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Anorak | Libel and censorship on t’Internet – 190 countries control your words

Libel and censorship on t’Internet – 190 countries control your words

by | 27th, January 2012

LIBEL and censorship on the internet is big news. This new move by Twitter tells us something that most people don’t realise about this lovely playground that is the interne t:

Twitter has refined its technology so it can censor messages on a country-by-country basis.

The additional flexibility announced on Thursday is likely to raise fears that Twitter’s commitment to free speech may be weakening as the short-messaging company expands into new countries in an attempt to broaden its audience and make more money.

But Twitter sees the censorship tool as a way to ensure individual messages, or tweets, remain available to as many people as possible while it navigates a gauntlet of different laws around the world.

Before, when Twitter erased a tweet it disappeared throughout the world. Now, a tweet containing content breaking a law in one country can be taken down there and still be seen elsewhere.

I’ve been saying this for years but all too many still don’t believe me. When you post something on the internet you are not liable for the libel and censorship laws of where you posted it. You are liable for the libel and censorship laws in the countries where it is read.

The general rule is that downloading into a browser is publication: before you downloaded the page a copy did not exist in that legal jurisdiction. After you did it did, so you, by downloading, have published it.

This doesn’t apply just to libel and censorship either. Photos of kiddie fiddling for

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Posted: 27th, January 2012 | In: Technology Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink