Interesting article on the Telegraph about ignorance of the law when it comes to the internet. Interesting for several reasons. Firstly, it’s clear that the law is an ass in some cases (uploading a bit of shaky video you filmed at a concert: where’s the harm? Not as if your dodgy footage is likely to replace a professionally filmed concert DVD).
Secondly, ignorance of the law is probably widespread, period. Or people say they were ignorant of the law (“I didn’t know it was illegal to take manhole covers and lead from the church roof” etc.), but ignorance of the laws of defamation/libel, and/or incitement etc. is a special case. Journalists would be aware of these legal constraints, but only if you, say, studied the media at school, would you have your awareness of these issues raised.
But it’s a Mickey Mouse subject, innit?
More than 2,000 internet users, of a range of ages, were asked to chose from a series of scenarios under nine different headings, picking out which would be illegal.
One section asked people to imagine riots were again gripping London and other cities and chose from a series of fictional posting on sites such as Facebook or Twitter to say which would be illegal.
A surprisingly low 64 per cent agreed that the message “I’m going to smash up Clapham Boots, who’s with me?” would be illegal.
Only two thirds could see the danger in posting: “Hey, everyone let’s smash up London Bridge.”
When it came to less stark examples, people were even less cautious.Only 13 per cent could see the legal danger in posting the message “OMG the carnage in London is brilliant!” – a level which fell to as low as eight per cent among 16 to 24-year-olds.