Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2252274
 


 



The Internet Imaginary and the Problem of Privacy


Megan Richardson


Melbourne Law School

Julian Thomas


Swinburne University of Technology

Marc Trabsky


University of Melbourne

April 16, 2013

Media & Arts Law Review, Vol. 17, 2012
U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 633

Abstract:     
In this article we argue that the legal reshaping of public and private cannot at this stage be reconciled with the expectations of online writers who seek to conceal personal identity or to address a private audience. As bloggers, social networkers and other online content creators, we may find ourselves negotiating, sometimes with frustration, a position between our expectations of the internet as a system of places centred largely around ourselves and our imagined audiences, and the architecture of the internet as a limitless space, a 'non-place'. These conflicting notions of the internet constitute an uneven and contradictory 'internet imaginary', and shape our experience online. The law, when confronted with the ambiguities and equivocations of the internet imaginary, so far prefers to fall back on the simple idea of the internet as a public space, a space that is not protected from peering eyes and ears of outside observers, a space where activities cannot be made private (at least without special technological expertise), because accidents inevitably happen. So the law will not underwrite users' expectations of privacy. For now, however, many users of the internet continue to expect from the law a guarantee of privacy in our online experience, at least in some circumstances, even contrary to the assertions of those who insist that architecturally the internet is an open space.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 11

Keywords: internet, privacy, internet imaginary

JEL Classification: K00, K19

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Date posted: April 17, 2013 ; Last revised: December 12, 2013

Suggested Citation

Richardson, Megan and Thomas, Julian and Trabsky, Marc, The Internet Imaginary and the Problem of Privacy (April 16, 2013). Media & Arts Law Review, Vol. 17, 2012; U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 633. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2252274

Contact Information

Megan Richardson (Contact Author)
Melbourne Law School ( email )
Victoria, 3010
Australia
Julian Thomas
Swinburne University of Technology ( email )
Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
Australia
Marc Trabsky
University of Melbourne ( email )
Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia
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