June 18, 2008

My _Guardian_ column on Internet Privacy Norms Argument

"Judge fell through the web's open doors"

New technologies bring new ways for people to embarrass themselves - just ask the prominent and colourful judge Alex Kozinski

[I didn't pick the title, but it's OK]

I put the issue in the context of competing concepts of "everything not explicitly prohibited is permitted", versus "everything not explicitly permitted is prohibited".

By the way, I did some statistics regarding the readership on my investigation post:

Total IP's - about 1,500. Referers:

patterico.com - 411
unknown - 312
google web searches - 224
other sethf.com posts - 188
lessig.org comments - 117
groklaw.net comment - 114
thelede.blogs.nytimes.com comment - 35
feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu comment - 19
google blog searches - 16
abovethelaw.com comment - 14
uslaw.com comment - 13

Granted, it had a somewhat greater impact than the raw numbers would indicate. But it's still rather pitiful compared to the daily reach of an A-lister's blog. Yet another proof that being right is no substitute for being popular, and blogging is a wasteful bad habit for me :-(.

[For all columns, see the page Seth Finkelstein | guardian.co.uk.]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in press , statistics | on June 18, 2008 07:54 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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I can sympathize with your feeling that being right is not a substitute for being popular. But I also agree that "it had a somewhat greater impact than the raw numbers would indicate."

Nice Guardian piece. I linked it.

Posted by: Patterico at June 18, 2008 11:19 PM

I always wonder about that. Why do editors write the headlines rather than the author? Can you suggest headlines to them, or choose among several they suggest?

My guess is its a carryover from print media, where headlines have to be a certain size.

Posted by: Travis at June 19, 2008 06:14 PM

Patterico : Thank you.

Travis: I can suggest, but they don't have to listen. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't bother. I think the idea is the headline-writer is an expert on what will draw a reader's eye.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at June 19, 2008 07:48 PM

'Wasteful bad habit' my arse. I'm lucky when I get 50 clicks a day, and yet I am proud of my blog, and happy that it has had its fifteen minutes (that one piece that's been around the internet and back).

I liked the Guardian piece. It's good to see a non-tech-illiterate journalist writing about tech for the layman. I'm stunned that anyone thinks that looking up a directory is 'breaking in', and that anyone thinks that the public aren't going to do that if they want to see what you're hosting. (Not least because it's a primitive but still in-use means of music sharing. Many people have a few favourite songs in their directory, or a few hundred...)

[My favourite security-by-obscurity story is the one about the legal status of garden poppies in the USA: legal, but only if you don't know that it's dead easy to derive opium from any one of them. Rather than outlaw this common garden/culinary plant, the law relies on people simply not knowing it's the same plant as the famous narcotic.]

Posted by: Thene at June 21, 2008 01:07 AM

Thanks. Note I'm actually a programmer by trade.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at June 24, 2008 01:09 AM