Thursday, 4 March 2010

how online life distorts privacy rights for all

How online life distorts privacy rights for all: People who post intimate details about their lives on the internet undermine everybody else's right to privacy, claims an academic.
Dr Kieron O'Hara has called for people to be more aware of the impact on society of what they publish online.
"If you look at privacy in law, one important concept is a reasonable expectation of privacy," he said."As more private lives are exported online, reasonable expectations are diminishing."
The rise of social networking has blurred the boundaries of what can be considered private, he believes - making it less of a defence by law. We live in an era that he terms "intimacy 2.0" - where people routinely share extremely personal information online. "When our reasonable expectations diminish, as they have, by necessity our legal protection diminishes."
Dr O'Hara, a senior research fellow in Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, gave the example of an embarrassing photo taken at a party. A decade ago, he said, there would have been an assumption that it might be circulated among friends. But now the assumption is that it may well end up on the internet and be viewed by strangers.
- BBC, 8 January