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Social media: watch what you share

Social media is a great place for airing and sharing views. Its given the taxi industry a voice that has been somewhat curtailed in the past, it is of course, also a fantastic working tool. 

But where does airing and sharing views end and a breach of the law take place?

Recently, there have been a plethora of screenshots put on social media that have given varying bits of information about somebody's journey details or even in some cases their personal details, such as a phone number. This may well be done in all innocence and without malice, however, this action can inadvertantly breach the law.

Freedom of speech and the freedom to express oneself is one of the most important rights that we have, but so is the freedom to exercise the right of privacy. Although one "right" should not impinge on another "right," there can sometimes be a direct conflict.

Whilst, as an example posting somebodies journey detail may spark debate, it can, potentially breach the 2003 Telecommunications Act, which among other aspects of law covers the offence of persistently make use of a public electronic communications network for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety as well as sending a malicious communication using social media.

Now of course, this doesn't mean that the person posting the information has any ill-intent whatsoever, but it can certainly lead to others committing the above offence.

The second offence could fall under the Data Protection Act 1998. This piece of legislation is a minefield of gargantuan proportions, and one that is easy to fall foul of if one isn't careful. 

Aspects of this legislation cover, the unlawful obtaining of personal data, making  it an offence for people (other parties), such as hackers and impersonators, outside of an organisation to obtain unauthorised access to the personal data.

Personal data is defined as any data that can be used to identify a living individual. Anonymous data is less regulated by the Act, providing that it has not been done in a reversible way. 

Individuals can be identified by various means including their name and address, telephone number or email address.  

One of the rights a person has when their data processed has the following rights is the requirement that data is not used in any way that may potentially cause damage or distress.

The final point, is that anybody who is the source of the original content being posted,  could be in direct contravention of any given organisation or company's terms and conditions.

All this notwithsatanding, retweets as well as original tweets can be in direct breach of the above legislation (disregarding the final point).

The simple answer is, if it looks like there is too much infomation on the screenshot, such as an address with a door number, a company name or a persons name or phone number, then it is probably in breach of the law.

Your taxi licence is very difficult to obtain and very easy to lose. 

Don't put yourself at risk unnecessarily.

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