About a week ago, I posted an “entry”:http://jewlofthelotus.com/articles/2006/09/07/smalltransport-idm about a website for my Interactive Media I class. Well, this entry is _not_ for that class, but it is for another class of mine – Social, Cultural and Psychological Implications of Computer-Mediated Communication (more easily referred to as “TC491″:http://class.cas.msu.edu/tc491/). Recently, we’ve been discussing online identity and deception – how we shape our online profiles, how others perceive us through these profiles, and how deception plays a part in all of it. So, here is a blog post I’ve written for that class about a guy who’s recently stirred up some ethical debate on the topic of digital deception and privacy on the net…

Here’s a guy sparking controversy all over the net: “Jason Fortuny”:http://digg.com/security/Guy_Pranks_Craigstlist_Posts_Ad_as_a_Girl

This guy posted an ad on Craigslist (Seattle) as a woman looking for BDSM sex. He received over one hundred responses from interested males – many with professional email addresses, cell phone numbers, and even graphic photos.

As we all know, this isn’t the first time a man has posed as a woman, and probably not the first time a man posed as a woman looking for sex. What is striking about this instance is that Fortuny took these responses – complete with personal contact information and pictures – and posted them online for the world to see at “EncyclopediaDramatica.com”:http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/index.php/RFJason_CL_Experiment

The “CL Experiment,” as Fortuny called it, may cause him some serious trouble with the law. Some of the personal information published points toward Microsoft and the military. This information not only has the potential to ruin marriages and relationships, but to compromise jobs as well. Many people believe, even hope, that Fortuny is sued for his actions.

*I think* Fortuny did violate the rights of those people whose information he posted and should face consequences. Had he been a professional and released the information in a professional and confidential manner, I think the “experiment” might have actually had beneficial results – seeing what type of people responded, how they responded, and what sort of personal information they are willing to put out there. Instead, Fortuny made all of this information public with complete disregard for what effects it might have. This information has the potential to ruin the lives of those exposed as well as the lives of the people surrounding them.