ChatRoulette? Sam Anderson describes it
perfectly as “a new website that brings you face-to-face, via webcam, with
an endless stream of random strangers all over the world” in his New York Magazine article The Human Shuffle.
I stumbled upon www.chatroulette.com quite by accident when perusing www.oddee.com and found 18 Funny ChatRoulette Screenshots. While I don’t think they were necessarily funny, they were quite interesting. Screenshots ranged from a justifiably angry African-American fellow being linked up with a young Arian whose room was adorned with a Nazi Swastika flag (not funny) to a young woman screaming in horror when her chat partner donned a humorously terrifying mask.
What is this modern technological miracle? And, is it legal?
Fox News is worried that ChatRoulette
will become a haven for child predators. In his Fox News Article Chatroulette Is 'Predators' Paradise', Joshua
Rhett Miller observes that “One minute you're chatting via
webcam with a mom of two from Montauk, N.Y. -- and the next you're staring at a
stark-naked man in Bangkok.” The site demands
that you swear to be 16 years of age or older before it will let you log on. However, there is no safeguard to ensure that
those who attest to being over 16 are actually over 16.
The legal issues are very complex because we’re dealing with international cyberlaw, extradition, who is breaking what laws in which countries.
Maureen Rogers, blogging in Pink Slip, says that “It sounds like the perfect milieu for snuff [films], kiddie porn, suicide, animal torture... Which means that, as a business, it would need to be monitored and run by someone other than a 17 year old kid. And that someone should have deep pockets, because it's hard to believe that there won't be lawsuits popping up at some point.”
A Movie About Chatroulette
Meanwhile, prudence dictates that parents monitor what their kids are doing on the Internet because there are undoubtedly going to be some shockers emanating from the servers of Chatroulette.
Chatroulette will ultimately be the focus of some sort of litigation – stay tuned!