In today’s Quick Hits, we talk about Facebook and divorce, European Union privacy laws, and why some employees lose their jobs because of the things they share online.
Newark City Councilman Ronald Rice Jr. went on Facebook to criticize New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s education stance. Rather than offering a constructive criticism, however, Rice wrote, ”Is our Governor on crack? No seriously, is he smoking or drinking something that is illegal or at least detrimental to one’s health?…Chris Christie is insane!!!!” The controversial statement ruffled some feathers among older politicians in the state, but is reflective of a new generation of politicians who are used to using the Internet to make casual (and occasionally offensive) remarks.
This article in the Vancouver Sun discusses the recent case of a woman who was fired and denied a severance package after boasting about how much money she was going to receive from planned layoffs. It also touches on the case of the Connecticut woman who was fired for criticizing her boss on Facebook, as well as the efforts by National Labor Relations Board to defend the woman for wrongful termination. The author closes her article with the statement, “In cyberspace, nothing is private,” reflecting the growing understanding that the things we share online have real-life consequences.
According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, “Twenty percent of divorces involve Facebook and 80 percent of divorce lawyers have reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence.” This ABC News article discusses the role that Facebook plays in reconnecting ex-flames and details some cases where couples have cited Facebook infidelities as a cause for their divorce. Of course, the real reason for the divorce isn’t Facebook, but rather the unfaithful spouse. Nevertheless, the fundamental role that Facebook plays in shaping relationships is still fascinating, given the site’s relatively short history.
At a recent conference, Viviane Reding, the EU’s justice commissioner, argued that the splintered response to Google’s Wi-Fi snooping scandal demonstrates the need for an overhaul of the European Union’s privacy protection framework. Earlier in the month, the European Commission outlined a possible new legal framework for dealing with data protection issues that also included stricter penalties for companies that violate user privacy.
The idea of a “Do Not Track” law is currently percolating around Congress, but in the world of Internet browsers, it is already partially a reality. This article from the San Francisco Chronicle discusses how to use Internet Explorer’s “Do Not Track” feature to make it harder for Internet ad networks to follow you online. The article also discusses Mozilla’s possible plans to add a “Do Not Track” feature to its popular Firefox browser.