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Navigating the murky world of cyberlaw


Steve Spinks
30 April 2014
Parents and students can learn to navigate the murky and ever changing world of cyberlaw and hear about the consequences of a poorly thought-out Tweet or Facebook post.

Southern Cross University’s School of Law and Justice will hold a free public lecture featuring local barrister and cyberlaw expert Graham Bassett on Wednesday May 7 at the Gold Coast campus, from 6pm (Room A220). The lecture is a follow-on from the successful lecture SCU and Mr Bassett held on Cyberbullying for Gold Coast school principals last November.

The lecture comes just weeks after a landmark case in the NSW District Court which saw a music teacher awarded $105,000 in damages after finding she was defamed on Twitter and Facebook by a former student.

“In that case a student, who had never been taught by the teacher he was tweeting and posting about, wrote defamatory messages about the teacher who had replaced his father at the school,” Mr Bassett said.

“The court ruled the social media comments had a devastating effect on the teacher. Furthermore, the judge said it was common knowledge that once defamatory publications are made on social media they spread so easily.

“It’s a timely reminder to anyone using social media that you can and will be held accountable for what you write.”

Perhaps more worryingly for young social media users, is the possible effect an ill-timed Tweet or Post could have on your job prospects long term, Mr Bassett said. The lecture will also explore cyberbullying and its legal implications and discuss some easy to implement protocols when using social media.

Mr Bassett is a barrister who holds a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education from Sydney University, a Masters of Information and Communication Technology from Wollongong University and an Honours Degree in Law from Southern Cross University. Prior to becoming a barrister, he was Director of Information Technology at various schools in Sydney.

Mr Bassett occasionally lectures in Cyberlaw, Information Technology and the Law, and Intellectual Property at Southern Cross University. He is a member of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for the Northern Rivers of NSW. His bar practice includes civil and criminal matters and he is a member of the NSW Bar Association and Queensland Bar Association.

For further information please email [email protected] or contact Jane Gilmour on 02 6620 3800.

Photo: Graham Bassett.