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 19, 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 19, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) 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