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Monday, May 16, 2005

Bloggers - how free are you in Cybercypace?

Bloggers and free speech. Employees that blogged fired from the job. Now we have a university that tries to get the identity of a blogger who blogs about their university. They bring some examples of how the blogger behaved, well, in not such a nice way. "One picture of the President is gleaned from the university’s Web site, and was spruced up with a bottle of gin and two bare-breasted women."

Another time, "administrators said they are less concerned by the criticism of themselves than by the anonymous attacks on individuals, especially students. One posting that really bothered them, according to administrators, was a tally of how many times a student mentioned on the blog had been seen crying in public, presumably due to its content. Another post included a faculty member’s profile and pictures (one in shirt and tie, one shirtless) highlighting the fact that the professor said he was not interested in dating black or Asian people."

Now what is the role of bloggers? I think it is okay to blog and to expose, when someone or something is done wrong in either company, university, political environment or whatever. If you know about it, blog about it - although the consequences can be hard (see the recent Singapore affair).

A different animal altogether might be if you are going to hurt someone without checking the facts first. I think that this is a basic rule. But then, well, facts are subjective and based on perception as well. May be a simple rule should be: Would you feel hurt if someone writes the same stuff about you, or posts pictures about you in "strange postures?" If it hurts you, then don't post it.

Anyway, for the bloggers in the university, it gets a bit hotter. "When ordered by the court, Google Inc. turned over IP addresses from which comments to the blog were posted. (...) So far there is no indication if Time Warner Cable will turn over information for those addresses.
One thing is certain: Every step of the process will be blogged about."

(By Asia Business Consulting)