The Internet has been an incredible resource for finding and sharing important information. Anyone can go on the computer and find anything from trivia answers to life-saving safety advice, but there are also serious concerns about how much information is available online.
A Harvard Law School professor spoke to Good Morning America about what he believes is the greatest threat to online privacy. He has seen both sides as the attorney for whistle-blowing website and as the victim of a smear campaign from a person whose identity has not been determined.
However, his biggest worry is that young people who do not care about online privacy because they already give away personal information to anyone with a computer. He said they are foolish by putting things on Facebook that could prevent them from getting a job 15 years later.
He said older people grew up being told that whatever they did would go on their permanent record. While he said there really was no permanent record at that time, the Internet does create a permanent record.
He believes that online privacy generally is not being harmed by laws but by the actions of the younger generation. People think they are being funny by posting unprofessional jokes and pictures on their Facebook accounts, and while that might get them a few laughs, it could come back to hurt their careers in the future.
The lack of privacy does not only affect employment. Revealing too much on Facebook and Twitter could hurt any legal proceedings, including criminal or civil cases.
If you are involved in a traffic accident, anything you write about the accident online could be entered into evidence. Any admission or any contradicting statements could be used by the other party’s lawyers to weaken your case.
For the same reasons that you should avoid making any statements that admit guilt before talking to an attorney, you also do not want to give away any information online. Remember that everything on the Internet is considered public even if the conversation was intended as private.