More on Kozinski:

I don't have a great deal more to add to what Eugene [and Larry Lessig] have already said about this; there's nothing here that impugns Kozinski's status as a judge (or should cause him to recuse himself from an obscenity trial), and I agree that we should let the private story and its private embarrassments die. But there's one interesting angle here, that I haven't heard anyone comment on. This past March, I spoke at a very interesting conference at UC Santa Clara Law School, on law and cyberspace and virtual worlds and the like, and Judge Kozinski was the keynote speaker. I was really looking forward to hearing him; we had never met, though I've always been something of an admirer of his, and think of him as certainly one of the more interesting, and capable, members of the federal judiciary. Plus, I knew enough about him to know that at least we'd be entertained, if not necessarily enlightened, by his talk. Judge Kozinski's talk centered on the increasing difficulty, these days, of finding and navigating the line between what is private and what is public. I don't have his text in front of me [I believe it will be published in the Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law JOurnal, along with the other symposium stuff], but the examples I recall him focusing on included Google Earth [he described, vividly, Barbra Streisand's discomfort at discovering that her carefully hidden home was basically available for all to peer into through this little piece of software), and he also spent a fair bit of time decrying the habits of those who feel no compunction whatsoever about revealing, while talking on a cell phone at high volume in a public space, pretty intimate details of their lives to total strangers who happening to be, say, sitting in the airplane seat next to them. He also talked at some length about the fuss he made, as Chief Judge of the 9th circuit, when he found out that federal agents were routinely monitoring the Internet traffic into and out of the federal courthouse buildings, and about his role in getting that to stop. In truth, I found the talk a little disappointing -- a little on the whiny side about the cell phones, a little too much on the theme of "things were a lot better in the old days." But that's neither here nor there; the talk does look different in light of recent events. The story here, to the extent there is a story, is precisely "about" the difficulty of navigating between private and public spheres, and in particular about Judge Kozinski's confusion (which, I hasten to add, he shares with millions of people) about what, on this "internet" thing, is private, and what isn't. Had he done what millions of people do -- store photos, some salacious and some not, on their hard drives, or in hard-copy in a locked file cabinet -- then there is, of course, no story here at all. You wouldn't think it would matter that he chose a different storage medium -- a "private" (or is it "public"?) webpage -- for those photos, but in some ways it does matter, and I think Kozinski was, as he seemed to be indicating back in March, quite genuinely confused on the matter -