The following submitted by social commentator and environmental activist Kammie Holder – with the message “computer misuse as interpreted by Judge Birch” – Blogmaster
In previous years, the use of words and images to inflict damage, create menace or discomfort to others lay in the province of defamation, whether criminal or otherwise. Such cases were relatively few in number and occurred with remarkable infrequency, although it must be said that many potentially defamatory actions tended to end in a quiet settlement and an apology posted far from the front pages where much of the libel and slander began.
With the advent of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, the instance of computer misuse arose very slowly, largely due to the lack of computers and connectivity for the general public in those early years. The increasing sophistication and lowering of cost allowed the connectivity of computer users to increase exponentially in obedience to Moore’s Law1, which posits that computers double in power and capacity and halve in price approximately every 18 months.
Naturally, this led to the increase in sharing of ideas and knowledge at an astounding rate. However, this also led to the dissemination of defamatory images and text in a manner that penetrated the human consciousness in a manner not seen since the creation of the printing press 300 years before. Messages that once had to rely on print and television to be shared now began to move at light speed to computers. The muttering crank in the basement and the conspiracy theorist now had the means to lie, spread the lie, and yet cower in anonymity behind the keyboard.