New York Times Tells Brits They Can't Read Article On UK Terror Case

from the jurisdictional-silliness dept

Questions of legal jurisdiction over online content are nothing new at all. Over the years, we've pointed to plenty of legal cases that raised issues about online publications, and whether the content was liable under local laws in countries outside of where the publisher (or its servers) were based. Unfortunately, there still isn't a general agreement on what laws apply, and that makes things risky. Apparently, the NY Times didn't want to risk any such lawsuit in the UK, so when it published an article yesterday about the British terror case, it used some of its geographic ad targeting technology to also block out visitors from the UK from reading the content. This is to stay on the right side of British laws that "prohibits publication of prejudicial information about the defendants prior to trial." Of course, the Times then went on to publish an article proudly stating how they blocked the content from UK readers, which makes you wonder how effective the ban really is. By calling attention to it, it seems pretty likely that plenty of folks in the UK will be able to read the same (or similar) content from plenty of other sources. This isn't to call out the Times for the practice, but to question whether such laws are actually still possible in a world with a global internet.

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  1. identicon
    brian, 30 Aug 2006 @ 3:04pm

    Blocked terror article

    As a Brit (who in theory could well be called as a juror if trials start) I can see the point of keeping these details away from the public in the UK. I have now found and read the article, and I'm halfway to guilty verdicts already. The big worry is just as a couple of posters have already stated - that if these guys are tried and convicted for these (alleged) crimes, their lawyers will get them off on an "unfair trial" argument. For the same reason, suspects being moved around in this country always have their upper bodies covered in a blanket - this means that any identification evidence can't be undermined by the claim that "he/she saw him/her on television". It has always amazed me that in (it seems) the rest of the world evreyone can see pictures and videos of suspects before a trial even starts and thus gets a mental "fix" on the "perpetrator".

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