Saturday, July 7, 2012
Lately I've been getting a slew of hits from a site called "something awful" (about one quarter way down page 7). Yeah, the name--with a hand grenade for an avatar--definitely got my attention.
Fortunately my sitemeters act like informative high-tech sensors on the Starship Enterprise, letting me know how readers come to me, what search terms they use, and where they are from. When someone posts a link to me on another website, like a message board or Facebook, it is especially noticeable.
Apparently a Cowardly Anon Nitwit who can't spell my name correctly tried to link me with an amoral idiot who founded "Blabermouth," a for-profit website that posts mug shots and arrest records--all public documents of course--but then goes a tad beyond the pale by blackmailing those individuals posted with threats of added exposure if they do not pay $100- $200 to have their names and photos removed from his website.
As usual the law has a hard time keeping up with new technology, so it may actually be legal...at the moment. Either way, peer pressure and public shaming seems to have torpedoed the nefarious enterprise. Fortunate for the founder because--considering the demographic he was hustling--a safe bet termination of the physical kind was just around the corner.
Since starting my "Party House of the Weekend" series almost two years ago, I've had numerous requests (by email, Facebook messages, phone calls and in one case a knock at the door) to delete published names and in a (very) few cases have actually complied: When offenders verify they have paid the fines and actually seem remorseful about their irresponsible, obnoxious, illegal activities.
Growing up in Amherst fifty years ago I vividly recall my mother, a public school teacher, worrying about anything negative that could forever stain your "permanent record." I was never quite sure if she was talking about school files, which only cover K-12 activity, or police logs...or both.
These days, with the mighty all-powerful Google, it really doesn't matter--especially when you join forces with the First Amendment and Massachusetts Division of Open Government.
For better or worse, public exposure is only a click away.