Saturday, May 02, 2009

Fun With Privacy Invasions

Well, it makes a point.

Last year, when law professor Joel Reidenberg wanted to show his Fordham University class how readily private information is available on the Internet, he assigned a group project. It was collecting personal information from the Web about himself.

This year, after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made public comments that seemingly may have questioned the need for more protection of private information, Reidenberg assigned the same project. Except this time Scalia was the subject, the prof explains to the ABA Journal in a telephone interview.

His class turned in a 15-page dossier that included not only Scalia's home address, home phone number and home value, but his food and movie preferences, his wife's personal e-mail address and photos of his grandchildren, reports Above the Law.

And, as Scalia himself made clear in a statement to Above the Law, he isn't happy about the invasion of his privacy:

"Professor Reidenberg's exercise is an example of perfectly legal, abominably poor judgment. Since he was not teaching a course in judgment, I presume he felt no responsibility to display any," the justice says, among other comments

It might have an effect, though.

HT: Schneier


Deekaman said...

He may not have exercised any judgement, but the point he made should be chilling to Scalia.

Dymphna said...

Hmm. Pictures of the grandchildren. Isn't intimidating a judge a crime anymore?

John Foust said...

George Orwell was making a point, too, when he tried to frighten people with the notion that the government would install a view-screen in every home. Never did he imagine that people would install their own view-screens in almost every room of their homes, voluntarily. Never did he imagine that they'd place great gobs of their personal information online, willingly. Never did he imagine that companies would be so lax with info they'd gathered from consumers. "It's in the fine print."