Your Online Permanent Record

An argument can be made that leaked nude celeb photos are good for the digital economy by increasing pageviews for sites that display them. Not much sympathy for the victims on this blog or elsewhere. Having embarrassing photos leaked is part of the price of fame, and the punishment for lascivious behavior. And let’s be honest: the only pictures anyone really wants to see are the Kate Upton ones, or for me at least. Let’s give a shout-out to 4chan and Reddit for disseminating the pictures and doing the job the mainstream media is too timid to do. We’ve become a liberal nation of victims looking for anyone to blame for our indiscretions, whether it’s the fed, the rich, Wall St., Washington, or ‘hackers’.

As a feature of the smartist era, your online presence is becoming your new, indelible permanent record. Anything incriminating, so long as it’s archived on a major search engine or social network, can and will come back to hurt you. The rich, such as Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam who was fired from the annotation service after posting comments about Elliot Rogers, don’t have to worry so much about the consequences of reckless online behavior because they at least retain their equity in the said company, so being fired is just like a permanent vacation. Now the 9-5er who gets fired only has unemployment to fall back on. Much worse. But those online comments will also hurt your future job prospects, leaving you with no recourse but to request they be removed (fat chance) or pay inordinate amounts of money to a reputation firm to bury the results. If you’re really smart and talented your skills may be so valuable and rare that employers may overlook your past transgressions. So we see with the abnegation of privacy and anonymity, like most changes of the post-2008 economy, primarily impact those who are the most vulnerable, and there’s nothing anyone can or will do about it. The only solution is be careful what you post on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere, and if someone slanders you, there isn’t much you can do that won’t cost a lot of money and time. But on the other hand, privacy is just another way of lending criminals cover. If you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide.