Zimmerman discusses Tiger Woods's right to privacy in New York Times Room for Debate

In the December 3 edition of the New York Times blog Room for Debate, Diane Zimmerman, Samuel Tilden Professor of Law Emeritus, and three other experts debated whether Tiger Woods’s claim to privacy is plausible in an age of invasive non-traditional media like bloggers and Twitterers.

Following a car crash outside of his home last week, Woods has come under intense scrutiny over alleged extra-marital affairs. Woods has refused to publicly address the issues, other than to release a short statement in which he avers that he has no obligation, and should have no obligation, to share family matters on a public stage.

Joined in debate by Anita Allen of the University of Pennsylvania Law School; Kashmir Hill, a blogger for Above the Law; and Daniel J. Solove, author of The Future of Reputation, Zimmerman says that it is not reasonable to expect to keep private what happens “more or less in public.”

“People disseminate information about things they can observe or that are part of the public record, no matter what the medium they choose: blogs or newsprint,” Zimmerman writes. Still, Zimmerman holds, Woods owes nothing to a room of reporters. “…Woods is right: he doesn’t have to contribute to the frenzy by volunteering information,” writes Zimmerman. “Truthfully, the best protection for privacy is the willingness of the individual to keep quiet about his personal life.”

Posted December 4, 2009