A mother, Joanna Snyder, was denied her request to limit the press from reporting on her criminal past by Judge Howard Whitehead, who explained, “I have no authority to control the press.” Snyder claimed that the stories upset her teenage daughter, but the information was brought to light by her recent criminal activity, not a reporter drudging up the past.
This issue could have arisen at any period in history, internet or not, but it brings up an interesting caveat of the lifecycle of information and privacy. Information may lose its value over time, because, among many reasons, it no longer accurately represents its subject – the subject has changed, but the information has remained the same. After information has decreased in value, the privacy rights of the subject may then outweigh the First Amendment rights of access and/or expression.
However, not all information follows that lifecycle. The information about Snyder’s past has either always been valuable as a representation of her or has become valuable again as an explanation of her criminal activity. If Snyder had not been arrested again and the information no longer reflected her life, the information would not be of value. The problem with the internet, of course, is that information that no longer has value or represents its subject remains online, shackling the subject.