Still thinking about that reddit thread

I’m still mulling that reddit thread I mentioned over in my mind. I didn’t bookmark it and I wish I had; I’d like to be able to read it again.

One of the posters on the thread basically compared what I do to both stalking and doxxing. He/she said it was as if I selected some random unsuspecting member of the public and took a bunch of pictures of them and posted the pictures and info about their workplace and where they live on the internet. If I remember right, this was the same poster who made that erroneous statement about being able to tell whether a kid is missing or not by whether or not they’re viewable on the NCMEC site.

What my critics don’t seem to get is that the information is already out there for the whole world to see; all I do is make it slightly easier to find by putting it all in one place. All of it is a matter of public record. And I don’t dig very deep to find it. About 90% everything on Charley can be found by any person, simply by Googling the MP’s name, or looking them up in the relevant state missing persons database, or searching for their name in a newspaper archive site, or some combination thereof. I’m hardly hacking into private computer databases or breaking into people’s homes to read their secret diaries.

Furthermore, if a relative of an MP asks me to take something down, usually I do it. Not too long ago, I had a case where the MP was HIV-positive. I had gotten that information in the usual way, so it was floating around on the internet and not just on the Charley Project either. It was accurate information, but the MP’s sister asked me to take it off the casefile. And so I did. But if you decided to wade through the information that’s online about that particular person, you would discover her HIV status on your own.

If, for example, the police or the MP’s family talk to the press about, say, their medical information, I’m not breaking any legal or moral rules by adding that to the casefile. The HIPAA act only prohibits health care workers from sharing an individual’s medical information; it doesn’t prohibit other people from sharing it. It is not a violation of privacy to republish information that has already been shared in the press.

There’s a certain person who has accused me of violating her privacy by writing about her case. The thing is, though, she and others in her family have approached the media to talk about it. They’ve been on TV, they’ve been in print media, possibly radio too, I don’t know. Apparently, in her mind, writing about her is only violating her privacy if you don’t write what she wants you to write. But if you write what she says happened, without questioning her story, or criticizing her or her family, that’s okay.

I’ve written about my own mental illness and other problems in my life on this blog. Some people have had things to say about it that I don’t like, but they aren’t violating my privacy. I chose to make the information public and I have to take the consequences. I’m okay with that.

I don’t know. I suppose I can’t please everyone. I know I have more supporters than otherwise.

I’ve been pretty happy lately, zipping along with the updates in a way I haven’t done in a long time. Life is good.

16 thoughts on “Still thinking about that reddit thread

  1. Dan October 29, 2015 / 6:00 pm

    Agreed. The main thing as well, you’re not looking up random people, or people you know, and posting their information out of malicious or spiteful reasons. These are people who are missing and can’t speak for themselves. While someone who may not be missing, but is a person of interest in someone elses disappearance may complain, they have a personal interest in information not getting out. So if anything, they are in the wrong, as they are biased in the situation. You’re aggregating public information for the case of someone who can’t speak for themselves. This is truly the opposite of what doxxing/stalking is. Doxxing is the aim of spreading someones information who actively does not want it shared. Missing persons cases by their very nature need/demand their information be shared, so the person can be found/located/unearthed.

    The shadows and secrecy keeps someone hidden, which often those complaining have a vested interest in maintaining to cover their own misdeeds or bad behavior.

    • Meaghan November 1, 2015 / 8:09 pm

      What I really hate is when families lie to me. I had a case where a missing woman was a known prostitute with a history of arrests for the same, as well as a drug addict, last seen getting into a vehicle in an area known for its drug and prostitution activity. I got an email from a relative claiming she was not a prostitute, she did not have a history of prostitution arrests, she was not a drug user and the area she was last seen in was not known for criminal activity. The person said, I quote, “Two options either remove it or we go forward with a lawsuit.”

      I replied saying I had it on authority from the police themselves that:
      1. Yes, she was.
      2. Yes, she did.
      3. Yes, she was.
      4. Yes, it was.

      You can imagine how happy THIS made them. Needless to say, their threatened lawsuit never materialized.

      And the thing is, if they hadn’t been such jerks about it, if they hadn’t lied to me, I might have been willing to work with them.

  2. Becky October 29, 2015 / 6:39 pm

    Glad you do what you do and glad you’re doing well theses days. Its good you publicize these cases. I never hear about them anywhere else. Don’t know if you’ve crunched any numbers based on the resolved cases, but it seems to me that most missing adults who are found, are found dead and I believe many of those were murder victims. People like your detractor act like they’re all missing by choice and I think that’s relatively rare. Aaaannnnyway, did you hear there’s been movement in the Jacob Wetterling case? http://www.startribune.com/new-developments-to-be-announced-in-wetterling-case/338399961/

  3. Lori-jo Jaycox October 29, 2015 / 6:45 pm

    Your intent isn’t to harm, but to help. Haters gonna hate – you keep doing what you are doing.

  4. PAlby October 29, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    Don’t put too much stock on reddit comments!

    • Kristen October 30, 2015 / 10:50 am

      Agreed. Reddit is full of evil trolls.

  5. Chris M October 29, 2015 / 8:30 pm

    You do good work, don’t let it get you down.

  6. Justin October 29, 2015 / 9:18 pm

    No matter what you write about a missing person, some details will make some people unhappy and that includes their loved ones. If those details could have something to do with why they are missing, then put it down in their profile and don’t sweat it. Some people are more concerned about how other people perceive their loved ones than have them found. If a missing person had schizophrenia or had a history of suicidal behavior, or homosexual or a drug addict or had a criminal history and a family member didn’t want that mentioned because of the stigma, would you remove that information? I guess you can deal with each on an individual basis, but you shouldn’t let making someone unhappy prevent you from listing information that you believe might have been connected to their disappearance.

  7. M86 October 29, 2015 / 11:54 pm

    Reddit will bring out the worst of the Internet trolls… I’m sure whatever was said will be buried very, very deep where it belongs.
    And some people are too stupid to realize that you just gather information from other sources and compile it into an easy to read format.

    Don’t let it get you down and don’t dwell on it. Keep doing the awesome job you’ve always done!

  8. Catherinr October 30, 2015 / 6:28 am

    The source information is listed below each case file, which I find makes this redditor’s argument invalid.

  9. svclark October 30, 2015 / 9:22 am

    I read that reddit thread, and forget about it! Lots of people downvoted that comment and stood up for you, and there were numerous mentions of what a great job you do. So keep on! 🙂

  10. Lauren October 30, 2015 / 9:30 am

    For goodness sake, you are providing a service – and a free one at that! They need to realize that you are just reporting the facts. It reminds me of that old Chinese proverb “When the finger points at the moon, only a fool will stare at the finger”.

    Any way…Glad to hear life is good. Thanks again for all that you do!

  11. CaptK October 30, 2015 / 2:20 pm

    You should never read the comments on any site. Take that, irony!

  12. rhonda October 30, 2015 / 2:22 pm

    There’s always gonna be haters…and you can’t please everybody all the time…
    I mean my word, your not breaking any laws…OR “invading the privacy of anyone”.
    And as you said, if you are asked to remove something by a family member, you do…
    Just keep on doing what you do…
    I’m bettin, there are more supporters than not!! 😉
    I’m a new fan & I love your blog!!

  13. Alana October 30, 2015 / 5:49 pm

    The worst ones are the parental abductors who go on missing persons blogs and complain about their kids information being on said website. I think I’ve only seen one that didn’t come off as a screeching harpy in the comments section.

    If they don’t want their kids information on these websites in the first place, they should just talk to the initial source of the information, but they’d rather pester bloggers instead.

    As for the poster you mentioned in the beginning, if they knew anything about how the NCMEC operates, they would realize that an NCMEC notice will state that person was found safe. To me, “restricted” means that they’re no longer handling the case.

  14. Jack October 30, 2015 / 10:10 pm

    I’m really happy that you’re doing well, Meaghan. I’m happy that you’re happy – you deserve it!

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