Internet 'trolls' face being named under new bill

Jun 12, 2012
A cameraman films the Facebook logo in California. Websites such as Facebook and Twitter will receive greater protection from lawsuits if they identify internet trolls accused of defaming others under a bill to be debated in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Websites such as Facebook and Twitter will receive greater protection from lawsuits if they identify internet "trolls" accused of defaming others under a bill being debated in Britain's House of Commons on Tuesday.

Lawmakers are debating the Defamation Bill, which proposes to reform libel laws so that websites such as the popular websites will have an incentive to turn in anonymous users who post slanders on the Internet.

The bill will also increase the responsibility on claimants to prove they have been or will suffer serious damage to their reputation before they can take their case forward -- offering another measure of protection to websites against threats of litigation.

The Commons debate comes the day after a man who sent a threatening email to Conservative MP Louise Mensch was banned from contacting a host of celebrities.

Frank Zimmerman narrowly escaped jail when a district judge suspended a 26-week for two years after he sent an offensive email to Corby MP Mensch.

Under the current law, websites such as are considered responsible for what users publish on their website.

That leaves them open to threats of litigation from people claiming they have been defamed by content posted on such websites by other users - often anonymous "trolls".

The Government is proposing to change the law so that " will have a defence against libel as long as they identify the authors of allegedly defamatory material when requested to do so by a ," Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said.

The hope is that this will allow people to protect themselves against defamation without forcing websites to censor their content as protection against "casual threats of litigation", he said.

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User comments : 25

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jmcanoy1860
3.5 / 5 (11) Jun 12, 2012
Britain and it's damn libel laws.
SatanLover
1 / 5 (7) Jun 12, 2012
So something good can come from it at all.
Too bad ipv6 is easier to hack than ipv4.
Will be very easy to steal identities.
But i wont tell anyone how :D
NotParker
2.1 / 5 (19) Jun 12, 2012
Excellent. Maybe trolls will stop claiming people are mentally ill just because they disagree with them. But I doubt it.
krundoloss
3.9 / 5 (7) Jun 12, 2012
Yes, we need to have some form of consequence for being an a%% online. Teens are killing themselves over this crap! Plus the Anonymity of the internet drives people to be mean or to get the last word in all the time. Its a pathetic thing that I am glad is starting to be dealt with.
Terriva
1 / 5 (4) Jun 12, 2012
The people newer change in this extent.
kaasinees
3.5 / 5 (10) Jun 12, 2012
This also means that when you say something on the internet that the government does not like they will just call you a troll.
Terriva
1 / 5 (11) Jun 12, 2012
when you say something on the internet that the government does not like
Or what the proponents of mainstream physics payed with government don't like. I don't see huge difference there..
Sean_W
1.3 / 5 (7) Jun 12, 2012
A few psychopathic trolls have give governments and their elitist chums in academia and the socialist corporate world the "justification" they need to ruin any who criticize them or even don't give them what they want. Thanks a lot trolls.

And by trolls I mean the 80% of the human race who can't learn to behave and who ruin everything for everyone.
randith
4 / 5 (4) Jun 12, 2012
The internet is an excellent way to teach people to be skeptical. It has given rise to memes such as "it was on teh interwebz so it must be true" (sarcasm that highlights the opposite).

If this law is passed, the British may successful improve the quality of information on the internet; but in the long run, its people will grow up with less day-to-day experience filtering out the lies and learning the truth.
Chris Hatton
4 / 5 (4) Jun 12, 2012
Sadly necessary, this is a case of getting the laws we deserve. For years I have been appalled at the way some people carry on at each other online. YouTube comments are particularly bad. Yes the worst language often comes from young people who aren't really mature enough to know much better, but that's their parents fault for a) not bringing them up with enough respect and b) not at least doing some spot checking of the way they interact online. The attitude of "I can say anything and its doesn't matter because its on the internet and it's not real life", isn't acceptable - we need cultural change on this.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (6) Jun 13, 2012
The mentally ill typically assert that they are perfectly normal.

"Maybe trolls will stop claiming people are mentally ill " - ParkerTard

Get psychiatric help before you hurt yourself or someone else. ParkerTard.
Archea
3 / 5 (6) Jun 13, 2012
Trolling or not, the psychiatric diagnosis of another posters is off-topic in physorg discussions. Everyone who cannot understand it is a mental case as well. Not to say, it's very impolite and the people who are doing it regularly demonstrate sociopathic traits of their personality. And it's useless, as the people attacked feel morally free to respond, so that the cyberbullying can be considered as a feeding of trolls too.
AtlasT
2.1 / 5 (7) Jun 13, 2012
The above comment was downvoted with Sinister1811, who is probably Vendicar_Decarian at the same moment. The people who like and support cyberbullying of others are mentally ill authomatically.
Sinister1811
1.7 / 5 (11) Jun 13, 2012
The above comment was downvoted with Sinister1811, who is probably Vendicar_Decarian at the same moment. The people who like and support cyberbullying of others are mentally ill authomatically.


What? I downvoted him because of his whining. Not because I'm Vendicar Decarian [I'm not!]. But I tend to agree with VD about NotParker who is a persistent anti-science quack/crackpot here on Phys.Org. This is demonstrated by his ridiculous conspiracy theory comments on every article surrounding Climate Change, as well as other articles pertaining to environmental issues.
Sinister1811
1.9 / 5 (9) Jun 13, 2012
By the way, I wasn't supporting cyberbullying either. It is an issue that needs to be dealt with.
Archea
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 13, 2012
I downvoted him because of his whining.
You downvoted me. If you're downvoting the posts, which protest against cyberbullying, then you've chosen rather poor way, how to "deal" with this issue and you're mental case anyway.
El_Nose
5 / 5 (2) Jun 13, 2012
So you will no longer be able to type a slander online in the 'personal opinion' section of webpages commonly referred to as the comment section, but you may still say whatever you please in the personal opinion section called the local bar.

-- This may be a slippery slope indeed, it encourages people to no longer argue with the written word. To take whatever is published at face value and to hold your opinion to yourself. This is not to discourage being a troll but for posting something that may be damaging to someone else

-- the law never stated that the post had to be false, just damaging.

One may still hide their identity using tor to open an anonymous email address - thus hiding originating IP - use tor while opening a Facebook account with the false address - and use tor while posting on Facebook.

This only catches the most inept, this only punishes the ignorant, and only protects the insecure.
Noumenon
1.4 / 5 (9) Jun 13, 2012
Lawmakers are debating the Defamation Bill, which proposes to reform libel laws so that websites such as the popular social networking websites will have an incentive to turn in anonymous users who post slanders on the Internet.


To make logical sense to me, they will need to stipulate that those supposedly slandered are NOT anonymous users, and that the slanderers ARE anonymous users.

Because if one is anonymous, it is not possible to slander them. And, if both the slanderer and the victim identities are true to life, a special bill is not required, because a law suite would already be possible.

If anonymous users can sue other anonymous users for defamation damages, the lawyers have legislated a gold mine into existence for themselves.
Calenur
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 13, 2012
...but that's their parents fault for a) not bringing them up with enough respect and b) not at least doing some spot checking of the way they interact online.


So you support regulating morality? Since YOU believe their parents did them a disservice, you feel it's up to society to try to take a parental role? This crap is going way too far, and this anti-bullying movement is a load of crap. It's a piece of feel good nonsense which has absolutely no impact on society other than criminalize expression (yes, even horrendous expression). You are right in one regard, parents are doing their children a disservice, but not in the way this bill addresses. We need an educated and RESILIENT population with enough self confidence to know "cyber-bullying" is a load of shit and it doesn't have to have any impact on their lives. Nobody supports bullying, but it's at a record low. This movement is to make the parents feel good and has little to do with children.
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (12) Jun 13, 2012
Government intrusion on the internet,.... bad idea. All they need is a foot in the door.
MandoZink
5 / 5 (2) Jun 13, 2012
We'll never be able to legislate good taste or good manners, but we could use a yearly mandate requiring a few minutes be spent on Jan.1st to give everyone a chance to consider the benefit to humanity if they adopt a resolution to consider getting their shit together.

Trying to play nice and be civil while drowning in a pond full of assholes and malcontents requires a well-honed, tastefully restrained backstroke.
Deathclock
1 / 5 (4) Jun 13, 2012
When I first read the title I thought it meant that internet trolls were facing a being named "under new bill"... The misunderstanding must be due to my desire for internet trolls to face some kind of a horrible being with a weird name...
dood5567
not rated yet Jun 16, 2012
>USING FACEBOOK
>NOT BEHIND OVER 9000 PROXIES IN TOR
ISHYGDDT!!
aironeous
not rated yet Jun 17, 2012
This is crossing the line. Now I won't be able to point out how China is stealing our technology and trade backed up by facts at the USITC but I guarantee you I will get labeled a troll for that. I won't be able to point out how attractive women take advantage of men in the US creating approach anxiety and having more rights than men and pushing for even more or how the new CEO of Nokia is destroying the company so MS can buy it and use the patents to patent troll.
Guy_Underbridge
3 / 5 (2) Jun 18, 2012
If British Lawmakers think this will work.... they're idiots.

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