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An issue of privacy

Off the fence

An issue of privacy and respect for others


Ciara Galvin

The line between what should be posted on the internet, and what should not has become extremely blurred over the last number of years. Words such as ‘viral’ and ‘internet sensation’ are heard on a daily basis across the world – referring to the instance when a person or event is documented and put online.
Recently some shocking and inappropriate images of a young girl performing a sexual act at a concert in Slane, Co Meath went viral on the internet.
Since the images have been posted and reposted, much debate has arisen over the lines of privacy laws and the respect of another person.
What I am questioning is the common sense of the younger sections of society who seem to see nothing wrong with the plague of ‘over sharing’. Whether it is content produced about yourself or someone else, when documenting content for distribution on the internet, the loss of ownership can be immediate.
For those brought up in the Facebook age, the era of Twitter, the times of Instagram, where instead of digging in to your dinner you take a photo of it and share it on Snapchat first, nothing seems to be sacred.
This most recent violation of privacy rights, posting images of the girl without her permission has once again highlighted the need for a review and increase of privacy laws regarding internet content.
Lax regulation of the distribution of inappropriate content has to be addressed before this ticking time bomb explodes and indeed more people’s lives are harmfully effected.
With the social media age resulting in everyone with a smart phone now able to shoot their own videos and images and upload them as internet content instantaniously, it is clear that for everyone’s benefit something has to be done.
When something is created and put online it seems to effectively be a free for all, and results in a worldwide hard copy of the event or action being documented forever.
The subsequent internet activity in the days after the events at Slane Castle showed a disconnect between people and their internet accounts.
Whether people were sharing the photo to highlight the injustice of the fact that neither of the young men in the photos were mentioned or scrutinised for their parts played, or wrongly launching a tirade of abuse on a 17-year-old girl, it comes down to the fact that by sharing these images, people were sharing what could be classed as pornographic images.
Internet users sharing the images became like the initial persons who uploaded the images.
Something must be done to address this issue for the welfare of our teenagers before incidents like this and others become a common occurrence.