Christopher Wolf writes:
… In a case where lawmakers have specified a range of penalties available to remedy privacy and related violations, it is fair to characterize Ravi’s punishment as a slap on the wrist. While the available punishment of 10 years seemed excessive since Ravi was not on trial for murder (even though Celementi’s death was linked to the episode), 30 days does not being to express society’s outrage at the multiple acts of criminal conduct found by the New Jersey jury – acts that showed reckless indifference to the privacy and dignity of another human being.
It may be tempting for some privacy advocates to draw a parallel between the lack of real relief for the privacy violations in the Ravi case and what they portray as the “free pass’” given companies that violate personal privacy by collecting and using personal information about people without their permission.
It is true in general that there are relatively few monetary remedies for invasions of privacy for plaintiffs who file lawsuits, although some privacy laws specifically provide for damages. But that does not mean that companies can get away with privacy violations. Unlike in the Ravi case, companies who violate consumer privacy face real enforcement and penalties few would consider “slaps on the wrist.”
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