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Reputation Bankruptcy


  • Identity-related content:

- Pictures, Videos

- all pieces of content that would reveal the identity of a person [i.e. we believe a general discussion of Star Wars Kid [1] is not necessarily bad; however pieces of content linking StarWars Kid's real name to the footage are potentially harmful for the person and moreover add very little value]

  • Minors:

- Content uploaded by minors about themselves or other minors

- excludes: 25 year-old uploads pictures of when 16 (exception for content of you as a minor poster by another)

- Reference point: provision to wipe juvenile criminal record (e.g. expungement) [2]

Involved Parties

  • Individual Identified or Depicted
  • Content Creator (Person who creates content i.e. takes a picture)
  • Content Sharer (Person who uploads content to Content Storage/Distribution Platform)
  • Content Storage/Distribution Platforms (Personal Blog vs Facebook)
  • Search Engines
  • Note: some of these parties could be the same person in a given scenario

The Recent Scholarship and Proposed Solutions

  • Law-Based:
  • Anupam Chander: Strengthened tort for public disclosure of private fact
  • Paul Ohm: Law barring employers from firing based on legal off-duty conduct found in social networking profiles
  • Dan Solove: Give legal right to sue Facebook friends where confidence has been breached
  • Peter Taylor: Constitutional right to privacy/“oblivion” allowing more anonymity online
  • Cass Sunstein: DMCA Notice-and-Takedown Model
  • Code-Based:
  • Jonathan Zittrain: Rating systems that allow you to declare reputation bankruptcy in certain area
  • Victor Mayer-Schonberger: Digital Forgetting/Expiration dates (in “Delete”)
  • Market- and Norm- Based:
  • Private companies to defend reputation, e.g. Reputation Defender
  • Educate the public, especially young people
  • Tim Berners-Lee: establish market norm of employers barred from accessing Facebook data of prospective employees


  • Entanglement: who "owns" what information about a person and thus what can be managed / deleted, i.e. reposts of images, comments, wall posts
  • How far to go on the identity "continuum“
  • Authentication > pseudonymity > anonymity (Ardia)
  • Total deletion or selective management?
  • Reputations would be meaningless if they could be subject to a legal right to manipulate (Chander)


  • “The End of Forgetting” NY Times 7/25/10, Jeffrey Rosen (law professor at George Washington University) [3]

<work in progress>

  • "Freedom of Speech and Information Privacy: The Troubling Implications of a Right to Stop People From Speaking About You", Eugene Volokh [4]

<work in progress>