Facebook as your alibi

Paul Raven @ 16-11-2009

We’ve surely heard enough stories about how posting status updates on social networks can give away more information about you than you intended, so here’s the positive flipside of that: Rodney Bradford was a suspect in a Brooklyn mugging case, and it’s partly thanks to a Facebook status update made from his father’s apartment that the charges against him were dropped. [via TechDirt]

Of course, such alibis could be faked, if you had the time and intelligence to plan it all out and the help of a close-lipped accomplice… expect a lot more mystery and crime plots involving status updates, IP addresses and server timestamps to crop up in the next couple of years.

But perhaps this means that lifelogging is the ultimate way to protect yourself from accidentally being accused of something you didn’t do – if every second of your life is open to public scrutiny, you’re not going to commit a mugging and get away with it, after all.

But what happens when we’re all lifelogging, in some almost unimaginable combination of the participatory panopticon and David Brin’s transparent society? When every moment, when every minor indiscretion is a matter of public record, will we simply cease to sin? Or will we develop a kind of social blindness to the sort of unethical actions that we all take every now and again?

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One Response to “Facebook as your alibi”

  1. Jean-Marc Liotier says:

    A usually reliable source of information is the ideal credible channel through which to pass the occasional bit of disinformation. My position is always available on Brightkite and Latitude, except that what you are reading there may occasionally be spoofed while I temporarily set it to whatever I want. It is not the panopticon as long as we keep firmly in control of the information we publish.