Last night as law enforcement had the second Boston bomber completely cornered, Twitter was ablaze with two things: 1) police scanner info and 2) desperate pleas to stop posting scanner info.
I can completely understand the need for secrecy in covert operations, but they had the guy cornered after pumping another pile of rounds in his direction. Media everywhere, all eyes on this. This was not Zero Dark Thirty in progress (which as you may know was jeopardized by a tweet – the mission that is, the movie itself was already compromised in terms of not sucking).
Barring perhaps the implementation of effective encryption that doesn’t confound interagency communication (like the ten codes do), the practice of people piling onto scanner feeds and twitter during manhunts involving cities on lockdown will increase hugely. That said, should we regard people who participate in this exchange of information as doing the cops, and the country, a disservice? Should we make laws identifying this information as speech not protected by the Constitution, and make aggressive efforts to suppress it?