California bill could criminalize recording fights for social media

A few years back, I remember coming home from work and seeing a small group of kids in the middle of the street.  Two were in squaring up, getting ready to fight and couple more in the crowd had their phones out, ready to record.  I am sure I heard one of them yelling “Worldstar!” (for  As it stood, I suspected that at least on in the crowd was going to upload the fight online.  To know me is to know that I have a low tolerance for foolishness so, I stopped my car and yelled at them to stop doing what they were doing.

I came across a story that caused me to reflect on this day.  I believe that it’s a foreshadowing of what’s to come, in regards to recording fights and posting them to social media.  We often read about how, when a fight is posted online, those doing the fighting are usually held responsible.  However, a new bill making its way through the California legislature would, in certain instances, hold those behind the camera responsible, also.

The bill, called “Jorden’s Law”,  was inspired by an incident in which 14-year-old Jorden Pisner received life-threatening injuries in a random attack set up by the perpetrator and the person who recorded the attack.  Under today’s laws, the attacker would be punished. ” Jorden’s Law” would also punish those who record these fights, if it is determined that they conspired with the attacker(s).  What this would means is that, on top of any other criminal punishment those involved would receive, this  law would add up to a year in jail, on top of that.

The law has already passed the state Assembly.  This California Senate will now take up the bill.

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An opinionated technologist, JP launched Death By Social Media when he saw just how easily and how often people's misunderstanding/abuse of social media created personal catastrophes. As a result, he wanted to provide a resource that would provide cautionary tales for those seeking to avoid similar fates.