The Perils of Internet Privacy: Molly Reynolds Speaks With U of T Students

March 29, 2018

Senior associate Molly Reynolds is quoted throughout article "Solutions Beyond the Screen" in U of T student newspaper The Varsity. The article discusses the experiences of students who have dealt with sexual harassment and violations of privacy online. Molly’s privacy law expertise is used to express the complexity of these issues, in addition to some possible solutions at an institutional and individual level. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Lawyer Molly Reynolds speaks to the potential limitations of the criminal law in addressing certain breaches. In cases of ‘day-to-day’ online harassment, for instance, “even though the victim is suffering a lot of the same consequences to their own wellbeing and to their reputation, they’re unlikely to get much help from the criminal system,” says Reynolds.

[…]

When asked whether litigation is a better alternative to criminal prosecution, Reynolds points to the limitations of civil judgments in addressing online harms. Civil litigation, she says, “doesn’t help stop the conduct if there’s ongoing harassment [and] it doesn’t help stop the spread of images or videos online by other websites or bloggers or posters. Even if you’re able to obtain an injunction to prevent any further posting by the defendant, it may do very little to actually mitigate the consequences of the initial posting because of the way the internet works.”

However, Reynolds acknowledges that in some cases, civil litigation is the only option. “It’s not to say that it shouldn’t be pursued,” she adds. “By any means, something is better than nothing.”

[...]

Reynolds suggests that the legal community should strive to fill potential gaps in service provision. The availability of traditional channels and services to victims of online harassment is often unclear, she says. “That’s an area where I think the legal community could be doing a lot more in terms of pro bono services or contributing to self-help resources, so that people can understand what options might be available to them.”

Both Molly and Torys as a whole are deeply dedicated to aiding social initiatives associated with online harassment and abuse, as demonstrated by our recent pro bono work. To learn more, click here.

Interested in more insight from our privacy team? Click here.

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