The difference between online and in real life (IRL) is quickly blurring.
Authorities are arresting hackers all over the world, the US government is threatening kinetic response for cyber attacks, and online escapades have ruined Reps Anthony Weiner and Chris Lee.
Now, a UK woman has been arrested for Facebook messaging a defendant for whose trial she was a jury. The woman was sentenced to 8 months in jail for contempt of court.
The sentencing judge said her actions “constituted flagrant breaches of the orders made by the judge for the proper conduct of the trial.
The judge added: “one doesn't need to get too hung up about the magic of the internet.”
Indeed, in the modern world, online is real life in many cases. That’s why you have things like online businesses and online relationships, two very real things that matter to people.
That something is done online is irrelevant.
The problem, however, is that many people have a disconnect; they do things online they’d never do in the real world and suffer the consequences.
For example, the UK woman probably wouldn’t have knocked on the defendant’s door to have a face-to-face chat. Neither would Weiner have taken photos of himself, developed them in a dark room, and then handed them to young women.
Of course, the fact that the convenience of online acts removes inhibition is one reason for the disconnect. But the bigger factor is people’s careless attitude towards the online world.
However, as more online acts are met with kinetic consequences in high profile cases, people will likely pay more attention. Still, it must be tough for sacrificial lambs like Weiner and the UK woman in the meantime.