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Privacy? What's that?

Sometimes drinking can lead to some of the embarrassing photos out on the web
Photo Credit: freeimages.co.uk

Who hasn’t read a Facebook status update about someone complaining about their job or their relationship?

Everyone makes errors in judgment, but the evolution of the internet has magnified these faux-pas to epic proportions. Still, people just don’t seem to get the point. Privacy might as well be taken out of the dictionary and into history textbooks, because it is surely extinct.

To find out just how worried I should be about my professional future, I asked Sgt. Mike Stevens, one of the gatekeepers for the Winnipeg Police Service, how the service checks on applicants and current members.

“We have a terminal set up for just that,” says Stevens, answering whether or not the police check people’s Facebook and MySpace pages.

But what about Facebook’s new privacy settings? Doesn’t that keep people from seeing my personal information? “There are always ways around privacy settings,” says Stevens.

Yikes.

(Short intermission as I delete half of my Facebook photos)

I didn’t have anything to be too worried about on there. Luckily, I’ve never been good-looking enough for anyone to want to take nude photos of me.

One piece of advice, though…and it pains me to say this because I have a feeling this comment is going to bite me in the ass down the road, but the most important rule for anyone to follow: DON’T LET PEOPLE TAKE NUDE PHOTOS OF YOU

Just ask Becca Manns, the University of Louisville cheerleader who was kicked off the team after explicit pictures surfaced on the internet.

Or ask High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens, who made several public apologies after nude pictures of her emerged on the web not once, but twice.

Heck, you don’t even have to look that far. Ask the teachers who starred in the “Two Teachers, One Chair” video what they think of the power of the internet. The embarrassed Winnipeg educators were suspended indefinitely after generating national headlines when a video of their off-colour lap dance at a school rally hit the web.

The video was viewed by over half a million people before being removed from YouTube (but don’t worry, you can still find it on several other websites).

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the [Blue Lightning[(http://www.chrisd.ca/blog/831/blue-bombers-cheerleaders-score-big-with-racy-photos/) scandal just a couple years ago. For those who forgot (which is hard to do), suggestive pictures of several Blue Bombers cheerleaders popped up on the internet , leading to some dismissals from the team, but more importantly leaving a very public and indelible mark on the lives of those involved.

“They were crushed,” says Casey Nolin, a former Blue Lightning team member. “The pictures were never meant to go on the internet. They still get asked about it because the pictures are still all over the internet.”

So what can be done to prevent situations like these from happening?

I mentioned it before, but don’t let people take nude photos of you…or for that matter, don’t take explicit pictures of yourself.

There are countless websites, like TheChive.com, that are dedicated to compiling galleries of risqué photos.

Another option (if you’re like me and you don’t know what kind of ridiculous things you’ve done in the past) is ReputationDefender.com, a website that offers a program and service (for a hefty fee) that seeks out and destroys a client’s “inaccurate, inappropriate, hurtful, and slanderous information” on the internet.

Really, though, it’s just common sense. We’ve reached a point where one mistake can ruin someone’s reputation. So be careful, all right?

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Cole Schapansky of Red River College

  • 35 years old
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • User since Oct 27th 2009, 09:41

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