Web Gossip and Privacy Rights

Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park, London
Image via Wikipedia

Today Alex Hudson of the BBC asks: Is the web waging war on super-injunctions? “In the papers recently, a lot has been made of so-called “super-injunctions”, where even the fact that an injunction has been granted, or the name of the person applying for it, must be kept secret…”

The article goes on to examine and question the freedom and speed at which information can be shared via the internet. As a blogger and user of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, I would have to say these internet tools can be immensely useful for publishing your point of view to a wider audience than was previously possible, a kind of modern-day Speakers’ Corner Soapbox in Hyde Park.

Technology gives people the ability to band together and challenge authority in ways that were previously impossible.

However, anyone who chooses to speak out on any given subject, surely also has a moral duty to be factual and truthful? Here sits the major difficulty in that; much of that ‘personal’ opinion is often based upon the views of others, gleaned from internet sources, but not always factual and true themself. A modern-day gossip over the garden fence, tittle-tattle based upon little more than rumour and supposition. Having an opinion, worthy of being listened to, and open to debate and scrutiny, requires that it be based upon the research of facts, otherwise it is little more than hot air and rhetoric, a personal rant that rightly deserves to be dismissed out of hand.

In Hudson’s piece, the ‘experts’ and ‘activists’ from both sides of the ‘Social Freedom’ verses the ‘Orwellian Control’ debate (expectedly) voiced their concerns. The rights and wrongs of Julian Asange and the Wikileaks debacle also reared its head again. It’s interesting that many of those, who constantly clamour for their ‘right to know’, would also be the ones just as vociferous if their every move was plastered all over the tabloids on a daily basis.

We all seem to crave information these days, about anything and everything, even when it doesn’t really concern us. We all want to have our opinion on others and about particular incidents, sharing it with our peers as fast as possible via the net however, we’re only happy when we’re in control of that information. Especially if the information being circulated concerns us as individuals.

It is my opinion that social media tools have a place in modern society. The internet has provided the means to more easily challenge and interact with those who manage our organisations and are elected to our governments. However, if you want to join a public debate about any subject, make sure your opinion is based upon fact and open to scrutiny. And after all, it is still only your opinion, we all have a right to our own one and we don’t necessarily have to accept yours.

On the specific subject of the ‘super-injunction‘; I find it a little difficult to swallow that people, who generally make a very handsome living out of selling their every move to the press, are only happy when they have control over it. Phrases such as ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ spring to mind and in any case; I for one couldn’t give a flying toss about which footballer has or hasn’t shagged whichever kiss and tell wannabe bimbo! Why would you?

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