As you may have heard, another blogger has been dooced.
For those of you who aren't yet familiar with all the lingo, being dooced refers to being fired as a result of one's blog, so coined because of the unfortunate experiences of the now infamous Dooce.
New York based Belgian blogger Natalie Bakker works at a Belgian themed bar. On a recent night, she recognized the Belgian minister of the defense, along with some other government employees. The next day, on her blog, she wrote of her embarrassment over her fellow countryman's drunken behaviour. She also expressed frustration at the fact that another staff member had told her their trip to NYC was funded by taxpayers, and despite the fact that the UN meeting they were planning to attend had been moved to Geneva, they decided to go trough with the trip because they had never been to New York. (you can read the details of the story here)
A few days later, Natalie's employer received a phone call from the defense minister's office, and soon afterwards, she was fired. It is unclear whether the minister directly requested her termination or not.
Upon being confronted, the defense minister made the following quote, speaking of the danger of bloggers and their freedom to post information at will:
I want to take this opportunity and use this non-event to signal a dangerous phenomenon in our society. We live in a time where everybody is free to publish whatever he or she wants on blogs at will without taking any responsibility. This exceeds mud-slinging. Together with you, other Parliament members and the government I find that it’s nearly impossible to defend yourself against this. Everyone of you is a potential victim. I would like to ask you to take a moment and think about this.So, while a journalist would have been lauded for gaining information about a scandal arguably relevant to the public, a blogger who receives and publishes the same information is fired.
Paparazzi are allowed to set up camp outside a celebrity's front door and try to gain access every iota of information about what they had for breakfast in order to splay it all over the newsstands and the web. In contrast, a politician, who, by his very job, is accountable to the public (or, more specifically his constituents, who pay his wages), is expected to be granted the utmost privacy in a public space? Did Natalie ever sign an employment agreement certifying confidentiality to all that set foot in her workplace?
I do agree that the internet has made for a decrease in privacy, and we still have yet to realize the full extent this may impact our lives. If anything, cases like that of Ellen Simonetti (a flight attendant fired after posting pictures of herself in her uniform, despite never mentioning her employer by name) are starting to remind us of the visibility of whatever we post alongside our names. It is doubtful Natalie meant to create an international scandal by virtue of her written rant-- but, by the power of Google, that's arguably what happened.
I'm interested in your opinions on the topic. Do you think the firing was justified? Should she have known better? Have you ever had any negative consequences of your blog being unintentionally discovered? What do you do to keep your blog from causing any damage in your personal life? Any other thoughts?