The rite to communicate

This has got to be the tech law case of the year! The Times has a report on what must be a one-of-a-kind – an English court (essentially a religious court) considering the rights and wrongs of mobile phones, and more specifically whether the original decision-maker had been justified in refusing permission for the erection of a mast on religious property (on the grounds that people would use the network to get access to pornography, illegal material, etc). Everything from filtering to the great benefits of new technology to the Convention on the Rights of the Child gets a look in here.

As for adults, the risk was that some adults benefiting from the improved transmission in the Chingford area might use a mobile phone to access pornography which was not classed as unlawful by the criminal law.

To bar something which would be of benefit to the public generally because there was a risk that some would be able to access privately material which many Christians and others deplored, was to take an unbalanced approach.

The only think I can say to that is (predictably), amen. Setting aside any architectural/planning issues (not mentioned in this report, although they could well be present), I think the general principle, as summarised in the paragraphs quoted above, is eminently sensible – and perhaps a useful thing to bring up during the next moral scare that means we should ‘ban social networking’ or whatever…

(Another version from the Law Reports here. Not sure about the citation (there’s a WLR Daily: [2007] WLR (D) 241) but the case is In re St Peter and St Paul, Chingford
(Arches Court of Canterbury: 14 August 2007)).

First seen (by me) in the post by the consistently informative Simon Fodden at the consistently useful slaw.ca

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