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January 11, 2006
Nancy Hass on In Your Facebook.com
Another page in the on-going hoo-ha about the evils inherent in online social networking, from the New York Times, where Nancy Hass reports on the ways that universities are starting to try to shut down the Facebook because of the fear of cyberstalking, or students posting pictures of themselves that show them drinking, or acting sexually provocative:
[ from In Your Facebook.com - New York Times]
"Every girl I know has had some sort of weird experience," says Shanna Andus, a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley. "Someone gets on a 'friend list' of one of your friends and starts to contact you. They met you at a party or checked out your picture online or went to high school with someone you barely know. It's just a little creepy."
Some colleges have taken action: in October, the University of New Mexico banned access to Facebook on its campus system, citing numerous concerns, including student privacy. Campus officials say they will restore the service for this semester. Mr. Hughes, the Facebook spokesman, says that when the site could not be accessed via the university's networks, half the users continued to sign on through outside networks.
Apropos of this cyberstalking thread, the US has recently enacted legislation that makes cyberstalking a criminal act punishable by up to two years in prison (see Anonymous Trolls, Beware: You Are Breaking Federal Laws
). These are more manifestations of the growing conservatism of the web, a trend that has me worried.
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