cover image The Offensive Internet: Speech, Privacy, and Reputation

The Offensive Internet: Speech, Privacy, and Reputation

Edited and with an intro. by Saul Levmore and Martha C. Nussbaum, Harvard Univ., $27.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-674-05089-1

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. (Jan.)