Feeds

UK.gov to warn tweeting twits, celebs 'n' pals on court case comments

OMG, you can't SAY that #contempt

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The UK's attorney general is going to publish social media guidance on Twitter and the government's website to stop tweeters, Facebookers and other social media types from committing contempt of court when talking about legal cases.

Dominic Grieve QC said that the guidance would help to ensure fair trials for people.

Anyone commenting publicly about an ongoing case or defendant in a way that could prejudice the outcome of a trial could be prosecuted for contempt and put in prison, but many folks on social media don't realise they're held to the same standard as traditional media outlets when talking about criminal cases.

The social media guidelines come after celebrity Peaches Geldof was recently forced to apologise for tweets relating to the case of Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins, where she named his two female co-defendants, the mothers whose babies had been abused.

Publishing details that can lead to the identification of sex offence victims is a criminal offence, as the A-G warned at the time.

"Blogs and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook mean that individuals can now reach thousands of people with a single tweet or post. This is an exciting prospect, but it can pose certain challenges to the criminal justice system," Grieve said today.

"In days gone by, it was only the mainstream media that had the opportunity to bring information relating to a court case to such a large group of people that it could put a court case at risk. That is no longer the case, and is why I have decided to publish the advisories that I have previously only issued to the media."

Grieve said it was not about telling people what they should be talking about, but just about stopping people from "inadvertently breaking the law" and making sure that people were tried on the evidence presented in court, not what could be read online.

Social media, particularly Twitter, has run afoul of a number of legal cases recently. Police are investigating Geldof's tweets over concerns that they identified people who should have been protected. The HM Courts and Tribunals Service mistakenly published their names online, which were then picked up and published on Twitter.

Last year, several people were fined for tweets that named a woman raped by footballer Ched Evans in a case that generated thousands of posts on Twitter. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
UK.gov chucks £28m at F1 tech for buses and diggers plan
Well, not really F1 but who's heard of LMP and VLN*?
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.