Why antiquated law(yers) must go

by Lee Hopkins on February 18, 2009 · 23 comments

in ethics,legal,politics,public speaking,victorian bushfires

But I WANT the internet to run by my rules!

That doyenne of the Aussie online community, our very own Dame Joan Sutherland of Social Networks, Dame Laurel Papworth, has once again blessed our morning television with wise words of wisdom.

Pitted against what can only be described as a throw-back to the 1980s, La Pap fought bravely agin what seemed at first view to be sheer stupidity, a play on emotions against rational logic, and seemingly devoid of any understanding of how human beings actually behave rather than how we wished they behaved.

Appearing on the Sunrise program, alas sans the common sense of Kochie, David Galbally QC argued passionately but ultimately illogically for protection of his clients by [snicker] shutting down the internet in Victoria during trials [/snicker].

There is no argument from me that accused should be presumed innocent until found guilty, nor is there any argument that the accused deserves the full weight of the law to protect his case, but there are times when the ‘common’ in ‘common law’, let alone criminal law, seems to be forgotten – that is, ‘common sense’.

As Laurel quite rightly points out, pretending that a Victorian jurist would not have heard of the bushfires, nor heard of at least one of the accuseds’ names (there are now two members of the good citizens of Victoria confirmed charged, with more potentially following) is laughable.

In addition, with the media coverage outside of Victoria having reached all the way around the world (see my earlier post on Social Media and the bushfires for examples of well wishes from around the world, plus there is a shedload of private correspondence I have received from other corners – South Africa, Asia, northern Europe, inter alia), getting someone from outside of the Victorian community to sit impartially on any jury might be a bit of an ask.

But Galbally argues that there must be a Conroy-esque mechanism for blocking out the internet in Victoria.

Which reminds me of when one of the tv networks over here broadcast a series called ‘Underbelly’, largely based on true stories of crime in Melbourne’s underworld. The program was banned from airing in Melbourne but aired around the rest of Australia. Within minutes of it finishing broadcasting in Sydney (same time zone as Melbourne) I knew of torrents being uploaded and downloaded across State borders. Some of the more adventurous/keen were probably even uploading sections to torrent sites at each advert break…

Far from the good people of Victoria being spared the risk of a then-running court case being potentially impacted, instead they were able to download the broadcast from their computer and watch it on the same night. Many of those Victorians blessed to live near to their borders were even able to watch it on the ‘other’ State’s network. Gasp!

But returning to Sunrise: So here we have a rather emotional QC playing to the audience about how damaging this may all be and how Facebook should be held accountable and liable. All of which is prima facie logical, until you remind yourself of the history of the internet and where social networks like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube et al came from…

Born of a military need to keep information flowing even when one or more communication nodes were knocked out, the internet replicates the all-too-human propensity to gossip. Shut down one gossiper and a dozen will pop up in their place.

Try it at work. Sack the biggest gossip at your place of work (let’s pretend there are no such things as ‘unfair dismissal’ laws for a moment, nor any ability for the sacked to seek revenge or publicity). Others will very quickly come out of the woodwork to lay claim to ‘King’ or ‘Queen’ of the Workplace Gossip.

This is exactly how it should be!

Workplace – or any other place – gossip is a wonderful mechanism for a society to self-regulate and to set its own cultural parameters.

For lawyers to come goose-stepping in with their custom-made shoes and tailored suits and attempt to inflict ‘their’ definition of what that society’s culture should be reeks somewhat of cultural imperialism – something that Australia has a long and disturbing history of, as both receiver and perpetrator.

Watch the video below, wander over to La Pap’s blog and read her well-informed post on this, and then marvel again at the ludicrousness of Galbally’s emotion-driven argument. Sheer and utter nonsense. The genie is out of the bottle, ol’ boy, and it ain’t going back in…


  • http://www.netregistry.com.au/blog Kimota

    I do feel this post missed the real issue, but is not alone in doing so.

    Lawyers like Galbally may have a poor understanding of social media and the internet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue that still needs to be addressed. The justice system isn’t going to change. Unlike the music industry that must change to keep up with the new online downloading society, the justice system cannot allow itself to be compromised by publicly broadcast gossip and breaches of a person’s right to the presumption of innocence. Posting words online is publication and is therefore covered by the law in these matters and that ain’t about to change. Quite right too, otherwise we have a whole new ballgame. Hopefully, no one is arguing otherwise.

    Galbally does not suggest shutting off the internet to Victoria. He does not suggest shutting down Facebook in Vic. I can understand why people want to interpret his words that way as it produces good blog fodder, but context is everything.

    In relation to the discussion on restricted photos or details of the accused, Mike Monroe asks “How do you lock Victoria out. How can the rest of the country see this information – as they should.” Galbally responds “It should be shut down in Victoria. It should not be allowed to be accessed in Victoria”. He then goes on to concede that it may not be possible to do so, but that if it is impossible, we need to look at ways to protect trials placed in jeopardy. It is quite clear he is referring to the specific photos or restricted information – not the wholesale shutdown of Facebook or the net. But then that’s not as big a story. And you know what? He is quite right. If it isn’t possible to restrict access to Victorians to these pages or images, then there needs to be some serious thought put into how we protect our trial system.

    Instead of protesting that it is ‘impossible’ or ‘too hard’ as Laurel does, we should be helping to find the right solution. We know lawyers like Galbally don’t fully understand the internet, but if we don’t step up and find a way to address this serious issue, they will be forced to. And you can bet their solution will not be what we wanted.

    Galbally was spot on when he said: “Just because it seems difficult doesn’t mean to say that an attempt shouldn’t be made to enforce the law and to protect the position of people who would ultimately be standing trial. It’s no excuse because it might appear to be too hard to say ‘well, it’s too hard – we can’t do it.” To represent Galbally as an idiot for his comments is pretty ridiculous and demonstrates that we would rather divert attention from the real issues – the difficult problems WE must solve.

    It is ‘sheer stupidity’ to suggest otherwise.

  • http://www.netregistry.com.au/blog Kimota

    I do feel this post missed the real issue, but is not alone in doing so.

    Lawyers like Galbally may have a poor understanding of social media and the internet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue that still needs to be addressed. The justice system isn’t going to change. Unlike the music industry that must change to keep up with the new online downloading society, the justice system cannot allow itself to be compromised by publicly broadcast gossip and breaches of a person’s right to the presumption of innocence. Posting words online is publication and is therefore covered by the law in these matters and that ain’t about to change. Quite right too, otherwise we have a whole new ballgame. Hopefully, no one is arguing otherwise.

    Galbally does not suggest shutting off the internet to Victoria. He does not suggest shutting down Facebook in Vic. I can understand why people want to interpret his words that way as it produces good blog fodder, but context is everything.

    In relation to the discussion on restricted photos or details of the accused, Mike Monroe asks “How do you lock Victoria out. How can the rest of the country see this information – as they should.” Galbally responds “It should be shut down in Victoria. It should not be allowed to be accessed in Victoria”. He then goes on to concede that it may not be possible to do so, but that if it is impossible, we need to look at ways to protect trials placed in jeopardy. It is quite clear he is referring to the specific photos or restricted information – not the wholesale shutdown of Facebook or the net. But then that’s not as big a story. And you know what? He is quite right. If it isn’t possible to restrict access to Victorians to these pages or images, then there needs to be some serious thought put into how we protect our trial system.

    Instead of protesting that it is ‘impossible’ or ‘too hard’ as Laurel does, we should be helping to find the right solution. We know lawyers like Galbally don’t fully understand the internet, but if we don’t step up and find a way to address this serious issue, they will be forced to. And you can bet their solution will not be what we wanted.

    Galbally was spot on when he said: “Just because it seems difficult doesn’t mean to say that an attempt shouldn’t be made to enforce the law and to protect the position of people who would ultimately be standing trial. It’s no excuse because it might appear to be too hard to say ‘well, it’s too hard – we can’t do it.” To represent Galbally as an idiot for his comments is pretty ridiculous and demonstrates that we would rather divert attention from the real issues – the difficult problems WE must solve.

    It is ‘sheer stupidity’ to suggest otherwise.

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    Kim,

    Cheers for entering into the conversation on here as well as Laurel’s post.

    I’m not sure I agree with your comment: “It is quite clear he is referring to the specific photos or restricted information – not the wholesale shutdown of Facebook or the net.” I don’t see that he specifically said that, rather than shutting down the whole of, say, Facebook because it is publishing information that might jeopardise his client.

    But I don’t have time to rattle off a longer response at the mo — I’m off to a client meeting; but I will definitely reply later today.

    Cheers, Kim! :-)

    p.s. is it flooded up where you are?

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    Kim,

    Cheers for entering into the conversation on here as well as Laurel’s post.

    I’m not sure I agree with your comment: “It is quite clear he is referring to the specific photos or restricted information – not the wholesale shutdown of Facebook or the net.” I don’t see that he specifically said that, rather than shutting down the whole of, say, Facebook because it is publishing information that might jeopardise his client.

    But I don’t have time to rattle off a longer response at the mo — I’m off to a client meeting; but I will definitely reply later today.

    Cheers, Kim! :-)

    p.s. is it flooded up where you are?

  • Anon 3.0

    You have such a nice looking blog, yet you post this kind of rubbish! You’re totally missing the QC’s point. Read Kimota’s remarks on Laurel’s blog and see if you can actually grasp the issue. I also recommend his far more considered blog post here.

    In fact, you’ve completely missed (or possibly ignored) the central topic (i.e. the prejudicial effect of a widespread discussion of the alleged arsonist, not to mention the consequences on other parties including his family and friends) that you go on to talk about things that are both substantively unrelated and irrelevant (namely, internet filtering and the “Underbelly” case). Supposed “leading thinkers” like you ought to really know better. The QC may not understand this new world of social media, but you, sir, clearly know nothing of the Law yourself!

    Now, and I say this with the greatest respect for her, Laurel didn’t exactly convey herself as being an entirely competent debater. She barely scored a point, if at all.

  • Anon 3.0

    You have such a nice looking blog, yet you post this kind of rubbish! You’re totally missing the QC’s point. Read Kimota’s remarks on Laurel’s blog and see if you can actually grasp the issue. I also recommend his far more considered blog post here.

    In fact, you’ve completely missed (or possibly ignored) the central topic (i.e. the prejudicial effect of a widespread discussion of the alleged arsonist, not to mention the consequences on other parties including his family and friends) that you go on to talk about things that are both substantively unrelated and irrelevant (namely, internet filtering and the “Underbelly” case). Supposed “leading thinkers” like you ought to really know better. The QC may not understand this new world of social media, but you, sir, clearly know nothing of the Law yourself!

    Now, and I say this with the greatest respect for her, Laurel didn’t exactly convey herself as being an entirely competent debater. She barely scored a point, if at all.

  • Pingback: Morning television got me thinking about social media, legal reform, vigilante groups and the victorian bushfires | Learning with the Fang

  • http://www.netregistry.com.au/blog Kimota

    Nope, I’m in Sydney. The floods are up north.

    I honestly don’t think Galbally is stupid enough to mean what you and others are interpreting the answer to mean. I think it’s pretty clear he is answering Monroe’s question referring to specific information – photos and the like – and is suggesting a filter technology as a suggestion. Sure, the words chosen could be better, but as Monroe opened that topic with the similarly harsh wording ‘lock out Victoria’ it is in response.

    Galbally also does acknowledge the technical issues and that any filtering or ‘shutting out’ as he puts it inelegantly, may well be impossible and that otehr solutions may need to be explored. In my mind a pefectly reasonable response, but no one wants to discuss these other comments, just take the one sentence out of context of Monroe’s question and claim he is making far bigger and wilder statements than the words otherwise indicate.

    This line of argument is a distraction from the real issues of finding a solution. Time to move on from attacking Galbally and talking about the real problem.

    Blogging the Arsonist: Citizen Journalism and Social Media Responsibility

    Kimota’s last blog post..Blogging the Arsonist – Citizen Journalism and Social Media Responsibility

  • http://www.netregistry.com.au/blog Kimota

    Nope, I’m in Sydney. The floods are up north.

    I honestly don’t think Galbally is stupid enough to mean what you and others are interpreting the answer to mean. I think it’s pretty clear he is answering Monroe’s question referring to specific information – photos and the like – and is suggesting a filter technology as a suggestion. Sure, the words chosen could be better, but as Monroe opened that topic with the similarly harsh wording ‘lock out Victoria’ it is in response.

    Galbally also does acknowledge the technical issues and that any filtering or ‘shutting out’ as he puts it inelegantly, may well be impossible and that otehr solutions may need to be explored. In my mind a pefectly reasonable response, but no one wants to discuss these other comments, just take the one sentence out of context of Monroe’s question and claim he is making far bigger and wilder statements than the words otherwise indicate.

    This line of argument is a distraction from the real issues of finding a solution. Time to move on from attacking Galbally and talking about the real problem.

    Blogging the Arsonist: Citizen Journalism and Social Media Responsibility

    Kimota’s last blog post..Blogging the Arsonist – Citizen Journalism and Social Media Responsibility

  • http://www.netregistry.com.au/blog Kimota

    Nope, I’m in Sydney. The floods are up north.

    I honestly don’t think Galbally is stupid enough to mean what you and others are interpreting the answer to mean. I think it’s pretty clear he is answering Monroe’s question referring to specific information – photos and the like – and is suggesting a filter technology as a suggestion. Sure, the words chosen could be better, but as Monroe opened that topic with the similarly harsh wording ‘lock out Victoria’ it is in response.

    Galbally also does acknowledge the technical issues and that any filtering or ‘shutting out’ as he puts it inelegantly, may well be impossible and that otehr solutions may need to be explored. In my mind a pefectly reasonable response, but no one wants to discuss these other comments, just take the one sentence out of context of Monroe’s question and claim he is making far bigger and wilder statements than the words otherwise indicate.

    This line of argument is a distraction from the real issues of finding a solution. Time to move on from attacking Galbally and talking about the real problem.

    Kimota’s last blog post..Blogging the Arsonist – Citizen Journalism and Social Media Responsibility

  • http://www.netregistry.com.au/blog Kimota

    Nope, I’m in Sydney. The floods are up north.

    I honestly don’t think Galbally is stupid enough to mean what you and others are interpreting the answer to mean. I think it’s pretty clear he is answering Monroe’s question referring to specific information – photos and the like – and is suggesting a filter technology as a suggestion. Sure, the words chosen could be better, but as Monroe opened that topic with the similarly harsh wording ‘lock out Victoria’ it is in response.

    Galbally also does acknowledge the technical issues and that any filtering or ‘shutting out’ as he puts it inelegantly, may well be impossible and that otehr solutions may need to be explored. In my mind a pefectly reasonable response, but no one wants to discuss these other comments, just take the one sentence out of context of Monroe’s question and claim he is making far bigger and wilder statements than the words otherwise indicate.

    This line of argument is a distraction from the real issues of finding a solution. Time to move on from attacking Galbally and talking about the real problem.

    Kimota’s last blog post..Blogging the Arsonist – Citizen Journalism and Social Media Responsibility

  • http://theoysterproject.blogspot.com/ Daniel Oyston

    There has to be some sort of middle ground. Social media can’t just say “you can’t shut us up so we can say whatever we want”. It is not the right attitude to have regardless of what the law is.

    However, they/we should have a voice and we do but we need to use it responsibility. Sure it will be impossible to find someone who hasn’t seen coverage of the fires but does that mean that social media has a licence to post whatever they want and further impact people’s views of the situation? Subtle point here. Sure you can post about the fires within what the law sees as acceptable but there is no need to be inflammatory. It actually hinders the process of justice.

    We all get on our high horse and talk about the rules of social media and what people should and shouldn’t do. But when a situation like this comes along we all throw our hands in the air and say “we can blog, tweet etc whatever we want”. It isn’t what we are about – what purpose does it serve? Think about the impact it has on the community.

    Instead we should be looking at ways in this situation that social media can come to the party and act responsibly. I am not saying we roll over and do whatever the Pollies or lawyers tell us but posting inflammatory comment or starting Facebook groups about suspected arsonists is not responsible no matter how you cut it.

    Sure it may make you feel good to vent and get some sort of revenge but how does it help? It helps because you got to throw your 2 cents in?

    If you disagree with what I am saying then ask yourself this. Imagine your current partner once went out with the suspected arsonist. How would you feel if she was receiving abuse and death threats because of social media’s contribution? Or you lived next door to his ex-girlfriend and now the safety of your wife, kids and house were under threat from vigilantes attacking next door?

    Daniel Oyston’s last blog post..WHY MUST WE OBEY SOCIAL MEDIA RULES?

  • http://theoysterproject.blogspot.com/ Daniel Oyston

    There has to be some sort of middle ground. Social media can’t just say “you can’t shut us up so we can say whatever we want”. It is not the right attitude to have regardless of what the law is.

    However, they/we should have a voice and we do but we need to use it responsibility. Sure it will be impossible to find someone who hasn’t seen coverage of the fires but does that mean that social media has a licence to post whatever they want and further impact people’s views of the situation? Subtle point here. Sure you can post about the fires within what the law sees as acceptable but there is no need to be inflammatory. It actually hinders the process of justice.

    We all get on our high horse and talk about the rules of social media and what people should and shouldn’t do. But when a situation like this comes along we all throw our hands in the air and say “we can blog, tweet etc whatever we want”. It isn’t what we are about – what purpose does it serve? Think about the impact it has on the community.

    Instead we should be looking at ways in this situation that social media can come to the party and act responsibly. I am not saying we roll over and do whatever the Pollies or lawyers tell us but posting inflammatory comment or starting Facebook groups about suspected arsonists is not responsible no matter how you cut it.

    Sure it may make you feel good to vent and get some sort of revenge but how does it help? It helps because you got to throw your 2 cents in?

    If you disagree with what I am saying then ask yourself this. Imagine your current partner once went out with the suspected arsonist. How would you feel if she was receiving abuse and death threats because of social media’s contribution? Or you lived next door to his ex-girlfriend and now the safety of your wife, kids and house were under threat from vigilantes attacking next door?

    Daniel Oyston’s last blog post..WHY MUST WE OBEY SOCIAL MEDIA RULES?

  • http://www.jonathancrossfield.com/blog Kimota

    Whoops, somehow I double posted above – apologies…

    And glad I’m not the only one waving the flag for taking the responsibility ourselves, Daniel.

    Kimota’s last blog post..Unsocial Media – or Why I Need to Stop Being Mr. Nice Guy!

  • http://www.jonathancrossfield.com/blog Kimota

    Whoops, somehow I double posted above – apologies…

    And glad I’m not the only one waving the flag for taking the responsibility ourselves, Daniel.

    Kimota’s last blog post..Unsocial Media – or Why I Need to Stop Being Mr. Nice Guy!

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    Equally, Daniel, I could ask the question: “Wouldn’t you want to know if someone accused of pedophilia or the rape of teenage girls was living in your neighbourhood awaiting trial, or perhaps was even at that moment on trial?” I sure would!

    But whereas the heritage media would have supression orders all over its back, the ‘jungle drums’ would ensure that people were warned. But rather than jungle drums and whispered secrets, we now have a communication landscape that allows for such secrets to be whispered loudly.

    What difference, I ask, would you feel in your level of comfort, indeed your faith in the judicial system and the network of friends in your community, if Stalinist silence was absolute and only after the court case was heard and the verdict announced did you find that Michael from next door was, in fact, a pedophile or rapist and many times you had happily, unwittingly let your daughter/children play there after school?

    Talk to some of your heritage media friends and I bet they will agree that sometimes the suppression orders are awarded more for political reasons than the alleged ‘safety of the community’. We here in South Australia are apparently the leading state in Australia for handing out suppression orders, a situation that drives local journalists mad with frustration.

    Kim, I’m not arguing with your point about the necessity for personal accountability — I totally agree with you, as I do with @Stilgherrian’s tweeted remarks over on Fang’s post:

    * @SilkCharm Well done on Sunrise today. The other guy hadn’t a clue and wasn’t going to listen, but you did well. #sunrisearson 23 minutes ago from TweetDeck

    * @justkyp Facebook is just too big. The only way that kind of thing would get picked up is if somebody reported it. #sunrisearson 21 minutes ago from TweetDeck in reply to justkyp

    * @SilkCharm Precisely my point. The law is woefully outdated. How many people realise every tweet is, legally, “publication”? about 2 hours ago from twibble

    and Laurel’s comments :

    * @wmeissner I assumed Sunrise would want a light touch. Shoulda come in with “imagine how much $$ lawyers make, suing 4 million Facebookers” about 2 hours ago from web in reply to wmeissner

    * @susannadee I think that law was important when the Press were the only ones to help us form an opinion. The good/bad news is, that’s gone. about 3 hours ago from web in reply to susannadee

    and

    * @stilgherrian you USED to be not allowed to discuss an election 48 hours beforehand. THAT law got changed. Unenforceable laws get changed. about 3 hours ago from web in reply to stilgherrian

    Which is *one* of my points.

    No, I haven’t willfully and unnecessarily picked on the lawyer, Kim, after all he is a QC, a trained barrister and verbal rotweiller; if he were representing Dr Patel you can bet he would be ‘up to speed’ on medical terminology and procedures, so why are we willing to forgive him for not being even slightly competent on what are now mainstream cultural issues? His playing of the ‘fear’ card was predictable and as has been pointed out by others logically full of holes.

    My main point is that communities have NEVER (except under totalitarian regimes with secret police troops) stopped communicating the messages they believe to be important to the lifeblood and wellbeing of their community.

    Heritage media were given suppression orders partly because they could be held accountable and a shedload of money gotten out of them if they slipped up. Individuals have no such resource to fall back upon unless they are a North American investment banker (another one caught defrauding his clients today — significantly bigger fraud than the last one, apparently), so there’s little point in tying up valuable time trying to ‘get them’ — it would be like trying to hold water in one’s grasp.

    As Laurel most aptly points out, the only ones to benefit would be the lawyers charging exhorbitant amounts to send out ‘Cease and Desist’ letters.

    As for you, anon3.0 — I completely ignore your ad hominem simply because you don’t have the guts to give us your name. No guts, no glory; sorry. I have removed your ability to post further comments.

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    Equally, Daniel, I could ask the question: “Wouldn’t you want to know if someone accused of pedophilia or the rape of teenage girls was living in your neighbourhood awaiting trial, or perhaps was even at that moment on trial?” I sure would!

    But whereas the heritage media would have supression orders all over its back, the ‘jungle drums’ would ensure that people were warned. But rather than jungle drums and whispered secrets, we now have a communication landscape that allows for such secrets to be whispered loudly.

    What difference, I ask, would you feel in your level of comfort, indeed your faith in the judicial system and the network of friends in your community, if Stalinist silence was absolute and only after the court case was heard and the verdict announced did you find that Michael from next door was, in fact, a pedophile or rapist and many times you had happily, unwittingly let your daughter/children play there after school?

    Talk to some of your heritage media friends and I bet they will agree that sometimes the suppression orders are awarded more for political reasons than the alleged ‘safety of the community’. We here in South Australia are apparently the leading state in Australia for handing out suppression orders, a situation that drives local journalists mad with frustration.

    Kim, I’m not arguing with your point about the necessity for personal accountability — I totally agree with you, as I do with @Stilgherrian’s tweeted remarks over on Fang’s post:

    * @SilkCharm Well done on Sunrise today. The other guy hadn’t a clue and wasn’t going to listen, but you did well. #sunrisearson 23 minutes ago from TweetDeck

    * @justkyp Facebook is just too big. The only way that kind of thing would get picked up is if somebody reported it. #sunrisearson 21 minutes ago from TweetDeck in reply to justkyp

    * @SilkCharm Precisely my point. The law is woefully outdated. How many people realise every tweet is, legally, “publication”? about 2 hours ago from twibble

    and Laurel’s comments :

    * @wmeissner I assumed Sunrise would want a light touch. Shoulda come in with “imagine how much $$ lawyers make, suing 4 million Facebookers” about 2 hours ago from web in reply to wmeissner

    * @susannadee I think that law was important when the Press were the only ones to help us form an opinion. The good/bad news is, that’s gone. about 3 hours ago from web in reply to susannadee

    and

    * @stilgherrian you USED to be not allowed to discuss an election 48 hours beforehand. THAT law got changed. Unenforceable laws get changed. about 3 hours ago from web in reply to stilgherrian

    Which is *one* of my points.

    No, I haven’t willfully and unnecessarily picked on the lawyer, Kim, after all he is a QC, a trained barrister and verbal rotweiller; if he were representing Dr Patel you can bet he would be ‘up to speed’ on medical terminology and procedures, so why are we willing to forgive him for not being even slightly competent on what are now mainstream cultural issues? His playing of the ‘fear’ card was predictable and as has been pointed out by others logically full of holes.

    My main point is that communities have NEVER (except under totalitarian regimes with secret police troops) stopped communicating the messages they believe to be important to the lifeblood and wellbeing of their community.

    Heritage media were given suppression orders partly because they could be held accountable and a shedload of money gotten out of them if they slipped up. Individuals have no such resource to fall back upon unless they are a North American investment banker (another one caught defrauding his clients today — significantly bigger fraud than the last one, apparently), so there’s little point in tying up valuable time trying to ‘get them’ — it would be like trying to hold water in one’s grasp.

    As Laurel most aptly points out, the only ones to benefit would be the lawyers charging exhorbitant amounts to send out ‘Cease and Desist’ letters.

    As for you, anon3.0 — I completely ignore your ad hominem simply because you don’t have the guts to give us your name. No guts, no glory; sorry. I have removed your ability to post further comments.

  • http://www.jonathancrossfield.com/blog Kimota

    Hmmm. On the paedophilia example, let’s take Dennis Ferguson. His case was very nearly derailed completely because of the media attention and gossip that surrounded his trial. He very nearly ended up back out on the streets because of the very desire to know you are suggesting. Bit of an own goal, surely.

    If he’s on trial, he isn’t next door with your daughter, so any concerns you would have would be for events that had already happened. If a paedophile is on bail, he is under police watch and unable to approach or be near children – hence why ferguson was moved to different houses. There is no NEED for you to know unless he is found guilty as there is little risk once he has been apprehended. But if it turned out he was innocent, your desire to know and spread the news could destroy his relationship with the community and any future life he may have. That is why we have media suppression orders – not for revenue raising!

    We are not discussing the suppression of genuine messages but shoudl someone broadcast mesages they feel to be “important to the lifeblood and weelbeing of the community” if they turned out to be wrong? If we take away the presumption of innocence in our legal system, the whole pack of cards comes down and you have the totalitarian state you just described. It is precisely BECAUSE we want to maintain our civil freedoms and human rights that we must preserve the right of a defendant to be tried fairly and without the input of gossip, innuendo and uninformed assumption – even if those assumptions later turn out to be correct.

    Emotion has no place in law – your fear of a paedophile living next door does not negate his human rights and basic civil liberties under the law and the same applies to an arsonist or anyone else.

    As for Galbally’s internet knowledge, he was contacted by Sunrise the night before as a legal expert and is not involved with the case at hand. He was brought in with barely any time to read up on the issue, never mind a complete crash course in the internet. He is not the issue here.

    Kimota’s last blog post..Unsocial Media – or Why I Need to Stop Being Mr. Nice Guy!

  • http://www.jonathancrossfield.com/blog Kimota

    Hmmm. On the paedophilia example, let’s take Dennis Ferguson. His case was very nearly derailed completely because of the media attention and gossip that surrounded his trial. He very nearly ended up back out on the streets because of the very desire to know you are suggesting. Bit of an own goal, surely.

    If he’s on trial, he isn’t next door with your daughter, so any concerns you would have would be for events that had already happened. If a paedophile is on bail, he is under police watch and unable to approach or be near children – hence why ferguson was moved to different houses. There is no NEED for you to know unless he is found guilty as there is little risk once he has been apprehended. But if it turned out he was innocent, your desire to know and spread the news could destroy his relationship with the community and any future life he may have. That is why we have media suppression orders – not for revenue raising!

    We are not discussing the suppression of genuine messages but shoudl someone broadcast mesages they feel to be “important to the lifeblood and weelbeing of the community” if they turned out to be wrong? If we take away the presumption of innocence in our legal system, the whole pack of cards comes down and you have the totalitarian state you just described. It is precisely BECAUSE we want to maintain our civil freedoms and human rights that we must preserve the right of a defendant to be tried fairly and without the input of gossip, innuendo and uninformed assumption – even if those assumptions later turn out to be correct.

    Emotion has no place in law – your fear of a paedophile living next door does not negate his human rights and basic civil liberties under the law and the same applies to an arsonist or anyone else.

    As for Galbally’s internet knowledge, he was contacted by Sunrise the night before as a legal expert and is not involved with the case at hand. He was brought in with barely any time to read up on the issue, never mind a complete crash course in the internet. He is not the issue here.

    Kimota’s last blog post..Unsocial Media – or Why I Need to Stop Being Mr. Nice Guy!

  • http://theoysterproject.blogspot.com/ Daniel Oyston

    My question wasn’t based on the “imagine if you lived next door to an accused criminal”. Of course I would want to know if an accused pedophile or rapist was living next door. The difference is that social media, on this occasion, didn’t use its powers to warn people of an arsonist.

    Instead it used its powers to go and harass and threaten the lives of his mother and ex-girlfriend who as far as I know haven’t been accused of anything apart from knowing the bloke! I am happy to stand corrected if I am wrong on this one but regardless, social medias actions insighted potential violence and that cannot be a good thing. Surely?

    And there lies the problem. Social media is hiding behind a veil of “free speech” and “you can’t stop us” which really just encourages hate mongering. It is childish and definitely not in the spirit of “community” which is a bedrock of real social networking.

    People need to step back and do some self reflection on this issue and think about how their actions may be contributing to the problem.

    Daniel Oyston’s last blog post..WHY MUST WE OBEY SOCIAL MEDIA RULES?

  • http://theoysterproject.blogspot.com/ Daniel Oyston

    My question wasn’t based on the “imagine if you lived next door to an accused criminal”. Of course I would want to know if an accused pedophile or rapist was living next door. The difference is that social media, on this occasion, didn’t use its powers to warn people of an arsonist.

    Instead it used its powers to go and harass and threaten the lives of his mother and ex-girlfriend who as far as I know haven’t been accused of anything apart from knowing the bloke! I am happy to stand corrected if I am wrong on this one but regardless, social medias actions insighted potential violence and that cannot be a good thing. Surely?

    And there lies the problem. Social media is hiding behind a veil of “free speech” and “you can’t stop us” which really just encourages hate mongering. It is childish and definitely not in the spirit of “community” which is a bedrock of real social networking.

    People need to step back and do some self reflection on this issue and think about how their actions may be contributing to the problem.

    Daniel Oyston’s last blog post..WHY MUST WE OBEY SOCIAL MEDIA RULES?

  • http://theoysterproject.blogspot.com/ Daniel Oyston

    PS – I forget to include that yes I would want to know about a threat next door but why can’t the police come and knock on my door and let me know?

    It certainly isn’t social media’s responsibility and besides, they have little authority e.g. the bloke who tweeted about the fire on a Qantas plane which never actually occurred.

    What would happen if someone tweeted about a paedophile and it wasn’t true? LAWSUITS not to mention the damage it does to people’s lives.

    No one is saying that social media can’t have a voice but it HAS TO use it responsibly and not just to be the person whose tarts the “next big FaceBook group” or massive retweet!

    This is the basis of the discussion as far as I am concerned … RESPONSIBILITY

    Daniel Oyston’s last blog post..WHY MUST WE OBEY SOCIAL MEDIA RULES?

  • http://theoysterproject.blogspot.com/ Daniel Oyston

    PS – I forget to include that yes I would want to know about a threat next door but why can’t the police come and knock on my door and let me know?

    It certainly isn’t social media’s responsibility and besides, they have little authority e.g. the bloke who tweeted about the fire on a Qantas plane which never actually occurred.

    What would happen if someone tweeted about a paedophile and it wasn’t true? LAWSUITS not to mention the damage it does to people’s lives.

    No one is saying that social media can’t have a voice but it HAS TO use it responsibly and not just to be the person whose tarts the “next big FaceBook group” or massive retweet!

    This is the basis of the discussion as far as I am concerned … RESPONSIBILITY

    Daniel Oyston’s last blog post..WHY MUST WE OBEY SOCIAL MEDIA RULES?

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