The ABA journal reports that a judge has been banned from the bench over online comments he made under the pseudonym "geauxjudge". The details of the judge's posting are quite sordid, but the broader lesson to take away is think before you post.
If nothing else, the geauxjudge case shows that even when you think you're posting anonymously, you're not posting anonymously. For geauxjudge, a blogger was able to link enough of his anonymous comments with his personal biography to show that the poster was a real judge (bound by real judicial ethics).
The lesson for anyone in business is clear: as we develop an online persona, it's easy to forget that what we type is recorded and stored for anyone to view. While you might not be on the clock, anyone with an Internet connection and an ax to grind may one day use your words against you.
THE BROADER LESSON TO TAKE AWAY IS THINK BEFORE YOU POST
And this is the type of surveillance that's legal. Today, news outlets reported that the federal government indicted the CEO of the company that makes StealthGenie, a cellphone spyware app that allows a user to receive all calls and text messages on another phone, and even activate the phone's microphone for recording a conversation. StealthGenie has been criticized as an app made for stalkers. But its existence, and other spy apps like it, require that we be vigilant.
Cases like geauxjudge and StealthGenie highlight the importance of having best practices in place for data privacy and online security. Use good judgment and common sense, but when there's a problem have secure practices to fall back on for your protection.