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Flirting Over Email Or Text In Scotland Could Land You In Jail

from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept

It appears some Scottish politicians are putting forth a bill that could put people in jail for up to 10 years for sending a text or email with "sexual content." The goal of the bill is to discourage sexual harassment over email or text messaging -- but it appears to be worded quite broadly. The bill defines the crime as "committed if someone sends an unsolicited text message to someone else which a court finds was designed to give the sender sexual gratification or to humiliate, distress or alarm the receiver." How the court determines what gives the sender "sexual gratification" isn't entirely clear. Does a flirty email count? You can also run afoul of the law by "causing a person to see or hear an indecent communication." Forgot that NSFW tag? You might be in trouble. While you can understand the desire to cut down on harassing messages, this law seems problematic as worded.


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(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    You never know, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 5:30am

    I'm wondering if they will have the authority to cross international borders? I mean, the part “distress or alarm the receiver” could be convoluted to include about anything and everything. Lawyers are going to have a field day with this one!

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Huh?, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    How long do you think it will be before the first politician gets busted for this? I don't know about Scotland but here in the States our politicians sure like the nasty texts and emails.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    David, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 5:48am

    Being a Database Guy...

    The bill defines the crime as "committed if someone sends an unsolicited text message to someone else which a court finds was designed to give the sender sexual gratification or to humiliate, distress or alarm the receiver."

    I think the or above should be an and. You should need to meet both criteria to land in jail (or maybe just the second part about causing humiliation, distress or alarm, should be sufficient)

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    J, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 5:58am

    sexual gratification

    say no more. say no more.
    Wink wink nudge nudge.....


    Some pervert would find anything sexual gratification - lets hope they are not going get into a position of power!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Huh?, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 6:08am

    So if I send a picture of a foot to someone with a foot fetish I get to spend 10 years in jail. Awesome.

    You have to wonder to yourself, are these politicians trying to stir up a revolution or are they really this stupid?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Joe, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 6:27am

    Hmm...what is really going on

    I'm starting to wonder if maybe the politicians haven't fallen afoul of a woman or group who is looking to get some more hanky panky, and they are being bombarded so they make a law not allowing people to text. All in order to shut people up so their wives won't find out.

    Not realistic I know but just throwing it out there.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    bobbknight, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:31am

    Speech and freedom

    See what happens when you don't have true freedom of speech.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    cvpunk, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 8:40am

    we need more laws...

    why do politicians feel the need to act like everyone's parent?? people need to take a stand and refuse these stupid laws. I don't get this law at all... were these politicians bored? Did one of their wives receive a dirty little email?? Here's an idea... if you don't want to receive "unsolicited" emails... DON'T MAKE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO READILY AVAILABLE TO EVERYBODY! YOU DON'T NEED A DAMN LAW TO DO THIS FOR YOU!

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:12am

    Re: sexual gratification

    It's not the perverts who take everything out of context that I would worry about, it's the overly conservative, uptight people who take everything out of context that would worry me. The perverts probably won't report you, the uptight people will.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Petréa Mitchell, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:20am

    Gilbert and Sullivan

    Am I the only one who immediately thought of The Mikado on reading that headline?

    The youth who winked a roving eye,
    Or breathed a non-connubial sigh,
    Was thereupon condemned to die...

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Scott, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 9:37am

    Tacitus

    Sometime between the years 55 and 122, Tacitus said, "Formerly, we suffered from crimes. Now we suffer from laws."

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Member of the PTA, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: sexual gratification

    what are you insinuating by using that word "UpTight" ??
    Who do I report this to, you perverts and being all up in tight spaces just make me sick.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Mischa, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    No, no, other way around. Some one who you know has a foot fetish sends you a text message asking for a picture of your foot.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 2:10pm

    Just use TxtML

    Great new markup language (still in beta) guarantees law can't be misused. Ambiguous intent? Just use a tag:

    [/strictly platonic]
    [/testing the waters]
    [/legally drunk]
    [/wait you're not...!]
    [/auto-fwd virus]
    [/Tourette's]
    [/completely culpable idiot]

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    ranon, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 3:43pm

    sender?

    "committed if someone sends an unsolicited text message to someone else which a court finds was designed to give the SENDER sexual gratification"

    Should that not be receiver?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Ali, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 2:03am

    for those who have actually read the bill, it states;
    "For the purposes of this section, a communication or activity is sexual in any case if a reasonable person would, in all the circumstances of the case, consider it to be sexual"

    Fun flirting between consenting adults isnt an issue here - its a matter of recognising that situations have arisen where harrasment has taken place via email/text and needs to be recognised and victims protected. The explanatory notes to the bill also make it clear that "the offence is only committed where the victim did not consent to the activity and the perpetator had no reasonable belief that the victim consented".

    The bill and its explanatory notes can be downloaded on the scottish parliament website http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/bills/11-sexualOffences/index.htm

    If you send a random email or text which can be reasonably regarded as being sexual in its content, without the recipient's permission - if they feel harrassed/threatened or humiliated by that, they have a right to do something about it. If yr sending content to those who you know would be offended by it, or to deliberately cause further distress to those who are already distressed by your actions, or dont know/dont care cos you havent bothered to do the courtesy of asking them - its yr own fault.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Carmel, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 1:35pm

    Who's Job Is It???

    Cyber bullying is a big problem, yes. But what I want to know is who is going to monitor this? Cell phone companies, the cops? Just what kind of privacy rights are there for citizens and what about international travelers?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    gina, Apr 19th, 2009 @ 11:27am

    All though i agree in some cases for it to be a simple flirt message and you get punished for it that wrong. What if you get the wrong number

     

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