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Internet trolls in Britain could face up to two years jail under proposed legislation

By Himanshu Arora · 53 replies
Oct 20, 2014
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  1. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,824   +3,912

    Are those British justices always going to wear those silly wigs? IMHO, they run around dressed like Napoleon in drag.
  2. Do you mean to suggest there is something wrong with drag?

    I'm reporting you.
    psycros likes this.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,824   +3,912

    "I'm telling", really Davis?

    Have you ever noticed how much sibilance you can pump into the word, "conquest"? You con-quisss-ta-adore you.... :roflmao: Now that's a statement that a pair of high heels could only enhance....:p
    davislane1 likes this.
  4. Just to contrast...

    50 years ago in a face-to-face confrontation...
    Bob: I'm going to burn your ****ing house down!
    Steve: That's fine. I've been meaning to buy a new boat anyways, and the insurance money sure wouldn't hurt. What time are you stopping by?

    Today, on Twitter...
    Bob: I'm going to burn your ****ing house down!
    Steve, after temporarily moving into a hotel for his family's protection: I've alerted the police and reported you to Twitter.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2014
    Burty117, psycros and captaincranky like this.
  5. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,763   +1,159

    So because you feel like it's "playful" it should be allowed... done here.
  6. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,185   +1,363

    If your living in fear because of some ominous threat online then you are a weak minded fool.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
    Burty117 and psycros like this.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,824   +3,912

    See, this is something else I've got to hold against Apple. You lavish your little snots with iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks, and all they do with them, is use them to terrorize one another..:D

    What the hell happened to, "but mom, I need it for my homework"?
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,824   +3,912

    Well, as long as Bob's house is still insured, and a firm appointment is made as to the time of the fire.....(you make the call)
  9. How the hell do you get playful out of that? The parody clearly contrasts Steve's ability to identify a BS threat in the 1960s with his inability to do so now. There is nothing "playful" demonstrated there at all.
    Burty117 and psycros like this.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,824   +3,912

    Couldn't people simply not join Twitter or Facebook, and go get themselves threatened in real life?

    In the neighborhood where I live, I gotten a bit more philosophical about death threats. I comfort myself with cliches like, "another day, another death threat", or, "I must be living right, if the ******* go "boom" when I walk by.

    (For those of you living in more genteel places, "BOOM", is a verbal threat telling someone they're liable to be shot, like with a gun).
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
  11. There exist solutions so absolute in their effectiveness that they do, in fact, become "foolproof." This is one such solution.
    psycros likes this.
  12. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,376   +72

    In the beginning was the word. Start spreading the word.
  13. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,763   +1,159

    Ok I'll put is as simple as I can.

    My point is, you don't have to incur in threats to be able to express yourself without feeling like your "freedom of speech" has been impaired.

    I can perfectly (I repeat) tell you how dumb is the idea to defend someone over the internet threatening another person without saying I'll kill you if you don't back me up. I'm speaking freely without incurring in threats.

    Being sarcastic and jerk-ish is something you will see everywhere, which doesn't make it alright either but again, doesn't incur in threatening another person.
  14. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,456   +621


    I'm glad someone said it.
  15. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,903   +1,416

    Nobody is forcing you to use social networks and keep reading and listening to death treaths and stuff you don't like. Todays people are so high on these social networks they can't let them go. It's a huge part of their lives, they are addicted and it's sad if you take a closer look. That's why I don't feel sorry for them. They deserve it.

    I used to like technology for what it is, now it's dumbed down so *****s can use facebook and then cry because they don't like what they see, but won't leave it.
    psycros likes this.
  16. In my opinion ( that no one cares about ) ...
    Prosecuting anyone for making remarks on the internet is a waste of time and money.
    I used to get bullied. The police would tell me that I had to have my head kicked in before they would help me.
    And its hard to run, from people you see in school every day, calling you names, and wanting your blood. Hoping at home time you will make it home safely.
    But I have been bullied, and I don't understand online social networks, Facebook. Twitter. Anyone and everyone has access to the internet, and even celebrities not even of the porn variety, are on it. WTF?
    When I joined the internet, you didn't tell people your name, or address, you didn't divulge information. You stayed safe.
    But this new careless internet, where people who know nothing about it, log on, and surf the web, without a care in the world, not realizing its, not a place for nice naive people. It's a breeding ground for hackers, and NSA spooks. Perverts. Oh and Men only. Cause you know that girl chatting you up isn't a girl right ?
    And that person on the other end can say anything they like.
    So when it comes to internet bullying ? Please someone explain to me why a) you pay attention to the bullshit, when you know you can troll back with something just as pathetic if you wished, or b) you could turn it off, not log in, not read, just ignore. Your worst mistake made by trying to engage with a human. Humans are evil douche bags. And its not just the ones trolling these poor plebs who kill themselves, and it is allowed people, its called survival of the fittest.
    And these people are clearly too dumb to live if they cant log off or delete an account.
    But it is also those A hole government types who themselves are evil who up there wages and bully old people into taking smaller pensions and die during cold winters cause they have no money for their heating bills. But its ok survival of the fittest.
    You want to stop this crap ? You need to build a better society, but jail is not the answer, you put those *****s behind bars, they won't get jobs, they will be criminals, and they will live the rest of their lives making it crap for the rest of us.
    The problem with the governments is they are crap, lazy, over paid asshats who, do nothing to help any situation, they have teams of *****s who do ... research apparently, (anyone gets a grant finding out if bananas really do fit up your bum, or if curry clears colds in baboons...)
    You over breed, your schools are full, classrooms overflowing, teachers overworked, immigrants walking in adding to the problem, your children are dumbing down, they dumb down exams just so they can get jobs, but many are still to thick cause they spend all day connected to a screen or playing games.
    And if you are a parent you need to not let your under 13 year old on social networks, its against the law. Even Steam you have to be 13+. Stop slacking and letting screens babysit ya kids, take an interest in your kids life, and chuck them out the house to kick a ball so they aint obese by 9 years old.
    All this though has come to a head because Richard Madeley is a UK tv celebrity, and didnt like rape threats against his daughter. Frankly I think he has every right to go beat the snot out of anyone who said such remarks without the police gettin on his case, and if he can find these *****s fair enough. But at the end of the day, ignore the pathetic people, or take the internet for what it is, 99% crap. 1% steam sales.
    psycros likes this.
  17. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,156   +1,411

    Fairly certain this thread gets the award for both a) best thought out and discussed topic on TS in a long while, and b) best example of two parties arguing two very different things.

    Not if the person threatening you online lives down the block.

    Some of us are taking this 'trolling' in the context of unknown, anonymous @$$-hats who get off on making someone's life miserable. They're the greifers of the internet. And yes, they should be blocked, and its a fact of line online that you'll run into them.
    But what about the online abuse that can occur from people you know and see regularly in daily life. That's a big difference. Is it someone you know, or someone you don't know.

    We brought up the teen suicides, not as an example of someone who didn't know how to use the block feature, but as an example of what happens when bullying drives someone to kill him/herself. The fact that the bullying occurred online isn't what makes it unique, it's just that being online allowed it to be recorded.

    that's not an issue, that's how laws are written. Libel and slander are examples of illegal free speech because someone reacts adversely to them. Adverse reaction leads to laws all the time.
    No it's not. 'Drink bleach and die' (one of their favs) is not subjective.

    But neither is it criminal. I don't believe it should be criminal to say anything. The saying it isn't the crime. Driving someone to do something illegal is the crime. Driving someone to hurt themselves or someone else is the crime. The fact that it was online only serves to collect the evidence, not offer a form of protection.
    A radical Islamist is not free from prosecution if he personally recruits and convinces someone to kill people. The defense, 'All communication occurred through an online forum, where free speech is protected' would not hold water.
    The same goes for online abuse. The speech isn't the crime. But if the speech results in a crime, then it becomes a crime. This is also why we have a judge interpret these things with lawyers 'n such to figure out the specifics of each case.
  18. I understand your point perfectly. Here is what I am saying:

    Laws that criminalize trolling, as currently structured, infringe on free speech by restricting the range of expression available to an individual under penalty of jail time.

    A direct threat against someone on the Internet, such as the following, does NOT fall under the purview of expression: I am going to kill you, rape your father, and burn your children!

    This is not a defensible statement. Even so, regardless of how the recipient might view the statement, merely saying something that makes another person uncomfortable does not warrant taking away a portion of the offending party's life. This is especially true when we know, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the offending party has no real intent to perform the suggested actions. It isn't a real threat. It is a rude fiction.

    Accordingly, the punishment levied against the aggressor should be no different than the punishment for any other display of public indecency or disorderly conduct. In the event of frequent, targeted trolling by an individual, the same penalties that apply to incidents of harassment should apply, including the issuance of restraining orders. Only if a troll violates this latter measure should he be subject to significant (more than 24hrs) imprisonment.

    Threatening, offensive, or abusive statements are all various forms of expression because, beyond any reasonable doubt, they express the author's thoughts or feelings towards the recipient. While clearly rude and immature, each of the following statements fall under the purview of expression:

    (1) I hope you die in a chemical explosion!
    (2) You're a fat ****!
    (3) You're a mentally retarded faggot!

    Each of these statements is incredibly rude, unpleasant, and, to some, hurtful. They may be properly classed as threatening, abusive, and offensive, respectively. Even so, each statements express the author's opinion about the recipient. If the expression of those thoughts–rude as they may be–is criminalized, freedom of speech has necessarily been infringed because a form of legitimate expression has been deemed unlawful.

    The secondary problem is that a subjective measure being used to determine what is unlawful and what is not. Specifically, what qualifies as sufficiently offensive, abusive, or threatening to warrant legal action is determined exclusively on the feelings of the so-called victim, not an objective, verifiable rule. Consequently, this leaves open the possibility for the law to be used to suppress any view deemed offensive, abusive, or threatening–whether the author is actually a troll or not.

    For example, say that a particularly inflammatory individual takes to Reddit and poses the question: Is Chloe Zinn really a **** and a fraud? Let us then say that this thread becomes popular and is eventually discovered by Chloe, who requests the participants stop talking about her, only to be told in response, "We will discuss what we please." Finally, let us say that she feels, based on the content of the thread and the response to her presence there, that the thread and its contributors are threatening, offensive, and hurtful, leading her to become very, very depressed.

    Under the precedent set forth by current trolling laws, a case can be made that the thread's author and contributors caused (or are causing) harm to Ms. Zinn. They are being bullies by actively participating in a discussion that is hurtful to Ms. Zinn. Accordingly, a court can order the author and/or the thread's contributors to terminate any further discussion of the topic, or face fines or jail time, depending on the extent of damages alleged by Zinn's lawyer. Note that the central argument being made is not that the discussion participants necessarily have ill-will towards Zinn. Rather, Zinn finds their opinions hurtful.

    In this hypothetical example, what has happened is a violation of free speech. Quite literally, individuals have been ordered into silence under penalty of fine or imprisonment not for directly posing any threat to the disgruntled party. Their speech has been legally suppressed for being rude and inconsiderate.

    These are the problems with anti-trolling laws. As far as I can tell, they classify trolling far too broadly, encapsulating anyone who has the audacity to be an *** to someone else. Their penalties are also too harsh. Just because someone shouldn't express themselves in an offensive manner, or because they could express themselves in a civil manner, does not justify imprisoning them for repugnant communication.
    psycros likes this.
  19. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,763   +1,159


    If you would be so kind as to read what they mean by SERIOUS cases to be reviewed AND refered by a magistrate to the crown court instead of sticking with the topic of the news you might actually have a point though.
  20. The extent to which the comment impacts the recipient is necessarily subjective. A BAC of 0.5 is 0.5, there is no way to get around it. "Drink bleach and die," on the other hand, is going to be emotionally processed differently by everyone. Yes, there is objectivity in the sense of it being technically offensive, but is is not objective in the level of offense it inflicts. BAC is always proportionate to the saturation of alcohol in an individual's bloodstream. The level of offensiveness of "Drink bleach and die" is dependent entirely upon the individual it is directed at. For one person, the statement might actually provoke amusement. For another, it may genuinely make them feel bad.

    Using a different example, to illustrate, there was an article published by a manosphere blog recently that put forward the following position: Tattooed women are damaged. This was a position that was later supported by a small collection of scientific evidence in a followup article. Needless to say, there were only two response to the articles:

    (1.) Those who thought the article reflected some degree of truth.
    (2.) Those who found it to be wildly offensive, sexist, and misogynistic.

    Although threats are explicit and tasteless comments can be offensive, how they are received is always subjective, based on psychology and views of the individual who receives the content.
    psycros likes this.
  21. Do I need to launch an ad hominem attack on you? I may go to jail for it, but, God as my witness, I'll do it. You better believe I'll do it.

    I've read up on the MCA and the original story while participating in the thread. I am familiar with the objective of the legislation and how it is supposed to work. Even so, as I stated earlier, I have been following the topic of online harassment intently over the past six months, leading me to conclude that the basis of the law is flawed and that those flaws will eventually be exploited to broaden the scope of what constitutes a "serious case."
    psycros likes this.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,824   +3,912

    I really think this thread was completely mis-titled. "Trolling" is one thing, and a very subjective criterion. If I don't agree with you, and disagree in earnest, you're going to start tossing, "the T word" in my direction. If you lose an argument, the other guy is a troll, because you can't be outwitted by normal means, and the "troll" is your social inferior. According to you, that is. The pot calls the kettle black.

    As near as I can determine this proposed legislation is aimed at stalkers, predators, and attackers, and should be titled as such.. As long as this is an attempt to reconcile the penalty for internet stalking with the civil criminal penalties, all is well.

    Now, the question is how much liberty of speech will be abridged on the part of people that simply like to argue on the web.

    Now, if you simply want to up the penalty for cyber stalking or terroristic threats, knock yourself out.

    I have to say though, teenaged suicide "victims", who were pushed to that point by words on the web, were absolutely damaged good to begin with. Likely they were actually the "victims" of overindulgent, overprotective parents, who failed at equipping them with the skills needed to survive puberty.
    davislane1 and psycros like this.
  23. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,669   +2,428

    I'll never understand those who are quick to propose limiting the freedoms of others. I suppose their simply too dim to realize that every precedent of that kind puts another weapon in the tyrant's arsenal. What we need isn't a heavily policed internet but an easily *filtered* one. Everyone should be able to easily and effectively block undesirable content. There should be a movement to unify all the whitelists used by web reputation specialists. (Maybe Yahoo could keep their web index going - it could useful for categorizing sites.) In this way people can live in their personal comfort zones and never see anything online that upsets them. Of course, it will also make a lot of folks even more ignorant and socially tribal, but at least this way its voluntary and the rest of us can go on thinking for ourselves. Stupid laws that encourage Chinese-style thought control have no place in any Western nation.
  24. The biggest trolls are the scumbag politicians who even consider this a legislative topic. Slap them in jail, in solitary and lets get them to consider taking away the right of every human on this planet to speak freely and have an opinion! This is all part of the so called secret agenda laid down for all to see in George Orwell's 1984.
  25. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 600   +80

    Cool give it a few years then half the CS community will be locked up in a young offenders institute.

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