The Right to Domain Silent: Rebalancing Tort Incentives to Keep Pace with Information Availability for Criminal Suspects and Arrestees
J.D. Candidate, May 2016, Vanderbilt University Law School; B.A., 2011, New York University. I would like to thank Professor Alex Little for his help in sparking the idea that became my solution and his valuable insight in further developing my Note. I am extremely grateful to editors past and present of the Vanderbilt Law Review for their collegial support as well as their thoughtful and dedicated editing. Last, but not least, thanks to a good friend who helped me stumble upon this subject, and to my friends and family for their love, support, and patience.
When a person is arrested or under investigation, the legal system may not be his or her only worry. If a news story is published about that person’s legal issues, there is also concern over reputational damage, lost job opportunities, or other secondary consequences. If charges against the individual are dropped or not pursued, the legal worry may have passed but the impact of the news coverage might be more long-lasting, and more difficult to overcome. Especially now that much news is published online, and the internet never forgets, these stories can follow a person long after he or she has been cleared, and may not reflect the whole story. Despite this, the existing tort law that would appear to cover these individuals is out of date and offers little to no protection as long as the story was literally true at the time it was written. This Note examines the inadequacies of the current legal system in addressing this situation and proposes an updated understanding of privacy torts that rebalances incentives to bring this area in line with the new reality of internet publication.