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Vulnerabilities / Threats

5/10/2010
12:28 PM
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Twitter Bomb Joker Convicted

An accountant's 'menacing' tweet about blowing up an airport earns him a $1,500 fine and a criminal record.

A British court has convicted Paul Chambers, 26, of sending a menacing Twitter message and fined him £1000 ($1500).

On January 6, according to The Register, the closure of an airport in South Yorkshire due to poor weather prompted Chambers to tweet, "Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your s*** together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!"

Airport officials reportedly saw the tweet and then complaint to local police.

Chambers subsequently lost his job as a consequence of the tweet, according to The Daily Mail, which states that the ruling is believed to be the first time a person has been convicted of a crime for a Twitter post.

Though Chambers insisted the tweet was a joke, the Doncaster Magistrates' Court found him guilty of sending a threatening electronic message and imposed a fine.

Chambers initially pleaded guilty then changed his plea to not guilty in March, The Register said.

Explaining his rationale for convicting Chambers, the Doncaster district judge who ruled on the case said that he believed Chambers was aware of the menacing nature of his tweet.

Chambers' Twitter stream indicates that he is considering a possible appeal. It's not the fine that bothers him, he said, it's having a criminal record, which jeopardizes his career.

At the request of British authorities, the offending tweet has since been deleted.

Chambers has received a number of offers of support for his legal troubles and has prompted complaints on blogs and on Twitter about the Crown Prosecution Service's handling of the case.

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