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What you post may be used against you

November 14th, 2005 · No Comments

The communities of the blogosphere are infinite, so it seems, and recently I discovered a sector that was new to me: crime blogs. In September a Seattle Times article quoted The Dark Side, as a blog which contained quotes from the blog of a suspect in a local murder. Since then I’ve been reading Steven Huff’s posts. On the one hand, I’m concerned. His crime blog writing contains a free mix of opinion, feelings and fact. Speculation abounds. Of course, tech bloggers and political bloggers speculate as well. But somehow it feels different to me when someone is guessing what the next iPod will be or what Karl Rove will announce next, compared to assigning blame and diagnosing crimes on people who until recently were private citizens.

But what I find fascinating in these crime blogs, is the fact that many suspects and victims now have left footprints on the Web. Often Steven Huff will link to blogs written by people involved in the criminal case or at least quote the blogs, if he doesn’t want to link to them. For example, see this recent post on the double murder and abduction in Pennsylvania. Sometimes what the suspects have written amazes me. Sometimes it seems clues have been left behind in the blogs, explicit or subtle. It’s a wild idea that we leave behind these pieces of ourselves in our blogs, writings that may become evidence to prove or disprove innocence. What you think no one is reading may someday be read by the police and by millions through the media. What you post may be used against you.

As another proof of the power of posts, I’ll describe the case of a Seattle-area blogger who writes about politics but also posts pictures of his family. Someone decided to attack him, and in the process used a picture of his son, making fun of the family’s activities. I am intentionally not linking to the post, in case it would cause this blogger more pain. Although many enjoy posting pictures of their family, I think that parents must consider that what they post may be used against them. It may not be fair or right. Yet people who will attack you may also attack your children. By putting our children in our blogs, we are making them fair game for those who would wish to use us as targets. What you post may be used against you.

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