Activists warned to watch what they say online
Social media monitoring becomes the 'next big thing in law enforcement'. John Cooper QC said, police are monitoring key activists online and that officers and the courts are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to social media websites.
Political activists must watch what they say on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, sites which will become the “next big thing in law enforcement”, a leading human rights lawyer has warned.
John Cooper QC said that police are monitoring key activists online and that officers and the courts are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to social media. But, speaking to The Independent, he added that he also expected that to drive an increase in the number of criminals being brought to justice in the coming months.
"People involved in public protest should use social media to their strengths, like getting their message across. But they should not use them for things like discussing tactics. They might as well be having a tactical meeting with their opponents sitting in and listening.
"For example, if antifascist organisers were discussing their plans on social media, they can assume that a fascist organisation will be watching. Social media sites are the last place you want to post something like that," he said.
Mr Cooper QC's warning comes after a New York court ordered Twitter to hand over messages posted on the site by a demonstrator belonging to the Occupy Wall Street movement in America. Malcolm Harris, 23, is accused of disorderly conduct after he was arrested on Brooklyn Bridge during a protest last October.
After a lengthy legal fight, Twitter eventually complied with an order to hand over the tweets on 14 September. Prosecutors hope to use them to disprove the demonstrator's defence that police escorted the protesters on to the bridge before arresting them for allegedly blocking it.
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