At Boston College, Another Idiot with a Camera
News it out yesterday that a BC football player has been arrested for allegedly secretly recording his a teammate’s sexual tryst and then playing the audio for at least one other person. According to the Globe this morning, the woman, who has not been identified by police for obvious reasons, was humiliated when word got back to her.
The case bears some similarities to a recently concluded case in New York where a Rutgers student Dharun Ravi was convicted of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, and 13 other counts after he aimed a camera at his roommate while engaged in sexual activity then tweeted that his followers should check out the action. The roommate later committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
No one’s talking about those types of charges here — in fact, the BC student, Jaryd Rudolph, is charged with illegal wiretapping — but it’s hard to say it’s further proof that the notion of privacy is totally unknown to Millennials, especially on college campuses. Just about anything anyone says or does, in a public space or not, is now subject to recording and wide dissemination in the Interwebs. And if you’re unlucky enough to have something go particularly weird, chances are your vid will end up going viral.
No doubt Rudolph is being charged under a rather arcane law that really only journalists know about, but it looks like he’ll get the whipping boy treatment anyway. There’s already an increased awareness among some college students to mind their Internet selves (see this recent New York Times story about spring breakers keeping it clean). And now the law is stepping in to perhaps being to reassert our own rights for us. (Rudolph has pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance.)
No one should be subjected to having his or her image, words, or nighttime noises spread around the Internet for the amusement of others — unless of course that person is a celebrity leaking a sex tape — because that’s the definition of cyberbullying. It happens all the time anyway, and probably won’t stop until more cases like Rudolph’s or Ravi’s come to light.
As a legal watcher told the New York Times after the Rutgers case: “It’s a watershed moment, because it says youth is not immunity.”