Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Think before you tweet or you might be in contempt of court

Against the backdrop of ever growing threats to free speech on the Internet, the BBC reports that the UK Attorney General is willing to prosecute those who commit contempt of court by tweeting in the face of a privacy order:
Attorney General Dominic Grieve said that individuals could be prosecuted for contempt of court for publishing sensitive material.
Mr Grieve told the BBC he would take action himself if he thought it necessary to uphold the rule of law.
In an interview with Radio 4's Law in Action programme, the attorney general said that individuals who used Twitter or other internet sites to undermine the rule of law could face the consequences of their actions.

Seriously, is this a sufficient threat to the rule of law? Doesn't the AG have bigger problems to worry about? Besides, imagine the cost of enforcement against thousands if not millions of twitterati spread across various parts of the world in any given case. Should the state be devoting scarce resources to these sorts of matters? Seems like an over-reaction to me. It might be best to leave the cost of enforcement to those who are directly affected when there are more pressing problems needing solutions.