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Louisiana State Univ.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fordham Law Professor Creates Intriguing Privacy Law Internet Assignment Involving Justice Scalia

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia seems miffed at a Fordham Law School professor who asked his privacy law class to see what it could find out about the justice online. So reports the Wired Campus blog. 

According to a related Concurring Opinions post, Professor Joel Reidenberg notes that "He [Justice Scalia]was reported to have made the comment that treating much of the information on the web as private was ‚Äúsilly[,] [so]..."Justice Scalia became the logical public figure for the exercise researching publicly available personal information. Over the course of the semester, students posted links to web pages containing information about Justice Scalia, which in turn led to information about his family. To enhance a summation class discussion on the issues of aggregation and secondary use, the loss of anonymity, and legal responses, I had one of the students compile the information in an organized dossier format. The class was pretty shocked by the results. This was one of the teachable points. Our class dossier has remained a course document- we have not published it and have not disclosed the personal information found on the web."

Said the Justice, in an interview with Above the Law, "It is not a rare phenomenon that what is legal may also be quite irresponsible. That appears in the First Amendment context all the time. What can be said often should not be said. Prof. Reidenberg's exercise is an example of perfectly legal, abominably poor judgment. Since he was not teaching a course in judgment, I presume he felt no responsibility to display any."


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