Electronic Court Record Access: Present Landscape, Neutral Principles, and the Looming Interloper of Contextual Privacy

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This chapter examines the current landscape in court record access policy with particular attention to key issues in present development, particularly online access. Judges have grappled with the concept that citizens in many parts of the country can now sit at home in their pajamas and peruse online court files about their neighbors, friends, relatives, and co-workers. The chapter also explains the deliberate and central role of neutrality in FOI policy since the civil rights era and how neutrality is jeopardized in court record access policy development. Then, this chapter briefly describes the emergence of context as a central principle in recently influential thinking about privacy. The chapter concludes that incompatibility between neutral principles and new privacy paradigms jeopardizes transparency and accountability in the courts.


This is a book chapter from Transparency 2.0: Digital Data and Privacy in a Wired World, published by Peter Lang in 2014.