newsYour social media posts can get you fired. They can also get you hired. But can they send you to the slammer?

That’s for the US Supreme Court to decide. According to the Associated Press:

“The court on Monday agreed to take up the case of an eastern Pennsylvania man sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for posting violent online rants against his estranged wife, law enforcement officials and former co-workers.”

A federal appeals court upheld the conviction of Anthony Elonis, who claimed the First Amendment protected his right to free speech. Finding Elonis guilty was an option, the trial jury was told, “if an objective person could consider the posts to be threatening.”

Attorneys for Elonis maintain he never intended to act on the Facebook posts, written as rap lyrics. Online messages are subject to misinterpretation, they argue, so proof of a subjective threat should be required.

The Supreme Court will consider it.

In the meantime, Elonis v. United States, 13-983 should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone using social media while seething.

Here are four more stories found on the beat:

‘Social’ awareness

This story is about using Facebook to save a life (three, actually) rather than threaten one:

Brianna Vance, 10, posted a cry for help after a tree fell on her father and his two friends during a storm in West Virginia. A report on ABC’s “Good Morning America” said cell signals weren’t working and the house didn’t have a landline.

Able to access the Internet, Vance uploaded a video, saying:

“The lightning crashed and hit a tree by our porch and my dad’s almost dead. He needs an ambulance please. Please call one for us if you have a signal. We live in a yellow house.”

Facebook limits you to one thumbs-up. Here, the story earns two.

Cause for concern

UK women in IT specialist roles are declining. The Women in IT Scorecard 2014 found that, of the UK’s 1,129,000 IT specialists in 2013, less than one in six were female.

That equates to 16%.

BBC News noted other key takeaways from the report. Among them, female IT specialists earn 16% less per week than their male counterparts.

BCSWomen Chair Gillian Arnold said: “The continuing decline in women entering the IT profession is a real threat for the UK and an issue that clearly we need to address.”

Fair or foul?

What do the US National Security Agency (NSA) and UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have in common? Two words: mass surveillance.

The NSA’s giant domestic surveillance program was exposed last year. Well, The Telegraph reported the GCHQ sanctioned spying on every Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google user in the UK. The agency’s top counter-terrorism official was forced to fork over the secret government policy.

According to The Telegraph:

“Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), these communications can be searched through, read and listened to indiscriminately, regardless of whether there are grounds to suspect wrongdoing.”

Out of line or, given today’s security threats, well within it?

Tournament technology

We’re now in Week 2 of the World Cup. How has your favorite team fared? If you’re still riding high from an exhilarating win (ahem, US over Ghana) or recovering from a crushing loss, it’s possible you overlooked technology’s presence at the tournament.

The Washington Post blogged about five technological innovations “happening at the game level”:

  • Goal-line cameras
  • Vanishing white foam
  • Player jerseys, shoes
  • The ball
  • iPad scouting apps

What innovation does the Post want to see for the 2018 World Cup? Making “medical technology that heals injuries in real time.”

Tech wizards, make that your goooooooooaaaaaaal!