The rise of the Internet and related information technologies has made privacy invasions possible on a wider scale and has rendered ineffective current legal methods of defining and approaching privacy concerns when it comes to the new publishing paradigm.
Privacy violations can be conceptualized as falling under two categories, institutional and informational. Governments and corporations are entrusted with information in order to cultivate the synergy and efficiency that comes from open information. An institutional temptation to violate the privacy of the information stems from its manipulation, i.e. the economic profit or political power that can be derived from micromanaging discreet bits of information. In even the most distasteful cases, the public exposure of personal information is likely to be collateral to other motivations. This lies in contrast to informational privacy violations in which personal information is disseminated-in a newspaper, on a blog, in a video-because of the inherent value of the information to educate, to titillate, to alarm.

Institutional privacy violations aim for our wallets, our ballots, and our eyes. When they occur, they do so publicly and are followed by univocal calls for reform. Informational privacy violations aim for our reputations. They are more ambiguous, more culturally contingent, and harder to resolve. But the bloom of private information being published online without coherent checks on privacy violations necessitates a legal response comparable to the development of libel laws around the turn of the twentieth century in response to that era’s emergent technologies.

In the late 1800s, the nascent technology of the Kodak camera and the rise of the sensationalist press reshaped notions of privacy. In 1875, more than 30 reporters covered the adultery trial of the Reverend Henry Ward Beacher, who was alleged to be having an affair with a member of his congregation. Beecher wrote of the press coverage of his trial, “I have not been pursued as a lion is pursued; I have not been pursued even as wolves and foxes. I have been pursued as if I were a maggot in a rotten corpse.” This “new breed of sensationalistic reportage, called ‘yellow journalism,’ proliferated

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