Big Brother is watching you on Facebook

by Chris Bertram on July 20, 2007

I have very clear memories of my last day of finals at Oxford in 1981. I was all set for my Moral Philosophy exam and was about to make my way down to the Examination Schools from the King’s Arms (where I had lunched) when I ran into occasional CT commenter Chris Y. When I told him I planned to celebrate afterwards in the traditional style (champagne sprayed across the pavement etc) he became very angry with me and lectured me sternly on the effect that I would have on “ordinary working people” on their way home. As it turned out, my then girlfriend met me outside with a multicoloured spliff (that’s my NuLab “confession”:;jsessionid=0KYEC0LHF5AGDQFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2007/07/20/nsmith120.xml out the way …) and I went off to celebrate more discreetly. These days it seems that the Proctors (university police) “are scanning the Facebook pages of Oxford students”:,,2128263,00.html and fining the offenders for their post-finals excesses. Students thus detected may be unable to graduate until they have paid up.

bq. Proctors emailed third-year mathematics and philosophy student Alex Hill with links to photographs of her on Facebook on Friday. “I have been charged by the proctors for breaching rules and being ‘disorderly’, on the basis of photographic evidence from Facebook,” she said. “Somehow the proctors have accessed my photos on Facebook and cited them as evidence of my misconduct, and I am being summoned to a disciplinary hearing.” “I don’t know how this happened, especially as my privacy settings were such that only my friends and students in my networks could view my photos. “It’s quite unbelievable and I am very pissed off, [I] just hope that no-one else gets ‘caught’ in this way.”

Privilege without End

by Kieran Healy on July 20, 2007

To echo “Sandy Levinson”: and “Eric Rauchway”:, “Is it a constitutional crisis yet?”