What is publicly available information?

    It would seem a simple question. This is the information that everyone can get, writes American entrepreneur Anil Dash (Anil Dash).


    * Someone rummaged in your garbage on the street, counted the number of condoms used, pregnancy tests, the number of medicine vials - and published it on the Internet along with your name and address. Garbage was lying on the street, so all this is public information.

    * A group of anonymous alcoholics decided to take advantage of the good summer weather and hold a meeting in the park. You can record the entire conversation on video and publish it on Facebook, along with photos of the group members. It is better to mark their faces in photographs and sign names so that none of friends, relatives and employers miss the photo. Park conversations - public information.

    * A neighbor can hang a drone in front of your window, record on video and broadcast on the Internet what is happening inside your house with sound. View from the street - public information.

    * There are no legal obstacles for Google to display a help block with your home address, probable place of work, last photo and the exact amount of political donations (in the USA) when someone searches the Internet for your name. Public information is public information. By the way, this is an example of why the thesis “everything published on the Internet is considered public information” is too primitive.

    Some of the above examples cannot be unambiguously attributed to public or non-public information. The phenomenon is that public information is, in fact, an agreement in society, which is enshrined in law. There is a large gray zone that can be interpreted in different ways.

    Anil Dash said that the media are interested in the existence of the gray zone, since they get materials for articles from it. For example, you can use Twitter posts in the article. Each user of social networks is now a public figure.

    In turn, technology companies are interested in the binary distribution of private and public information, because it simplifies the programming of systems. They absolutely do not need any gray zone.

    The problem is compounded by the fact that lawmakers are completely behind reality and are not able to adopt legislation that is relevant to the modern era. The author talks about US lawmakers, of course.

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