By Ian B. Brooks
Pennsylvania Takes on Teen Sexting
On August 2 The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Pennsylvania’s proposed bill addressing “sexting” by minors. Sexting is the sending of nude photos between electronic devices, primarily cell phones. Currently, child pornography laws, intended for adults, provide the only ammunition for prosecuting these acts in Pennsylvania. With penalties including felony charges and sex offender registration, some believe the existing laws are too harsh. To strike a balance between dealing with sexting concerns and properly disciplining children, Pennsylvania legislators are considering a bill that provides for a range of penalties. Proponents believe the law will protect children; critics say the proposed law is misguided and violates constitutionally protected rights.
Three Countries Threaten to Shut Down Blackberry Network Over National Security Concerns
The BBC reports that the Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirate governments have each planned to block some of Research in Motion’s (“RIM”) Blackberry messaging services. The governments are concerned that the encryption of the messaging services presents a national security threat. Currently they are unable to monitor the communications from those devices; they believe that terrorists can therefore use the network to avoid detection. Some believe the statements are a tactic to convince RIM to provide the governments with access to user data. Reuters reports that talks between RIM and some governments regarding access are underway. iGeneration reports on a similar threat from India, and discusses the balance between preventing of terrorist threats and protecting privacy.
Delhi Traffic Police Use Facebook to Catch Traffic Law Violators
The New York Times reports that Facebook has become a tool for finding traffic law violators in India. With the help of informants who post photos on its Facebook page, the Delhi Traffic Police has issued tickets to drivers pictured breaking the law. Because they have such limited resources, the Delhi Traffic Police find the Facebook site to be helpful in catching violators. Critics are concerned that citizens providing information to law enforcement through social media is a step onto a slippery slope. However, the Delhi Traffic Police have received a positive response — the site has even resulted in tickets being issued to police officers.