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The Offensive Internet: Speech, Privacy, and Reputation Hardcover – November 22, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This collection of Academic essays poses a provocative thesis: though the freedoms bestowed by the Internet are universally recognized and generally lauded, a lack of regulation has allowed for radicalism, and nothing short of a Kafkaesque solution would be able to establish control now. Essays address the rapid evolution of the internet, raising issues of privacy, free speech, reputation, identity, and 'digital baggage.' In her contribution, Nussbaum reveals the darker side of the web: misogynistic objectification and harassment of female users. And Levmore equates the internet to a "high school's bathroom stalls," providing frightening case studies of cyber mobs abusing freedom and evading reproach through anonymity to support his analogy. A fascinating foray into social networks by Karen Bradshaw and Souvik Saha uncovers the extent of behavior modification and the reach of employers and colleges into private information. And Anupam Chander astutely reveals how youthful indiscretions in the internet age can lead to "reputational bankruptcy." This collection exposes the "double-edged sword" of the World Wide Web, poses pertinent questions about the legal quandaries overshadowing free speech, and even offers some pragmatic solutions.
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In this remarkable volume, an all-star cast of scholars explores the Internet's dark side-- how the Internet can destroy reputation and privacy at warp speed. (Paul M. Schwartz, Director, The University of California at Berkeley Center for Law and Technology)

A collection of smart, provocative, and sometimes bracing essays about protecting privacy, dignity and reputation in the digital public sphere. (Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School)

More and more, the Internet is not only a technological frontier, but a place where people are settling in to live their lives – as consumers, workers, friends, and every other permutation of social being. And where society is, we can expect problems of speech, privacy, and reputation. The Offensive Internet promises to be a "go-to" volume for those involved in and seeking to enter the debate about these extremely pressing concerns. (Katherine J. Strandburg, Professor of Law, New York University)

Anyone interested in privacy, reputation, speech and how the Internet has complicated all three should read these thought-provoking essays from some of the brightest minds in the legal academy. This collection deserves a place in the Internet law canon. (Paul Ohm, University of Colorado Law School)

[This book] is for those who care how the internet has complicated privacy, speech and reputation, and for those who may have to rescue it from itself. (Liz Else New Scientist 2011-01-15)

Much writing about the Internet focuses on its remarkable capacity to democratize access to information, to provide a platform for previously marginalized voices, and to otherwise lower barriers and promote freedom. Levmore and Nussbaum explore the dark side of all this unregulated freedom and expose the truly vile and harmful speech that can flourish online. The roster of contributors, including many major thinkers on Internet policy and culture, is impressive. The book takes up the serious questions we must face as the net becomes not some specialized tool for technology enthusiasts but ubiquitous. What policies can we put in place to curb bullying and harassment while protecting free speech? What provisions can be made to protect individuals' privacy or to prevent false and malicious rumors from forever tarnishing reputations? This book is an essential read for anyone interested in exploring these questions. It is particularly powerful in its treatment of privacy, reputation, and speech (both the protection of speech and the regulation of it) as inextricably linked concepts...Indispensable! Scholars of Internet law and general readers alike will find this book informative, illuminating, and disturbing. (Rachel Bridgewater Library Journal (starred review) 2011-01-01)

If the evils of the internet are to be addressed without jeopardizing its benefits, an approach of just this sort is what's needed. (Michael Kerrigan The Scotsman 2011-01-29)

[The Offensive Internet] poses a provocative thesis: though the freedoms bestowed by the Internet are universally recognized and generally lauded, a lack of regulation has allowed for radicalism, and nothing short of a Kafkaesque solution would be able to establish control now... This collection exposes the "double-edged sword" of the World Wide Web, poses pertinent questions about the legal quandaries overshadowing free speech, and even offers some pragmatic solutions. (Publishers Weekly 2011-02-14)

The internet may be "offensive," and in some instances so repellent that international pressures can operate. But privacy, with its attendant injunctions, lacks any common definition that works in a global digital context, as this remarkably useful book--detailed, thoughtful debate at a level we haven't begun to approach yet in this country--irresistibly shows. (Peter Preston The Observer 2011-05-29)

Levmore and Nussbaum collected 13 stimulating and highly readable essays by leading legal scholars and social observers that describe the cultural roots of cyberspace misconduct and suggest possible solutions. The contributors present varied perspectives about the proper balance between free speech and protection of the vulnerable. These authors generally value vigorous social and political discussions in cyberspace. However, they worry that freeing online posters from legal penalties for deleterious statements and from the social norms that restrain individuals from injurious speech in the bricks and mortar world results in excessive amounts of harmful, low-value communication. They propose numerous creative approaches to encourage civility, ranging from new torts to compensate victims to structural changes, such as revised search algorithms to guide users away from cyber-cesspools. (T. H. Koenig Choice 2011-10-01)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674050894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674050891
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,829,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This collection of essays discusses abuses of the Internet and offers a variety of possible responses to those abuses. The collection of essays appears to be based on presentations made at a conference entitled "Speech, Privacy, and the Internet: The University and Beyond," which was held at the University of Chicago Law School in November 2008.

Collectively, the essays: (1) discuss the nature and extent of Internet abuses; (2) consider how they pose threats to privacy and reputation; (3) propose different solutions to those abuses; and (4) weigh the pros and cons of the freedom of speech and other implications of proposed solutions to Internet abuses. Eleven of the essays provide a legal analysis of Internet abuses, and propose legal solutions to the identified abuses. Two of the essays take a more philosophical approach to discussing Internet abuses. Because the book discusses Internet abuses primarily from a legal perspective, anyone interested in a social, ethical, technological, or business perspective of Internet abuses should look for other books.

The book is aimed at readers with training, experience, or background knowledge in law, and is not suitable for casual reading. The emphasis on legal perspectives may be discouraging to some readers, but the nature and significance of the Internet abuses discussed in the book shows that the subject is of importance to more than just the legal community.

Readers interested in this book may wish to look at other, non-legalistic books that discuss positive and negative aspects of the Internet and social networking, such as the following: Sherry Turkle,
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I had believed that this was a book written by a single author, it's really a well-organized collection of essays by multiple scholars and covers a lot of ground. Well written, accessible to anyone with a college degree, and a good introduction to a complex topic.
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Format: Hardcover
The Internet resembles the Wild West when it comes to technology. Like many emerging industries the Internet does not need to follow traditional laws. Today anything really goes on the internet and the Communications Decency Act (CDA) allows web providers to use unregulated discussion without any liability. One of the several authors of this book compares this to the defamatory writing on the bathroom walls. This allows people to post things on the internet that would most likely get them into legal trouble in any other communication outlets. These hurtful comments can cause great emotional harm to its intended target. In the book these posters are referred to as juvenile posters, who offer no intellectual or valuable contribution to any internet forum. In layman's terms they are what we refer to us as trolls. As pointed out in the book the bathroom stalls comments are only seen by a few, but on the internet a certain defamatory comments can be seen by thousands. Sometimes legal action can be taken, but the Communication Decency Act lets the web providers off the hook many times. Hurtful or defamatory posts are not only nasty, but can also affect future employment prospects. It is no secret employers use the internet for referencing future employees.

Pornography and the objectifying of women is also a growing concern. Never in history has pornography been so assessable. The books state that this gives emotionally unstable individuals the ability to control and look at women as merely objects. This further degrades their already disturbed psychological nature. There are controls available that can stop this content from reaching children, but sometimes it is not effective.

These site and blogs are referred to as Cyber-Cesspools by one of the authors.
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