[Air-L] question: published on the internet

Richard Forno rforno at infowarrior.org
Fri Jul 8 04:50:28 PDT 2011

A few thoughts while I try and get caffeinated this morning.  --- rick

On Jul 8, 2011, at 05:53 , Jeremy hunsinger wrote:

> when is something published on the internet?

By 'published' do you mean intentionally and knowingly published by the creator/owner or disclosed and thus made publicly available w/o the permission of the creator/owner?    Under the latter, you could argue that Anonymous/Lolzsec/Wikileaks/cybersecurity researchers are "publishers".

> does publishing something on the internet make it public?

In a technical sense, I would argue that it makes the information public, yes.  But that does not make it "public information" per se.   (Which then brings up the question of "what is your working definition of a) 'publishing' , b) 'public information', and c) 'private information'?)   

> does making something public necessarily make it not private?

If you do it intentionally and knowingly, I'd say yes.  To wit -- if you post (publish?) a "public" tweet or blog post you should assume that anyone anywhere will be able to read it. 

However, if you publish personally identifiable information (PII) such as health history, credit records, other bits of "owned" or "private" information,  etc .... those still are "private" bits of information that somehow were made public......but I would not consider it "public information" even though it might be freely accessible to the public.  It might become "public knowledge", though.   Again, it comes back to the working definitions of these things.

> can private information be published and thus be made public?

See my comments to #1-3 above.

I suspect the underlying, or more fundamental issue you're trolling for is trying to define concepts of information ownership and the various states that information can exist.   Renee Marlin-Bennett discusses this in 'Knowledge Power: Intellectual Property, Information, and Privacy' (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004) which may be of help to you.

-- rick

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