Let Your Online “Second Self” Beware!
By Lori Andrews
Free Press, $15.99, 253 pages
Lori Andrews’ I Know Who You Are is one of the scariest books you will read. Addressing her readers as “Facebook Nation,” Andrews argues that the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace have challenged the very notion of individual privacy. Without any legal consensus on what constitutes fair use of the Internet, with billions of advertising dollars at stake and software that can intercept literally every keystroke we make, is there such a thing as Internet privacy? Should there be?
The legal issues are complex. The law protects a criminal suspect from search and seizure without probable cause. Should that suspect’s posts on Facebook, even his Web searches, be protected from scrutiny? What if his Facebook “friend” passes information to the prosecuting lawyer? Or what if a recently divorced parent posts a suggestive photo, hoping to restart her social life? Is that valid evidence against her fitness as a parent?
“Almost every personal injury case now has a social network connection, in which private health information is used in court.”
Andrews argues for a Social Network Constitution to establish basic rights and restrictions on the legal use of social networking sites. Although some information and arguments are repeated across chapters, the book reads easily and quickly. Everyone with a digital “second self” will find this book revealing – and sobering.
Reviewed by Daniel Hobbs