It would appear that posting all of this information online is a violation of the privacy of the criminal. Without the consent of the person, the person's name is matched with both their home and work addresses. Also included are a report of the crime they committed and their picture. All of this information revealed to the public so freely looks like a violation of privacy. The person never gave consent to have their information released in such a way. The Supreme Court defines privacy as "individual interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters" (DeCew, 4).
The right to privacy is not expressly mentioned in the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, but most privacy decisions consult the fourth Amendment which talks about the right of people to be secure in their "persons, houses, papers, and effects. " The Amendment goes on to discuss search warrants and search and seizure (Rosenoer, 130), which is almost irrelevant for when applying it to the web except in the case of searching and seizing secure information. Personal records, even criminals' records, are personal matters, except when it comes into relevance such as when you go to hire someone and want to check their criminal history first.
Here the information is relevant and necessary. But maybe not everyone should have access to this information. I would definitely consider people's address to their homes and were they work as private information. This could extend beyond privacy rights and on to property rights. Some legal scholars see personal information as property (Spinello, 151). Therefore the Internet has the possibility of not only denying privacy rights, but property rights as well, breaking several Amendments.
Personal records become more than information, they become property to be either protected or violated. Also, once personal information is regarded as a piece of property, that property carries an asset value. Protecting personal information and property becomes a financial responsibility. Revealing too much about someone to the public could potentially endanger his or her rights to privacy, property, and ownership. This definition of privacy comes in the form of United States legislation, but there are many other places where the right to privacy can be sited.
Dating all the way back to biblical times, biblical passages can be interpreted as pertaining to the realm of privacy. Included in the first pages of the Bible there is the feeling of shame as a violation of privacy (DeCew, 11). This feeling comes form when Eve eats the apple and they realized they are naked and are ashamed because they feel their privacy of body has been violated. We have been taught that our moral nature is linked to the realm of privacy. With the strong emergence of the Internet, we must look beyond the traditional definitions of privacy and begin applying them to the web.
Technology introduces a new threat to our privacy and has changed the nature of that threat (Rosenoer, 142). Much legislation has been made to protect our privacy online, but only as certain instances arise. For example, banks were divulging financial information and so the Right to Financial Privacy Act occurred in 1978. Another example would be the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 2001. This occurred because of multiple privacy infractions as well (Spinello, 157-159).
When looking at the history of legislation, it seems as though legal measures have been unsystematic resulting in a very ad hoc approach to privacy instead of a coherent body of legislation clearly defining online privacy laws. One estimated reason for this would be that the government believes that privacy issues should remain in the private sector and not the government (Spinello, 160). Their aim is to let norms enforced by public pressure be the regulator of privacy on the Internet. This is a very heavy reliance on cyberethics and not enough emphasis on cyberlaw.
When the laws are unclear, people are bound to push and challenge social norms and ethics. When no such laws exist about how much of ones personal information, property even, can be released publicly on the web, the sex offender criminal has no precedence to go by to know his or her own rights. Even though the Internet is fairly new when looking at the timeline of history, it will clearly only continue to grow and thrive therefore laws must be set. It is not enough to rely on public pressure as the enforcement to follow social norms. With no cyberlaws there can be no repercussions for breaking cyberethics.
Those registered as sex offenders are completely vulnerable to violation of their privacy. When the word security is applied to the Internet, two definitions come to mind. One involves the concerns that a system is vulnerable to viruses, worms, and other rogue programs. Having an insecure system make users' information vulnerable to those who have no legitimate need for it. The definition more relevant to the topic at hand though is the security of one's personal information (Langford, 80-81). Online users are concerned about loosing control over their personal information.
This could potentially happen because an organization would claim that they have some legitimate need for that information in order to make important decisions that affect them personally or affect the common good. Sex offenders, like any other innocent citizen, understand that their personal information such as their criminal history can be made public to employers when making hiring decisions. But it's easy to argue based on the loose definition of cyber privacy laws discussed so far that revealing information such as home and work addresses and a mug shot to the public is crossing the line.