Bloggers can be sued…

As part of the Guardian’s Blog Watch column, Bobbie Johnson picked up on the fact that:

“in general, bloggers do not believe people could sue them for what they have written on their blogs”

With the sudden profusion (or “viral nature” as the author of this study notes) of blogs, it stands to reason that somebody, somewhere will write something that offends somebody to the point that a lawyers are mobilised. 67% of the respondents reported that they lived in the United States, a location where more legal novels have been written about than I’ve had hot dinners…and from what I can gather here in the United Kingdom, we’re starting to go the same way. It’s easy to write controversial blog posts, a lot of us have a rants category for that purpose, but rarely do they get so heated that the next knock on the door costs £50 per 15 minutes and brings with it a barrage of paperwork.

So I guess the moral of this post is simple: be careful what you write for it may come back and haunt you. But it doesn’t stop at what you write…if your blog allows “comments”, you must be sure that the comments are tasteful too. It’s also worth ensuring that your blogging software is affording you a level of protection such that it is you and only you who can post to your blog – if others can switch on your PC or laptop and gain direct access to your blog for posting purposes, you could be in trouble.

Incidentally, the same can be said for web-based e-mail accounts like HotMail and GMail – “keep me signed in on this computer” is an easy tick box, but one that opens your e-mail account up to all sorts of trouble. What if your boss gained access to your “private” GMail account? What if an evil co-worker sent an e-mail from your private account? What if your laptop (or PC) was stolen? Do you “lock” your laptop or workstation when you leave the office for lunch, or to use the WC perhaps? These are ideal opportunities for the odd “quick” e-mail to be sent without your knowledge…secure your computer when it’s out of your sight.

The full story can be found here.