Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Privacy law expert warns of the perils of social media and social reading

Date:
May 9, 2012
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
The Internet and social media have opened up new vistas for people to share preferences in films, books and music. Services such as Spotify and the Washington Post Social Reader already integrate reading and listening into social networks, providing what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls “frictionless sharing.” “But there’s a problem. A world of automatic, always-on disclosure should give us pause,” says a privacy law expert.

The Internet and social media have opened up new vistas for people to share preferences in films, books and music. Services such as Spotify and the Washington Post Social Reader already integrate reading and listening into social networks, providing what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls "frictionless sharing."

"But there's a problem. A world of automatic, always-on disclosure should give us pause," says Neil M. Richards, JD, privacy law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis.

"'Frictionless sharing' isn't really frictionless -- it forces on us the new frictions of worrying who knows what we're reading and what our privacy settings are wherever and however we read electronically. It's also not really sharing -- real sharing is conscious sharing, a recommendation to read or not to read something rather than a data exhaust pipe of mental activity.

"Rather than 'over-sharing,' we should share better, which means consciously, and we should expand the limited legal protections for intellectual privacy rather than dismantling them."

Richards says that what's at stake is "intellectual privacy," his term for the idea that records of our reading and movie watching deserve special protection compared to other kinds of personal information.

"The films we watch, the books we read, and the websites we visit are essential to the ways we try to understand the world we live in," he says."

"Intellectual privacy protects our ability to think for ourselves, without worrying that other people might judge us based on what we read. It allows us to explore ideas that other people might not approve of, and to figure out our politics, sexuality and personal values, among other things.

"Sharing and commenting on books, films and ideas is the essence of free speech."

Richards notes that the work of the American Libraries Association and its Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) offers an attractive solution to the problem of reader records.

"The OIF has argued passionately and correctly for the importance of solitary reading as well as the ethical need for those who enable reading -- librarians, but also Internet companies -- to protect the privacy and confidentiality of reading records," he says.

"The norms of librarians suggest one successful and proven solution -- professionals and companies holding reader records must only disclose them with the express conscious consent of the reader.

"The stakes in this debate are immense. Choices we make now about the boundaries between our individual and social selves, between consumers and companies, between citizens and the state, will have massive consequences for the societies our children and grandchildren inherit."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richards, Neil M. The Perils of Social Readin. Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 101, No. 3, 2013 (accepted) [link]

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Privacy law expert warns of the perils of social media and social reading." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509175813.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2012, May 9). Privacy law expert warns of the perils of social media and social reading. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509175813.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Privacy law expert warns of the perils of social media and social reading." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509175813.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The incentive is in keeping with a Russian superstition that it's good luck for a cat to be the first to cross the threshold of a new home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP oil spill could be a way to diminish years of costly litigation. A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins