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Social Media - A warning to you all.


Lisa O`Brien
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I`m going to be extremely careful here what I say. I`m sending this message for you all to read to warn you of the dangers of passing on information to others online. I received a knock on the door Wednesday morning. It was the police. First reaction,was it must be something to do with my 16 year old son.They asked to come in. Then my jaw nearly dropped to the floor as, after asking me what my email address was,and I confirmed it,the male police officer read me my rights."You have the right to remain silent," etc. I just stood there,astounded,not knowing what on earth was going on. He then asked me if I knew  a man called such and such and I said of course I didn`t personally know him.   I,like everyone else had just read about him over the last few days. The police in Newry,County Down where I live had received a complaint from the police in another part of the UK that I had disclosed the names of 2 women on social media ,and that it was against the law to do this. I explained that I had absolutely no idea it was illegal to publish their names, and had I known,then there is absolutely no way I would ever have written their names. I explained their names were all over everywhere and I was just passing the information on,like thousands of others all around the world had done.  I explained I had never,in my life done anything illegal,and this offence was done purely out of ignorance. I offered to immediately delete any messages I had sent there and then,and the police saw me do this.They asked me to find the source of the people who I had received the information off, and I found their names and gave them to the police. They said I had been very co-operative. I asked them what will happen next and they said it was nothing to do with them. It depends what the authorities in this other part of the UK want to do. I may have to appear in court in this other area. I`m hoping that they take into account I didn`t deliberately,willfully break the law,unlike some others,and that as soon as I knew it was an offence I removed all my messages instantly. Just wanted to warn others,really.The police told me this particular police force invloved in this ongoing case are monitoring every single message on all social media platforms to make sure the identities are not published. Actually, about three hours later,that local police force published a warning,explaining to people that it was illegal. I wish they had done this 12 hours earlier. Anyway,I will let you all know what happens regarding my situation. Just ,again,this is a warning out there to you all. Just be careful. Mods,please moderate if you feel it is necessary. Thanks,Lisa O`Brien. 

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Crikey!

 

I have no idea if this is similar - and I'm absolutely NOT asking you for any details (and I suggest you don't give any) but on the subject of being careful, I'm always seeing posts on Facebook or Twitter, showing pictures of alleged "criminals" and asking people to share the photo to "track down" or catch the person for some crime or other. If anyone is tempted to pass these photos on, please don't!

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Today's paper carried news of Ms Peaches Geldof, daughter of you-know-who, being investigated for possible contempt of court for tweeting the names of women involved in a current court case.  A later BBC link:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25150129

 

Just another instance showing that we would do well, it seems, to think more than once before pressing 'Send' ... anywhere at all, including here.

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That is scary thequays

 

I'm not very social media savvy and dont do twitter.....in fact still can't work out what people can see on my Facebook page or not!!I'm sure have never set any privacy settings and really should find out more about this.

 

So can these people just look at anybody's page.....how can they have the time to trace all these messages that people send there are millions of them I should think!

Not really understanding the depth of the Law in the case of someone tweeting the names which must have already been in the public domain. I could understand if you were a juror doing jury service and started tweeting about jury deliberations etc but not about info which must have been obtained from another public source. All very confusing.

 

I hope all goes well for you in this case anyway......I wonder how many people like you got followed up then.....must be costing them a fortune.

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The crazy thing is,the Crown Court ,when this case first went to trial 12 months ago,apparently made an error and posted the names of all 3 individuals on their own online Court News page for all the world to read. So if anyone was to search back dated info online,the names are quite clearly there . You would think they ,above anyone else would not have made such a mistake. But then they "have a go" at members of the public who are not savvy with the law for just passing on a message that was already out there in the public domain. Of course I understand that innocent people have to be protected. But I get the impression they themselves made a huge error in publishing the names in the first place. Once something is online and "out there" I would imagine it`s almost impossible for that information to then be retracted,especially judging by the speed this particular piece of info was whizzing around the world.There were literally hundreds of re-Tweets a minute in every conceivable country. Anyway I won`t say anymore,and i`ll take my punishment if, as and when it comes. As I said,this initial post was really just to warn people how easy it is to break the law without even realising it. BTW,even as late as this afternoon on Twitter on the main defendent`s Twitter page,if you scroll down to "related",the name of one of the women is STILL up. Incredible.

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I would urge anyone who uses Facebook to check and tighten up their privacy settings. It is not complicated to do. On your page click on settings, privacy settings and then switch the various settings such as 'who can see my photos' and 'who can see my posts' etc to 'friends only'.

I personally know of several young dancers, who have Facebook accounts ( the rules say you should be 13 I beleive) who have photographs of themselves in fairly skimpy dance costumes and lots of personal information such as what school they go to, their parents names, their dates of birth etc all open for anybody to see, no security settings on at all. Clearly the message about online safety still isn't getting through!

 

Edited to add. It is also possible to go onto your photos and select each album (or each photo) individually click on edit this album and select 'friends only" in the 'who can see this album" line. I think the process is slightly different depending on which version of Facebook you are using but if you have a play around it becomes obvious.

Edited by along for the ride mum
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When I read the judge's summing up on the BBC website, he made it quite clear that anyone who named the victims or the women involved would be dealt with by the police. Peaches Geldorf is not immune to this, whatever she might think.

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Slightly off topic but if your name is on the public electoral role you can be traced to your address using the 192 website. I did not know this until I became familiar that this is often how victims who fled domestic abuse are found again by the perpetrator.

You can opt out of this - there is a box to tick on the annual electoral register form.

 

Going back to the original topic - if, as people say, this tweet was re-tweeted thousands of times in a few hours... how on Earth can the police have coped with tracking down every single person and making a house-call? It must have taken a huge amount of man-hours and almost the entire police force in this country must have been taken off normal duties in order to deal with it. The mind boggles.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a quick update ,in light of today`s sentences of the 3 people involved. I have still heard nothing from the authorities in Wales regarding my Tweeting the names of the 2 women .Since the police visited me,i`ve noticed that South Wales Police keep warning people of the dangers of revealing the defendant`s names,as it is illegal to do so. A pity they didn`t warn me and God knows how many others 24 hours earlier. But never mind,you live and learn and I will certainly never make the same mistake again. I suppose i`m hoping I don`t hear anymore about it and they "let me off", but it`s not down to me and is completely out of my hands.I keep getting this awful feeling I will get a letter through the door any day now to appear in court,and therefore completely ruin my Christmas. But whatever will be will be,and i`ll just have to take whatever comes my way. Very well done to the Judge ,BTW. I`d like to shake him by the hand.

Edited by thequays
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  • 7 months later...

Hello again. Coincidences are a funny thing sometimes. I was just thinking this morning about the case and that I still have not heard anything from Cardiff Crown Court. No news is good news,and I am really hoping that I won`t hear anymore about it and it will not be taken any further. I`ve no idea how long these things take usually,so I have no way of telling whether my not hearing is just being optimistic,or whether it is indeed a good sign. Also today I read that Ian Watkins has had his appeal for his 30 year sentence [with an additional 6 years on licence] rejected. Good. At least there is ONE piece of positive news this week from somewhere.

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  • 4 months later...

Just realised that the police in Newry knocked on my door almost a year ago,giving me the whole "You have the right to remain silent" speech. As they were leaving,I asked them what happens next. They told me it was nothing to do with them,and it is for Cardiff Crown Prosecution Service to decide what,if anything should happen to me. Well one year on and I can say that I never heard anything again,either from the police,the court or the Crown Prosecution Service. Unless they are still dealing with the huge backlog of others first and have yet to get to me, I think [i hope] I can now breathe a sigh of relief that possibly,no further action is going to be taken against me. Lesson well and truly learned though.

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