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Author Topic: Trolls & Online Abuse laws (UK)  (Read 3352 times)

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Offline kat

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Trolls & Online Abuse laws (UK)
« on: October 20, 2014, 02:42:36 PM »
Internet trolls to face 2 years in prison

News outlets [1] [2] are reporting on the above* in a way that gives readers a false impression of implications. The proposed amendments to the UK's Malicious Communications Act 1988 essentially just give authorities more time to investigate and prosecute activities that fall under the auspices of "S1: Offence of sending letters etc. with intent to cause distress or anxiety" - there are no specific provisions catering to "trolls", "online abuse" etc. as is being reported (it's not possible to do that in fact).

What the changes most certainly do not do is give 'victims' indestructiminium shields to resort to equally abusive language or actions by return - if a victim resorts that (as seems to be the want of most these days. Ed.) they will, at the very least, undermine the standing of their case and/or worse, land themselves in as much trouble as the accused. That's not injustice or victimisation, it's the law acting as required and without prejudice. This is why the police, and authorities in general, tell victims to keep their proverbial and metaphorical traps shut - it's not a suggestion or recommendation, it's an 'instruction'.

Additional Resources
#Crown Prosecution Service: Stalking and Harassment
#Crown Prosecution Service: Communications Offences
#Association of Chief Police Officers: Practice Advice on Investigating Stalking and Harassment
#Association of Chief Police Officers: Good Practice Guide for Computer-Based Electronic Evidence
#Association of Chief Police Officers: Managers Guide - Good Practice and Advice Guide for Managers of e-Crime Investigation




*The Bill referred in the press is the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill but the actual Bill to be changed (in part) is the one referenced above, the Malicious Communications Act of 1988.

Offline ratty redemption

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Re: Trolls & Online Abuse laws (UK)
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2014, 06:24:46 PM »
are there any records that list the number of people who have previously been convicted of online stalking or harassment, and sent to prison?

Offline kat

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Re: Trolls & Online Abuse laws (UK)
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2014, 08:21:05 PM »
Short answer is no because any given crime can be defined differently depending upon its context. You'd have to trawl through the data available at the Office of National Statistics (UK). The broader issue really relates to the way the press (media) paints a picture that doesn't actually exist to any degree because they focus on sensationalist items making it seem far more prevalent than certain types of crime actually are. Fear sells and business is good as the say goes.

[edit to add]There is stuff like this though;
#Cyber crime: A review of the evidence. Research Report 75. Summary of key findings and implications
#Home Office: Cyber Crime Strategy
#Crown Prosecution: Violence against Women and Girls Crime Report

Offline ratty redemption

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Re: Trolls & Online Abuse laws (UK)
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2014, 08:30:57 PM »
understood and agreed, that's one of the main reasons i don't follow main stream media sites or channels.

 

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