Dec 7, 2012

‘Trial by Google’ the new threat to privacy, Leveson warns

Trial by media? Trial by Google is the real threat to privacy, Lord Justice Brian Leveson told a Sydney audience today -- fresh from delivering his media ethics report to the UK government.

Stilgherrian — Technology writer and broadcaster


Technology writer and broadcaster

“There is not only a danger of trial by Twitter, but also of an unending punishment, and no prospect of rehabilitation, via Google,” warned Lord Justice Brian Leveson in Sydney this morning.


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4 thoughts on “‘Trial by Google’ the new threat to privacy, Leveson warns

  1. Peter Shute

    And he is correct but will face the fury of many in the media, tech writers, bloggers and such who believe they have the freedom to name, shame or invent conspiracies often citing each other as ‘evidence’.

    Witness the McAlpine falsehoods that jumped the shark where mainstream media began to parrot and dip their toes into David Icke’s weird conspiracy claims that say the royal family are reptilian devil worshippers running a pedo ring.

    The MSM is floundering to such an extent that today we have press agent arrested in the UK in the Jimmy Savile matter- a man who sold stories about another infamous one arrested in the same matters,to the mainly Murdoch tabloids.

    But bloggers and their media supporters rejoice in corporate entities like Google, Twitter, Facebook and the rest who base themselves off-shore, pay minimal tax and suck the life out of advertising revenues.

    Far from freedom, the advent of the internet and Google with the falsehood that somehow it is free and uncontrolled, hastens fascist style control.

  2. John Bennetts

    What is privacy? Where did it come from? Who has privacy and who has not? What is the social cost of privacy, and what is the social benefit?

    I imagine that out there somewhere, there are well considered books on this subject.

    In trisecretsbal life, privacy is close to zero. Everybody knows everybody else’s actions – or soon will, especially if they are antisocial.

    In pre-industrial society, privacy was more or less available to the upper classes but not to the remainder of the population. The lord of the manor had secrets, mistresses: privacy for the few, it could be argued, came at the expense of the many whose circumstances limited privacy to the basics.

    So, is privacy a right or a construct? Wgere does it start and how much privacy is too much? Is privacy a universal right?

    In an increasingly open and communicative world, with millions of public security cameras and digital recognition software, cross-matched files of personal tax, finance, education and social matters, what forms of privacy are essential?

    Last, why is it an invasion of privacy when a royal lass has her upper torso photographed or a prince has his bottom published for all to see but is not an issue when millions of others, similarly disrobed, are photographed by others annually? Did they not disrobe voluntarily?

    Putting modern laws aside, what ethical, moral and philosophical issues are at foot regarding the history and practice of privacy in modern, electronic, Western society?

    Where is the intellectually rigorous book on the subject?

  3. John Bennetts

    trisecretsbal = tribal, sorry. Typo.

  4. Kaye Uiterwyk

    The dream of a “free” internet is finished. It was a liberal geeky dream that had its origins in the vaguely-hippy-communal-freethinking culture of the 60s and 70s. Now “free” has become a Trojan Horse. Advertising and data mining pays for everything. Bloggers are as beholden to their advertisers as old media. More beholden because there’s so much more competition for the advertising dollar. Old media had a monopoly on the production and distribution of media. So it had the luxury of separating editorial from advertising. On-line media doesn’t have this clout. There are thousands and thousands of blogs recycling the same old rubbish. So much for diversity. Somebody or something has to pay the bills. Journalism, in print and on-line, is at its lowest ebb. We need to start paying for things. We’ll only have a free press when we start coughing up some our hard-earned to pay for it.

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