I don’t do facebook, even though almost every friend and family member I know does. The reason? Well, at first it was for the same reason that I have never seen the movie Titanic. My rebellious streak. But, now days it’s mostly because I’m pretty sure I don’t want to plaster my personal info all over the web. I don’t really want everybody in the world knowing what’s going on in my personal life minute by minute. I mean, I understand the appeal and all but I just don’t like the exposure that comes with those social networking sites. For every friend and nice guy on there you’re gonna find ten creeps and wierdos.
But, it’s not just creeps and wierdos you have to worry about now. It’s the cops too:
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student Adam Bauer has nearly 400 friends on Facebook. He got an offer for a new one about a month ago. “She was a good-looking girl. I usually don’t accept friends I don’t know, but I randomly accepted this one for some reason,” the 19-year-old said.
He thinks that led to his invitation to come down to the La Crosse police station, where an officer laid out photos from Facebook of Bauer holding a beer — and then ticketed him for underage drinking.
The police report said Bauer admitted drinking, which he denies. But he did plead no contest in municipal court Wednesday and will pay a $227 fine.
He was among at least eight people who said Wednesday they had been cited for underage drinking based on photos on social networking sites.
“I just can’t believe it. I feel like I’m in a science fiction movie, like they are always watching. When does it end?” Bauer said after court Wednesday.
Social networking sites are among many new tools law enforcement has adopted to find underage drinkers, said La Crosse police officer Al Iverson, who works in alcohol compliance and education.
“Law enforcement has to evolve with technology,” Iverson said. “It has to happen. It is a necessity —not just for underage drinking.”
Social networking sites are used to catch sexual predators as well, he noted.
[HT David Kramer @ LRC]
It’s that last sentence that really chaps my hide. You see, that’s how it always starts. We begin to give up liberties and freedoms to our police overlords to protect us from legitimate moral crimes like sexual abuse. They then take those newly forfeited liberties and use them for other things that have nothing to do with the original intent. I don’t think children should drink alcohol. But I also don’t think that a 19 year old drinking a beer in his dorm is any of the state’s business, regardless of what the “law” says. We can send that same young man over to the middle-east to blow the heads off Arabs but we won’t let him drink a beer.
This is just another example of how, when it comes to giving up liberty, you can’t just look at whats “acceptable” right now. You have to think years down the line and consider what the authorities are going to do with that power you hand them. Because they always find ways to abuse it. Always.