Praise for The Future of Reputation

Below are quotes from and links to reviews of The Future of Reputation. On my blog, I have written responses to many of the reviews (Part I, Part II, and Part III).

Winner of the 2007 Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Policy Research


"In the future, we may all be famous for fifteen minutes, but the Internet can preserve that fame -- or infamy -- forever. We might do well to consider, with Solove, what we lose when we give up our privacy, and what aspects of freedom to communicate are worth preserving."

-- Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Barnes & Noble Review

"Beneath Solove's legal suggestions rests a keen insight about the extent to which the Internet changes basic questions about privacy."

-- Mark Williams, MIT's Technology Review

"[E]xcellent . . . . will increase our literacy in [this] complex yet still intelligible [field]. . . .Like many 'cyberphilosophers', [Solove is] discovering the future in the present with less wonted gloom and doom -- and more incisive solutions -- than many traditional literary and humanistic pronouncers on the subject."

-- Carlin Romano, The Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"Solove persuasively identifies the law's current 'binary' notion of privacy as problematic; and argues for an enforceable system that lets us limit the flow of information to our various social networks. His nuanced and anecdote-rich text can conjure winces of vicarious embarrassment. Would you be happy for your private emails, or even your FaceBook updates, to be posted on a blog and crop up whenever someone Googles you? Reader, I shuddered."

-- Steven Poole, The Guardian (UK)

"Solove, both a distinguished privacy law expert and a popular, prolific blogger, wants to be the Brandeis and Warren of the new millennium. . . . Solove is an entertaining as well as a thoughtful writer. Much of Future is devoted to a detailed and often-amusing romp through the many disclosure debacles and privacy pratfalls of the digerati to date. Solove is a good storyteller, and he's got doozies."

-- Michael Stern, American Lawyer

"Through an engagingly written series of anecdotes, Professor Daniel Solove describes a world where anonymous bloggers enforce social norms through public shaming, where fresh starts are increasingly impossible, and where traditional expectations of privacy are no longer guaranteed. . . .Timely and provocative, The Future of Reputation explores a principal dilemma of our age and provides a workable solution that may appeal to readers on both sides of the debate."

-- Harvard Law Review

"Solove demonstrates that reputational harms are real and significant; to respond to his research, free-speech advocates should undertake a rigorous analysis of the potential of social norms both to protect personal reputations and to safeguard First Amendment rights."

-- Benjamin F. Heidlage, NYU Law Review

"[The Future of Reputation] paints a grim picture of the myriad ways in which the web is being misused, sometimes knowingly and sometimes not, to make people miserable."

-- Terry Teachout, Commentary Magazine

"Solove warns of a world where shame is immortal, and one customer's complaint can decimate a company."

-- Bernadette Tansey, San Francisco Chronicle

"[The Future of Reputation is] a fascinating mix of sociology, legal theory and speculation. . . . Solove marshals a wide range of literary, historical and legal references. He’s read widely and thought hard about this devilishly complex situation."

-- David Freeman, Pajamas Media

"[A] brilliant recent book . . . an honest and troubling account of the ways that we have become our own enemies."

-- Siva Vaidyanathan, The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Solove offers practical advice on how societal norms and laws can catch up with technology’s relentless progress. He illustrates his ideas using quotes from famous bloggers, well-researched precedents, and a litany of anecdotes about web-based mob justice, cybervoyeurs and cyberexhibitionists, and people who have embarrassed themselves and others using the Internet. Rather than advocating the typical libertarian or authoritarian approaches to information control, Solove offers a funny and readable call for netizens and legal scholars to accept a more nuanced understanding of privacy."

-- Bennett Gordon, Utne Reader

"[Solove's] solution begins with expanding the law's recognition of privacy. But bearing in mind that law cannot cover every situation, he also notes the role of social norms in constraining behaviour. "

-- Wendy Grossman, ZD Net (UK)

"This book . . . is accessible to readers with varying levels of knowledge on the issues involved in privacy, and is also simply a fun read. More than fun, however, it teaches important lessons for anyone living in this digital age."

-- Katherine Noyes, Technology News World

"I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a fun read that also manages to be a scholarly work on cyberlaw. . . .  I can’t emphasize enough how important Solove’s project is. In an era of knee-jerk libertarianism and First Amendment absolutism, Solove demonstrates that there are some baseline norms and laws that should govern the spread of personally identifiable information, gossip, and rumors. Against the conventional wisdom that would declare the net ungovernable, Solove offers hope that a gossip-saturated blogosphere can become a more fair, decent, and perhaps even public-minded place."

-- Prof. Frank Pasquale, Madisonian.net

"As Mr. Solove's thoughtful book reminds us, our technologies give us a heretofore-unknown level of control over information. But when it comes to our ability to manage information about ourselves — including the basic human need to defend our reputations — this control can prove illusory."

-- Christine Rosen, The New York Sun

"[The Future of Reputation] explores how the very human tendency to gossip and spread rumor is amplified by technology: Tittle-tattle is exponentially more powerful and damaging when blogged on the Internet. Though Mr. Solove worries about our sharp, wagging tongues and our eagerness to cast the first stone, he also points out the danger we pose to ourselves, the trap we set for ourselves with every item of personal data we post on the Web. He calls it 'the self-exposure problem.' In my house, we call it Facebook."

-- Adam Begley, New York Observer

"The book is full of cautionary tales about how gossip, once restricted to whisper campaigns within limited circles, is fast creating indelible stains, driven by the Web."

-- Rhonda Bodfield Bloom, Arizona Daily Star

"[An] effective and tight analysis of evolving tensions between reputational privacy and online expression. Following his excellent THE DIGITAL PERSON, Solove narrows focus and provides a very solid socio-legal analysis of the relationship between gossip, rumor, and reputation maintenance and the responses, both normative and legal, to evolving forms of online expression. The work would fit well in both undergraduate and graduate courses which examine information privacy and law and society."

-- Alan Gaitenby, Law & Politics Book Review

"[A] fascinating 247-page look at how the World Wide Web is being used to enforce social norms. . . . Solove, an authority on information privacy law, has filled his book with outrageous examples that will engage the reader."

-- Jo-Ann Greene, Lancaster Sunday News

"Solove has crafted an interesting book that balances some frightening examples of the power of blogging and gossip with serious discussions about the right of the individual."

-- Sydney Morning Herald

"The Future of Reputation catalogs the ways in which privacy has diminished in an age in which technology allows for the diffusion of information and in which punishments for this diffusion are weak or sometimes simply impracticable. In such a world, privacy is a scarce commodity, particularly as the laws against defamation have become musty relics. The fact that personal attacks cannot be punished means that reputations can no longer be easily de­fended, and everything and everyone is fair game."

-- Gary Alan Fine, The Wilson Quarterly

"The book is very easy to read, it flows and takes on a life of its own. I could not put it down. . . . Daniel J. Solove is rapidly becoming to privacy what Lawrence Lessig is to copyright and the public domain."

-- Taran Rampersad, KnowProSE.com

"This book should be on the desk of every blogger as a guide to navigating the continuous, sometimes extreme flow of personal information that is published for the world to see each and every day."

-- David Samson, Journal of High Technology Law

"[A] thought provoking new book. . . . [Solove] explores the implications of living in an era where everyone — from the most powerful politician to the average grade-school student — is vulnerable to cyber-bullying, Internet vigilantism, fraud, and misappropriation of information."

-- Wendy Case, MOLI

"Daniel J. Solove eloquently postulates that the new freedom of information-flow on the Internet can enslave us by ruining our reputations and preventing us from becoming the people we want to be. . . . Solove’s crisp and refreshing writing strays from the ponderous tone many writers take when criticizing the Internet, achieving a balance of humor and levity that keeps the pages turning and demonstrates a real understanding of and engagement with the youthful Internet culture he analyzes."

Bram Strochlick, Harvard Crimson

"A timely, vivid, and illuminating book that will change the way you think about privacy, reputation, and speech on the Internet.  Daniel Solove tells a series of fascinating and frightening stories about how blogs, social network sites, and other websites are spreading gossip and rumors about people's private lives.  He offers a fresh and thought-provoking analysis of a series of wide-ranging new problems and develops useful suggestions about what we can do about these challenges."

-- Prof. Paul M. Schwartz, Berkeley Law School

"Do the traditional legal protections of defamation law and privacy provide much recourse in a new era in which millions of persons on blog sites and social-networking sites can pass on gossip, malicious hearsay and fictionalized anecdotes? . . . [W]ith re­cognized credentials in privacy and free-speech issues, [Solove] is an ideal schol­ar to offer the first anal­ysis of this phenomenon. His new book . . . offers in­triguing anecdotes and asks the right questions."

--Robert Ellis Smith, Privacy Journal

"As the Internet is erasing the distinction between spoken and written gossip, the future of personal reputation is one of our most vexing social challenges. In this illuminating book, filled with memorable cautionary tales, Daniel Solove incisively analyzes the technological and legal challenges and offers moderate, sensible solutions for navigating the shoals of the blogosphere."

-- Prof. Jeffrey Rosen, author of The Unwanted Gaze

"I LOVED this book. It is immensely readable and fun to read. The substantive material is itself interesting; the way it is written sustains my interest from beginning to end."

-- Belle Lettre, Law and Letters

"No one has thought more about the effects of the information age on privacy than Daniel Solove."

-- Bruce Schneier, author of Beyond Fear

"This is not a dry read.  It is fast paced, peppered with relatable examples like the 'dog poop girl,' Jessica Cutler, . . . the Star Wars Kid, the New York City Subway Flasher, the Cell Phone Thief...and many more examples of cybercops, Internet vigilantism, and digitized Scarlet Letters, stories rich with details that are as as apalling and as mesmerizing as a fatal car crash.  You can't help but rubberneck."

-- Susan Cartier Liebel, Build a Solo Practice

"[The Future of Reputation demonstrates] Solove's excellent thinking on the nuanced impact on individual privacy that comes from a massively participatory Internet - where everyone can be a content contributor, where anonymity and obscurity are likely fleeting but consequences may be lifelong, and where many users' expectations and norms are still trying to adapt to previous technologies like cameras and newsprint."

-- Ethan Ackerman, Technology & Marketing Law Blog

"There are portions of Dan Solove's new book that should be required reading. Not for lawyers, but for high school and college students."

-- Eric Turkewitz, New York Personal Injury Law Blog

"If you don’t understand that gossip online is much more dangerous than old-fashioned rumor-spreading and idle chitchat over coffee or on the phone, you need to read this book. Ditto, if you think that staying offline yourself insulates you from the problems raised by Dan Solove. . . .[Y]ou don’t need a law degree to be intrigued by the proposals in The Future of Reputation, and to have a contribution to make in the discussion this book should inspire and provoke."

-- David Giacalone, f/k/a

 

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