Abstract: This paper analyzes the criminal offence of the non-consensual distribution of intimate images (what some call “revenge porn”). Focussing on the debate currently underway in Canada, it notes that such an offence would fill a grey area in that country’s criminal law. Arguing, more broadly, that the criminal law has an important expressive function, the paper posits that the offence targets the same general type of wrongdoing—sexual objectification—that undergirds sexual assault. While not all objectification merits criminal sanction, the paper explains why the non-consensual distribution of intimate images does and why a specific offence is legitimate.
Abstract: The field of research ethics offers a new approach to addressing the issues created by the unchecked development of technology. Research ethics could make a contribution, both substantively and procedurally, to help create a framework for reviewing the social and political consequences of actual or proposed technological developments. This paper puts forth a proposal for a principled expansion of research ethics’ jurisdiction, specifically a move from “Research Involving Humans” to “Research Affecting Humans”, and undertakes a case study of “Web 2.0” to analyze whether a philosophy of technology based on research ethics might work.
Abstract: This article explores the challenges posed by an archival interest in the broad palimpsest of daily life left on social networks that are controlled by private corporations. It addresses whether social networks should be archived for the benefit of future generations and proposes a policy thought experiment to help grapple with these questions, namely, the proposal for the formation of the public interest-oriented Networked Memory Project by the Library of Congress for the archiving of social networks. My discussion of the challenges posed by this thought experiment will focus on the U.S. legal framework within which the Library of Congress operates and take Facebook. To the extent that social networks have user-generated contents that range from the highly “private” to “public” as opposed to other networked platforms that contain materials that are considered “public”, the bar for the historical archival of social networks is much higher. Almost every archival effort must contend with the legal hurdle of copyright, but the archiving of social networks must also address how to handle the potentially sensitive nature of materials that are considered “private” from the perspective of the social and legal constructions of privacy. My theoretical exercise of proposing the formation of the Networked Memory Project by the Library of Congress responds to the need to consider the benefits of a public interest-oriented archive of social networks that can counter the drawbacks of the incidental corporate archiving taking place on social networks.
Abstract: The task of this paper is to identify the causes of juvenile delinquency and juvenile offending. The French proverb chosen for its title (Step back in order to jump better) reflects the inherent challenge in this task; that is, how far back must we step in order to gain a complete understanding of these causes? Do we commence with adolescence, childhood, birth, pregnancy, conception, or the young person’s parents and their life experiences? How wide a net do we cast? Should we focus primarily on intra-individual factors, or the social ecologies in which young delinquents are found? Every story must have a beginning. In this story about young people who fall off the prosocial developmental trajectory, all sign posts point to attachment and the quality of the child’s first attachment experiences. This review will examine, from attachment and other developmental perspectives, how many of the more proximal causes of delinquency and youth offending have their origins in the emotional deficits suffered in early life. We will argue that delinquent and offending behavior represent attempts to redress these deficits. Consequently, interventions that attempt to prevent offending and reduce recidivism that do not address attachment ruptures and other early deficits cannot expect satisfactory outcomes.
Abstract: The increasing prominence of new Internet and social media technologies and their growing importance as a source of health information are pushing the pharmaceutical industry towards digital channels. This paper explores the potential impacts of the pharmaceutical industry’s increasing interest in online marketing and considers how the existing regulatory framework in Canada translates into the social media sphere. Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs is prohibited in Canada, as it is in most industrialized countries. Although Health Canada has reaffirmed that the existing DTCA regulations apply to new Internet and social media technologies, new dynamics such as user-generated content, consumer propagation, and targeted marketing make applying the existing regulations an uncertain process. Moreover, certain problems often associated with DTCA may be exacerbated in the social media context. Finally, there is skepticism around whether government regulators have the resources or political will to effectively monitor new digital media. As such, this paper considers not only the role of direct government regulation in monitoring and enforcing the regulation of DTCA, but also the role of third party oversight and industry self-regulation—both of which may play an important role in filling the gaps in the regulation of the Internet and social media.
Abstract: While street surveillance technologies such as Google Street View are deployed with no discriminatory intent, there is selective scrutiny applied to the published imagery by the anonymous crowd. Disproportionately directed at women and members of ethnic minority groups, this scrutiny means the social risks of street surveillance are not equal. This paper considers the possibility of invasion of privacy actions in tort brought against the commercial service provider as a possible solution. Analysis suggests that Canadian law has evolved in a way such that it is exceedingly difficult to make a claim for “privacy” in tort when the plaintiff is located in public space. This evolution exists in order to ensure that innocuous behavior not be rendered actionable. Furthermore, conceptual reasons exist to suggest that actions in tort are unlikely to be the best solution to the problems posed by commercial street surveillance. While any individual case of embarrassment or nuisance matters, broader “macro-harms” that impact entire communities reflect perhaps the most serious problem associated with the selective scrutiny of street surveillance imagery. Yet, it seems difficult to justify attaching liability for those harms to the commercial providers. While limits need to be placed on the operation of these street surveillance programmes, it is unlikely that invasion of privacy actions are the most effective way to achieve that goal.