Speaker cautions students against online exposure

IUS Horizon

C.L. Lindsay, attorney, author and speaker, visited IU Southeast to discuss campus computing and potential legal problems students face.

Lindsay is the founder and executive director of CO-STAR, the Coalition for Student and Academic Rights.

CO-STAR is a national, non-profit student rights organization that assists college students dealing with legal problems.

“I like to teach students how to stay out of trouble rather than put the fires out later,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay focused on several legal topics derived from students’ Internet use. Issues of copyright infringement, stalking and sexting were discussed.

“If you wouldn’t do it offline, don’t do it online,” Lindsay said. “You are unbelievably traceable on the Internet.”

Lindsay’s presentation displayed photos of pixilated young adults and action figures, participating in illegal activity.

Scooby-Doo and his gang, Spiderman, Barbie and hobbits were used to create scenarios of stalking, underage drinking and harassment.

Student government members from Jefferson Community and Technical College attended the event with their adviser, Telly Sellars, 34. “Lindsay’s discussion was informative, practical and applicable for my students,” Sellars said. “I thought he did a great job relating to them using real situations of other students.”

Benish Shabbir, 21, attended the event with JCTC for the Student Government Leadership conference.

“I learned so much, and I hope students realize how much trouble they can get into online, especially when they act immaturely and post pictures of them intoxicated,” Shabbir said.

Another issue discussed was the popularity of sexting between underage students.

“Before you hit send, think about the recipient’s reaction now and later,” Lindsay said. “Realize there is a good chance the photo can be forwarded for another’s eyes.”

Music and movie downloading has also become a frequent illegal act by many students.

Lindsay discussed the case of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the first file-sharing copyright infringement lawsuit in the United States brought by the Recording Industry Association of America .

“At the end of her trial, she was ordered to pay $1.92 million for 24 songs,” Lindsay said. “She will never be able to own a car or a mortgage because of downloading 24 songs.”

The common use of social networking sites has become a conventional way for college officials, recruiters and employers to examine students and potential employees. Lindsay said more than 75 percent of recruiters, and as many as 60 percent of employers use networking sites to investigate potential employees.

With the growing popularity of social networking sites, the number of registered sex offenders has also increased. Lindsay said Myspace kicked off 90,000 registered sex offenders from their site last year.

“Never include your physical address anywhere online,” Lindsay said. “Social networking is a great tool for predators. I want to keep students out of trouble and teach them how to keep themselves safe from the dangers of the Internet.”