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The virtual world's mandatory morality
San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 6/8/11 | Phil Bronstein

Posted on 06/08/2011 12:35:16 PM PDT by SmithL

Next time you've got mail, you better check it carefully. And not just if you're one of Anthony Weiner's sexting partners.

Could someone with access to your private account consider its contents obscene? Lewd? Too sexually descriptive? And decide to take it down?


The digital taste police are on patrol and armed with your permission.

I once had a friend send me a copy of Playboy when I was living in El Salvador. It was for the articles. No, really. I'd done an interview in that edition. But when some state security bureaucrat opened my mail and found a naked human bunny on the front, it nearly created an international incident. Only a call to a powerful, bloodthirsty colonel I knew got me out of scalding water.

But virtual communications are profoundly different and have shifted around concepts of obscenity, extramarital affairs, community standards and privacy assumptions. Is a Twitter crotch shot the same as a love letter? If enough Facebook users think something is objectionable, does that make it obscene?

Apparently. Let's say your spouse or another socially acceptable intimate friend is sending you dirty pictures or super naughty prose. It doesn't matter if you both like it.

Officially, you're violating the Terms of Service of most of the big social media/email companies and they can reach their technological scoopers in there, check out your private junk and remove it.

They can, but insist they generally don't unless there are complaints from other users.

"Google reserves the pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all content..." says the company's TOS. If you're logged into Yahoo's email system, "you acknowledge that Yahoo!...shall have the their sole discretion to pre-screen, refuse, or remove any content..." !!!

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: morality; weinergate

1 posted on 06/08/2011 12:35:19 PM PDT by SmithL
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To: SmithL

Is Phil Bronstein any relation to Lev Bronstein (better known as Leon Trotsky)?

2 posted on 06/08/2011 6:02:53 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: Verginius Rufus

I dunno, but he used to be related, by marriage, to Sharon Stone. Then a Komodo Dragon tried to eat him.

3 posted on 06/08/2011 9:33:02 PM PDT by SmithL
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