Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Watch what you blog

A blogger named Annie made sure that the whole world knew that she was against Bush and the next thing she knew, the Secret Service Agents were knocking on her door. You can read the full news story here or read what Annie herself has written about her ordeal on her blog
Moral of the story: keep your political views to yourself!

12 comments:

Merlinx said...

I feel sorry for the writer's ordeal but I don't find anything extraordinary about it, or about the experience. It's one of the things I keep ranting about that the advent of new technologies don't change the golden rules of life. I can recall my elders always telling us as kids to "...never discuss religious and political topics in public; not even with any person whom we did know very closely..." because these were extremely personal areas and discussing them always meant trouble.

Bringing that golden-rule-of-life into this [post's] context, just because the forms of expression have changed or new ones have come up, those don't change the rules. The Web didn't exist in the timeframe to which I was referring [in the last para] but just because it does now doesn't change the adage. Tomorrow if something new comes along in society like telepathy or telekinetics, the rules still won't change. Often people tend to think that technological progress changes core principles, human values or human psychological outlook. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether it was the word-of-mouth some years ago, or some funky new telepathic medium that may come along a century from now, the principles always stand because human nature doesn't change with time. Technology and progress don't change who we are at heart; it just adds a layer of gloss on top.

There was also another rule I always remember: "Technology and ignorance/arrogance are a killer combination." So my advice to all such cases would be that they should learn their dos and donts of life first and not let the choice of technology determine their code of conduct, if they want to avoid such unfortunate incidents.

Anonymous said...

That is one blog i won't forget in my entire life,and yea the web isn't a private or preserved space, u can't even know who will read the message like now i don't know how much ppl will see the comment. Sheesh like she hasn't been proved guilty yet nor she has been charged. But we should all watch out any way.
and i think it's time for a refrendom in U.S.A

Shirazi said...

Who said there is freedom of expression in USA – the champion of democracy?

shobz said...

Hypocrisy rules!!! What do you expect from a nation of hypocrites? At least she got off lightly. If i were to write something against Bush, i would be locked away in some dark and dingy cell at a military base. If you think that the americans dont allow free speech, then u shouldnt think of moving to singapore. the ruling family has a tight grasp over the media. dissent against the pm and his family rewards u with jail time and no trial. :)

Vaqas said...

Damnnnnn...Liberty is nowhere :(

Lucifer's Angel said...

OK! Lesson learnt. I have a fishy feeling about annie's story though. Seeing the way in which those secret services work in the Hollywood's movies, I wonder if Annie is just a part of FBI trying to scare us away. (Hehe).

Anyway, I don't really think religious and political opinions should be kept private though. These are the topics which are to be discussed and shared with your friends and people around. The thing that matters is the way in which you do so. It would be definitly more constructive if we keep the negative thoughts inside and let out only the positive ones. Like, OK! I might hate Mr. Bad, and like Mr. Good instead, the better way to express my opinion would be to talk more about the good qualities that I see in Mr. Good and which Mr. Bad lacks rather than abusing around Mr. Bad in the public, and then, finding FBI knocking at my front door.

One last thing. I have this funny instinct. "Personal blogs suck."

SHA said...

Similiar events have been happening to people due to their blogs.You should NEVER post anything sensitive on the net under any circumstances.This event,although happened some time back,is also related.An employer of microsoft was fired due to his blog.Check it out at

http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/10/of_blogging_and.html

http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/10/even_microsoft.html

SHA

atrophying said...

i make anti-pakistani politican posts all the time on my blog - should i expect a visit from the intelligence soon?

Zunaira said...

Say what you want and stand up for what you believe taking responsbility for your words and actions. Is that outdated now?

While technology is making an author and a documentary maker out of all us, the 'public' facet of making yourself accessible and noticeable is lost on most people. It will come with time and a few hits and misses. So don't think your employer or potential employer is not going to Google (or Clusty) you out.

Merlinx said...

There's nothing outdated about speaking your mind and saying or standing up for what you believe in. Just that all this technological-ruckus has clouded the difference between medium-of-expression and freedom-of-expression. "Taking Responsibility" are the key words. What got me was that a lot of people seemed surprised by this whole narrative. If you stand in a room and criticize the president of a country face2face, in most countries you will draw unwanted attention and possible scrutiny from the security setup. Now just because someone can do that "offline" on a blog or via some other medium doesn't change that premise. If someone notices (like the Secret Service did in the case of this episode) they might come after you. It's a reality, democracy or no-democracy, anywhere that's inhabited by mankind. And one shouldn't act surprised like "well-I-was-just-casually-voicing-my-criticism-on-a-blog-on-the-Net-and-oh-heck-how-the-shit-did-this-happen" D-uhhh....? Just because you bonk someone on the head with a mallet instead of a mace doesn't change anything. And as for the person who remarked about posting stuff against politicians all the time, it would be wise to be cautious because everyone, every society, or every system does have thresholds. You cross one (specifically targeting someone) *AND* someone also notices then chances are something unpleasant might happen and that shouldn't come as a surprise after that. On the other hand, if someone wants to intentionally and knowingly do so, that's different; that's freedom-of-speech and that's everyones' God-Given genetically-tangled up birthright.

Zunaira said...

Right said! Freedom of expression at the cost of security is every one's birthright. Few dare and stand out from the crowd, get caught, vindicated, or worst, killed. They know its worth it, isn't it?

In other news, the authorities arrested two journalists from Lahore for criticizing a government-run hospital and shut down FM 103 for airing it. Who dares wins ;~)

Merlinx said...

Well that's exactly my point Z. Your assertion is quite true -IF- they know it's worth it, but the problem is because of the halo of technology a lot of people these days don't understand that they're at any kind of risk doing stuff like this [blogger did]. If someone [consciously] wants to risk getting squashed making some kind of statement against the establishment, that's their choice. But a lot of people tend to think just because they're using a blog as the medium or the Web, that changes their position; then they cry over being persecuted by the establishment. Technology has a tendency to cloud judgment and lead to over-confidence.