Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

Watch your hands, not your back

Your alarm rings. You’re alone as you wake up in your dorm. It was a wild night, but today is a new, normal day. You update your status on Facebook, like every morning, before chomping on Frosted Flakes and drinking fruit punch out of the container. You know no one can see you as you press your nose into yesterday’s jeans, smelling before deciding they’re okay to slip into.

No one knows those dirty secrets because it would be completely outrageous if someone were covertly snapping photos of your every move while tape-recording your every sentence. Since even before the book 1984 came out, the idea of Big Brother watching over your every move has freaked out just about everyone.

But today, government scrutiny of our generation might be slightly less of a threat to students who fear their secrets spilling out into the streets than the mouths and finger work of these students.

It is hard for many students to think that they are their own worst enemy when it comes to privacy. But whatever the reason, it seems as though students have an absolute need to constantly be updating the rest of the world about what they are doing. Facebook, in all its glorious social networking powers, is still a public forum, in which every status update a person makes is sent into all of his or her friends’ news feeds. And it doesn’t end there. The update is also left up on a personal “wall” that is the first thing seen by anyone – friend or foe – who visits that page.

Don’t believe Facebook can be a privacy issue? Well, two University of Massachusetts students will learn otherwise in court. Their brief joyride in a research car at the end of September caused $8,400 in damages. Their Facebook statuses implied what they had done that night and “can and will” be used against them. The information they posted online was seen by police officers and will undoubtedly be used as evidence. For allegedly stealing the car and smashing it into the guardrail outside one of UMass’ buildings, the young men could face up to 36 months in prison.

That’s not to say that our tax dollars are going towards police officers spending their free time surfing through student pages to catch a culprit – they don’t get paid enough to be that creepy. However, if you commit a crime and the cops need evidence on you, saying nothing might be better than putting up a status that says “OMG, I am so screwed.”

“I know there have been situations and circumstances where the UMass Police Department (UMPD) has used Facebook to gather information when we have access to the pages,” said Patrick Archibald, Deputy Chief of UMPD. “It’s not a regular tool we use at the police department, because Facebook information isn’t all that reliable so it’s not a place that we turn to frequently. It is one of many tools that we use though.”

People who students want to impress, such as future employers, admissions officers, family members and even potential friends or dates, can discover unflattering images of a person on Facebook. According to a news report in June 2006 done by CBS correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi, some employers, “estimated that about 20 percent of companies are secretly scanning online profiles before they interview applicants. What they often find is shocking – including profiles that detail drug use, orgies and illegal behavior.”

Plus, half the statuses people put up, no one cares about.

“We don’t want to hear you rant to yourself on your Facebook status,” said sophomore Kristina Evans. “Get a diary.”

If you don’t want the entire world to know every little thing you do, don’t post it on Facebook. If you smoke cigarettes and your parents don’t know, don’t post pictures of you smoking so that cousin Al who secretly hates you can use them for blackmail. Really want that sweet job at the Apple store? It’s probably a really good idea not to show them you spend your Saturday nights boozing at the fraternity and letting loose before your Sunday afternoon shift. It seems like common sense, but there are millions of Facebook users in this country, and a large portion of photos uploaded into profiles involve party scenes complete with keg stands and sloppy, scantily-clad red-cup bearers.

No, today it is far more important to be watching what you type and upload onto the world-freaking-wide Web, than to be watching your back.

Alyssa Creamer is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at acreamer@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “Watch your hands, not your back”
  1. Ed says:

    That’s not to say that our tax dollars are going towards police officers spending their free time surfing through student pages to catch a culprit – they don’t get paid enough to be that creepy.

    I hate to say it, but they do. And they did something even more creepy, posting fake prostitute ads on Craigs’ List so as to bust people. Forget everything else, they had (have?) time to bust people for this…

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