The right to privacy

We’ve all heard the news story of the Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau who was killed by the orca in front of hundreds of audience members. But do we really need to see the videotape of her Feb. 24 death?

Ada Larson, the mother of a victim of the 1990 Gainesville Ripper is speaking out as she’s gone through the same experience. She and the other families involved in the serial killer’s spree of death fought for a court order to seal the crime scene photos and autopsy. The presiding judge Stan R. Morris however, ruled to allow the public and media to view the 700 photographs under the condition no copies were made.

Morris said this to CNN, “You have two competing interests, and they are both valid. You have the public’s right to inspect how their money is being used but there is a way that you can accomplish that and respect the rights of the families to privacy.”

The Circuit Court judge in the Brancheau case issued a temporary injunction in March against the release of the video and ordered mediation to all parties.

Here’s my question for you: Do you think releasing this shocking video serves a purpose beyond titillating and feeding the public’s curiosity? If the family has expressly said they don’t want it released because they don’t want to see it, is it right to allow other parties to watch in the name of satisfying the public?

Trading Truth for Access

Democracy Now! Host and Executive Producer Amy Goodman has some choice words about the state of journalism in America:

“The main… what you call serious news outlets have compromised their integrity by acting as a megaphone for those in power… for what I call the access of evil. That is trading truth for access.”

She says in the video interview [minutes 00:23-1:09] conducted by Huffington Post columnist and celebrity photographer Kimberly Butler. The column is entitled “Is Medium the Message?” and this week’s dealt with the politicalization of the medium. (Butler’s word, not mine.)

Amy Goodman makes the point that journalists nowadays merely want the story that sells so they’re willing to jeopardize their integrity and the ‘harder’ news questions in favor of the money the ‘softer’ news will rake in. We are all aware that the American public can stomach stories about infidelity scandals and cute puppies over statistics related to war casualties or the like, but does it have to come at the expense of journalism itself? Should it?

Facebook wants you to hang around… even after you quit.

There are few in our generation who don’t have a presence on the world-renowned web site of Facebook. It is used for chatting, to stay in touch with friends as they study abroad or to keep up with home as you inhabit a 9×12 the university calls a room. However, you may not be aware that Facebook still retains some of the photos and your empty profile “in case you wish to reactivate your account.”

The web site has been in the news for their ads that draw on people’s personal information or the debacle with the Scrabble game; this attention however, has been sadly lacking. The Huffington Post brought it to light with a post earlier this month, but I am not aware Facebook did anything akin to a solution. This means the average user remains unenlightened to the fact that once they disconnect from the second most popular web site on the web, they’re not fully disengaged.

My question to you is this: does Facebook owe a certain transparency to their users who no longer feel the need for their services? Is it ethical that they continue to serve billions of people worldwide while collecting and continuing to store private information from their former patrons?