Opinion

The Constitution vs. social media | Our Corner

Spent Sunday watching a Book TV show I recorded on my DVR.

I liked the show because I could listen to it while I made some brown and green food even God wouldn’t eat. Thanks to my friendly doctor, that is what my life has devolved into – Sundays spent making food without names or other features you can identify.

The Book TV show peaked the fun meter, however.

Jeffery Rosen, Harvard law professor and an editor with The New Republic, was talking about the clash of the privacy, search and seizure and other Constitutional issues in the current world of Google, Facebook and other social media.

The program will be broadcast again Saturday on C-SPAN. I think it is worth listening to and considering.

Will our Constitution address the Internet world of social media? Does the power of Google and the company’s decisions on what hits the top of search sites trouble us? The collection of information by Facebook and other sites brings up a myriad of privacy problems and the questions once again point back to our Constitution.

Rosen posed an intriguing problem. The Constitution protects us from government search and seizure and invasions of our privacy, but when it comes to social media and Internet sites things get cloudy.

So a potential employer can demand to see an applicant’s personal Facebook page, which opens up a privacy can of worms. If some company wanted to look into my life through Facebook for a job, I can see how the interview would go.

“We’re not going to hire you. You eat like a crazy person and blow things up in microwaves.”

“Only occasionally.”

“You eat like a bunny and we are pretty sure you are weird and boring. You are fired before you are hired.”

Our future threat to liberty and the pursuit of happiness may be far less a problem with a government, and more likely to come

from the Internet, a business or a collection of zealous group thinkers.

I often see the censorship problem raise its head at city council meetings, and it is seldom from government officials. It usually comes from folks who want to make certain only their side of the story is told.

I do believe our Constitution will address the issues very well. The problem is for everyone to stay involved and willing to listen … and learn.

Truth can be elusive, particularly if we want it to be. Like the truth that I am really known as Mr. Happy eating yummy green cuisine.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 29 edition online now. Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates