Britain threatens Internet 'trolls' with two years in jail

October 19, 2014
People found guilty of Internet "trolling" in Britain could be jailed for up to two years under government proposals outlined, following a number of high-profile case of abuse on Twitter

People found guilty of Internet "trolling" in Britain could be jailed for up to two years under government proposals outlined on Sunday, following a number of high-profile case of abuse on Twitter.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told the Mail on Sunday newspaper: "This is a law to combat cruelty—and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob."

There has been increasing concern in Britain about the growing scourge of Internet "trolls" who post hate-filled messages on social media, often threatening their targets.

The parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann are among the most recent victims, and last month a man was jailed for 18 weeks for what prosecutors described as "a campaign of hatred" against a female lawmaker.

"These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No-one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on ," Grayling said.

"That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence."

Victims have welcomed moves to take online threats seriously, and lawyers had anticipated an increase in sentences for those convicted of trolling.

"There is a public interest in having people put away for a long time. It is putting someone in fear of their life and fear of physical harm," Chris Holder, of London law firm Bristows, told AFP earlier this month.

"I think the law will develop and the sentences will go up and up."

However, freedom of speech campaigners have previously warned that criminal sanctions should be the last resort.

"Do we want to criminalise every social conduct that we find problematic?" Barbora Bukovska, a senior director at campaign group ARTICLE 19, said earlier this month.

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gopher65
3 / 5 (3) Oct 19, 2014
I wonder if they realize that the vast majority of the worst trolls (those who would actually merit time in jail) are children. They are often in their early teens. Most of the remainder are people at the very end of their lives whose minds have started to go, releasing them from normal social conventions. There are certainly a few who aren't in those two categories, but they are a tiny minority.

So my question is this: are they going to start throwing every 13 year old or senior with an age-addled mind who posts hate-speech (or says it in real life, because they surely do!) in jail for 2 years? Because that is ludicrous.

The sheer lack of understanding about where these posts come from is mind-boggling. How ignorant.
tritace
Oct 19, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gopher65
4.8 / 5 (4) Oct 19, 2014
This is a law to combat cruelty—and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob.

Such a mobbers are cyberstalkers, i.e. the narrow group of on-line trolls. Not all marijuana farmers are junkies or drug dealers, despite many people would like to perceive them so. Compare the article http://medicalxpr...nt.html.

You're entirely right, but I got the feeling that they weren't talking about cyberstalkers, but about "online bullies", ie trolls. Cyberstalkers are already covered under existing laws. It doesn't matter if you're stalking someone online or through snail mail (the post), it's still stalking. No need for new laws to cover those people.
Noumenon
2.8 / 5 (8) Oct 19, 2014
If someone is being physically threatened, that's one thing,..... but to legislate to "combat cruelty" is to be anti-freedom of speech, period. It is mindless reactionary politics that leads to a very slippery slope that only the political far left would ever contemplate. Thought police. Meanwhile the deceitful and dirty politics these same anti-free speech hypocrites typically engage in is no better than "trolling".

It is sad what Britain has become.
BSD
2.5 / 5 (6) Oct 19, 2014
The worst troll is Turdoch, Sux News and NewsCrap. It's about time that arsehole was jailed.
freethinking
1.3 / 5 (7) Oct 19, 2014
Will they ban Paid Progressive Government Trolls.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (3) Oct 19, 2014
"Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius." Arnaud Amalric
BSD
2.7 / 5 (7) Oct 19, 2014
It is mindless reactionary politics that leads to a very slippery slope that only the political far left would ever contemplate.


Reactionaries are rightwing, your conservative ignorance is amusing.
Noumenon
2.8 / 5 (4) Oct 19, 2014
If someone is being physically threatened, that's one thing,..... but to legislate to "combat cruelty" is to be anti-freedom of speech, period. It is mindless reactionary politics that leads to a very slippery slope that only the political far left would ever contemplate. Thought police. Meanwhile the deceitful and dirty politics these same anti-free speech hypocrites typically engage in is no better than "trolling".

It is sad what Britain has become.


Except this is a rightwing government that is contemplating this. It shoots holes in your "far left" theory.


Justice Secretary Chris Grayling was a member of the liberal social democrats. Seems he couldn't shed his social engineering infliction by changing parties.
Noumenon
3.8 / 5 (5) Oct 19, 2014
We have a conservative government in Australia led by a church going, god believing, Turdoch arse licking fuckwit. They want to censor the Internet too.


"On 31 December 2007, Stephen Conroy announced the [Australian] Federal Government's intention to introduce an ISP-based filter to censor "inappropriate material" from the Internet...."

Stephen Conroy is a member of the labour party,....

"The Australian Labor Party is a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields"

Doesn't sound very Conservative to me, ....but that might be relative to each country.
Noumenon
2.5 / 5 (4) Oct 19, 2014
It is mindless reactionary politics that leads to a very slippery slope that only the political far left would ever contemplate.


Reactionaries are rightwing, your conservative ignorance is amusing.


Yet, it's quite easy to spot a liberal hypocrite,....

"The worst troll is [Murdoch], [Fox] News and [NewsCorp]. It's about time that arsehole was jailed. - BSD"
BSD
2.5 / 5 (4) Oct 19, 2014
We have a conservative government in Australia led by a church going, god believing, Turdoch arse licking fuckwit. They want to censor the Internet too.


"On 31 December 2007, Stephen Conroy announced the [Australian] Federal Government's intention to introduce an ISP-based filter to censor "inappropriate material" from the Internet...."

Stephen Conroy is a member of the labour party,....

"The Australian Labor Party is a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields"

Doesn't sound very Conservative to me, ....but that might be relative to each country.


Labor is not in power the conservatives are. Conroy is a social conservative and yet another stinking catholic we have to put up with.
bluehigh
2 / 5 (6) Oct 19, 2014
Commenting on an article regarding internet trolling and we have BSD, a left wing commie troll, unemployed loving, aussie traitor showing no respect for the democratically elected aussie government. Piss off back into your squat and smoke your bong loser.

Oh oops .. I just trolled too!

ShotmanMaslo
4.3 / 5 (4) Oct 19, 2014
This is something Id expect from some third world autocracy, not Britain. Shameful
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 19, 2014
I wonder if they realize that they are not describing internet trolls (maybe they should look up where the word originated). .
rp142
4 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2014
Trolls have become such a large problem that governments are legislating against them... What this says about the world we live in is scary, from several perspectives. A free and open internet is import but is a battle that was lost long ago. Examples of extreme trolling have resulted in lives being ruined or lost. Trolls seem unable to act like humans. It is only the worst of the trolls that laws like this should be applied to.

Education and making the sites that publish comments responsible would help. Require all sites publishing comments to have an effective moderation and reporting system. Many sites do this very well and it doesn't have to be perfect, just a small amount of effort results in significant improvements. User based moderation can be effective.
Noumenon
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 19, 2014
No rp142, not even a small amount,..... let web sites remain free do make that decision for themselves, and let potential victims remain free as they are to simply stop using the intenet, or if they can quantify their damages, to sue. There was a time when the internet did not exist.
antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (4) Oct 20, 2014
Trolls have become such a large problem that governments are legislating against them

They're legislating against people who stalk and threaten and cause harm. That's not entirely new. The world hasn't changed in that regard. The only change is the new channel open for people with such inclinations.

It has just become a lot easier to do - so all those people who were to lazy/scared to threaten/stalk are now coming out of the woodwork. They've always been there.
Think about the positive aspect: at least now we know how many petty, vindictive, small-minded people are really out there. Not a pretty picture, I agree. But at least now we know the extent of the problem and the need to pick up our game (wrt education, parenting and social integration) has become clear.

bluehigh
2.8 / 5 (4) Oct 20, 2014
.. And that not very pretty picture comes from a psychotic punk with the social skills of a venomous snake.

Damn, this trolling things a bit of alright. I learned this stuff in an AA trolling master class.

2 years in Brixton for you AA. Might shut you up for a while!

TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (2) Oct 20, 2014
Soon enough the Internet will be policed by AI which will not allow bullshit to be posted. We will be forced to be sane and rational despite ourselves. I for one will embrace our machine overlords.
bluehigh
2.5 / 5 (4) Oct 20, 2014
Otto, then surely you will be just The Ghost in the Machine.

Ahhhh .. Philo psychology! (Arthur Koestler for the ignorant).

Joining the Borg too perhaps?
rgw
4.5 / 5 (2) Oct 20, 2014
Bring back dueling! It would certainly improve politeness and manners.
bluehigh
1.5 / 5 (4) Oct 20, 2014
It's been decades since I read his treatise and I'm probably mistaken but wasn't his suggestion that the water supply be adulterated with anti-psychotic medication because most of us are ... less than sane. Maybe I'm confused!

Anyway 'soft science' so worth diddly squat apparently.

bluehigh
1 / 5 (4) Oct 20, 2014
Not that any of you lot even have the mental capacity to comprehend what Koestler was on about. It wasn't a picture book.
TechnoCreed
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 20, 2014
Nobody should be allowed to poison the life of somebody else and this is what it is all about: https://www.youtu...afkypUsc Think before posting stupid comments.
Noumenon
3 / 5 (4) Oct 20, 2014
Nobody should be allowed to poison the life of somebody else and this is what it is all about: https://www.youtu...afkypUsc Think before posting stupid comments.


Stupidity should not be a crime in a modern free society. The government threatens liberty for all when the start layering laws upon already existing laws.

Life is what poisons suicidal people. They only need a catalyst, and they actively seek it.

dtxx
3 / 5 (1) Oct 20, 2014
It seems the legislators a) do not use the Internet and b) are reacting to their malformed concept of the problem but c) don't really care and are doing this to curry favor with certain voting demographics and hold onto their office no matter what. They also have no idea how ruined the remainder of the troll's life will be after this type of conviction. I've watched a friend who got caught shoplifting 10 years ago be unable to obtain any job that involves a background check. Shame too, he's a talented engineer.

Being from America, where we have the craziest prison system in the world, all I can see this as is a way to get more people incarcerated. A very small group of people make a huge amount of money out of getting more people in their privately owned jails. And they have an insanely powerful lobby.

These groups also love hard labor sentences. You work all day for free, then they sell what you made and keep you locked up. Isn't there a word for that? starts with s...
tadchem
4 / 5 (2) Oct 20, 2014
It all comes down to the practical definition of the word "troll" that gets implemented. If history is any use in predicting the future, the result will be wide of the intended mark.
Heinlein had the Truth of it: "Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire."
We are watching the would-be Overlords reacting to a perceived threat to their Underlings with a shotgun blast in the dark pointed vaguely towards whatever was making noise.
Noumenon
3 / 5 (4) Oct 26, 2014
More evidence the left wants to regulate free speech and the internet.

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