Censorship is a dirty word, for good reason. This country was founded on principles of expressing one’s opinion, wherever and however the speaker sees fit. Our founding fathers spilled their blood defending the ability to criticize the government. It’s an idea that has been refreshed
time and time again with the blood of patriots from the Civil War to World War II to the Cold War and now the War on Terror.
Too much free speech?
Can there be too much free speech? Obviously the answer is no, but there should be self-censorship if you want to lead a normal life. With the advent of Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social media, a wide audience is available for everyone to promote their latest ideas for little or no cost. ENlawyers is a fan of social media tools since each of those links lands you on one of our own pages.
Self-censorship – Maryland Attorney
If you are reading this, you probably are technologically savvy enough to have had an internet encounter with someone who lacked “self-censorship” (or perhaps you’re one of those people who needs to “self-censor”). As Maryland Attorneys and investigators, we regularly encounter situations where a person’s attachment to their Iphone or “crackberry” becomes their downfall.
Here are 5 ways the internet and “free speech” on social media can betray you that we’ve encountered:
- You post some derogatory comments about your boss (even if they are true). It might not get you fired (if you’re lucky), but it can certainly limit your ability to obtain that promotion.
- You post some photographs of yourself and friends in “compromising” positions (whether it is drinking, drug use, or even giving the appearance of impropriety). Prospective employers regularly Google people’s names to verify habits before making a hire and those photos could appear in a search – even if they are not linked to your page.
- You are in the middle of a divorce and post racy pictures with your new girlfriend (or boyfriend) on your page. In case your divorce attorney forgot to tell you – those pictures could give your ex leverage in a divorce proceeding, no matter how far along it is.
- You get into a physical altercation at a bar and later brag about it (thus admitting to the crime) on your Facebook or Twitter page. Being former law enforcement, both Maryland Attorney Jeremy Eldridge and I regularly obtained social media pages from ISP’s – whether it was drafting and executing search warrants on Facebook pages to obtaining DNR’s (smaller version of a wiretap) on defendant’s personal cell phone whose number was posted on Myspace.
- If you happen to be on probation for violating Maryland DUI laws or smoking Marijuana, don’t use a profile picture of yourself drinking from a beer can or smoking pot – no matter how funny you think it is. The probation agent or judge your on probation to is NOT going to think it’s funny.
Those are just a few examples we’ve had personal experience with as Maryland Attorneys. Don’t take our word for it, check here, here, and here. Or even worse, there is a website designed for people to put incriminating photographs of exboyfriends & girlfriends (link to Forbes Magazine – safe for work).
So what does it all mean for you?
Our advice to you is very simple. Only post what you would want your mother or grandmother to read. If you don’t listen to our advice and fail to censor yourself just put our number in your cell phone and call your Maryland Attorney.