Skip to main content

Preston M. Torbert, Illinois Patron Fellow, Publishes "Because It Is Wrong: An Essay on the Immorality and Illegality of the Online Service Contracts of Google and Facebook" in Case Western Journal

January 19, 2021, Fellows in the news

Preston M. Torbert, Illinois Patron Fellow and Senior Counsel at Baker & McKenzie, has published an essay in the Case Western Journal of Law, Technology & the Internet entitled "Because It Is Wrong: An Essay on the Immorality and Illegality of the Online Service Contracts of Google and Facebook".

The essay describes the "behavioral-advertising business model" used by internet platforms such as Google and Facebook wherein the platform provides free services to the user in exchange for the user's personal data. Professor Torbert argues that this model is both immoral and illegal. The relationship between platform and user is immoral, he argues, because the platform relies on "addiction, surveillance, and manipulation of the user" to infringe upon the user's autonomy. He also argues that such contracts are illegal under California law. The essay includes sections on the history of Google and Facebook; analyses of the behavioral-advertising business model from multiple angles; an analysis of the illegality of the model; and a look into the consequences of illegality.

Read more and download the essay here.

« Return to Fellows in the News

Site design by Webitects

© 2021 American Bar Foundation (AmericanBarFoundation.org)
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-4403
(312) 988-6500
Contact Us
Contact the Fellows
Media Contacts
Privacy policy
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in ABF publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Association. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.