Mary Flood reports:
Freedom of expression may seem boundless on the Internet, but in Houston and around the nation, computer users are increasingly finding their speech is not infinitely protected.
Recent Harris County cases have shown that the worldwide forum offered by the Internet ups the ante and consequences of everything from idle chatter to the information in public records.
• • Two bloggers who posted their opinions or hosted the thoughts of others about Anna Nicole Smith’s mother were stunned when they were jailed for contempt of court for refusing to give the court their computers for forensic review.
• • A man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 4-year-old girl subpoenaed six local media outlets to learn the identities of 300 people who posted comments on news stories about the case.
• • Two judges issued orders to protect attorneys’ personal information from making its way onto the Internet even though it was public record.
• • As county records are loaded online, judges in family courts have requested some public records remain harder to get for now.
Read more in The Houston Chronicle.