By David Tan, Published The Straits Times, 30 Mar 2013
HAZARD alert. My mind automatically goes through all the potential legal issues when I see a comment on Facebook directed at another individual, or a video on YouTube that draws on musical and cinematographic works created by others.
It is so easy to rant about people and events that have annoyed us on social media. Or to upload photographs of ourselves or our friends on social networking platforms like Instagram. Or to post a negative comment on Twitter. Or to chronicle our loves and pet peeves on a personal blogsite.
But how often do we pause to think about the consequences, especially the legal implications, of our conduct in cyberspace?
The cloak of "online" anonymity in cyberspace emboldens many of us to act in ways we would not when "offline". We are unlikely to confront a work colleague whose behaviour irritates us, but we will more likely criticise the same person on Facebook.
Nude or revealing pictures? Surely we will not show them to friends over dinner in a restaurant. But we might just post a few provocative ones in our Facebook or Tumblr albums.
While netizens generally share an unspoken code of cyber etiquette, a vast majority are likely unaware of the wide range of legal risks that carry with them personal liability and criminal sanctions.