I received an email pointing me to this website where “Captain Vancouver” is collecting images of people who participated in the Vancouver riots. His purpose is to punish people’s inappropriate actions by publicizing them. His idea is that while the court system may or may not deliver justice to these people, quick justice can be achieved by posting these actions and identifying the people behind them.

In one post he writes to a person who may (or may not have) flipped over police cars: “I sentence you to public shaming so that whenever “Jonathan Mason” is ever typed into google, your name will be forever associated with the Vancouver riots.  I will leave it up to your future employer to ask you during your interview whether you were really there or not.  Take your chance with that.  You’ve been served by Captain Vancouver punk!”

Some are concerned that these kinds of sites violate privacy and could be a slippery slope to places we don’t want to be. Earlier I shared some of my feelings on this while blogging about a similar issue. My main concern with public shaming sites like this one is what happens when they are used to bully others who are acting in accordance with the law? For example, if there is an unpopular political issue that a person privately supports, should I be able to publicly point out that person as one who supports it?

Again, I refer to things which are legal, but unpopular, as opposed to the things which are illegal (whether or not they are popular). Captain Vancouver strongly defends the appropriateness of his particular public shaming site in this post. This is no doubt an issue that will become increasingly important.