The Death of Privacy

"People would call you douche bag, a liar. … They want to beat you. They want to deport you. They want to throw you out of school," he said. "All of my private information is on the Internet. People are using my name and identity for some dating Web sites. People are applying to get loans under my name. You know, I receive hundreds of harassing messages, and for a period of time it, it was pretty scary. … You start wondering what are the consequences, you know. Will any of these crazy people actually try to pursue these actions?"

He believes that his dream of working in investment banking is over, and that Wall Street is closed to him.

"Is it possible that all this publicity will turn out to be good?" I asked him.

"So far it's been like going through hell," he said.

As Technology Surges Ahead, the Law Lags Behind

Vayner now has a lawyer and is considering suing the bank that he believes initially forwarded his resume.

"For some reason the focus has been on me and the resume, which I think is very unjust," he said. "I think the focus should be on the simple fact that one of the top financial institutions in the world violates privacy and sends out very personal information out to the public."

But suing won't restore his privacy. His attorney, Christian Stueben, says that despite their efforts, Vayner's video resume will never come off the Internet.

"It'll never come off," Stueben said. "The law has not caught up with the technology that people are using."

"I'm simply a college senior. I never intended nor wanted any of this publicity. This publicity is not only stressful, it's extremely time consuming. It's very costly, and I'm not the only one who's affected. It affects hundreds of people who are close to me as well," Vayner said.

Jeff Jarvis, director of the New Media program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and author of the blog buzzmachine.com, is sympathetic to Vayner's plight, but says all the hand-wringing about the death of privacy is overblown -- "chicken littles" is what he calls the worriers.

He points out that most of what's on the Web people put up voluntarily.

The new attitude is: privacy -- who needs that?

"The truth is, on the Internet, if you don't reveal some of yourself, you won't find friends. … Facebook and MySpace and all these companies are being built on the notion that you can find friends because you find people who are like you. And you establish that friendship by telling them stories about yourself," he said.

But the stories the kids tell often show them doing dangerous things, illegal things such as taking drugs. Don't they worry that this will get them into trouble?

"Young people just have a very very different view of privacy than people in my generation," Jarvis said.

"When I was a kid, diaries were still sold with locks on them. … Now, more likely, a kid is putting a diary up on MySpace, or on their own Web site or blog, and running to school every day, bragging, you know, 'I got 20 hits on my diary,'" said Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.

Too Much Information?

Stephanie Klein has made lots of friends by blogging about her life. She writes about everything and posts pictures of herself as a single woman partying, hanging out with friends, and even dressing up in the bedroom.

She writes about a lot of things many people consider private -- her abortion, miscarriage and sexual experiences.

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