With the nude photo leaks that keep popping up and exposing a growing number of celebrity women, it's not a surprise that people are becoming concerned about maintaining their privacy online and with the things they share with loved ones. MSNBC legal analyst and new daytime show host Judge Faith Jenkins had a chat with Cosmopolitan.com to discuss some of the social media cases she's handled, why we need to be smart when making online connections and how we can protect ourselves from falling victim of such crimes.
"Well, a lot of states passing legislation to make, for example, revenge porn illegal. Which means someone leaking your photo [is] criminal, and our cases [on the show] are civil — but if I were to get a case where someone sued because they feel like they've been damaged because someone else leaked their photos, the question really is, what is the expectation of privacy if you share a photo on Twitter? Or if you post it to your Facebook? It could end up on any blog, on the Internet, get passed around anywhere," Judge Jenkins said. "The difference is, of course, if you share that photo privately with someone and then they choose to disseminate it widely, well then I think we're looking at a real breach of privacy issue. It's all about invasion of privacy, and there's no real expectation of privacy when you share those things on social media or a public forum."
Judge Jenkins also explained the importance of watching what you express on Twitter, especially when you have beef with someone. Not only is an online feud not cute, but it could cost you a job opportunity if a potential employer Googles your social media accounts.
"What you need to remember is that once you put things on the Internet, it's there. It's there forever. People are going to see it, and you have to think about that," she said.
Cyberbullying is another issue that Judge Jenkins does not take lightly and when those cases come through her courtroom, she questions both child and parent on the torturous harassment.
"People can spread horrible things about you on the Internet," she said. "It's on another level now, so I take these cases seriously — there have been kids who have committed suicide as a result of being bullied, and cyberbullying specifically. Again, from a legal standpoint, a lot of states have enacted legislation that makes cyberbullying a crime; as Judge Faith, I get the other side of it, which is the civil consequences — people suing for emotional distress, or if they've had a fight as a result of a cyberbullying case and they've been injured. I hold kids and their parents accountable, absolutely, because I think that cyberbullying takes bullying to another level. It's not innocent kid behavior. It's harassment. It's stalking. It is torturing these kids, 24/7. And so I come down hard on those cases."
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