Equality at stake: Connecting the privacy/vulnerability cycle to the debate about publicly accessible online court records

Equality at stake:  Connecting the privacy/vulnerability cycle to the debate about publicly accessible online court records

Jane Bailey and Jacquelyn Burkell

(2018) 4 Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law, 1-46

Abstract:

A considerable amount has been written about the privacy implications of publishing court and tribunal records online. In this article the authors examine the linkages between privacy and vulnerability for members of marginalized communities and, drawing on Calo’s “vicious cycle” of privacy and vulnerability, suggest that publicly accessible online court records represent an equality issue as well. Drawing on social science research and privacy theory, the authors demonstrate the potentially disproportionate effect of online court records on members of marginalized communities. They then examine Canadian case law, legislation and policy that impose restrictions on public disclosure of information from court proceedings and disclosure of information within court proceedings to highlight a limited pre-existing recognition of the privacy/vulnerability cycle. In conclusion they suggest that removal of personal information from court records made publicly available online would serve to protect both privacy and equality rights.

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About the Author:

Jane Bailey teaches cyberfeminism, technoprudence, contracts, and civil procedure courses. Her research focuses on the impact of evolving technology on equality, privacy, freedom of expression and multiculturalism, as well as the societal and cultural impact of the Internet and emerging forms of private technological control, particularly in relation to members of socially disadvantaged communities. She is the team leader of Working Group 1 on a 7-year MCRI project entitled "Rethinking Processual Law: Towards Cyberjustice" and a co-principal investigator with Dr. Valerie Steeves of the Department of Criminology on The eQuality Project, a 7-year SSHRC Funded Partnership investigating the relationship between online behavioural targeting of youth and "cyberbullying". She and Dr. Steeves previously co-led "The eGirls Project" , a project focusing on girls' and young women's experiences online that was funded by a 3-year SSHRC Partnership Development Grant.  Her current research is focused on online harassment and hate, privacy and equality concerns arising from online behavioural targeting of youth, and access to justice.

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