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The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet Paperback – October 28, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


“A timely, vivid, and illuminating book that will change the way you think about privacy, reputation, and speech on the Internet. Daniel Solove tells a series of fascinating and frightening stories about how blogs, social network sites, and other websites are spreading gossip and rumors about people's private lives. He offers a fresh and thought-provoking analysis of a series of wide-ranging new problems and develops useful suggestions about what we can do about these challenges.”—Paul M. Schwartz, professor of law, University of California Berkeley School of Law
(Paul M. Schwartz)

“No one has thought more about the effects of the information age on privacy than Daniel Solove.”—Bruce Schneier, author of Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World
(Bruce Schneier)

“As the Internet is erasing the distinction between spoken and written gossip, the future of personal reputation is one of our most vexing social challenges. In this illuminating book, filled with memorable cautionary tales, Daniel Solove incisively analyzes the technological and legal challenges and offers moderate, sensible solutions for navigating the shoals of the blogosphere.”—Jeffrey Rosen, author of The Unwanted Gaze and The Naked Crowd 
(Jeffrey Rosen)

"Much of The Future of Reputation catalogs the ways in which privacy has diminished in an age in which technology allows for the diffusion of information and in which punishments for this diffusion are weak or sometimes simply impratical."—Gary Alan Fine, Wilson Quarterly
(Gary Alan Fine Wilson Quarterly 2007-11-01)

"[A] brilliant recent book. . . . An honest and troubling account of the ways that we have become our own enemies."—Siva Vaidyanathan, The Chronicle of Higher Education
(Siva Vaidyanathan The Chronicle of Higher Education 2008-02-01)

"Beneath Solove's legal suggestions rests a keen insight about the extent to which the Internet changes basic questions about privacy."—Mark Williams, MIT's Technology Review 
(MIT's Technology Review Mark Williams)

"Timely and provocative, The Future of Reputation explores a principal dilemma of our age and provides a workable solution that may appeal to readers on both sides of the debate."—Harvard Law Review
(Harvard Law Review)

"Solove offers practical advice on how societal norms and laws can catch up with technology's relentless progress. . . . [A] funny and readable call for netizens and legal scholars to accept a more nuanced understanding of privacy."—Bennett Gordon, Utne Reader
(Bennett Gordon Utne Reader 2008-01-01) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

<b>Daniel J. Solove</b> is associate professor, George Washington University Law School, and an internationally known expert in privacy law. He is frequently interviewed and featured in media broadcasts and articles, and he is the author of The Digital Person: Technology and Privacy in the Information Age. He lives in Washington, D.C., and blogs at the popular law blog http://www.concurringopinions.com.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300144229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300144222
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel J. Solove is the John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School and an internationally-known expert in privacy law. He is the founder of TeachPrivacy, http://teachprivacy.com, a company that provides privacy and data security training.

To find out more about his work and to download many of his writings, go to http://danielsolove.com.

Solove is the author of 10 books, including the leading textbook on information privacy law. He has published with Harvard University Press and Yale University Press, among others, and his books have been translated into many languages. Solove has published more than 50 articles and essays, which have appeared in leading law reviews such as the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Columbia Law Review, California Law Review, Michigan Law Review, NYU Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Duke Law Journal.

Professor Solove is co-reporter on the American Law Institute Restatement of Information Privacy Principles. He has testified before Congress and has been interviewed and featured in several hundred media broadcasts and articles, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Associated Press, Time, Newsweek, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and NPR. His work has been cited by many courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

A graduate of Yale Law School, he clerked for Judge Stanley Sporkin, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and Judge Pamela Ann Rymer, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Professor Solove teaches information privacy law, criminal procedure, criminal law, and law and literature.

He is a LinkedIn "Influencer" and blogs at http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/articles/2259773 His blog has more than 900,000 followers.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once I started The Future of Reputation, I could not put it down. The book brings alive how online gossip, social networking sites, and blogs increasingly define who we are and how were are perceived in today's Information Age. The stories it tells are, at once, laugh-out-loud funny and terrifying. We see the lives of others distorted by vengeful ex-lovers and mocked by teachers. Online commentators shine light on bad behavior to shame people. Our reputations are out of our control.

What I loved about this book is that it asks us to rethink assumptions about how we define ourselves in an age where search engines tell our story to future employers and old high-school classmates. The book helped me appreciate that online shaming plays a new and perhaps important role in shaping behavior but also has serious costs. It offers thoughtful suggestions for what we can do about these problems without sacrificing so much of what is liberating about our online interactions. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in living a full and informed life in the Internet age.
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Format: Hardcover
The author, Daniel J. Solove, was kind enough to send me an advance copy of this book; it scored a KnowProSE.com 10/10:

"With actual real world examples gleaned from the internet and put in the limelight, the author seems to leave no stone unturned in a quest for answers. Many people will have heard of some of the examples but few will have looked at them in such a circumspect a manner - and even fewer will have done so with a legal background.

Most of my time spent reading this book was spent nodding - I knew about 70% of the stories, but then I've been around a while and have been following the Internet closely- more so than most people on the internet. Still, in most instances the author was able to show me at least one new side to it. This seemed a job which makes the Herculean quest of cleaning the stables seem simple - there is no river to divert here, but there is most certainly a lot of manure. Perhaps the book is the start of the river's diversion. Cyber-bullying, Internet Vigilantism, libel, defamation... mountains are easily grown from molehills in cyberspace.

The book is very easy to read, it flows and takes on a life of its own. I could not put it down; even knowing some of the stories did not deter my interest. After much contemplation, I have decided to give the book a KnowProSE.com 10/10 score. Only one other book has been given that status, and both books have received this status because they were interesting books that were well written and important, and do one other thing in particular: they will stand the test of time. Daniel J. Solove is rapidly becoming to privacy what Lawrence Lessig is to copyright and the public domain.

If you are reading this review, you need to read this book. Who knows? My next blog entry might be about you.
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Format: Paperback
The Future of Reputation is thoughtful and thankfully devoid of the "get off my yard" ranting that many books on the "future" of the internet fall into. For anyone that has read (and hated) The Culture of the Amateur, you're safe.

Solove discusses privacy and rumor from a legal standpoint rather than as a culture critic. It gives the reader a rational, objective discussion of the consequences of a fast paced, post first, edit later media landscape when sources are considered bonuses rather than requirements. All of which Solve analyzes with plenty of evidence, caselaw and anecdotes.

Perhaps that's why its so surprising that this book misses both the landmark internet lawsuits involving Tucker Max, who was sued for writing graphically online about a sexual encounter with Miss Vermont and for harassing a rich heir to a farming fortune through an internet messageboard. Both cases fall right into the wheelhouse of the book but are not mentioned even though their precedence was critical. (The ACLU filed an amicus brief in one.

In 2009, this book is two years old, a bit dated and missing some crucial material but is otherwise an interesting read.
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Format: Paperback
I've become a huge advocate of the role that "social media" can play in creating participatory environments within communities and local governments, however I've rarely taken a step back to look at the privacy implications of the rapidly emerging "Gov 2.0". Technology advocates (such as myself) tend to push a system where people dump their ideas, feelings, and misgivings about their communities into an online environment, but is there ever a moment where we stop and think about how we might be asking people to incrementally give up their privacy? Each piece of information, each opinion, each comment allows potential onlookers to gain more insight into our private lives. In The Future of Reputation author Daniel Solove takes a broad look at privacy on the internet and the consequences of what can happen when information intended toward one audience ends up in the wrong hands. (more after the jump)

The internet takes more information than we could ever hope to process and dumps it at our feet. In the midst of this information rich society, it seems that there are a greater number of people that consider their own knowledge on a subject to have reached a level suitable to critique the opinions of others. In fact with many Web 2.0 technologies, the open dissection and criticism of ideas is not only possible but in many ways highly encouraged. We freely post comments on blogs, we share information on Twitter with our own insightful twist, we quip about articles sarcastically on Facebook, and in so many other ways we no longer allow a fear of our own lack of knowledge to hold back our opinion. Solove explores the ways in which these information exchanges, criticisms, and comments function and how they diverge from our methods of communicating outside the internet.
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