Monday, May 23, 2011

When social media and the law clash

Very interesting case in Great Britain. British law prohibits newspapers from revealing a great deal of information, especially in criminal cases. For example, details of a crime are seldom revealed before a trial, and often withheld are names of individuals who are not charged. These are prohibited by law.

But what about social media? A case in London shows the problem. A celebrity allegedly has an affair. He went to court and obtained an injunction against any publication using his name. Twitter to the rescue. Now just about everyone knows that a "footballer" (read soccer star) is the celebrity in question.

So today a member of parliment asked if the law needs to be changed "With about 75,000 people having named Ryan Giggs on Twitter, it is obviously impracticable to imprison them all," said Liberal Democrate John Hemming.

It's just another example of how new media options are changing our world. Sometimes for the better. And sometimes not.

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