Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Did Stephen Fry and Twitter really score a victory for free speech? (PCPro)

This was a very interesting blog article from the PCpro writer Barry Collins. Nearly everyone will have heard about the parliamentary question that was subject to a gagging order. Depending on who you listen to Twitter and Stepehn Fry in a blow for democracy and free speech spread it all over the internet, proving that you cant gag free speech or perhaps proving the "twittering classes" are willing to break the law.

The article basically points out while everyone is giving each other high five's in getting information which should have been in the public domain out, what happens when information that shouldn't be released is broadcast on twitter.

Twitter is a public lynching waiting to happen. Technology has allowed us to move on from throwing stones to throwing tweets, we can all act now on rumours and gossip and devolve ourselves of responsibility to join the mob mentality. How long before a name is given out on twitter in a horrific criminal case which leads to an assault or worse a public lynching. How about national security information which jeopardises security or criminal cases. Twitter is not above the law and people that tweet should be aware that they may be breaking the law by releasing confidential information. The consequences of a major breach in security or information released which lead to damage or injury would be dealt with seriously by the law courts.

Mob mentality has always been a problem but with lightening fast technology where rumours are trusted more than official news organisations mobs can easily be mislead or mis-guided and dire consequences may arise. We have yet to see the potential of twitter to cause mayhem, lets hope we are prepared when the time comes.

With Freedom of speech comes responsibility, the responsibility of knowing when to talk and when to shut up.

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