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Laws 2014, 3(2), 301-326;

Revisiting Privacy and Dignity: Online Shaming in the Global E-Village

Department of Law, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China
Received: 5 May 2014 / Revised: 27 May 2014 / Accepted: 28 May 2014 / Published: 6 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technology, Social Media and Law)
Full-Text   |   PDF [245 KB, uploaded 6 June 2014]


Since the introduction of new Web-based technology in the early 21st century, online shaming against those who have violated social norms has been proliferating fast in cyberspace. We have witnessed personal information of targeted individuals being disclosed and displayed for the purpose of humiliation and social condemnation by the anonymous Internet crowd, followed often by harassment and abusive behavior online and offline, resulting in serious disruption of personal life. While public shaming as a form of criminal sanction has been widely discussed in present literature, social policing by shaming transgressions via the Internet is largely a new terrain yet to be explored and studied. Drawing on socio-legal literature on shaming and punishment, and jurisprudence from the English Courts on defamation, harassment and misuse of personal information and the European Court of Human Rights on the relationship between the right to private life and dignity, the discussion will explain how the role of dignity has informed the development of the right to privacy where its value has played a distinctive role. This refers especially to the context in which the plaintiffs could be said to be partly at fault as transgressor-victims. It argues that the recognition and protection of the dignity and privacy of an individual is necessary in order to arrive at norms and values inherent in decent participation in the e-village. In this article, the term “dignity” refers to one’s innate personhood, integrity and self-respect. View Full-Text
Keywords: privacy; dignity; shaming; harassment; Internet privacy; dignity; shaming; harassment; Internet
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cheung, A.S. Revisiting Privacy and Dignity: Online Shaming in the Global E-Village. Laws 2014, 3, 301-326.

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