Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Internet banned from Courtrooms?

The last time my brother was called for Jury Duty, he was surprised to learn that his iPhone would be confiscated at the courtroom door (though returned when he was done for the day). CT judges had banned all cellular devices with cameras from even jury duty waiting rooms. Now, it appears all states may take the same step for any device capable of browsing the internet. While absolutely logical, and in line with the long history of controlling the information juries can see/hear to ensure justice, this is sure to be a shock to the internet-addicted public.

Specifically, those instruction spell out that jurors should not you should not consult dictionaries or reference materials, search the internet, websites, blogs, or use any other electronic tools to obtain information either before the trial, during deliberations or after until the judge instructs otherwise.

The instructions state jurors must not use cell phones, e-mail, Blackberry, iPhone, text messaging, or on Twitter, or communicate through any blog or website, through any internet chat room, or by way of any other social networking websites, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
It will be interesting seee how enforceable such a ban will be in the long term as our lives become more and more online. Will there be a new niche for "court-ready" devices which allow one to send and receive e-mail from spouses/children, but which edits out inappropriate details? Will there be a new "Courtroom Mode" on devices similar to the Airplane mode available today? Or will the salvation of the paper book be the fact that electronic books won't be permitted in courthouses?


BH said...

I can't see bailiffs being concerned with wether or not your ipad is in "courtroom mode" or not. Just like any high school drop out given too much power, (just look at TSA where an uneducated person has the power to ban you from flying forever if they don't like the way you looked at them) they will just take any such devise. What this does say is that there will be at least one place where "real" books will be more popular than ireaders.

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MessageForce said...

I think that it is pretty harsh thing to do. A better solution could have been thought of. I wish the concerning authorities revise their decision.

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I am not satisfied with the behavior shown towards it. If i would have been thee than keeping humanity in mind, a better solution could have been found out.