Is there a right way of dealing with personal data on the Internet?
My book The Future of Reputation explores how we ourselves are invading each other’s privacy. Increasingly, people are blogging and using social network sites. This is a terrific development, but it also creates some significant problems, because people are writing about gossip and rumour online. Online, gossip and rumour are accessible anywhere in the world. They are not easily forgotten and are permanently available.
What can people do to protect themselves from personal information being spread online?
The key is to find information quickly and nip it in the bud. If you find information about yourself online that is libellous or invasive of privacy, you should contact the person who put it up and request it be taken down. In many cases, if the person posting it takes it down, it solves the problem.
Is there a way to stop personal records becoming public?
The government agencies making personal information available in record systems should be required to take a greater role in establishing reasonable conditions on the use of that information by those who receive it. But in some privacy issues, as well as with free speech, defamation and other issues, there is considerable divergence among basic legal principles the world over.