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Quentin Hardy's profile photoJacoub Bondre's profile photoJohn Koetsier's profile photoMelissa Litwin's profile photo
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This has been my concern with wikileaks, anonymous etc. The rule of law was hard won and we would be quite hard on a government that dispensed with due process. We shouldn't give up due process / rule of law in other contexts without a fight either.
 
“I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.  Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people, which have produced them.  An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much.  It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.” - Thomas Jefferson
 
"The hard moral conundrums are just beginning." Yes, but I would have loved to get a better sense of what you think appropriate approaches could be. This is a thoughtful and much needed analysis of how much is at stake, but how can we get the conversation started? 
 
No easy answers here. Wow. Who knows what is right and what is wrong?
 
The Internet's made our confusion and dysfunction more visible. Whether this is a Good Thing or not is hard for me to  say, since I'm in the thick of it.  The down sides have seemed pretty significant lately, it's worrisome.
 
Consider a possible place to start to build an answer...
- Justice, Right, & Wrong are absolutes - they are the same for everyone
- Information about a person is the property of that person and doing something with it that the owner does not approve is one of the absolute wrongs.  (If I put information about myself in the public domain, then I give my ownership of it to the public domain.)
- what else?
 
Proof positive... you can do whatever you want but you reap what you sow. You can be a dick all you want but don't be surprised when you get fucked.

 
Thanks for sharing. Really interesting article, but stil a bit biased against Mr. Brutsch. I have to say that I basicaly don't care about Brutsch and his "trolling" (as far as he doesn't violate the law), but I deeply despise Gawker and Mr. Chen. And because I am not American, I am rather surprised that media in USA even can legally publish all your personal information just for the sake of some hypocritical article..
 
What I would like to know is how it got him fired. I admit, I'm not familiar with his work, but I can think of very little that would get you fired without being illegal.
 
No disagreement but just because we have the freedom to say what want it does not mean that we should. Brutsch seems like an idiot, not for lack of intelligence, but for lack of compassion. He seems like the type of guy that will talk trash over the web but not to your face.
 
Mr. Brutsch posted, and encouraged others to post, photos that were a massive invasion of others' privacy.  I feel for the guy that he lost his job and his health insurance, but hiding behind the troll-mask while hurting other people is unacceptable.  And make no mistake, he hurt lots of people.  Women were stalked, their privacy violated, their fears confirmed and their safety threatened, because of him.  Mr. Chen and Gawker did nothing wrong in exposing him.
 
Prof Clay Shirky explained the private intersects public, public intersects private so long as there is "legitimate public interest." It is the quintessential legal line for N-E-W-S.
Thank you, Ms. Danah Boyd. 
 "Here Comes Everybody" --author C.Shirky
 
Particularly in issues of morality, context matters. Harvey Milk's act was not a conundrum - he impinged on the privacy of someone, someone who chose not to be a public figure, and avidly sought anonymity, for his own political agenda. Whether you approve of his agenda or not, that is a callous act. “Violentacrez” was, despite the cloaking, a public figure, seeking to influence others. He just didn't want to be personally associated with his public acts, because that would be embarrassing. Unlike Sipple, he consciously and consistently sought to affect others. The journalist inflicted a level of accountability to that. I think there is an important difference between the two cases. 
 
" As expected, Brutsch lost his job and the health insurance that paid for his wife’s care; Chen reported this outcome three days later. Many celebrated this public shaming, ecstatic to see a notorious troll grovel."

who-oh, the damage done....  power is a drug.

Who delegated Adrian to be judge, jury and executioner?  This is not what democracy looks like.  This is vigilanteism, and the shadow of the "empowered individual."

Yes it can be used "for good" but there's a damn good reason this came through a rag(e) like Gawker.
 
+Shava Nerad Exactly. Gawker article is nothing more than a media lynch created for money (e.g. more views). There is nothing positive about it, because as we can see even in Danah article (devastated gay hero, wrongly accused stalker), it is very, very dangerous by definition. And that's the reason why we have laws, and no media (especially gutter-press like Gawker) should have this "power" to judge and punish.
 
I'm not sure why there is a question that it was "wrong" to expose this person. He clearly knew what he was doing was wrong. We not only post the names of sex offenders, but we post their locations publicly. Not all speech is free--you can't publicly threaten the life of the president, you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, and to a limited extent, you can't say things that will incite a lynching/riots etc. This guy lost his job, not his life. What about Brutsch's victims? Why is the victimizer entitled to less privacy than the victims? Men rarely have to fear for their safety (or life) if a compromising photo is posted publicly. And as for Harvey Milk, what he did was not shameful--it was society's response to the truth about Sipple that was shameful. It's a false equivalency to equate the two. Wikileaks is actually more equivalent to what Chen has done as an investigative reporter--wikileaks exposes abuses of power by government rather than Chen's exposure of abuse of power by an individual. Brutsch's behavior is not all that different from an extremist imam who encourages his followers to harass, abuse or even rape women who don't wear a burka/shador in public. Brutsch was not the anonymous whistleblower who exposes tobacco corporation lies or testifies against the mob, he was the bad guy. That's why he has no right to privacy, and he got what he deserved. But +danah boyd why did you not make any connections to the PRC phenomenon of crowd-sourced "human flesh search" vigilante-ism?
 
+Melissa Litwin This is a common misconception. He never hurt anyone. No woman has ever been stalked, hurt or violated by him or because of him. That is the key and essential difference between his "trolling" and Gawker article.

He never even created any picture - he just shared pictures that were already on the internet (e.g. on 4chan). All those pictures (e.g. all those people) were anonymous, there was no connection to their real life. In fact, as a moderator, he was actively removing questionable or dangerous content like this.

But Gawker, on the other hand, published his name, his photo, information about his family; basically his life. And not because it was right or moral, but because they don't mind destroying your life for money (e.g. views). They are doing it all the time; gossiping and violating people's privacy. They even operated "Stalker Maps" (for stalking celebrities) and they have a special section called "upskirt" (for snooping breasts and vaginas). This is dangerous, despicable and wrong on so many levels..
 
+Pauline Yu Well, the database of sex offenders is very questionable by itself - but at least, those people violated the law and were punished by the law. But there is absolutely no comparison to Gawker/Brutsch case, because he was never charged - and yet, he was punished. Not by law, but by self-proclaimed moral authority Adrian Chen. This is alarming and dangerous, as I've already said, because that's not the way our society should work; it's just a pathetic medieval lynching.

There were no "Brutsch victims", by the way. He never harm anyone, stalked anyone or published personal information. And your opinion "That's why he has no right to privacy" is luckily just an opinion. It should not be up to you to decide who is immoral or who committed a crime. It should not be up to me either. Or up to Gawker. That's why we have laws, police, judges and so on. But justice made by tabloids? No, thank you, it's a worse future than twenty internet trolls.
 
I am pumped to read it!  First wired article?
 
This is vigilantism, that implies worse consequences than the acts of the target. It is a breakdown of "common law", but also of morals. A crowd that has given itself God-like omnipotence to judge without due process. Those that join the crowd have lowered themselves to the level of the consumers of tabloid gossip, but at great cost to a potentially innocent victim. Hence the reason for society to operate with laws created by sensible processes.
 
There needs to be a balance.  Sans Anonymous, the Murdok NOTW scandal would have faded into obscurity. The fact that that man is not in jail shows how broken common law is.

But vigilantism is not the solution, and can be incredibly damaging.  What we need is responsible citizenship, and attentive and responsive authority.

A citizen needs to trust that if they see something illegal  corrupt, etc . . that reporting to authorities will result in a fair investigation.

But no one denies that Washington and the majority of politicians within take bribes, toe party lines, and are corrupt.  Find someone that doesn't think corruption has taken over the legal and political processes.  Dude steals 50 bucks, jal for 10 years.  Steal 50 billion, either no charges, or house arrest with time served.

We are at an impasse in society, nearing a boiling point.  Something needs to give, either our systems need to be rid of corruption, and those involved charged appropriately, or eventually our society will devolve until things get bad enough for an Egyptian style or Icelandic style revolution.

At the time of revolution, standard of living in Egypt were marginally worse than North America (Cultural differences excluded) And in Iceland, well Iceland is a fully developed country like Canada and the US.

We live in a society, that showing misconduct by the military is considered a worse offence then knowing killing civilians.  See wiki leaks.  That is messed up if you think about it.
 
This was not vigilantism, this was journalism. Vigilantism is one or ten people showing up to Brutsch's house and beating him or vandalising his house. As far as I've seen it reported this did not happen.
This was not some random person, this was a famous troll on one of the most trafficked sites on the Internet. He was responsible for millions of page views. He was a much more public figure than many who aspire to be public figures. He attended public events where he revealed his identity, taking a leadership role, which is what made the article possible. (Has everyone commenting even read it?)
People write about this like Chen went all "All the President's Men" on Brutsch. Brutsch outed himself on several occasions. It was inevitable someone would eventually write it down and once they did, it was up to his employer and the terms of his employment whether he kept his job. He enjoyed pushing the envelope. Like all courses of action,it came with a set of consequences, both good and bad, that should have-and could have-been weighed at some point over the years he pursued that course.
Mr. Brutsch has not been censored, silenced or jailed. He is free to find another job, moderate another site. I'll be interested to see if one of his many vocal supporters will hire him.

 
+Bill Gwrless  Who said Mr. Brutsch didn't have a right to privacy?  He does: no one ought to take photos of his privates when he isn't aware and post them on the Internet.  He should not be stalked.  What he does on the Internet, however, is still him and he can (and should) be held accountable for it.  Hiding behind anonymity to say awful things and hurt people is unethical.  Free speech rights come with the (unenforceable) responsibility to not abuse it.

This is not vigilantism.  No one has taken it upon themselves to punish Mr. Brutsch extralegally.  He has not been silenced nor jailed, he is not blacklisted, no one has beaten or killed him, his property is unharmed.  No one even called for those things to happen.  Mr. Brutsch was exposed as a mysogynist and a generally unpleasant person.  

If I find out a person is a racist, I stop being friends with that person.  Am I shutting down that person's free speech?  Nope, just choosing not to be around for it.  The person who told me about this friend's racism also did not shut down anyone's free speech.  Speech, especially malignant speech, has consequences even though it cannot, and should not, be censored.
 
+Honza Rylich As for the arguments that he didn't hurt anyone: BULLSHIT!  He created a place that encouraged and protected stalkers and perverts.  The women whose pictures were posted were injured by being reduced to their sexual parts, even if they never knew.  And I can guarantee some of them found out, or found pictures of themselves.  I was injured by it: the mere idea that someone could take a picture under my skirt and post it for people to jerk off to is horrifying and terrifying.  I am a person, not a vagina or a panty shot.
 
+Melissa Litwin Apparently, we have a rather different perception of what is "horrifying and terrifying". I would say, that I am injured by the mere idea, that someone can even compare anonymous photos to publishing of all personal information, but I guess it would be useless.

I just find curious that although I agree you are not just a vagina, but a person, you still managed to be a hypocritical person. Because Mr. Brutsch never took those horrifying and terrifying pictures you are so injured by. He shared them exactly in the same way as hundreds of millions of other Internet users. The only difference was, that he was sorting them to "folders" (subReddits) and in addition, he was filtering out illegal material or personal info. Which showed surprisingly more decency than Adrian Chen did.

On the other hand, everything you say you despise, did the Gawker. As I've already mentioned, the mere existence of gutter-press is based on gossips, scandals and violations of privacy. They created and operated "Stalker Maps" (for stalking celebrities) and they have a special section called "upskirt" (just for pictures of boobs and vaginas, even took by them). But if they publish one article about a different "pervert", they are suddenly fine. No criticism anymore. Only "bad guy" is Brutsch. What a curious and rather twisted world..
 
+Honza Rylich Gawker is not acceptable with their Stalker Maps or upskirt sections.  They are not "fine", they are just as bad as Mr. Brutsch.  If they are doing it under their real names, and not being punished, what should be done?  Do you suggest I engage in vigilantism and extralegal punishment?  Should I ignore everything on Gawker (or Reddit) because some sections are seamy, perverted, and harmful?

Mr. Chen did nothing wrong by exposing Mr. Brutsch's identity.  That does not mean that Mr. Chen and Gawker have never done anything wrong or do not do many wrong things.  In this one specific act, though, Mr. Chen and Gawker did nothing wrong.

So you're right.  Both the people on Gawker who are part of Stalker Maps and the "upskirt section" and Mr. Brutsch are despicable people.  Gawker should shut down those sections, as should Reddit.
 
Why have you stopped posting publicly? Of course, you don't have to answer. Just letting you know that i miss your posts, as probably do 70,000 other people.
 
If anyone is looking for more money, more time, fun and lavish living ask me how . #make your dreams take off
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