Elements of fun, rights and restrictions

Some things just need repeating. Last week, #songsfromthesouthisland took hold of the Twitter universe and an email from a reader of Mackline prompted me to revisit some of the songs submitted during the night.

I made a couple of meagre offerings but there were others that were just clever and hilarious.

And here some of them are: Bangarangiora, I was made for Timaru (baby) and you were made for Waimate, Wuthering Hinds, Eye of the Twizel, Hotel Rangiora, Bluff the Magic Dragon, Hazy Shade of Winton, You picked a fine time to leave me Mosgiel. If I had a Hanmer, Owaka do waka day, Fraction too much Picton, Milton Prison Blues, Stoke on the Water, Mull of Kintyre, Wai Wai Wai Waihola, Stairway to Hanmer, Twizel and Shout and my favourite from @johnascroft - Woodend it be nice.

On a much more serious note, and apologies in advance as this is something of a repeat from last week, AP reported that a Kentucky teenager frustrated by light punishment for two boys who pleaded guilt to sexually assaulting her was spared from having to face a contempt charge for naming them on Twitter in violation of a court order.

The case of Savannah Dietrich (17) quickly gathered supporters who were upset the victim of an assault could be punished for speaking out against her attackers.

The girl turned to Twitter after she said she was frustrated with what she felt was a lenient plea deal. The judge had ordered no-one to speak about the case, which was in a juvenile court.

Attorneys for the boys dropped their motion to charge her with contempt saying the decision to withdraw the motion had nothing to do with public sentiment and online attention to the case.

The lawyer said the purpose of the motion had been to enforce the law that protected juveniles and their actions from disclosure.

Here is what got people so angry - after the sexual assault, the boys posted photos of the attack on the internet. The boys shared the picture of her being raped by their friends yet she could not share their names with her Twitter community.

Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organisation of Women, in the United States, described that situation as "just crazy".

An attorney for one of the boys said publicising their names may create problems for them in the future.

"There's always that possibility, and in type of scenario like this you run that risk. Now whether both these boys can overcome those hurdles, it's too early to determine that," the attorney said.

Call me naive if you must, but surely the victim has one or two issues of her own to overcome, especially if she was identified on the internet as a rape victim.

No-one should take the law into their own hands, but surely there needs to be a rethink of the victim's rights in these sort of cases, otherwise, I believe, victims will be reluctant to come forward.

Also in the news last week was the White House wanting a "Do Not Track" option put on websites to give consumers greater control of their personal information online. But internet companies and privacy groups are at odds on how tight the controls should be.

The stalemate could lead to a legislative crackdown on internet privacy laws if left unresolved.

That has firms such as Google and Facebook, that rely heavily on collecting user data, worried that any legislation could lead to cuts in online advertising that would eat into their profits.

The sides are so far apart they do not even agree on what "Do Not Track" means.

To privacy advocates, it is halting data collection so a consumer can surf the web without any prying eyes collecting information about their online activities for economic gain. To the industry, it means not targeting ads to a consumer based on their web viewing history, but data collection would continue for other purposes.

The next step appears to be congressional threats of legislation to enforce internet privacy, putting internet companies in the middle of a problem as their business models rely on consumers parting with their personal information to lift their advertising revenue.

Online advertisers and web companies say such data is now the lifeblood of the internet.

Mackline will keep a watch on the issue as it will affect us in New Zealand.