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On April 15, 2013 there was a tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon. Almost instantly pictures and videos of "suspects" started to appear on the web. Was this a good thing? Do you have concerns?
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We can catch suspects via crowdsourcing AND protect privacy
Apr 27, 2013 Stephen S22
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It's possible to use crowdsourcing to find suspects and protect privacy at the same time. So I do think that releasing the photos of the suspects on the web was a good thing. In principle, it's not any different from wanted posters, which have been used for centuries. We have no problem with seeing wanted posters up in post offices - identifying the suspects before they've had a trial. Releasing images of suspects on the web and spreading them via social media is the same thing, only a difference in scale, not a difference in kind. The images spread much faster via the Web and social media. It isn't anymore and intrusion on privacy than a wanted poster.

We can protect privacy by observing the same conventions we use for wanted posters. We don't issue wanted posters for petty crooks, thieves, drug dealers, assaulters, and the like. We only issue them for people suspected of committing multiple, large scale or particularly heinous crimes. We should do the same with social media.

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