Joel R. Reidenberg, Transparent Citizens and the Rule of Law
Comment by: Rebecca Hulse
Workshop draft abstract:
This essay explores the erosion of the boundary between public and private information on the Internet. The thesis is that the transparency of personal information available online erodes the rule of law in three ways. First, the transparency of personal information that is created by private sector activities enables government to collect and use personal information available from the private sector in ways that side step political and legal checks and balances. Second, technical self-help in the development of network infrastructure that seeks to assure complete anonymity online may used by individuals and groups to evade legal responsibility and the rule of law. And third, the transparency of personal information puts national security and legal institutions at risk in ways that will jeopardize faith in the rule of law. The essay concludes with a discussion of governance implications and norms.