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Dec 05 2007 - 01:13 PM
Online Identity
In an elegantly written opinion piece for the New York Times, Stanford junior Sophie Egan describes what it is like living and studying abroad in Perugia in the aftermath of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher. The main suspects in the case are her American roommate Amanda Knox and Ms. Knox's Italian boyfriend. As Egan describes it, the Italian media is conflating Ms. Knox's online identity Foxyknoxy with her actual identity without considering the potential lack of fit between the two. This raises some interesting ethical and legal issues, as is noted here. In this case, the actions of the online identity are used to convict, at least in the eyes of the media, Ms. Knox. Consider an analogous case. Megan Meier committed suicide after being dumped by an online boyfriend. It turns out that the boyfriend did not exist; his online identity was created by the mother of one of Ms. Meier's ex-friends. In this case, the media has censured the actions of the mother, but no charges are pending against her. Both of these cases should spur serious ethical and legal debate about the fit between online and actual identity.
Posted in: FYI|By: Jeff Frank|25250 Reads