Thursday, June 17, 2010

Linguistic Grey Areas

Two interesting pieces on definitions of law-breaking -

1. The "evidence" against Pentagon "hacker" Gary McKinnon exists in a grey area which means he can be extradited to the US, but not tried in a UK court. Or something. It's fairly fuzzy - caused by it being a cross-border case, and that there's an interest in "bigging up" the evidence but not making it particularly substantial. (via Janis Sharp, Gary's mother)

2. Replace people with data, and the UK with the EU, and you get the similar problems caused by trying to define what a "terrorist" is. Never mind the distinction between a terorist and a "freedom-fighter" (whatever that is) - should we consider a striking firefighter a terrorist? (via Glyn Moody)

As definitions get more important, the spaces between them start looking like battlegrounds.

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