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They should have known better…..

“From Facebook To a Yearbook, Teens Get a Jolt

Privacy Lesson in Bethesda

By Daniel de Vise // Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 26, 2007; Page B01

Students at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda opened their yearbooks last month and found pictures they had already seen — on Facebook, the Internet social-networking site.

In addition to the usual images of blurry hallway traffic, lockers and teens slumped at desks, this year’s Walter Johnson Windup included scenes of student life clearly not intended for the yearbook: impromptu snapshots at house parties and random weekend gatherings; portraits taken at arm’s length on cellphones; and at least one image of students at what looks like a tailgate party, drinking from telltale red plastic cups.

One student, venting in the school newspaper, said seeing her Facebook pictures in the yearbook was ‘kind of stalker-y.'”    Full Article

You know what?  I read this article and laughed my ass off.  While the article does make a valid point that the pictures were republished without crediting the source (or obtaining permission, which I’m a bit fuzzy on the laws for that, but I’m pretty sure any picture taken is automatically copyrighted to the photographer or the company the photographer represents, though if you don’t specify on the page that you are enforcing the copyright….), the main thing for me is that they published photos they didn’t want to be seen on the internet.  OK, how dumb can you really be?  You post it to the internet, it is vulnerable.  Yes, you can cut down on who can see it by password protecting stuff and the like, but unless the site is only going to be accessible by one person other people are going to see it!  And as soon as another person can see it, you ultimately have no assurance that the whole world isn’t going to see it.

Sometimes I really think that people need to clue in more often.  It’s not that hard of a thing to really fathom, you know.  To the person posting photos on facebook:  don’t put anything up that you might not want seen by another person.  Don’t assume that even if you restrict access that other people won’t find out.  To the person who writes LJ entries:  don’t assume that your friends list will protect you, especially when you don’t do a full check of who is behind that username.  It’s not hard for someone to create a new identity on the net, and if I wanted to check up on my child or someone else on LJ it would be so easy to create a new identity on the net and create a unique new username.  Or, if I didn’t want to put that effort in, I’d just become friends with one of my child’s friends and ask them to report stuff to me.  And to the general blogger:  don’t post crap publicly that you don’t want people to see.  I’ve heard of more than one report of people getting into trouble with either friends or employers over something they blogged about and shouldn’t.

Oh, and might I say that I just love the naivety of this part of the article:

“‘We grew up with the idea that you can share anything you want with your friends through the Internet,” said Amy Hemmati, 16, a rising Walter Johnson junior. ‘I think we’re very trusting in the online community, as opposed to adults, who are on the outside looking in.”

This girl really, really needs to clue in.  The assumption that the majority of “adults” don’t know about the internet or know there way around it is a dead concept now.  It used to be that if you didn’t work directly on computers you didn’t really know much, but now everybody works on computers, and though I’ve dealt with people who didn’t know what the Start button was when I asked them to click on it, most everybody knew there way around the internet.  But I know the perspective that this girl has.  I once had it, the perspective that I and the teens around me were our own little world that was misunderstood by the adults.  It didn’t take long as an adult to find out it had all been done before (perhaps in different ways, but it had been done), and my parents were definitely not stupid or ignorant.  :)

But eventually kids will grow up, and perhaps people will live and learn (and that part includes adults, too).  :)