Read an extract on Privacy, the Internet and Social Media
To celebrate the publication of the 3rd Edition of The Law of Privacy and the Media, edited by Sir Mark Warby and Dr Nicole Moreham we will be publishing a series of abridged extracts from the book. Read the first on Privacy, the Internet and Social Media (a new chapter for the 3rd edition) below.
The Law of Privacy and the Media (OUP) is the leading reference work on the subject. The 3rd edition brings the work up to date, addressing developments in privacy and other related areas of law over the last five years, and incorporates substantial new material. For further information and to order, please visit the OUP website.
5RB contributors include:
Privacy, the internet and social media by Godwin Busuttil, Gervase de Wilde and Felicity McMahon
The ascendancy of social media poses acute challenges for privacy. Internet-based services such as Facebook and Twitter can confer major advantages on users in terms of access to information, ease of communication, and opportunities for network-building. But the ordinary concomitant is a significant surrender of personal privacy. Participation generally entails the disclosure of, and the ceding of control over, one’s personal data. In order to join the community a person must establish at a minimum an online contact point and identity, typically by transferring some version of his or her actual, real-world, identity online. Many, of course, go much further than this, sharing—possibly oversharing—any manner of private information concerning themselves, often with complete strangers.
In most cases this will prove harmless, but from time to time individuals may make themselves a target. A person’s online identity can easily become a reference or focal point for the unauthorised dissemination of sensitive information and intimate photographs, and a lightning-rod for the activities of harassers, stalkers, bullies, and trolls.
The internet, and social media in particular, have created unprecedented opportunities for wrongdoing of this kind. Such misconduct may have serious consequences for those affected by it. Given the distinctive characteristics of publication via social media, it is apt to produce in its victims powerful feelings of humiliation and despair, not least on account of the perception that their embarrassment is being served up for the gratification of thousands of others. Its effect can be characterised as a unique fusion of the twin phenomena of disclosure (or, maybe, ‘exposure’) and intrusion discussed in Goodwin v News Group Newspapers Ltd  EWHC 1437 (QB)….Click here to read the rest of this extract.