Very recently, United States Airways was having a spot of bother at one of their airports, with a flight running late, which (understandably) annoyed a customer, who decided to tweet at the company about it.
However, for some reason, US Airways response involved a close-up incredibly graphic and therefore hilarious image of a nice young lady with a model plane in her fairy cave. You can just google it for the image, but I’ve made an artist’s rendering for you all.
This is hardly an isolated incident. While discussing a KOMO-TV helicopter crash in Seattle, a bored news team member was doing what most people do nowadays when they suspect something bad has happened somewhere. They went to twitter and had a little search around. Clicking through a photo album from someone who had taken a picture in the distance, a big ole’ picture of a dick took up the screen. It was removed in “oh shit shit shit shit shit” time and most of the anchors carried on trying to ignore it.
A professor in Zurich, having finished a lecture, decided to watch some porn on his laptop. Problem was, he hadn’t disconnected it from the projector he was doing the presentation from, so students who were watching the lecture online (we live in the future by the way) could see him searching for amputee porn. This cost him his job, after 40 years of teaching at the school
These sort of slip ups are getting all the more common, go back 15 years, and the only way a teacher could be sacked for showing porn at school is if they brought a magazine in, then ran around the school grounds screaming, rubbing the centrefold in student’s faces while shouting “YOU HAVE TO LOOK OR YOU’LL GET DETENTION YOU SHIT”
|Please Mr. Briggs, I don't want to learn about rimming|
It is incredibly, astronomically, unlikely that these were intentional acts. And therefore the reactions tend to be one of amusement, rather than a bile-spitting witch hunt to kill the pervert and hang his gibbets from London Bridge.
Technology has got to a weird point where despite it seeming like we’re living in Minority Report, as people attach internet searches to their eyes and fire cruise missiles from their iPhones at pigeons who piss them off.
Yet despite this, people haven’t really had a chance to learn how to use it, so you get the incidents such as above, where individuals have copy-pasted the wrong link, or forgotten how “private browsing” works, or merely underestimated the sheer number of pictures of penises floating around the internet. They say 76% of all statistics are made up on the spot, and it is with this in mind that I feel confident in saying that at least 54% of all images inside the web of intertubes are pictures of some dude’s dangly brains.
So does it really matter? Does that professor deserve to be fired for googling some weird porn and forgetting that people (who weren’t even in the room) were watching? I can’t honestly say that I think he did, maybe a slap on the wrist for doing it at work, and perhaps he’d have to transfer purely because of the giggling, but becoming wholly unemployed is a big fucking jump for an old dude with weird tastes.
|Interesting, but can I fuck it?|
Equally, someone may be fired for the US Airways tweet, or the accidental broadcasting of a dick, but given the more anonymous nature of their job it is more unlikely. And when it is a result of the aforementioned ignorance or misunderstanding of technology, it seems rather draconian. It’s just a dick, there’s loads of them wobbling about the streets getting sweaty and needing a trim.
As the internet becomes more and more integrated with the lives of people, this sort of event will be more and more common. Social media integration with nearly every bloody website and app that you can get your wee mitts on is making it easier and easier for these sorts of images and videos to accidentally get stuck on someone’s Facebook timeline or made into an iPad wallpaper. It’s interesting, with a possibility that the age of people’s fetishes being secretly catered to be the internet coming to a close, as the wide range and quantity of such material enters the public consciousness and there is the inevitable backlash. Perhaps there should be a backlash, there is some weird fucking shit out there, and while it is not a popular opinion round here, reining in the more extreme and unpleasant fringe elements of the online community could go a long way to ‘sanitising’ the rather sordid image that pornography and some image sharing boards have amongst public.
And while I can wax lyrical and make stupid jokes about a bored intern pasting an image his mate sent him when he got a job, rather than the bog standard PR apology response, then people on Twitter being oh-so-smug about it because they’d NEVER make a gaff like that, they can use the computer properly, not like these old idiots, but there is a deeply harmful and nasty flipside to the coin.
It is now easier than before for people to deliberately share pornography, which is obviously not at all entirely bad or should be policed, some people have similar kinks and want to explore it with others, whatever, the old adage of “As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else” can apply here quite well.
But it’s the malicious and targeted generation and then distribution of explicit images, without the subject’s consent that is really starting to wake the great machine of government oversight and censorship. While we’d all love to live in an internet utopia, where the concerns of parents and society at large about their children being passed around image sites like packs of fags in the slammer could be brushed off with a superior sounding “Don’t be ridiculous, you are just scared of new technologies.”
These things do happen, and they do ruin lives. As the recent delicious playing-out of the downfall of Hunter Moore, “The Net’s Most Hated Man” and his revenge porn siteisanyoneup.com, almost exclusively at the hands of one incredibly determined and brave woman, Charlotte Laws, demonstrates. People can, and will, share intimate images of their ex or current loved ones with a chilling callousness, playing off any moral concerns with leetspeak and the marvellously childish logic of “Well if you didn’t want people to see it why did you make it”. Congratulations idiot, you’ve defeated the concept of privacy, please by all means live inside a glass box for the rest of your life while posting your internet history on a big billboard to fully take onboard and live out your new, wise philosophy.
This is also ignoring how many of these images and videos are never actually sent to anyone, instead being a harmless way for someone to try and boost their self-esteem, or simply muck about a bit and you know, be a human being. Then their personal files are stolen by more tech-savvy and morally repugnant keyboard warriors and sold on to people. Or webcam captures, which means that the logic of “Don’t do it if you don’t want people seeing it” logically now extends to living your whole life entirely in Puritan dress or joining the Amish community. And I would love to see XxX420KillaCopPonyLordXxX have to raise a barn after spending 4 years defending jailbait sites and creep shots.
The internet is changing. The old joke of “The Internet Is For Porn” is becoming less and less of a punchline, and more of a cause for litigation in some people’s minds. Rather than hunkering down and lashing out at this change, belittling ordinary people’s concerns with eye-rolling and criticism of their IT skills, in order to maintain some control over this evolution, the “internet” writ large (which is a stupid term but I can’t think of a better one) needs to change itself. Take some responsibility and, if not actively working against the problem, then at least stopping yourself being part of it.
To survive in the form in which we know and love this weird, scary, wonderful, hilarious, horrifying, enlightening series of tubes, the adaptation has to come from within, before the big boys wake up and turn your bookmarks tab into a series of paywalls, censored sites and cats with text put over them. Because those will always exist.