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Blogging And Invasion Of Privacy
Blogging And Invasion Of Privacy
I just read an article posted by Kathryn R Smith on a writing website about this very topic.
Some of the things she brought up are valid and very good points.
Her article centers on a woman who created a blog and wrote about her sexual exploits with a male coworker who was a government employee.
The woman used only initials to describe herself and the man however it wasn't enough because people put it together and figured how who the two were.
Was this blog thoughtless? In my opinion, yes. Was it defamation/libel/slander? In my opinion, no, because it was the truth. Was it an invasion of privacy? The author says no. This is where I disagree. The reason: As far as I know the man did not give his permission for this woman to write about the exploits. The blog cost the woman her job and has almost put the man out of a job. The man didn't sign up for all the problems that came with this woman creating this blog involving him.
It was thoughtless without a doubt but the big question is whether it is an invasion of privacy.
Many will disagree with me I'm sure and many may agree. Don't confuse this with censorship. Regardless of whether it's an invasion of privacy or not doesn't mean I support censorship because I don't and never will. Do I think this man could/should sue? I think he has the right and should he win? I think so. He didn't write the blog, the woman did and if her words cost a man his job because of her thoughtlessness(it has cost him his reputation which could have long term repercussions in his job and personal life) then I think she could/should be made to pay for that if the man feels he is entitled to compensation for the problems that have resulted because of the blog.
There was a very simple solution for writing about her exploits if she felt she couldn't contain herself and that was to make sure she used made up names that couldn't be traced back to either of them and used no personal identifying information. But she obviously got a thrill out of writing about it.
Invasion of privacy or simply writing about one's daily life? Unfortunately, being the truth doesn't make writing about another person's personal life right. One can right the truth and one can write what isn't true and call it truth. No one reading a blog knows and most people don't care.
The big question regarding this article is whether speech should be censored and whether writing about youjr personal life is an invasion of privacy.
Speech should not be censored. The internet has been around a long time and people have been writing pretty much whatever they want since it began. Granted not on blogs in the early internet days before blogs existed but on newsgroups, forums and discussion boards and in chat rooms. In my opinion, blogs are no different than these other outlets.
An invasion of privacy, this is tricky. In my opinion if a person is writing about someone else's life without that person's consent then it is an invasion of their privacy.
So my advice is very simple: If you're going to write about someone else either don't do it or use fake names that can't be traced back to the actual person.
I know there are people out there who write about people in their lives especially friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, etc, that have done them wrong and writing about what this person has done makes you feel alot better. Unfortunately, you can be held to your words down the road whether they are true or not. So my advice for this: Don't write under your name if you're going to do it anyway. Unless being held legally responsible isn't an issue.
Blogs in my opinion are protected by our right to free speech.
I would like to get some other people's viewpoints on this. Do you think a blog outlining another person's personal life is an invasion of privacy? If so, what measures should be taken? If not, what are your thoughts on writing about someone else whether true or not?