Thursday, June 30, 2005
Of Privacy and Poop: Norm Enforcement Via the Blogosphere
All the more reason why we need to rethink old notions of privacy. Under existing notions, privacy is often thought of in a binary way – something either is private or public. According to the general rule, if something occurs in a public place, it is not private. But a more nuanced view of privacy would suggest that this case involved taking an event that occurred in one context and significantly altering its nature – by making it permanent and widespread.
Such a contextual approach to privacy is elaborated in Helen Nissenbaum's "Privacy as Contextual Integrity" (PDF).
Also, you might be interested in this study on " Bloggers' Expectations of Privacy and Accountability"
For those interested in further discussion about this issue, there are a number of interesting posts and comments over at PrawfsBlawg:
Marcy Peek, Re Internet Vigilantism (I have been engaging a number of folks in a discussion in the comments to this post)
Kaimi Wenger, More Thoughts on Internet Vigilantism
Kaimi Wenger, Internet Vigilantism
This sort of problem is hardly unique to the blogosphere. Consider the hapless Steve Bartman, who had the misfortune to catch a ball at a baseball game. He was blamed for the Cubs' loss of the game, which would have put them in the World Series for the first time since 1945, and perhaps their first championship since 1909. People made death threats against the guy. He survived and still lives and works in the Chicago area. See http://tinyurl.com/b84g5
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