I found the subject matter of PCH chapter 23 particularly interesting because I feel like incarcerated people, especially youth, are often overlooked. I thought the idea of allowing these youth, who have few advocates, the opportunity to express themselves and understand the developments of the digital age to better acclimate them to life outside prison was a very noble undertaking. The researchers encountered countless stumbling blocks, especially regarding privacy, that I believe raise important questions relevant to society as a whole.
One of the main issues the researchers encountered was about the level of anonymity they should have their participants establish in their online work. Despite the fact that many of the youth wanted to share their feelings about their experiences behind bars and reasons they were incarcerated in the first place, they were not discouraged from doing so for privacy reasons. The researchers worried that they might inadvertently share information about their cases that could come back to hurt them in court. My immediate thought links back to the hypothetical situation from a previous reading about the college student anonymously posting libelous comments on a website popular on campus. Because the anonymous student was most likely an adult, any legal action compelling the website to reveal the commenter's identity would probably be justified.
We have recently been reminded of what can happen when something that should not be posted to the internet is, thanks to the brothers of SAE at University of Oklahoma. One of the families of the two expelled students is now in hiding. Other members of the chapter have been subjected to death threats and assaults – and this incident happened with legal adults.
But what happens if someone underage posts something that constitutes grounds for legal action? What is being done to educate the younger members of society – minors who have never known a world without Facebook, Twitter, and the like about the consequences of misbehavior in the digital age? How do we educate the web-literate population as a whole about matters of privacy on the internet? How do we reconcile privacy rights with measures taken in the interest of national security in an age when agents such as the NSA increasingly scrutinize online activity?