logo-main-sunrise_1_15EDIT: Added The Channel 7  Sunrise Video: Thanks Ben Novakovic for uploading to YouTube (@bmn)

Note the 5 min mark – did he really say shut down internet services in Victoria when a court case is on? Just Facebook or all internet social sites? All court cases or just some? Or did I misunderstand – it really threw me at the time.

I’m guesting on the Sunrise program on Channel 7 Australia tomorrow morning. Apparently with Mike Munroe and Mel someone? Not Kochie 🙁

Anyway the show is about vigilantism (think: naming and shaming the alleged arsonist of the Victorian bushfires)  and legislating the ‘net. I’m not a lawyer – you did know that, right? – but I do know how communities behave.  And forcing a group of people to delete content, send them cease and desist letters and otherwise punish them for values shared with the rest of the social network, will ignite the rest of the network to react in an “anti social” social way. We used to be good when we were told to be good. Now we find naughty ways to get the information out anyway.

So everytime Facebook delete anti-Fan pages, they go right back up. Wikipedia had to delete pages on the suspected arsonist, so have MySpace and other social networking sites. And the more they delete the more they will pop up. I just noticed another 5 have been created this afternoon:

Katie: I’d love to see the feds charge me for having an opinion wooo woo wooooooo

Response to Katie… a great deal of illiterate crap. Go back to kindergarten you mindless little trollop. You ought be arrested if only for being a redneck hillbilly. And yes, we CAN see your face. That, along with your poor syntax and spelling is evidence that procreation does happen between siblings.

The problem I have with witchhunts is that they upset the peace of my online community. How dare they interrupt nice chats about brands with this sort of stuff! *outraged* ok, I’m being facetious, but these discussion are happening on your social network right now. On your support forum, on your corporate blog, on your Twitter profile.

how do you stop it? Well you don’t. Even if there was no internet, people would be passing around this information. Someone knows someone who knows  where the alleged arsonist lives, knows his mother, went to school with him. We just got better at passing it all around. And we don’t do it secretly, we do it publicly where it’s obviously illegal.

And that’s the problem.  Media might be told there is an embargo on particular facts, but we the community will hunt them down and share the details. Remember Lori Drew? She is a 40 year old  mother who pretended to be a teenage boy called Josh Evans to spy on 13 year old Megan Meier.  When Lori/Josh “broke up” with Megan over MySpace, Megan hung herself, a teenage suicide. Here’s what the community did:

Hundreds of residents gathered in front of their home on a recent evening, holding candles and reciting stories about Megan.

Last December, after neighbors learned of the Internet hoax, someone threw a brick through a window in the Drew home. A few weeks ago, someone made a prank call to police reporting that there had been a shooting inside the Drew’s house, prompting squad cars to arrive with sirens flashing.

Someone recently obtained the password to change the Drew’s outgoing cell phone recording, and replaced it with a disturbing message. Police would not detail the content.

Clients have fled from Drew’s home-based advertising business, so she had to close it. Neighbors have not seen Drew outside her home in weeks.

Death threats and ugly insults have been hurled at Drew over the Internet, where she has been portrayed as monster who should go to prison, lose custody of her own children, or worse. Her name and address have been posted online, and a Web site with satellite images of the home said the Drews should “rot in hell.” (Fox)

The community will resolve it’s own issues, in it’s own way, thank you very much.  Organised en masse, communication tools, content creation and distribution.  Expect to see more of this behaviour. And expect lawyers to get rich while we resolve it in the ‘real’ world.

I’ll post up a video of my appearance on Sunrise, Channel 7 if I get a chance – though that technically is piracy. Ah well, laws have to meet today’s needs, not yesterday’s. 😛