Social media to be gagged?

Late last week the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Attorneys-General from each of Australia’s states have met to discuss ways to gag social media comments that could directly affect the outcome of matters before the courts.

The attorneys, meeting in Brisbane today on the day Ms Meagher’s funeral was held in Melbourne, set up a group to create national guidelines on social media.

Headed by Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark, the group will be made up of mainstream and social media representatives, judicial officers and police.

It will make recommendations on how to regulate the spread of prejudicial material on social media, warnings for users that police or courts could issue on Facebook and Twitter, and protocols for social media companies.

It will also propose directions that courts can give to juries on social media, examine laws detailing juror offences and assess what research is needed to determine how social media affected jurors’ decisions.

At one stage, Facebook had refused requests from Victoria Police to take down offending pages. Read the entire article here.

Rethinking privacy in an era of big data

Recently the New York Times published a piece on privacy in the era of big data. Asking questions such as:

  • who owns email correspondence between two people? (as someone who has accidentally found that a friend routinely forwards my private emails to others, this is a real issue.)
  • can we control the way we’re portrayed if other people post photos of us?
  • why should we have to make an effort to keep conversations private that were formerly private by default?
Social media researcher danah boys says
 “Regulation is coming,” she says. “You may not like it, you may close your eyes and hold your nose, but it is coming.”

The issue is what the regulation looks like, and how well it is considered. “Technologists need to re-engage with regulators,” she says. “We need to get to a model where we really understand usage.” Right now, even among the highest geek circles, “we have very low levels of computational literacy, data literacy, media literacy, and all of these are contributing to the fears.”

As always, laws need to play catch-up with what is happening in the world of technology and regulation could be some time coming.

Read the whole article here.