Via Ernie-the-attorney, this IEEE Spectrum article by my old comrade in privacy battles, Dave Banisar of Privacy International. Very interesting how, by choosing a jurisdiction with restrictive press laws, entities have increased options to control or limit particular messages.
Powerful organizations and individuals can also use jurisdiction to force their detractors to defend themselves in faraway courts. The threat of a lawsuit can have a chilling effect even if a case is weak. For example, after three criminal libel cases in Mexico were dismissed by the courts there, Banco Nacional de México (Banamex) went to New York courts. It sued two Mexican reporters for articles revealing in a New York weekly newspaper the role of the bank's owner in drug trafficking. The New York court also dismissed the case under U.S. constitutional protections of free speech. But how eager will the next reporters be to risk having to grab a passport, hire a foreign attorney, and defend themselves in a court 4000 km from home?
In other words, along with all the good that comes of increasing person-to-person communications, the Net's reach can have adverse impacts on free expression.Posted by Mitch Ratcliffe at October 28, 2002 12:40 PM | TrackBack