Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lemming Tracks: Erin Andrews, Policing the Internet, and Power to the People

"ESPN's Erin Andrews: 'No One Is Policing' Internet, Which 'Needs to be Regulated' "
CNS News (July 29, 2010)

"ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, a victim of stalking, appeared with members of Congress on Tuesday to announce the proposed 'STALKERS Act.' Andrews -- whose stalker posted a video online that he had secretly recorded of her nude in a hotel room – told CNSNews.com that 'no one is policing' the Internet and it 'needs to be regulated.'

" 'It needs to be regulated. It's not. I mean, that's the bottom line. It needs to be regulated. There's no policing of it,” Andrews told CNSNews.com after the press conference on Capitol Hill.

"CNSNews.com also asked Andrews if the government should monitor content on certain Web sites.

"She said, 'If somebody could think of something, I mean, they'd be a hero because, you know, there's just a lot of stuff that needs to be policed; that needs to be looked at. No one's held accountable for what they put on the Internet.'..."

First of all, I think that what was done to Erin Andrews was wrong. It wasn't right. The fellow shouldn't have done what he did.

Stalking isn't nice. People shouldn't do it.

Erin Andrews is quite understandably upset.

Rescuing a Spunky Girl Reporter, Controlling What We Say Online

There's a distinction between stalking, what was done to Erin Andrews: and posting something on your blog that the establishment doesn't like.
The Sixties, the Establishment, and - Finally - Power to the People
If "the establishment" sounds terribly sixties, I'm not surprised. It's closely associated with peace protests, flower power, and kids who didn't like gray flannel suits.

I was there, and there was a - shall we say certain coolness? - between the folks who were perfectly content with being in charge and having things pretty much their way, and the rest of us.

After a half-century, a fair number of the screaming kids now wear three-piece suits and are solidly "establishment" themselves. And that's almost another topic.

Not quite, though, because the folks in charge today still get annoyed when everybody doesn't agree with them. They're particularly ticked off when somebody has the effrontery (from their point of view) to criticize their policies in public.

It's easy to see disagreement as a threat. I remember the trailing edge of America's McCarthyism, I endured the years when political correctness was in bloom - and I'm very concerned about efforts to "protect" people from those bad guys on the Internet.

You know, the ones who don't agree with the establishment.

I've discussed this in other blogs:Bottom line?

I think freedom of expression is important.

I also think freedom of expression is important for people who don't fully support the views of whoever is in charge at the moment.

Ready access to the Internet has given people who aren't part of the established order the power to speak their minds, be heard - and maybe make a difference.

That, finally, is real "power to the people."

'Something's Gotta Be Done' - But 'Be Careful What You Wish For'

I agree that enforcement of 'stalking laws' and the emerging sanctions against producers of malware is somewhere between inadequate - and a sick joke.

But I am very concerned about emotional pleas to regulate what people do online.

Remember, I think that stalking isn't nice and that people shouldn't do it.

This isn't about stalking.

I think that "freedom of expression" is useless, if the only people you're allowed to communicate with are the ones within a few yards of you.

Today, you can get your message published, even if you're not a member of Congress. You don't need to have a personal relationship with the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper, or be best-buds with a network executive.

You don't even need to have the wealth it takes to buy advertising space on a national network, or buy a publishing house.

Most importantly, you can get your message out: even if you don't support today's establishment, and their policies.

All it takes is time at a keyboard, and access to the Internet.

Today.

I agree that attractive young women in high-profile careers should be allowed to express their opinions.

I also think that the rest of us should be allowed to express our opinions.

'First They Came for the Jews/Socialists/Communists...'

Martin Niemöller's poem has been re-written enough times. You've probably heard or read at least one version of it. (December 11, 2009))

Yes, online behavior "needs to be regulated." To the extent that we need to have sanctions against people who take inappropriate pictures of Erin Andrews and others in her position.

I hope, sincerely, that Erin's emotional plea doesn't lead to the rest of us losing our freedom to say things that the powers-that-be don't like.

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Missing an article: "not member of Congress"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Thanks! (This, from someone who insists that he grew up speaking contemporary English?)

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