Sunday, November 10, 2013

The End of Kindness

I am a libertarian, but I am not an anarchist.  I believe in human freedom, but I also support our constitutional government.  I recognize the protection government provides society, even as I criticize it for being overweening.  Life is full of contradictions. 

In the past, I have railed against government control of the internet, and I still predict that one day, no one will be able to do anything anonymously on it.  Even now, someone who knows what he is doing can find out who you really are, and track you down to your home. 

I predict the day will come when we all must biometrically establish our identity at the on-ramp to the Digital Superhighway.  Would this be a good thing?  Before answering, please read this article from The Verge:  The End of Kindness.

The article tells stories of three classes of man on woman internet abuse:

* Death and Rape Threats.  A male hacker repeatedly threatened a female software expert, revealed her address and social security number, and planted false prostitution stories of her as well as photoshopped pictures.  The incident drove the famous Java programmer and tech book writer off of the internet and into hiding, as thousands of misogynists followed the creep's attacks with those of their own.  

Attack by Criminal Proxy.  Angry ex-boyfriends and husbands who posted Craig's List ads in the name of their ex's asking for men to rape them, leading in many instances to home break-ins and rapes.

* Revenge Porn. Men who post nude photos of their ex-wives and girlfriends.

Big government types see this and recommend more big government.  The answer to this is for on-line communities to police themselves, but the evidence is overwhelming that this has not happened, and anyway, we live in a world where nothing is private anymore. 

This is the point where I should summarize and wrap it all up in an erudite and pithy conclusion, but I am unable.  I could state the obvious about personal responsibility and not giving others sensitive information or naked pictures of yourself.  I could also point our that it is not technology's fault when bad people use it to abuse others.  How about some threadbare platitudes about our sick society and how bad people are everywhere?

I've been sitting on this post for weeks.  I started it in a fever of righteous indignation at the predations these women suffered, but I have no conclusion.  Punish the guilty, shield the innocent, be smart and protect yourself, bla bla bla...

The End of Kindness

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