Friday, April 25, 2008

Because, let's face it, Facebook is our Life... Why can't it be everyone's life?

It's articles like these that should make us to seriously think about the liberties we take for granted in the United States. BBC is reporting that an Israeli soldier has been jailed for 19 days for posting a photo on Facebook. Although the military will not disclose the nature of the photos, they have warned other members of the military to be careful what they post on social networking sites. On the one hand, it is understandable that if a photo was overly offensive or disclosed secret information, that he should be reprimanded in some way. But jailing the soldier? It makes me think that they are trying to use this soldier as an example for other Israelis who have a Facebook or similar pages.

The Israeli Air Force has claimed that pictures posted by soldiers on social websites helped the enemy numerous times in the past year. I'm not saying I do not understand why the Israeli military is extremely upset, but what limits should they put on their soldiers. Photos and other information goes through extensive screening and only certain personel is allowed to post photos at all.

I guess I also want to point out the differences in responsibilities we as students have versus people in (any) military. We just embarrass ourselves when we post foolish pictures, but members of the military can compromise themselves as well as others. Where should the military draw the line? Surely, we do not want American soldiers posting pictures that would compromise their lives or the lives of others. But shouldn't they have the freedom to post what they wish? Is that not the point of free speech as it has evolved with the expansion of the internet and social sites? Is this idea of restriction of posting a question of censorship, safety, civil liberties or a combination of all? Just some food for thought, since I know each one of us spend plenty of time on the time drain that is Facebook.

One last question I would like to pose: How responsible are we to use discretion when posting photos, blogs, and other items on the internet? Or are the parameters constantly changing with the changing face of the internet?

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