On Facebook, Privacy is not a Guarantee

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By Luis Mazariegos

Recently, the Washington Post printed an article asking students what they thought of police browsing Facebook profiles for evidence of crimes, such as illicit drugs, or for preventive measures, such as breaking up a fight.

Most students, at least according to the article, weren’t happy about it in the least.

“I think it’s an invasion of the student’s privacy,” said Sarah Steinberg, 18, a senior at Robinson Secondary.

“It’s not really [their] business to be looking at students’ profiles,” said Eleni Gibson, 15, a freshman at Robinson. “Because they might see something that students didn’t want them to see.”

Though privacy is an important right to have, the issue of how far we should limit privacy in the name of security has been an essential American debate for a very long time.

The Facebook issue is similar: police say they can use it to prevent crimes and help at-risk kids who are in gangs, while some students object on the grounds that it invades their privacy.

However, the Facebook case is a bit different. People should understand that if they post something on the Internet with little or no protection, it’s just as good as leaving it on the street.

If incriminating photos or text can be accessed without the use of hacking or other illicit methods, it’s functionally the same as leaving that same picture or note on the street outside your house.

If it helps police prevent a crime from happening, all the better.

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