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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Anthony Weiner scandal

Weiner Resignation – Positive in Many Ways

Weiner Resignation – Positive in Many Ways, Embattled Congressman Anthony Weiner has spent the last few weeks attempting to navigate the fallout following his confession that he sent sexually explicit Tweets and social media messages to several women over the past three years. Today, Rep. Weiner announced his resignation; trying to end the distraction his scandal has caused for the Democrats.

On a more positive note …

Most people will never have to worry about being embroiled in their own personal Weinergate. While talks continue regarding his ouster as he seeks treatment at an undisclosed location, most of the general public can rest easy knowing that this ugly domino effect is largely reserved for celebrities and politicians.

Privacy hawks and conspiracy theorists point to Rep. Weiner as one more example of how the pervasive nature of the Internet can ruin a person’s a life. Many supporters feel a handful of inappropriate messages are hardly enough to warrant his resignation, and that such a nasty turn of events could befall anyone who otherwise performs their duties with aplomb.

Statistically, however, that is very unlikely. People send an average of 110 million Tweets per day using the Twitter website, and that is nothing compared to texts and emails. On average, there are about 5 billion texts sent per day in the U.S. alone, and around 294 billion email messages per day worldwide.

That is an incredible amount of data, so it would stand to reason that a lot more lives should be getting ruined, even if only among the rich, famous and influential. The answer, according to analysts, is that there is actually too much news.

In other words, there are very likely billions of bytes of embarrassing private data falling through the cracks every second with no one being the wiser. For the average citizen this is more than likely; it is the way of the Internet.

Of course, thinking that anyone’s life is too insignificant to warrant newsworthiness is neither healthy nor smart. YouTube has become the personal hell of more than a few people who would have much preferred their 15 minutes of fame to go unnoticed.

And, the consequences can be severe. Employers are more often screening their current and prospective employees’ social media accounts, and law enforcement professionals are using these sites as a tool to ferret out suspicious activity. This is not to mention the personal turmoil one may have to endure because of a lapse in judgment over a Facebook posting or seemingly innocent text.

It is important to remember that what may seem “private” on the Web is anything but once the data is transferred onto a server that the individual does not control, which is usually most of the time. In fact, more often than not people have no idea where their information is stored, how it is encrypted or who has access to it, and as the most recent wave of cyber attacks shows, it is impossible to always be sure.

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