The Internet has been romanticized as a zone of freedom. The alluring combination of sophisticated technology with low barriers to entry and instantaneous outreach to millions of users has mesmerized libertarians and communitarians alike. Lawmakers have joined the celebration, passing the Communications Decency Act, which enables Internet Service Providers to allow unregulated discourse without danger of liability, all in the name of enhancing freedom of speech. But an unregulated Internet is a breeding ground for offensive conduct.
At last we have a book that begins to focus on abuses made possible by anonymity, freedom from liability, and lack of oversight. The distinguished scholars assembled in this volume, drawn from law and philosophy, connect the absence of legal oversight with harassment and discrimination. Questioning the simplistic notion that abusive speech and mobocracy are the inevitable outcomes of new technology, they argue that current misuse is the outgrowth of social, technological, and legal choices. Seeing this clearly will help us to be better informed about our options.
In a field still dominated by a frontier perspective, this book has the potential to be a real game changer. Armed with example after example of harassment in Internet chat rooms and forums, the authors detail some of the vile and hateful speech that the current combination of law and technology has bred. The facts are then treated to analysis and policy prescriptions. Read this book and you will never again see the Internet through rose-colored glasses.
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About the Author
Martha C. Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics Department of Philosophy, Law School, and Divinity School at the University of Chicago. She is the author of many books, including Poetic Justice, Love’s Knowledge, and The Fragility of Goodness.
Table of Contents
Introduction Saul Levmore Martha C. Nussbaum 1
I The Internet and Its Problems
1 Speech, Privacy, and Reputation on the Internet Daniel J. Solove 15
2 Civil Rights in Our Information Age Danielle Keats Citron 31
3 The Internet's Anonymity Problem Saul Levmore 50
4 Objectification and Internet Misogyny Martha C. Nussbaum 68
5 Believing False Rumors Cass R. Sunstein 91
6 Reputation Regulation: Disclosure and the Challenge of Clandestinely Commensurating Computing Frank Pasquale 107
7 Youthful Indiscretion in an Internet Age Anupam Chander 124
8 Academic Administrators and the Challenge of Social-Networking Websites Karen M. Bradshaw Souvik Saha 140
9 Cleaning Cyber-Cesspools: Google and Free Speech Brian Leiter 155
10 Privacy, the First Amendment, and the Internet Geoffrey R. Stone 174
11 Foul Language: Some Ruminations on Cohen v. California John Deigh 195
12 Collective Privacy Lior Jacob Strahilevitz 217
13 Privacy on Social Networks: Norms, Markets, and Natural Monopoly Ruben Rodrigues 237
What People are Saying About This
A collection of smart, provocative, and sometimes bracing essays about protecting privacy, dignity and reputation in the digital public sphere.
Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School
Anyone interested in privacy, reputation, speech and how the Internet has complicated all three should read these thought-provoking essays from some of the brightest minds in the legal academy. This collection deserves a place in the Internet law canon.
Paul Ohm, University of Colorado Law School
More and more, the Internet is not only a technological frontier, but a place where people are settling in to live their lives – as consumers, workers, friends, and every other permutation of social being. And where society is, we can expect problems of speech, privacy, and reputation. The Offensive Internet promises to be a "go-to" volume for those involved in and seeking to enter the debate about these extremely pressing concerns.
Katherine J. Strandburg, Professor of Law, New York University
In this remarkable volume, an all-star cast of scholars explores the Internet's dark side-- how the Internet can destroy reputation and privacy at warp speed.
Paul M. Schwartz, Director, The University of California at Berkeley Center for Law and Technology