Jan 312011
 
 January 31, 2011  Online

In a  blog post titled, “The Ugly Persistence of Internet Celebrity,” Danielle Citron writes:

Many desperately try to garner online celebrity.  They host You Tube channels devoted to themselves. They share their thoughts in blog postings and on social network sites.  They post revealing pictures of themselves on Flickr.  To their dismay though, no one pays much attention.  But for others, the Internet spotlight finds them and mercilessly refuses to yield ground.  For instance, in 2007, a sports blogger obtained a picture of a high-school pole vaulter, Allison Stokke, at a track meet and posted it online.  Within days, her picture spread across the Internet, from message boards and sport sites to porn sites and social network profiles.  Impostors created fake profiles of Ms. Stokke on social network sites, and Ms. Stokke was inundated with emails from interested suitors and journalists.  At the time, Ms. Stokke told the Washington Post that the attention felt “demeaning” because the pictures dominated how others saw her rather than her pole-vaulting accomplishments.

Time’s passage has not helped Stokke shake her online notoriety.

Read more on Concurring Opinions.

Do we need reform that includes another kind of harm so that people can get relief from the courts?  Those who dread and abhor the idea of the government regulating the Internet may shrug and say that we just have to accept that these things happen.  But if you “walk a mile in their shoes,” it’s easy to see how life-changing in a negative way these types of things can be.

When kids commit suicide over the damage to their lives from the Internet, everyone runs around saying we need more laws and we see proposed laws that may make matters worse in other ways.  When are we going to take the issue seriously and get everyone together to figure out what to do?   The status quo may be acceptable to some – or even many – but how many lives are getting ruined so that others can enjoy the “freedom of the Internet?”

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