Two interesting stories today.

Twittering Teens Terrorize the City:

A mob of tech-savvy teens tweeted their way into the same place in South Philly over the weekend and then went wild.

"It’s kind of a new dynamic that’s growing, with large groups of juveniles using the social networks to get out the word," said Philly police Lt. Frank Vanore. "We’re not going to tolerate it."

Hundreds of teens who coordinated through MySpace and Twitter, hijacked a taxi at 12th and South Street, assaulted and yanked a woman and passenger out of their car and vandalized a convenience store at Broad and Catharine Streets.

Most of the teens were between the ages of 14 and 17.

Judge Reprimanded for Friending Lawyer and Googling Litigant:

A North Carolina judge has been reprimanded for “friending” a lawyer in a pending case, posting and reading messages about the litigation, and accessing the website of the opposing party.

Judge B. Carlton Terry Jr. and lawyer Charles Shieck both posted messages about the child custody and support case heard last September, the Lexington Dispatch reports. Terry also accessed the website of the opposing litigant and cited a poem she had posted there, according to the April 1 public reprimand (PDF) by the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission.

The opinion says Terry and Shieck first discussed Facebook in chambers in the presence of the opposing lawyer in the case, Jesse Conley, who said she didn’t know what Facebook was and didn’t have time for it. After the discussion, Terry and Shieck friended each other. Shieck later posted a Facebook reference to the issue of whether his client had had an affair, saying “How do I prove a negative?” according to the opinion. Shieck also wrote, “I have a wise judge.”

The opinion says the ex parte communications and the independent gathering of information indicated a disregard of the principles of judicial conduct.

These feel like "new" issues, but they’re not. The law of social media is the same as the law of everywhere else. Those aren’t the first teens to vandalize an area, nor is Judge Terry the first to seek out information on litigants outside of the court.

The difference is, as Seth Godin put it, "everything goes on your permanent record."

Ten years ago, no one would have found any of the teens and the judge’s prying would have gone unnoticed. Now it’s plastered everywhere on the internet, or at least available through a quick subpoena.

Where will we be ten years from now?

Judge Sotomayor is getting grilled over a line in a speech several years ago. What if lurking in Google’s permanent memory we saw that @soniasotomayor had been invited to 12th and South Street?

The New York Times’ "Room for Debate" covered the concern about too much publicity and too much social media recently, with Clay Shirky at NYU writing:

Society has always carved out space for young people to misbehave. We used to do this by making a distinction between behavior we couldn’t see, because it was hidden, and behavior we could see, because it was public. That bargain is now broken, because social life increasingly includes a gray area that is publicly available, but not for public consumption.

Given this change, we need to find new ways to cut young people some slack. Privacy used to be enforced by inconvenience; you couldn’t just spy on anyone you wanted. Increasingly, though, privacy will have to be enforced by us grownups simply choosing not to look, since it’s none of our business.

This discipline isn’t just to protect them, it’s to protect us. If you’re considering a job applicant, and he has some louche photos on the Web, he has a problem. But if one applicant in 10 has similar pictures online, then you’ve got a problem, because you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage for talent, relative to firms that don’t spy.

Maybe we all need to cut each other a little more slack. Maybe we all need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Because the permanent record society is here to stay.

Google "Judge B. Carlton Terry Jr." Who knows who he was before, now he’s "Judge reprimanded."

As for the teens, being between 14 and 17 means they can likely get their criminal records expunged as adults.

But not their Twitter records.