In recent times it seems a day doesn’t go by if we don’t hear about controversy emerging from the use of social networking sites.
More prevalent issues include:
(A) Crimes originating through or on a social networking site and whether government has a role in regulating such sites, and,
(B) Users' ability to deactivate themselves from a social network and further, have a perhaps unrealistic expectation that their internet chatter can be erased completely.
My objective in this piece is to question the legitimacy of an individual’s expectation to have remarks made by them using a social network to be erased completely and without a trace. I would like to examine this question from a lens of historiography – how history is produced.
Before dealing with this however, it might be useful to briefly review key points associated with the issue of governments in the regulation of social networks.
As awful and regrettable as these crimes often are, much is said about government’s involvement in regulation and surveillance in aid of providing protection to users. Debates over the pros and cons of greater government involvement have raised numerous considerations including, that of philosophical, legal, political, and technical to name just a few.
Some key issues:
- Government surveillance is always touted as a protective measure, and yet the only ones who usually suffer are the innocent.
- Despite all of history, despite the record of government - the idea that we can regulate something and magically cure its problems is at best naïve.
- Government’s right or otherwise to interfere with the fundamental freedoms of speech. The manner technology is used is changing so rapidly - government, due it its size and bureaucratic nature, will always be a reactionary response.
- Police already monitor some public aspects of social networking in the course of their duties.
- Would government regulate all social networking or just large websites like Facebook or twitter
- Does the banning of hate speech ban hatred? The censor of words censor deeds, mind or opinion?
- The role of social networking sites in the provision of greater user security,