Tag Archive: Twitter



While I am not a lawyer and others have said this before, notably Rob Carolina in his talk “The Cyberspace Frontier has Closed“, I thought it worth reviewing some recent developments that demonstrate the fact that the Internet is not lawless and behaviour online may well result in liabilities “in the real world”.

There still seems to be this perception that laws don’t apply to online activity. Take Joanne Fraill, the juror who was jailed for eight months for contempt of court by contacting one of the defendants in the trial she was on. She had received clear guidance from the Judge on the case, as had all of the other jurors, not to research the case online and definitely not to contact anyone related to the trial. I had exactly the same advice when I was a juror at the Old Bailey a couple of years ago.

And, yet, she still did it, no doubt believing that:

  1. It wasn’t so bad, and;
  2. She wouldn’t get caught anyway.

She was wrong. The trial collapsed.

This sort of thinking is rife online, which is exacerbated by the fact that any search will bring back results that confirm every point of view on every subject, thus not really being much help.

Other areas on the Internet that people should consider in terms of consequences, include:

  • Copyright infringements
  • Data protection issues
  • Harassment
  • Money laundering
  • Tax evasion
  • Libel

Some of these apply to corporate organisations in a different way to individuals. For example, a data protection breach has the potential to seriously damage an organisations reputation. Libel may get you a hefty fine.

Just because people have a romantic notion of the Internet where normal laws don’t apply, doesn’t make it reality.


Interesting news about Gawker and passwords. For those that don’t know, Gawker is a news aggregation site and seems to have been subject to some sort of attack recently whereby its entire password database seems to have been compromised. The impact of this is that lots of Twitter accounts have been hacked.

Two things are of interest here:

1. The types of user on the site are quite technically savvy, and yet still have very poor passwords

2. People are still using the same password on different sites

If you take anything away from this, please seriously consider using different passwords on different sites as if one gets hacked another becomes vulnerable. Password vaults are potential solutions to this problem, like LastPass or 1Password (recommendations from Graham Cluley of Sophos).

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