It's a social world out there.

As a result of advances in technology.

Posted on: January 24, 2010

Technology advances have happened at a rate in recent years that no one has been able to keep up. It seems that when users get used to a service, application or device it changes entirely. This has made the legal issues around technology hard to form. Although a foundation has been laid,  it is pretty clear at this point that, for the most part all internet use is public, what you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
To begin I would like to add a personal note about how a text message helped convict a serial arsonist near my hometown recently. Early in the morning two days after Christmas this year, a man in Northampton, Massachusetts set fires to numerous homes and cars.  The fires destroyed the property of many and killed two innocent men as they sleep in their home.  A text message he sent that night from his mobile phone is being used against him in the trial. (Story here) That is just one small example of how uses of technology are keeping a close eye on and sometimes helping to convict criminals.
A November 2009 story from CNN more fully describes the kinds of cases that are taking place in courtrooms across the nation.  These cases involve many new media including, Twitter, Facebook and Google Earth. The article starts by pointing out these cases would have before been “impossible” years ago.  Many of the cases named in the article point to issues of libel, defamatory and “derogatory” comments about products or services.  Millions of users flock to Twitter to do nothing other than complain about and review goods.  Courtney Love did just this when she took to her Twitter account to complain about a fashion designer she used. This case is yet to reach a verdict. New technologies are making it hard for courts to decide on laws, as these laws are working in an ever evolving world of media and always come with a set a very different circumstances.  It is unlikely a concrete set of guidelines will ever be in place around social media, however, what you do online can almost always be used against you.  Always use social media and the internet as a whole with care.
1) Tanneeru, M. (2009, November 17). Can the law keep up with technology? – CNN.com.CNN.com – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Retrieved January 23, 2010, from http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/11/17/law.technology/index.html
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