Filed under: Internet, Law, Social media | Tags: jack of kent, paul chambers
As several commentators wryly observed, today is the day David Cameron told China off (sort of) for impinging on free speech, while in the UK the justice system found Paul Chambers guilty of (wait for it) ‘menace’ for the following tweet:
Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!
A colleague of mine remarked that Chambers losing his appeal was ultimately a good thing, demonstrating that the UK was taking terror threats seriously. But the British law should not, cannot be manipulated to hold an easy scapegoat up as an example – it’s an insult to the public intelligence, particularly when there are genuine terrorist threats to combat.
Honestly, what kind of message does this send out? That people aren’t permitted to occasionally vent their frustration in public, however ill-advised? Or that the police are still technologically illiterate and might look to analyse the context and impetus for an online message before embarking on a massive, tax-wasting joke of an investigation? Illiterate might be a strong term – but the Paul Chambers investigation began in January. The police didn’t announce any kind of ‘social media training’ to help carry out investigations online until May this year.
A sad day for flippancy and freedom of speech.
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