Accidental Privacy Spills

My LawMeme rants just keep getting longer and longer.

This one clocks in at 7800 words. I didn't mean to run on that long. Honest I didn't. It was going to be a nice concise 1000-word summary with a couple of pointed policy questions. Or so I thought when I started out.

That was . . . a while ago. I feel as though I've been on a squishee bender. My sense of time is all gaflooey.

Anyway, it's about privacy and democracy and other good stuff. A journalist's "private" email to some friends wound up on the Web and, long story short, she vowed to go back to longhand. Around this slender thread, I weave a tapes--

--enough with the metaphors! I look at this story as a privacy accident, one of a particularly difficult sort to prevent. There are disquieting overtones for democracy, too: at least in this case, public discourse managed to strangle itself. I talk about possible social and technological responses and find them wanting, before turning to some deeper points about the effects of the Internet on our conceptions of ourselves and of our society.

All this and an elephant, too!