I was deeply troubled a year ago when Tyler Clementi took his life after his roommate outed him using a spycam over the web. As an alumnus of Rutgers, I was outraged that this shame was brought upon our school. Today, the perpetrator was found guilty of criminal conduct and is going to jail for quite a while, or else facing deportation back to India, or both. As RU students back in the dark age, we conducted our share of pranks, but this situation was entirely different – just way over the line. The ruin of two young lives is tragic, and the implications for digital privacy are perhaps ground-breaking. In an age when anything and everything seems like fair game online, a jury of ordinary people have finally said ‘enough’. While this wasn’t a data privacy issue, it drives the issue of privacy front and center. The case is bound to set legal precedent, and hopefully will serve as a reminder to others who believe that because it can be done, it’s ok to be done. I wonder if its implications will elevate awareness and some thoughtfulness, particularly among younger people, about the implications for other layers of privacy in a continually connected world.
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