Saturday, June 19, 2004

blogging...curtailing the rant in me

I understand why so many people get into trouble by sharing too much personal infromation in a blog. It feels like a diary. But my diary (when I had one last at the ripe old age of ten) had a lock and a key I wore around my neck. Here we don't have any locks and invite anyone who wants to read them, to read our inner most thoughts.

When I was doing a world travel crazy trip from February to March this year, I was frazzled, tired, and working on dial-up access when I could get any access at all. I wrote a rant column for Information Week, and unfortunately, they published it. http://www.informationweek.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=18201799

It's so easy to rant and click "send." Then, in the blink of an eye ou thoughts and ranks are everywhere, copied in multiple places (if we are either unlucky or lucky, depending on your point of view).

Two weeks ago I spoke to a good friend. She was the very first person to be involved in the fight against online child molesters, and started her work before the Web was launched in 1993. She formed a group to teach about the dangers of child molesters online and how they organize and have their own discussion and educational programs online, just like the rest of us. Her group, now winding down, is www.soc-um.org.

Anyhow, I digress (you'll learn that I do that often...:-))

I was complaining about the state of online safety. No one seems willing to work together. Too many have their own agendas and refuse to join forces. There is no money in online safety, and littel power. Those who can copy our tips and tell people to "keep the computer in a central location" appear to be as expert as the rest of us. And vigilante groups like the new Perverted Justice (and next week's model) risk letting real child molesters get away in the name of media.

It gets frustrating.

But, I digress...

She lectured me for forgetting that I was first a privacy and security lawyer and second an online safety advocate. She lectured me that I had given up my expertise by hiding it under the "angel of the Internet" message. She challenged me to visit my home page, www.aftab.com, and find the focus. She was right.

She reminded me that my real value and power came from my being a cyberlawyer and legal expert in privacy and security.

She reminded me that as such, I could get others to join forces and try to put the politics and egoes behind us (I take equal blame in that one!) and really make a difference.

This week we will be making a big announcement that, IMHO, will change the face of online safety and awareness, worldwide. I am very excited about that. We are also working on pulling together a national conference for teens, headed by our teenangels (teenangels.org) to create teen experts who can get out there and help teach others about online safety and responsible surfing.

Big things are happening on the online safety front, and in my pro bono life.

But Debbie was right. I need to focus better and define my professional life. WiredSafety.org and WiredKids.org and WiredCops.org will host my online safety content and information. Aftab.com (which was one of the first legal sites online) will be devoted to privacy, security, workplace cyber-issues, cybercrime and abuse prevention and cyberlaw.

I have spent the better part of a week rewriting and coding (I know, for those of you out there who do this regularly, using Front Page doesn count as "coding," but cut me some slack here...). Aftab.com is now a new site, trying to focus on my professional goals.

Keeping your passion apart from your profession isn't easy. Luckily I am also passionate about privacy law and cyberspace in the workplace issues. I'll need ot keep my passions separate though.

and save my rants for here :-)







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