Jim Kyle reports:
A former Rutgers University student went on trial Friday in New Jersey on hate crimes charges and other counts for allegedly using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s sexual encounter with another man.
The roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge just days after Dharun Ravi allegedly streamed the encounter remotely and allowed others to view it.
This is a case that has been covered on this blog since Clementi’s suicide was reported in the news and I noted it as one of the top privacy stories in 2010. Unlike the mainstream media, however, I have pointed out that we need to be cautious in labeling such cases “cyberbullying,” and that we should focus – in this case, anyway – on the invasion of privacy aspect. Even if the motivation for surveillance should turn out to be sexual orientation issues, the bigger issue I see is whether an invasion of privacy contributed to a young man’s suicide.