Wednesday, April 05, 2006

*Class Post*

According to the article from the University of Dayton, 85% of college students equaling 3.9 million students have accounts on Facebook. The social networking site for students has spread from just a few schools to every college and thousands of high schools in just over a year. Students use it to tell others about themselves, keep track of friends, plan events, and post pictures from parties and other events in their daily life. Departments of Public Safety have sometimes made use of these pictures and other statements made on the site. Students have received various punishments because of something found on the site. Both of the Departments cited in the articles, Princeton's and Dayton's, deny any use of Facebook for more than just an aid for investigations. I am okay with some minor use of the site, but I am wary of any use from an Public Safety Officers, especially an officer that may like to browse the site looking for violations.

There are many reasons that Facebook should not be used. First, it is hard to tell where something is from a picture unless there is some type of landmark to give it away. Like was stated in the article, how can someone tell what is in a cup in a picture. If the supposed violation took place off campus, any DPS has no right to cite someone for an offense. Second, no matter what a school wants to say, anything that happens on Facebook should be private. The site is password protected, and it is not hosted on any university related servers. I would think that a warrant would be required to gather any evidence from Facebook, because it is not in the public domain. This brings up serious issues with invasion of privacy that need to be dealt with. The director of Police at Princeton says that he can legally back up his statement that Facebook is not private. Even if pulling evidence from Facebook is legal, it doesn't make it right.

No matter the legalities of using sites like Facebook, we should all be a little more careful.

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