‘Miranda Rights’ for the Internet

I posted this some time ago in a different forum and was recently asked to repost it here, and I’m happy to get it a wider audience. I think this is important for everyone and equally relevant for any internet user, be they high school students, parents, or yes, we software professionals. There’s plenty more to be said on everything contained below, but I hope a degree of succinctness will set off the core ideas.



I. You have the right to remain silent.

You do not need to blog. You do not need to “Reply to this post.” You
do not need to Get MySpace, and you do not need to Facebook Me. If you
say nothing, the blogosphere will not deflate and strangers on
message boards will not miss your advice. If you say nothing, the
internet will not notice.

II. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion.

Nothing on the internet is private. Your real name, your AIM handle,
your livejournal, and the email address you had in high school are all
out there for anyone who cares to look. Just because you don’t know
how to find it doesn’t mean it can’t be found. The internet has a very
long memory. You should be willing to bet that it’s longer than yours.
Anyone you meet could know things about you that you have forgotten
you ever said. Speak slowly and carefully… there are a lot of people

III. You have the responsibility to be skeptical about everything; if you lack the ability to do so, find someone who will do so on your behalf.

The internet is not a library. The internet is not a newspaper. The
internet is a cacophonous bazaar of peddlers, kooks, and unruly
children sharing the same advertisement littered street corner as
politicians, scientists and parents. There are no signposts that
announce when you’re in the wrong part of town, and no one is going to
tell you when you’re being lied to or misled. An open and  skeptical
mind and a sense of personal responsibility are the rules of the road;
no shirt, no shoes, no service.

3 Responses to “‘Miranda Rights’ for the Internet”

  1. Tweets that mention Coffee To Code » Blog Archive » ‘Miranda Rights’ for the Internet -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Roer.com – the Blog!, Patrick Thomas. Patrick Thomas said: "Miranda Rights" for the Internet; http://bit.ly/b5Q6hK Good thoughts for every netizen to keep in mind […]

  2. Online ‘Miranda Rights’ | Funtime Xtreme Says:

    […] ‘Miranda Rights’ for the Internet [Coffee To Code] Information Security, Ramblings, Tech ← Apparently I’m Not Going Anywhere… /* */ […]

  3. PNT Says:

    Lisa N. said she liked it and agreed but hesitant to comment after reading it. I didn’t think about someone taking it that way, but I can see where it comes from. It’s a risk! It’s like being the first person to ask a question after someone says “Don’t ask stupid questions.” Course, if one is even THINKING about this, then I would sign off on that person as being significantly less likely to be part of the problem and more likely to be part of the solution. We thought that in addition to a comment box for this article, you should also have a button that just says “Preach on, brother!”

Leave a Reply