Backbytes: Winston Smith's new job...

By Backbytes
02 Jul 2014 View Comments
1984

The control over the internet that governments seem intent to extend knows no bounds, but at least one loopy plan appears to have been batted into the long grass - although the devil, as always will be in the detail.

Following on from the European Court of Justice decision over the "right to be forgotten", the government has dropped plans to enable the attorney general to instruct media groups to remove articles from their archives under new contempt of court proposals.

Further reading

The idea was that jurors could, horror of horrors, accidentally see something online related to a case they are supposed to be deciding, prejudicing the whole case, or so the argument went. Media groups, understandably, argued that this was the thin end of the wedge.

Pretty soon, they said, they would be hit with take-down requests left, right and centre - while UK-based publishers would be put at a disadvantage to media groups based in more sensible locations.

For once, common sense has prevailed - sections 51 and 52 have been dropped from the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, no doubt leaving behind plenty of nonsense. 

As always, we ought to emphasise that George Orwell's 1984 was a work of fiction, not an instruction manual... 

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