May 13 2010

Public not private: how to lose £1,000 in 140 characters

Paul Chambers: fined £1,000 for single tweetAh, Twitter. To some, it’s the best way of keeping abreast of the latest developments round the world; to others, it’s a nuisance site filled with reprobates with too much free time on their hands. Whichever way you think of it, it is certainly popular, with around 19% of US internet users logging into the service to share updates about themselves and to catch up on news from friends and celebrities.

Pity, then, poor Paul Chambers, whose innocent tweet about his frustrations with the Robin Hood airport in South Yorkshire, UK, has led to a guilty verdict and a £385 fine, a £15 victims surcharge and £600 in court costs, not to mention the loss of his job. So what did Chambers do to be branded a potential terrorist and invoke a fine that would put most petty criminal punishments to shame?

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