Friday, September 02, 2005

It is Happening....Again

But this time it's on a New York subway.

And no, this time it's not dog poop, it's a guy masturbating in front of a woman on the subway, who decided to put her camera phone to use (and in another link to Korea, it was , as The Register notes, a 1.3 megapixel Samsung P777) and then post it on the internet. I found this by using my nifty statcounter account to see what sites had been linking to my blog, and found a link to said internet site - but had I waited another day, I would never had known what the fuss was about, because as of today the photo (and all the following flamed-out comments) has been deleted. Well, ok, the photo is gone, but Google's cache function has ensured that the text can be found here.

Suffice to say, eventually a suspect was tracked down (due to complaints by other women who had also witnessed the man's public wanking) and it was found the man in question co-owned a chain of 3 raw food restaurants in NY. Of course, netizens quickly found pictures on the resturaunts' website and posted them, and a few people (who were shouted down) argued that maybe posting people's pictures like this online was an invasion of privacy. It made a New York newspaper, as reported here, and today the suspect turned himself in. This is why the original photo was deleted: "This man needs serious help and when he does the right thing by turning himself in, then I will take down this image," the poster said in the original post.

While I think that, had this woman not taken the photo, the man would never have been arrested, the fact that his face has been published all over the internet may have had some unexpected consequences. One that stands out is that the name of the chain of restaurants, co-owned by his ex-wife, has been splashed all over the internet, as has his ex-wife's photo. While what the photo-taker did was likely a necessary thing (the photo could have aided the police), putting it in such a public forum has likely ruined the name of this restaurant, as well as his ex-wife (an innocent person), a result the photo taker never imagined. While I certainly give her credit for removing the photo she posted, it hardly matters, as, due to Google's cache and the actions of other netizens, that photo will never disappear. I didn't read all of the comments by a certain poster, but one (for which he was villfied by other commenters) in which he said, to paraphrase, (as they've all been erased) 'one day the winds of karma will shift and it will be you on the receiving end of one of these internet barrages, and then you may reconsider what you said here today.'

I can't help but agree with him. Don Park's quote, from a comment (#13) on his original Dogshit girl post, that "Attention cuts; retention bleeds", came to mind immediately. His quoting of a Korean netizen's comment, "Thanks to technology, we are able to build a better society in which citizens are the police, prosecutors, and judges," and his response to it - "This problem will visit us rest of us with more immediacy in the near future", were rather prescient. Much of the speculative commentary which followed DSG (an event in South Korean cyberspace, rather removed from the US), is now very much worth another read. This time, it's happening in a place where this commentary is much more pertinent.

And a damn good cup of coffee and a piece of cherry pie for those who caught the reference in the title...

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