Friday, October 08, 2004

The Elusive Internet-Predator-Turned-Private-Investigator

My question on Wednesday about the ethics of posting photos of children online generated a LOT more debate than I expected. Among the people who felt it was wrong, almost all of them had one concern on their mind: You never know if a child predator will find the picture and then hurt that child.

Now, I made it absolutely clear that I was speaking of photos with no identifying information (no names or locations), yet that wasn't enough to alleviate their fears. To me, that seems to be about the most irrational point of view you can have. Why would anyone think that a child predator would go to all the trouble and expense of tracking down a child they found online (when the only info they have to start with is the name of the photographer) when they could just as easily grab at random one of the many unsupervised kids you see every day? Isn't this just another case of "Internet Paranoia"? Sure lots of bad things happen to kids on the internet, but these are kids who provided personal information to the predator (either through web pages, or more commonly through chat rooms). You don't hear the same type of fear about having pictures of kids in newspapers, yet when you apply it to the internet suddently it become very scare for some unknown reason. To me, that just doesn't add up.

Another interesting point brought up in defense of posting photos was the possibility for the photos to do good. What if that child had been abducted and the parents found a photo of their missing child online. While neither scenario seems very likely to me, I have to believe that the potential for good is at least as great as the potential for bad.

All ethical questions aside, there is a weekend coming up and I'm not sure what I'm going to go shoot. I'd like to go hit some lighthouses again, but I don't know which ones. There is a lighthouse festival going on near Alpena. I've already hit most of those in the area, but it might be interesting to re-shoot them with better weather (it was overcast last time I was there). Yet I'd still prefer to get new ones. Not quite sure what to do!

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