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The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet


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The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet
Topic: High Tech Developments 10:48 am EST, Nov 17, 2007

I mentioned this book in August; now it's available.

Teeming with chatrooms, online discussion groups, and blogs, the Internet offers previously unimagined opportunities for personal expression and communication. But there’s a dark side to the story. A trail of information fragments about us is forever preserved on the Internet, instantly available in a Google search. A permanent chronicle of our private lives—often of dubious reliability and sometimes totally false—will follow us wherever we go, accessible to friends, strangers, dates, employers, neighbors, relatives, and anyone else who cares to look. This engrossing book, brimming with amazing examples of gossip, slander, and rumor on the Internet, explores the profound implications of the online collision between free speech and privacy.


"A timely, vivid, and illuminating book that will change the way you think about privacy, reputation, and speech on the Internet. Daniel Solove tells a series of fascinating and frightening stories about how blogs, social network sites, and other websites are spreading gossip and rumors about people's private lives. He offers a fresh and thought-provoking analysis of a series of wide-ranging new problems and develops useful suggestions about what we can do about these challenges."
—Paul M. Schwartz, professor of law, UC Berkeley School of Law

"No one has thought more about the effects of the information age on privacy than Daniel Solove."
—Bruce Schneier

"As the Internet is erasing the distinction between spoken and written gossip, the future of personal reputation is one of our most vexing social challenges. In this illuminating book, filled with memorable cautionary tales, Daniel Solove incisively analyzes the technological and legal challenges and offers moderate, sensible solutions for navigating the shoals of the blogosphere."
—Jeffrey Rosen, author of The Unwanted Gaze and The Naked Crowd

About the author:

Solove, an authority on information privacy law, offers a fascinating account of how the Internet is transforming gossip, the way we shame others, and our ability to protect our own reputations. Focusing on blogs, Internet communities, cybermobs, and other current trends, he shows that, ironically, the unconstrained flow of information on the Internet may impede opportunities for self-development and freedom. Long-standing notions of privacy need review, the author contends: unless we establish a balance between privacy and free speech, we may discover that the freedom of the Internet makes us less free.

Previously on Solove:

Cell Phone Number Research

"This is a person's associations ... It's a real wealth of data to find out the people that a person interacts with."

'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy

In this essay, Solove critiques the nothing to hide argument and exposes its faulty underpinnings.

We know everything about you

... we are almost entirely powerless against these vast bureaucracies ...

The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet

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