Royal Courts of Justice

How Twitter Works – a legal opinion

Most reasonable people are aware that if you publicly publish something defamatory about someone else that is false, you can be sued for libel. If you lose the legal case, it can be expensive for you in terms of damage to your reputation as well as a financial cost. (Related: the difference between libel and slander in UK law.) And I’d add that most reasonable people are also aware that the same rules on libel apply to all methods of public communication, including online.

How can trust help the #PanamaPapers innocents?

The revelations from the mega-leak of data about the financial shenanigans of the wealthy and powerful, dubbed the #PanamaPapers, continue to roll out globally since the eruption last weekend opened up a Pandora’s Box (what some would call an Aladdin’s Cave) of consequences. At the heart of this scandal is 2.6 terabytes of data representing some 11 million individual documents about the business and financial affairs of clients of the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca stretching from end-2015 back to

Actions and consequences: what will 2016 present?

2015 was a stepping-stone year in the evolution of technology and people’s behaviours, with events that gave us greater insight into actions and consquences. A big one is the thorny matter of balancing the long-held expectation of individual privacy – regarded as a fundamental right in many countries – and freedoms of expression with the requirement of government to safeguard its citizens in today’s world where acts of freely expressing opinion can have dire consequences. Enter plans to enable government

Tweeting a joke can be no joke

Reports emerged late last week that Twitter is deleting tweets that copy another tweeter’s jokes. The Verge reports on a writer’s request to Twitter to remove a tweet that used her content (a joke) without permission and thus infringed her intellectual property rights: I simply explained to Twitter that as a freelance writer I make my living writing jokes (and I use some of my tweets to test out jokes in my other writing). I then explained that as such,

Why Magna Carta matters

Today, June 15, 2015, marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215, a document that to this day is widely considered part of the so-called unwritten constitution of the United Kingdom; and continues to be honoured in the United States as an antecedent of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. While there still are many voices who question the truth of what exactly happened on that day in 1215, and what led up to

The Hoover metaphor

A report last week in The Guardian about the UK digital ad market includes this text: Google and Facebook will hoover up the market between them, it says. “Hoover up?” This is not new by any means, but it is another instance of how the once-dominant vacuum cleaner brand name Hoover – note the capital ‘H’ – has become a generic descriptor (with a lower-case ‘h’) that’s used in metaphor as a verb like The Guardian’s use, as well as

Magna Carta: The foundation of modern democracy

Some places you visit give you a palpable feeling of the event or events they mark or commemorate. You can literally breathe in and feel what it was like at the time it happened. That certainly was my experience on a visit to Runnymede on October 31, from the moment we drove into the car park past The National Trust sign stating that we had arrived at “The birthplace of modern democracy.” This place, in between Windsor and Staines in

Know where the legal line lies in what you can and cannot say online

If you need further evidence that social media is now very much part of the fabric of contemporary society, it comes in the form of an initiative by the Attorney General’s Office designed “to help prevent social media users from committing a contempt of court.” Attorney General for England and Wales Dominic Grieve, QC, MP – the British government’s senior legal adviser – announced a change in government policy today about ‘not for publication’ advisories issued to the mainstream media

Curating Leveson

I’m experimenting with getting to know Spundge, a content curation and publishing platform (which Craig Silverman talks about at length in the latest FIR Interview podcast I posted yesterday). Spundge is a lot about finding and filtering relevant content that matches topics you’re interested in. You do this through creating a Spundge Notebook, a sort of virtual filing cabinet, that is where the content found by Spundge’s algorithms and APIs in response to the key words and phrases you’ve defined

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