Sex, Lies, and Dirty Pictures

It's an interesting day when a fifty-something federal judge commits the same sins as the Say Everything generation. Remember this awesome article from New York magazine a while back?

Kids today. They have no sense of shame. They have no sense of privacy. They are show-offs, fame whores, pornographic little loons who post their diaries, their phone numbers, their stupid poetry—for God's sake, their dirty photos!—online. They have virtual friends instead of real ones. They talk in illiterate instant messages. They are interested only in attention—and yet they have zero attention span, flitting like hummingbirds from one virtual stage to another.

Turns out, the Hon. Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, got busted posting his own dirty pictures online. He's no technophobic octogenarian, either. He's very tech-savvy, so it's a weird mistake coming from him. Password protection just isn't that hard.

The timing, for my modest purposes, couldn't be better. This past season, a number of applicants have written me because they've gotten into a spot of trouble after posting things online that they shouldn't have. Sure, they use cutesy handles to hide their identities on discussion boards, but as Prof. Brian Leiter reminded us in the wake of the AutoAdmit discussion board scandal (see here and here), posters are just two subpoenas away from having their identities exposed.

Will Kozinski survive this scandal? Yeah, probably. He's a bigwig. Mere mortals generally don't.

Learn from Judge Kozinski, young grasshoppers. (And from Whole Foods CEO John Mackey.) Don't assume you have any real privacy online. You don't.

Edited to add: Updates here and here.