Thursday, 11 November 2010

Christine's really cross again......

I might be on holiday, but am still in touch with what's going on in the world, thanks to free wifi in many cafes and bars, and as of today, some paid for access in the apartment. So, why I am I breaking blogging silence, on what is really a work blog? Well, it's because I'm really cross, that's why. Today Paul Chambers found out whether his appeal against his conviction for sending a "menacing electronic communication", or a tweet, had been successful. It wasn't. Thrown out on all counts. Too many people have written about it and much more eloquently than I can, but in summary:
Paul was fed up because flight to Belfast to see his girlfriend had been cancelled. Tweets to his 40 or so followers that he might blow the airport sky high. Duty manager at said airport (Robin Hood, how ironic can you get,..), found the tweet a few days later when he searched for the airport. Didn't think it was a credible threat, but passed it to his manager. He didn't think it was a threat either, but passed it to the police. They turned up at Paul's workplace and arrested him. After some hours of interviewing, they decided it wasn't a threat, but passed it to the CPS. The rest is history as they say. You can read the story here.

Today's judgement is outrageous, for so many reasons. Graham Linehan of Father Ted and IT Crowd fame, has suggested it's because people just don't get social media, and Twitter in particular. Heresy Corner disagrees. Martin Robbins has written a great piece in the Guardian about it.

Is it ironic that the judgement came on the day we remember those who died for our freedom, and one of our basic freedoms, that of speech, is being gradually eroded? I hope this case makes it to the High Court and the judgement is overturned. But that will cost a lot of money. You can donate to the cause here.

Don't know what else to say. Going back to enjoying my holiday, but will be supporting Paul when I get back.

Edit: if you want to state that you don't find the tweet menacing, you can sign a petition here.


Peter Barnes said...

As I posted on Twiter,(, apparently it's now illegal to have a sense of humour. I expect to see the first concentration camp for standups to be open by xmas.

It's all getting a bit 1984, isn't it? Where's this liberty we're killing Afghanistani kids in the name of?

Andy Tattersall said...

It's incredible that no one invoilved has a sense of perspective when it comes down to the Social Web these days. He was a silly boy and if anything should have had a quick visit and word from the police at the tax payers expense - even that seems ludicrous reading it back.
Web 2.0 allowed us all to have a voice, some nuttier than others, but this poor chap only wanted to get on his plane, not blow the bloody thing up.