Sunday, November 25, 2007

Online ordeal...

Another Megan's Law? Not the legislation passed in California in 2004 that "provides the public with Internet access to detailed information on registered sex offenders" [Link] but possible new laws drafted from the online ordeal and subsequent suicide of 13 year old Megan Meier.

In The Observer, Caroline Davies reports today "Anguish for mother of suicide girl as 'cyber-tormentor' escapes the law": events of almost a year ago but that are now coming to a head and that could lead to a new development in law-making. Those accused of causing Megan's death cannot be tried under any current laws:
"...despite both police and FBI investigations, Megan's embittered parents have been told that [the woman they accuse] faces no charges. Cyberspace, it seems, has outpaced the law."
It is this situation that is causing a wave of 'virtual vigilantism' (equally bad IMHO) against 'the accused' - a neighbour - but also the start of a move to press for change.

"Last week Dardenne Prairie's board of aldermen unanimously passed a law making cyber-harassment a misdeamenour with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine."


Paul said...

The development of 'control' over areas of the internet is something I can see developing quite rapidly over the next few years. Not just because of Megan Meier's suicide but the court case with Sheff Wed and a blog of their supporters is showing that the 'publish and be damned' ideals that we took for granted five or ten years ago are not quite what they seemed.

It is imperative that there are laws to prevent the tragic hounding of Megan Meier becoming the norm but we also need to accept that away from the socially unacceptable uses of the internet artistic licence must also be part of the bigger picture. If we aren't careful we will end up in a situation where control of the internet is by the same people who already control all other media outlets.

Span Ows said...

I agree, it needs some thinking about becasue something neds to be done but we don't want too much control-freakery.

In my side bar (and in both sidebars of the old ochre coloured Owsblog) I have free speech online etc but the same as in 'real life' the online abuse has just as tragic results.