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Article
Rethinking Public Privacy in the Internet Era: A Study of Virtual Persecution by the Internet Crowd
Journal of Media Law (2009)
  • Anne SY Cheung, University of Hong Kong
Abstract

Privacy has remained an elusive concept for decades. Before we can arrive at a universally agreed definition, the blossoming of online sharing websites has presented us with a new set of challenges in the Internet era of public observation and monitoring. A worrying phenomenon is the rise of virtual persecution, defined to be Internet exposure of anti-social or unpopular behaviours that take place in public with the purpose of achieving shaming or ridicule against the individuals concerned. Drawing from literature on autonomy, dignity, and the notion of harm, this article re-examines the concept of public privacy, and argues that privacy should protect one from unwanted and unwarranted publicity. It points out that the common law standard of “reasonable expectation of privacy” hardly qualifies to be a working formula for privacy protection. Rather the continental concept of personality right may lead us out of the legal labyrinth.

Keywords
  • privacy,
  • Internet,
  • human flesh search engine,
  • dignity
Publication Date
December, 2009
Citation Information
Anne SY Cheung. "Rethinking Public Privacy in the Internet Era: A Study of Virtual Persecution by the Internet Crowd" Journal of Media Law Vol. 1 Iss. 2 (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/annesy_cheung/2/