Charita Goshay: Internet is world's largest blinking billboard

Charita Goshay

Evon Reid, a black University of Toronto honors graduate who applied for a part-time government job, recently received an apology from Canadian government officials after a Cabinet employee referred to him as a “ghetto dude” in an interoffice e-mail that ended up winging its way to Reid’s e-mail address.

The employee, Aileen Siu, insisted that the remark was forwarded to Reid by mistake and that it wasn’t meant for anyone outside of her department.

Oh well, that’s different.

Perhaps only worse than Siu’s presumption that Reid hailed from a ghetto is her technological naiveté.

Who doesn’t know by now that the Internet is the world’s largest blinking billboard?

You got nailed

The single most revolutionary advance in human communication since the smoke signal, the Internet might lay the world at your feet, but it allows virtually everyone on the planet to beat a path to your door.

From married folks who splay their wares on “swinger” sites, to pedophiles, to shady wheeler-dealers, posting potentially embarrassing information on the Internet is the common-sense equivalent of tattooing your Social Security number on your forehead, or blowing through a red light in front of a cop while your 4-year-old rides shotgun, swilling a beer.

Miss New Jersey, Amy Palumbo, recently weathered a storm of dubious publicity when someone attempted to blackmail her over photos she posted on a “private” Web page. Palumbo argued that the photos were for personal consumption only, and how dare anyone else help themselves to the world’s biggest cookie jar without asking?

Different times

Technology doesn’t change human behavior, it merely enables it. If you decide to post pictures on a “look-at-me” medium, should you really be shocked when someone actually does?

Gossip along the backyard fence was one thing, but the Internet is innuendo on steroids. Think back when you were a kid, and how much havoc that one nosy neighbor could have wreaked had he been armed with a digital camera and a mouse.

Even the most powerful can be snagged. President Bush and Congress are wrangling over whether Karl Rove’s interoffice e-mails fall under the protection of “executive privilege.” But Rove didn’t get to be Bush’s brain by being stupid. By playing out the clock, the most you’re likely to find in his file now is “Send this to 10 dictators or else!” spam.

Avowed “pro-life” presidential candidate Mitt Romney is fending off

flip-flopping charges, thanks to “YouTube” moments showing that once upon a time, he vowed to help keep abortion legal.

When it comes to the Internet, if you honestly expect your skeletons to stay in the closet, you probably shouldn’t fling open the door.

Reach Repository Writer Charita M. Goshay at (330) 580-8313 or e-mail: charita.goshay@cantonrep.com