Privacy and YOU: The Interconnected Menace

Darrell, Staff Writer

FADE IN on a high-school classroom. It’s clearly just before class starts; most children are in or near their seats, but all are chatting happily. Near the side of the frame, a paper airplane makes a brief flight from the middle to the edge of the room. As the teacher, wearing horn-rimmed glasses, walks in, the students begin to settle down, all smiling.

The camera focuses on a girl in the front row wearing a white blouse, flowered skirt below her knee, and pink sweater.

NARRATOR: Meet Susan. An all-American girl. She wants to go to Tech State University next year. Her teachers and counselors say she has a great chance of getting in as long as she keeps her grades up. What they don’t tell her is that it’s much more than bad grades that can ruin a young girl’s dreams.

CUT TO: A local drug store / lunch counter / soda fountain / pinball arcade filled with rambunctious scamps. Couples are sipping malts with two straws; some of the more casually dressed fellows are at the pinball machine; and our SUSAN is in a booth sharing a plate of french fries with her girlfriends CAROL and LISA.

CAROL: Hey, Suze, are you on Facebook?

SUSAN: Facebook? You mean our class yearbook? Of course I’m in that!

CAROL: No, this is on the computer. [pulls out iPhone] It’s a way for friends to stay connected over the internet. See? I’m on it, and so is Ruth Burrows, and we even found our math teacher Mr. Hawkins! Plus, you can play games with each other and post your vacation pictures…

SUSAN: [investigating Carol’s phone] Wow, what DOESN’T this thing do?

LISA: Girls, I don’t like the sound of this. Aren’t all our friends right here anyway?

CAROL: Oh, don’t be such a nerd. This is the future of technology! Suze, I’ll help you sign up. Just go to on your phone.

Quick DISSOLVE to forty seconds into the future

CAROL: And now all you have to do is post a picture of yourself and fill in all this information.

SUSAN: Okay, favorite foods: french fries, milkshakes, and sushi… religion: Methodist… hobbies: watching movies, going to sockhops, and laser tag… now to put on some photos for you guys…

LISA: Do you really want to be putting all this online?

SUSAN: Stop worrying, geez. Ooh -- it says here that I can “check in” at the lunch counter on something called FourSquare. What does that mean?

CAROL: Do it! I’m on it, too, and whenever you check in, you get little rewards on the screen. I’m currently the “Mayor” of this booth, which means these fries were a dollar off!

SUSAN: Wow, a whole dollar!?! [excitedly presses icons on her iPhone]

PAN to five tables over. A group of three boys, LARS, HENRIK, and IVAN, are eating cheeseburgers, each with an iPhone of his own

LARS: Dude, check out this new app. [presses icon on iPhone] It’s awesome.

IVAN: Is this another stupid tower-defense game? I have no patience…

LARS: No man, it’s called Girls Around Me. It lets you check out girls.

IVAN and HENRIK: Let’s see it!

Camera ZOOMS on LARS’s iPhone and shows a map of Anytown, USA. Red markers dot the landscape, including a noticeable cluster around a square labeled RED’S FUN THYME HANGOUT

LARS: See all these dots? They’re girls who checked in on FourSquare recently. The app links that info with their Facebook profiles, so we can see extra photos and info about them.

HENRIK: [noticing a picture] Hey, who’s that?

LARS: [touches one picture] Her name’s Susan. She’s a Methodist, likes sushi and laser tag, and best of all, all her photos are public.

IVAN: [rubbing his hands together] This is already my favorite app ever.

LARS: [eyes bugging] Whoa! Check out her with her two friends on the beach! They’re crazy hot. And according to Susan’s profile, she’s single.

HENRIK: I don’t see any boys in these pictures…

IVAN: [noticing the girls behind them] Dudes! Dudes! They’re right there! All three of them! We gotta go talk to them.

CUT to a brief montage of the three boys standing near the girls’ table chatting them up. A music bed prevents the viewer from hearing what is said, but the boys smile and the girls giggle. As the music comes to a close, the girls start clapping

SUSAN, CAROL, and LISA: Triple date! Triple date! Triple date!

The montage continues with the six of them having a grand time at a sockhop, a sushi restaurant, and a laser-tag arena. All the while, SUSAN snaps silly pictures with IVAN, her date. As the evening comes to a close, the boys drop all three girls off at SUSAN’s house.

IVAN: [to SUSAN] Can I call you again some time?

SUSAN: Absolutely! Tonight was a lot of fun. Goodnight!

FADE to a view of a college campus whose sign reads “Tech State University -- home of the Tigers”

NARRATOR: The girls’ evening was a great success. But things weren’t all rosy for Susan on the day of her big interview with the Tech State admissions office.

FADE to a college admissions office. A square, brown desk sits in the middle of the room; pro-TSU pennants and posters adorn the walls

ADMISSIONS OFFICER: Your grades are excellent, Miss Hargreaves, and the story you told about digging wells as a volunteer in Nicaragua was heart-rending. However, Miss Hargreaves, there is one problem.

SUSAN: Problem? What ever do you mean?

ADMISSIONS OFFICER: Are you familiar with Facebook, Miss Hargreaves?

SUSAN: Why yes, I just got on it a few days ago. It’s pretty neat!

ADMISSIONS OFFICER: Neat, yes. You see, Miss Hargreaves, the problem is whom you’ve associated with in recent days. You’ve been out with a gentleman named Ivan Godunov, have you not?

SUSAN: Yes…?

ADMISSIONS OFFICER: That’s the problem. You might already know, then, that Mr. Godunov is a card-carrying member of the Communist Party. [pulls out iPhone] See these pictures?

ZOOM on the ADMISSIONS OFFICER’s iPhone. On it we see pictures of Ivan holding a copy of The Communist Manifesto, then another of Ivan next to the Kremlin, and another of him saluting a statue of Lenin

ADMISSIONS OFFICER: You do see how this might reflect poorly on you, I’m sure.

SUSAN: But… but I’m not a Communist. I’m a Methodist!

ADMISSIONS OFFICER: Whether that’s true or not is not my concern. The fact is, we have evidence that you’ve consorted with Communists, and I’m afraid we here at TSU don’t condone such behavior. As impressive as your resume is, I can’t in good conscience admit you to our school. You and your Red friends can find education elsewhere.

SUSAN cries and runs out of the office. The camera follows her sprint through the TSU campus and driving cello music punctuates the scene

NARRATOR: Had poor Susan simply kept her wonderful night out to herself instead of posting it for everyone to see, she would have a bright future as a TSU coed. Instead, a life of wandering and sadness awaits her. Be careful, boys and girls, what information you put on the internet. You never know who might see it.


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