Monday, May 10, 2010

Beware Tweets "of a Menacing Nature"

I've been browsing Twitter almost every day for the last few weeks, as I make up my mind about doing a Super Awesome Jared Parody Contest, and while I've often been appalled by tweets I have never felt menaced by one. Which makes me shake my head at today's news from Britain.

A British man has been convicted of the crime of tweeting with intent to menace after he sent off an intemperate Twitter message expressing frustration with an airport delay. From Briton Convicted for ‘Menacing’ Tweet Against Robin Hood Airport:

A British man who was arrested in January after joking on Twitter that he would blow Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster, England, “sky high” if his flight was delayed, was found guilty on Monday of the crime of sending a menacing message over a public telecommunications network.

Paul Chambers, a 26-year-old trainee accountant, was ordered to pay £1,000 ($1,500) in fines and court costs by a judge at Doncaster Magistrates Court, who said his post was “of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live,” according to The Daily Telegraph.

-- snip --

After he was arrested, and questioned for seven hours for possible violations of British anti-terror laws, the self-described “film-watching, football-loving, rubbish-talking, hyphen-using idiot,” told The Independent in London, “I had to explain Twitter to them in its entirety because they’d never heard of it.” The newspaper reported that the joke had immediate serious consequences for Mr. Chambers. He was suspended from work and initially told he would be banned from Robin Hood Airport for life, although that was later rescinded.

I love it that the airport was named after Robin Hood. But then, if Robin Hood were still around today, he'd no doubt get nicked for violation of some anti-terror law himself. The Sheriff of Nottingham is in charge these days.

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