So you thought that Googling for information was OK anytime you like? Well guess again. It seems that some court cases are being thrown out because jurors Googled for information concerning the case. One case is under review after a jury tweeted the results of a trial.
But how far can the legal system take this type of behavior? Check out this story:
The juror who’d originally told Judge William J. Zloch she’d been guilty of Googling had discovered information about the case Zloch had specifically excluded. When he found out eight others had done the same thing, he 86’d the entire trial, eight weeks in.
Apparently, the legal industry is finally waking up to the digital revolution. But what has changed, exactly? Just speed and convenience.
There was nothing in the past that could stop a determined juror from going to the library or the county courthouse and researching a case, aside from the judge’s admonitions against doing it. Google is no different, it’s just a lot more convenient. And when it’s on your cell phone, you don’t even have to leave the jury box.
You could walk out of the courtroom and tell everyone you meet that you just handed out $12M, or you can tell everyone at once on Twitter. As the kids say, same diff.
Technology is brutal about exposing inefficiencies in old models. It is much easier to rip an MP3 and post it to a file sharing server than it is to stand next to your stereo with a handheld mic and hand out bootleg cassettes at a swap meet, but the deed is essentially the same. The Net has exposed inefficiencies in the old eyeballs-based advertising model (and publications are dying in droves as a result). It’s about to do the same to TV advertising, if services like ZillionTV take hold.
So what do you think? Is this something we need to worry about?