This week we will address the intersection of free speech and privacy on the Internet. There are a number of ways that the freedom of speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution implicates the privacy rights of the person speaking and of other people.
For simplicity’s sake, the readings are divided into 3 main areas:
a.) False information available about individuals—i.e. libel and defamation;
b.) The availability of true, but private information about individuals, as illustrated by the Nuremberg files case;
c.) Giving out private information to access protected speech in the case of library filtering.
A more detailed introduction of each topic appears as the first reading in each sub-lesson. Because of the different areas covered this week, it looks like there is a ton of reading—don’t worry. Only a few readings are required. The rest of the readings are there if you want to explore any given topic in greater depth. Also, many of the readings are short news articles or press releases rather than longer cases and legal essays.
As you read, think about the questions posed by the hypothetical and the questions that accompany each section of the lesson. Also, consider what private information you have about the people you interact with on the 'net and what information they have about you. How might that information be used in any of the contexts comtemplated by the readings?