Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pg. 99: Daniel Solove's "The Future of Reputation"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Daniel Solove's The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet.

About the book, from the official website:
What information about you is available on the Internet?

What if it’s wrong, humiliating, or true but regrettable?

Will it ever go away?

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.

Daniel 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, cyber mobs, and other current trends, he shows that, ironically, the unconstrained flow of information on the Internet may impede opportunities for self-development and freedom. Longstanding notions of privacy need review, the author contends: unless we establish a balance among privacy, free speech, and anonymity, we may discover that the freedom of the Internet makes us less free.

Among the early praise for The Future of Reputation:
"In the future, we may all be famous for fifteen minutes, but the Internet can preserve that fame -- or infamy -- forever. We might do well to consider, with Solove, what we lose when we give up our privacy, and what aspects of freedom to communicate are worth preserving."
--Barnes & Noble Review

"Beneath Solove's legal suggestions rests a keen insight about the extent to which the Internet changes basic questions about privacy."
--MIT's Technology Review

"[The Future of Reputation] paints a grim picture of the myriad ways in which the web is being misused, sometimes knowingly and sometimes not, to make people miserable."
--Terry Teachout, Commentary

"I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a fun read that also manages to be a scholarly work on cyberlaw.... I can’t emphasize enough how important Solove’s project is. In an era of knee-jerk libertarianism and First Amendment absolutism, Solove demonstrates that there are some baseline norms and laws that should govern the spread of personally identifiable information, gossip, and rumors. Against the conventional wisdom that would declare the net ungovernable, Solove offers hope that a gossip-saturated blogosphere can become a more fair, decent, and perhaps even public-minded place."
--Frank Pasquale,

"The book is very easy to read, it flows and takes on a life of its own. I could not put it down.... Daniel J. Solove is rapidly becoming to privacy what Lawrence Lessig is to copyright and the public domain."
--Taran Rampersad,

"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, Berkeley Law School

"Do the traditional legal protections of de­fa­mation law and privacy provide much recourse in a new era in which millions of persons on blog sites and social-networking sites can pass on gossip, malicious hearsay and fictionalized anecdotes? ... [W]ith re­cognized credentials in privacy and free-speech issues, [Solove] is an ideal schol­ar to offer the first anal­ysis of this phenomenon. His new book ... offers in­triguing anecdotes and asks the right questions."
--Privacy Journal

"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

"No one has thought more about the effects of the information age on privacy than Daniel Solove."
--Bruce Schneier, author of Beyond Fear

Read an excerpt from The Future of Reputation and learn more about the book and author at Daniel Solove's website, the Concurring Opinions blog, and the Yale University Press website.

Solove is an Associate Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. His other publications include The Digital Person: Technology and Privacy in the Information Age (2004) and Information Privacy Law (2006).

The Page 99 Test: The Future of Reputation.

--Marshal Zeringue