Remember how I went on and on about the fact that what you do and say in your personal life (particularly online, after all this is an e-discovery blog) may become relevant in a legal proceeding? Remember how I told you that there are several cases pending that might completely change the definition of privacy? And remember when I nagged you like your (Please fill-in-the-blank here; mother, grandmother, psychiatrist, attorney, etc. Hey – I'm not dumb enough to actually name someone and make them mad at me!) when I implored you to stop making those inappropriate posts on Twitter/Facebook/MySpace, etc.?
Well, this headline says it all:
For those who are pressed for time, this is the relevant portion:
Village Trustee Lisa Stone should be told the name of the man she
accuses of making defamatory online comments about her 15-year-old son,
a judge ruled Monday in a case being watched for its Internet privacy
Cook County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Lawrence ordered that the identity
of a person known online as Hipcheck16 be turned over to Stone."
We can debate the Constitutional implications of the ruling itself, but truly, this goes all the way back to the 'shouting fire in a crowded theater' argument. Post-mortems don't interest me much; I deal with what is, and what will be, not what was. To paraphrase a certain election campaign, it's about the future, stupid!
On a fairly regular basis, I'm accused of being "Chicken Little". Perhaps my detractors are right. Maybe it's because I was a boy scout when I was a kid (Be Prepared!) or perhaps it's from all of those years protecting my clients from what might happen, not just what I could identify as likely to happen.
If I weren't doing what I'm doing, maybe I'd have become an actuary (I'd say 'bean-counter', but for those who know this blog well, the only beans I'd be counting are coffee beans…).
It sucks being the wet blanket. It sucks constantly warning people about risks. But here's the thing; technology is moving much faster than our ability to understand what we're doing with it. There used to be an admonishment; when angry, count to ten before acting. Now, not only do we not count to ten, we immediately grab our always-within-reach Blackberry and post on Facebook!
So, here's a question for you to ponder over the weekend; do you think Hipcheck16 wishes I'd have been his wet blanket?