations for folks working in NGOs which was then adapted for healthcare workers http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/this-is-me/files/2012/09/thisismeHealthProfrev4.doc

    The Wikipedia entry on digital identity, while a bit geeky, is not too bad:
    “Digital identity is a concept that prevails in the domains of cyberspace, and is defined as a set of data that uniquely describes a person or a thing (sometimes referred to as subject or entity) and contains information about the subject’s relationships to other entities.[1] The social identity that an internet user establishes through digital identities in cyberspace is referred to as online identity.
    A critical problem in cyberspace is knowing with whom you are interacting. In essence, the problem is that “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Currently there are no ways to precisely determine the identity of a person in digital space. Even though there are attributes associated to a person’s digital identity, these attributes or even identities can be changed, masked or dumped and new ones created. Despite the fact that there are many authentication systems and digital identifiers that try to address these problems, there is still a need for a unified and verified identification system in cyberspace.[2][not in citation given] Thus, there are issues of privacy and security related to digital identity.”

    Sorry this is so long, but the last thing is about our digital life. For some of us, we keep our online and offline lives as separate as possible. For others, there is no boundary. Along the spectrum, I think it is less about right and wrong but about awareness and clarity of the choices we make about what kinds of digital footprints we leave during our lifetimes. They are more persistent than those we often leave in the physical world.

    Does that make sense?

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