Jon Mills, The New Global Press and Privacy Intrusions: The Two Edged Sword

Jon Mills, The New Global Press and Privacy Intrusions: The Two Edged Sword

Comment by: Eddan Katz

PLSC 2009

Workshop draft abstract:

The free press is a critical global value.  At the same time, the press continually intrudes on another critical global value, individual privacy.  How should these values be balanced in a complex global society?

First, what is the modern press?  “Nontraditional” reporters are publishing news everyday worldwide.  Should free press protections extend to all of these individuals?  Moreover, modern technology has given this new press a multitude of new ways to collect information and the ability to disseminate that information worldwide.

Advancing, or balancing, the values of free press and privacy requires understanding that privacy invasions that occur across borders and legal jurisdictions with inconsistent laws.  The global context is complicated and contradictory. A matrix of international and national law, treaties, state law, codes, and regulations are the background for borderless press and global intrusions.  Countries vary greatly in their treatment of privacy, especially in how they address privacy violations committed by the media.  One example of a decision affecting global media was an Argentinean court order that required Yahoo to censor its search results for the former soccer star, Diego Maradona.  Finding the court’s language to be broad, Yahoo decided to remove all search results of Maradona.   How many courts would have reached the same decision?  Some forums are more favorable to privacy and some more favorable to free press.  Understanding the nature of the modern global press and the hodge podge of global laws is a necessary predicate to articulating principles to balance these vital values.