At first, I wasn't going to say anything about the kinda, sorta naked pictures of BART spokesman Linton Johnson that the Anonymous folks found somewhere (perhaps on his email) and posted for all to see. I didn't want to give this any more attention than it already had.
But it's been bothering me, so I decided to weigh in, to wit:
This is none of anyone's damn business.
I've had a lot of problems with Johnson in the past, and I think his move to shut down cell phone service was stupid and a violation of the First Amendment. But that's professional -- I'm a reporter, and he's a flak, and he represents a very fucked up agency, and we're going to fight. The pictures are his personal life, and I don't care what he does when he's not working for BART.
Half (or more) of the hipsters in San Francisco, some of whom hold prominent positions in city politics, media and business, tend to get way more naked than Linton Johnson at Burning Man -- and I don't care about that, either, and neither should anyone else. I don't suppose Jane Kim and David Chiu will join the nekkid brigade and get their naughty parts all dusty on the Playa, but if they do, it won't change my opinion about the Twitter tax break or the selection of Ed Lee as mayor.
Sure: People who work as P.R. agents for public agencies should be careful about what they do with these kinds of photos. Or that's the conventional wisdom. But this is San Francisco; what possible difference does it make if a person who's in the public eye likes to party with the boys?
We all talk a lot about web privacy, but when shit like this happens, we just stop and giggle. But we shouldn't, because when you start playing Gotcha' politics with people's personal lives you head down a very ugly road.
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