Lately there has been a huge discussion in Germany about privacy issues connected with those social network websites of the web 2.0. In Germany there is one called StudiVZ which is more or less modeled after FaceBook, as I am told (I don’t use either, btw).
In the center of the dicussion was the fact that young people enter their private data voluntarily and freely available for others on those websites. One of the things that was mentioned was the question whether those people will have a chance in their future to get a job. Some “human resource”1 manager mentioned that photographs of parties might be nice for a future event manager, but could be damaging for someone applying for a job at a bank. He also mentioned that he makes extensive use of web search in order to find details about applicants. He also mentioned that comments in forums and elsewhere would be considered in the course of such a web search as well.
I find this highly interesting and disgusting at the same time. So that was it with the well-famed freedom of speech in free countries?! This person and others in the discussion missed one point though. Identities on the web can be spoofed much more easily than in real life. One TV report even mentioned the case of a German girl who found “profiles” of herself on one of those websites along with porn-like pictures and vulgar language. So what’s the point of using a web search in the first place, if anyone can spoof the identity of the applicant? And is “an applicant” not eligible to his own opinion and to express it just as the freedom of speech used to guarantee?
Another spin in the discussion was, that people might fancy just now to upload their pictures and data, but in ten years time they may decide to take down that information, but it is too late. In fact the aforementioned human resource manager mentioned that those informations from the teenage years of a person would of course be considered as well. What the heck? People change! It’s the human nature. Change is the most definite constant in the life of any human, be it the body, the mind or other aspects in a human’s life. For example a few years ago (but that was before the evangelicals started their offensive) I decided I would not express my atheist views publicly – this clearly changed as you can see here in the blog. If a potential employer ties his decision to employ me to the question whether I believe in the god he believes in or any god whatsoever, I am quite sure it wouldn’t be the right employer for me anyway.
So what is this all about? Is our society really so foul already? …
- In my opinion one of the ugly terms that really reveals what our society is about! [↩]