Tragedy Spurs Much-Needed Debate

   By drodriguez  Oct 01, 2010

The recent tragedy involving the Rutgers University student, Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide after his roommate put a video of him engaged in a sex act with another man on the internet has raised many questions about privacy.  Many are saying that there are existing issues involving internet safety and privacy that have not been dealt with yet because the technology is coming out too fast.  

As of now there are no clear cut laws stopping people from doing what Tyler Clementi’s roommate, Duran Ravi and his friend Molly Wei did.  Though more charges may be added in the future, Ravi and Wei are facing “invasion of privacy” charges for putting a webcam in the dorm room and streaming the video of Clementi’s ineteraction with another man on the internet.  This charge comes with a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail.

It is being reported that Ravi sent messages through his Twitter feed encouraging friends to watch the video his roommate, Clementi, on iChat.  A day later Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge and died.  Prosecutors involved with the case will have to somehow prove that Clementi jumped because of what Ravi and Wei did.  

A recent report from CNN discusses the debate brought on by the suicide and the statement released by the Clementi family.  The statement says, “We understand that our family’s personal tragedy presents important legal issues for the country as well as for us.  Regardless of legal outcomes, our hope is that our family’s personal tragedy will serve as a call for compassion, empathy, and human dignity.”  

What do you think of the debate about internet privacy that was brought on from Clementi’s suicide?

Do you think there should be more laws discouraging internet users from instantly disseminating information about people?

Make a Comment

shelly_noble24 by shelly_noble24 | SULLIVAN, MO
Nov 07, 2010

im sorry but those guys should be charged with is wrong to do that.there should be laws out that if you are posting things like videos and stuff of people without there permission or knowledge that is harmful to them you should get say of corse the courts would have to decide exactly what would be harfum and probably have to see the thing to do anything.i mean there are people whod have a cow over someone saying oh i dont like so and so and try to get them arrested.there still should be some more laws on this

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
Nov 07, 2010

Ravi and Wei are immature bullies of the worst kind. How dare they invade this young man's privacy. Did it make them feel better about themselves to destroy him? and now, are they feeling remorse? or are they just feeling badly because of prosecution? They had no right. How sad that someone wasn't there to tell this bright young man that it would soon all be forgotten and that he had every right to live his life as he saw fit.

mpom66 by mpom66 | Bedford, MA
Oct 26, 2010

The internet can be a great tool but also a tool of every horrendous crime out there including murder and provoked suicide. In this paticular case the students should have known the invasion of privacy and distribution of information would have negative implications - I don't buy for one minute that it was all "innocent". Stronger laws are needed - but face the never ending battles of how much control is required over our tright to privacy, enforcement of these laws and education of the public. I am ver afraid that unless there is judicial and legislative action soon - things are going to get a lot worse!

MadHatter by MadHatter | Whitestone , NY
Oct 09, 2010

cardreader - i would want them to spend time in prison. Jail is less then a year. prison is one year and above.

cardreader by cardreader | Dudley, MA
Oct 08, 2010

the Internet makes it easier to hurt more people. Ravi and Wei knew what they were doing!!!!! They just didn't care. They wanted to have some fun, and who would punish them? It is a hate crime. They need to spend time in jail . They are college students ,not grade school students. Their age is considered as an adult. They should be punished as an adult.

MadHatter by MadHatter | Whitestone , NY
Oct 07, 2010

MyEmptyCanvas - Reading the news, I don't think that Ravi and Wei meant for this to go that far. basically, they didn't think Tyler would kill himself over this. Tyler didn't struggle with being gay, he was open to his close family and friends (again i am getting this from reading the news, unsure if someone confirmed it or not). No one would go and tell their roommate that they are gay right off the back, the awkwardness that will hang in the air, and I understand why. he didn't want to make his roommate unconfortable too while they stay with each other for a year. that is something you tell to someone you trust, not some stranger you hardly know. Tyler did report it to the RA, but i don't think anything was really done to make him feel safe again. unfortunate.

ashleya by ashleya | collinsville, OK
Oct 07, 2010

The internet is such a major part of today's society, especially in the lives of young people. There should be laws governing privacy/bullying on the internet so that stuff like this doesn't happen again.

MyEmptyCanvas by MyEmptyCanvas | KOSCIUSKO, MS
Oct 06, 2010

Such a sad case that Ravi & Wei would go through all that to embarrass Clementi. They should definitely be punished, but I also think that Clementi should have gotten some type of counseling beforehand too if he had been struggling with being gay and had not come out to his family yet. R.I.P.

eirammiller by eirammiller | Philadelphia, PA
Oct 06, 2010

This is all so sad.

mardel by mardel | SCHAUMBURG, IL
Oct 05, 2010

MadHatter has made some great points regarding our Legal system! How can our government prevent bullying from happening on the internet when they themselves are being unfair when celebrity's are getting away what seems like murder! They drive drunk, carry drugs, and violet parole and all they get is a trip to rehab! It's sad that our kids can't be free to express themselves without being prosecuted by others. Our government is failing to protect our children. laws and penalty's should have been passed already so this type of tragedy wouldn't happen to another innocent family. Parent's need to do their part as well. Educate your kids and teach them that our society is different and that's ok and to never be ashamed of who they are!

mickeythescorpion by mickeythescorpion | FOLCROFT, PA
Oct 04, 2010

it would be hard to set up any laws against things like this on the internet. i think that todays youth needs to be re-taught about respect for peers, acceptance of peoples differences, and a persons right to their privacy. things like this need to be taught at home and at school. things like this are meant to be private, gay, lesbian, or straight.

girl17 by girl17 | EAGAN, MN
Oct 04, 2010

This is so sad. There needs to be new laws in place for internet security and bullying.

elenacala by elenacala | SPRINGVILLE, UT
Oct 04, 2010

I think there shouldn't just be privacy laws but laws that deal with the intent behind the crime. It is obvious these two individuals were trying to be deliberatly cruel. I mean couldn't this be considered a hate crime? It truely is a sad and sick world we live in, and I hope these two college students live with this over thier heads for the rest of thier lives, the life tyler also should have had. But I do thik there is one thing we can do and that is to teach from very young ages our children, that acts such as these are not OK and help them ot make better choices.

rockhound24 by rockhound24 | ELIZABETH, CO
Oct 04, 2010

I think this is horrible. I feel so sorry for Tyler's family. I can't imagine how anyone could think that this was an ok thing to do to another person. What ever happened to the Golden Rule? I wish more people would stop to think of how they would feel if someone did to them what they are thinking of doing to others.

SavdByGrace by SavdByGrace | SUMMIT, IL
Oct 04, 2010

Better than for this to occur even one more time, I think it should be illegal to post any video of any person who has not given their written consent. I don't see a good way to police this until it is violated unfortunately, but this might deter offenders. What a sad loss that this young man is gone from this earth. I saw a photo of him playing the violin. His music has been silenced, never again to bring joy to the ear. My heart goes out to his family on many levels. May God comfort them in their grieving.