With the all buzz about the Craigslist killer you can almost see the handwriting on the virtual wall. It is sure to reignite the debate about online personal services and websites such as craigslist.org. But am I the only one who sees the obvious. It was because of the technology trail that the real-life CSI cops were able to find and arrest a suspect.
All American 22 year-old med-student Philip Markoff was arrested as a suspect for the murder of Julissa Brisman, a masseuse he met on craigslist.org. Using email tracking, IP tracing, digital security cam footage, and other cool tech tools, police were able to triangulate in on Philip for this crime and perhaps others.
But you can almost hear the buzz of emails in the halls of Congress to start hearings on how to regulate websites such as Craigslist. Will this be the online equivalent to the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction that started the FCC expanded regulation of what we see on broadcast TV?
I say we are looking at this backwards. We should encourage online personal services. Give companies a tax break for providing online personal services or better yet, a stimulus check. This brings a whole new meaning to stimulus package!
If we discourage online personal services on websites like Craigslist, predators are able to recede to the shadows where they can more easily get away with their nefarious Jack-the-Ripper (still an unsolved crime) activities. Take the Catholic Church – they got away with it for hundreds of years long before the Internet.
When you put those facts into light, it does make sense. I don’t think regulating is the answer but I do think that Craigslist should do even more on its web pages and thru non-online outreach to educate their users about the inherit risks of meeting people online or of disclosing too much personal information.