Prisoners on Facebook

Spoke with Karl this morning about prisoners in high security institutions having access to Facebook and other social media.

Currently, there is nothing stopping those incarcerated from contacting the outside world. They are not allowed computers or mobile phones, but it appears that friends and family who visit can update the pages for them.

On the face of it, some might ask “who cares?”, and the answer would probably be, not many people do outside of the victims, police and some politicians. But there are wider implications in this. There is the aspect of prisoners are there to be punished and therefore should not be afforded the rights of free citizens. More of a worry though, is that prisoners – especially psychopaths and ones that tend to solve problems using intimidation and violence – now have an avenue where they can contact people who might not want to hear from them.

Facebook as an entity is known for its reluctance to enforce privacy laws, even though they made some concessions earlier this year. Whether politicos and bureaucrats can put in place legislation to stop prisoners having a Facebook, MySpace or Twitter accounts is something that only time will tell, but I’m not sure they can stop them altogether without putting severe restrictions on the social networking websites.

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