UK Police Planning To Arrest Twitter Users For Mentioning The Name Of A Rape Victim

from the free-speech? dept

The UK apparently has a law that protects the identity of the victims of sexual assault and rape. It's understandable why such laws exist. However, once a name gets out, as it has in a recent high profile case involving footballer Ched Evans (sentenced to five years in jail for raping a woman), does it really make sense to arrest Twitter users for mentioning her name? Now, this is no Ryan Giggs-type case, despite the superficial similarities. This does involve the victim of a horrific crime. However, at some point, you have to come to terms with reality, and recognize that even if you don't want the name out there, it's out there. Apparently it was such common knowledge that the name was trending as one of the most popular topics on Twitter. At that point, what good does arresting Twitter users do? It doesn't put the genie back in the bottle, and it's unlikely to make people not share other names. It just enrages people for telling them they can't talk about something they want to talk about.

The laws on these types of issues were designed to prevent the press from broadcasting the name. The problem here is that in the internet age, we've all become the press -- even as most people think of these tools as being more like a typical conversation. And that's where the law breaks down. While it may be legal to arrest folks on Twitter for mentioning this woman's name, it clearly goes beyond the purpose or intent of the law, and doesn't seem to do much good.


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  1.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    The purpose and intent of the law is to protect the victim from being put through further pain and suffering which I completely agree with. That is the purpose and intent with which this action would be taken; well, that and protecting the integrity of any ongoing investigation and/or trial.

     

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    Traveller800 (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 9:58am

    Re:

    I agree with you, Zakida...however, I don;t think its deserving of an arrest and possible jail time. The people being arrested probably were tweeting support for this woman to help her cope with the pain of what she has gone through.

    Yes, they should not have mentioned this ladies name...should they be thrown in jail for it? No...maybe a fine or a warning...but not jail.

     

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    Christina, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:04am

    "The people being arrested probably were tweeting support for this woman to help her cope with the pain of what she has gone through."

    Hahaha! Good one. Can I come live on your planet?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Free speech

    If the trial is public, and the spectators can hear the name, it's censorship to restrain the dissemination of information already made public.

    It's no grey zone but a clear textbook case of censorship.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:13am

    I believe in protecting victims from further harm. I am just afraid this could escalate and turn into some scary thing where people are terrified to post their thoughts and opinions in fear of getting arrested and going to jail for your thoughts...

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, jail is harsh. Community service would be sufficient for something like this, or a warning if it is a first offence.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Censoring information is stupid. If the information is already out, it's no legitimate reason to censor it.

    Fortunately the strategies protecting file sharers are the same protecting the sharing of all other information.

    DOn't stop the signal.

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    Reporting the fact of crimes should always be legal. Legal meaning/including means place, time, gender, race and number of victims. But names of the victims should never be allowed. (The convicted people give up that right to privacy.

    Which means that their privacy is protected until their are convicted.) Sorry but unless the victim says OK you should not tell. Period. What "public interest" is served by allowing further victimization of those victims of crime?

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:21am

    Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    Wow formatting with my comment was messed up.

     

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    Phillip (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:28am

    Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    What public interest is served in arresting someone who tweeted public factual information?

    If they want to maybe go after whoever originally started it, I can understand that. Perhaps that is what they are planning, but it sounds more like they want to try getting anyone they can identify who tweeted this information.

    Arresting people who repeated information accomplishes nothing and the information will still be public.

     

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    Traveller800 (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    Ah...I was wondering when a troll would turn up.

     

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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:33am

    Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    Reporting the fact of crimes should always be legal. [...] But names of the victims should never be allowed.
    The names of those involved are facts, yes?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:34am

    Censorship and First Amendment

    The free speech principle is well settled law under the First Amendment. A trial is presumptively public, and therefore any information acquired by public spectators is in the public domain.

    It may well be that the governments outside the United States may forbid the publication or republication of the name of crime victims, but at least under the First Amendment such a prior restraint is unconstitutional.

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    Yes, true. But please explain why that should be allowed? What public interest is served?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:55am

    This Is A Surprise? How?

    By now it's obvious that the cops would love to have an excuse to arrest everybody who isn't a cop.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    You are wrong if you assume that free speech has to be justified. It's the other way around. Restrictions on free speech are presumptively invalid, and flipping the public interest question on its head is antithetical to free speech.

     

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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    The public interest of not locking up people for reporting facts?

     

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    Liam (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:09am

    Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    Sorry to have to break this to you, but your constitution and amendments to said document have no jurisdiction outside of your borders.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    I hate to break it to you, but I am well aware that the the UK like the nanny states of Europe are lacking in their legal protection of free speech.

    The writ of the First Amendment stops at the US border, but the First Amendment is the gold standard when speaking of constitutional rights of free speech.

    In America you have the right to burn the flag, blaspheme any religion and defend national socialism and communism and insult the government or any group and even advocating the violent overthrow of organized government.

    In Europe, you'll get jail time for most if not all of the above activities.

    And in Europe the governments were the first to pass mandatory telecommunication retention laws.

    America is often portrayed as worse than Europe, but a lot of legal regulations prove the opposite.

    Even copywrong law is more repressive.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re:

    A lot of the tweets were definitely not supporting the victim. Many people who tweeted were apologists for Ched Evans.

    I'm conflicted on this. Freedom of speech is patently something that should be upheld above most other interests. However, freedom of speech should also be weighed up against the privacy of the individual.

    One cannot take either to its fullest conclusion as they are in conflict. I think, in this instance, privacy should trump speech. After all, we're not talking about corporate interests or hiding wrongdoing, we're talking about protecting the human rights of an individual, protecting the right to privacy of a victim.

    It's true that the genie cannot be put back in the bottle, but we can limit the mischievousness of the genie.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:32am

    As far as I understand the people who were arrested were the people who made the first tweet?

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:40am

    Cybertalking

    But Twitter isn't just like talking about something that's already out there.

    Its talking On The Internet!!!

    You see, its cybertalking, and cybertalking is a threat these days. As we can prove, terrorists talk, and want to use technology to do so. Using this undeniable logic, cybertalking must be outlawed per the US, UK, France, ....

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re:

    This is really the government's fault for letting the cat out of the bag.

    If the information is already out, the government should not have a second bite at the apple.

    There are two free speech principles at play: The public's right to access a criminal trial, and the derived right to publish all information acquired during the trial. If you have a right to attend a trial, you must logically have the right to tell others what you have heard and seen. If the government or the defense don't want the info out, the time to act was prior to the proceedings. Gagging public spectators in order to suppress what is already known is censorship full stop.

    Free speech is value neutral. There is no less right to speak about an individual than a corporation.

    Arguing that the government should have more power to censor republication based on the identity of the individual concerned or the subject matter is dangerous.

     

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    Rekrul, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    ven advocating the violent overthrow of organized government.

    In theory. In reality, you would instantly be put on FBI/NSA watchlists and probably eventually arrested as a suspected terrorist, where you would have no rights and could be held for the rest of your life without even being charged. Pesky things like proving your guilt of a crime, or even having to show due cause go right out the window once the word "terrorist" is used.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:50am

    However, at some point, you have to come to terms with reality, and recognize that even if you don't want the name out there, it's out there.

    If it's illegal to publish the name, yes by all means they should be held accountable for this.

    Whenever 'protected' information is released, that can endanger a person, that should be the case. I mean - how would any of us feel if that was our Mother/Wife/Daughter?

    While it may be legal to arrest folks on Twitter for mentioning this woman's name, it clearly goes beyond the purpose or intent of the law, and doesn't seem to do much good.

    I would also disagree 100% with that - the intent of this law is to protect a person who has already been victimized, be it published by the press or anyone else. Publishing her name removes a level of protection; and in some cases, that could be devastating to a person. Let's say the rapist themselves didn't know her name, nor does the brother of the rapist who's all mad that his brother went to jail.

    If her name gets out there, it give anyone like that a clear means to start up 'retaliation' against that person.

    I'm all for free speech, of course, but in the case where a law is defined to protect people in this case, there do need to be restrictions. It would seem real clear that this information should be protected.

    I mean - what if someone published any one of our social security numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, phone numbers.... I doubt we'd be too happy. And then should it be said, that even though there is a law, since it was twitter, we should just ignore it?

     

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  26. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Shocker! Mike doesn't think someone should be held accountable for breaking the law online.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    As far as I understand the people who were arrested were the people who made the first tweet?

    Shouldn't matter who it was anyway. Then I guess they get even more time.

     

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    aikiwolfie, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    Given these arrests are about protecting the victim in this case and reassuring other victims they can come forward in confidence then I would say it makes complete sense. This isn't some frivolous use of the law to cover up some juicy gossip. It's a serious effort to protect vulnerable people which should be commended.

    I also happen to think the accused's name should also remain anonymous until there is a final verdict. A rape allegation can destroy a man's life. A fact women have in the past taken advantage of for petty revenge. Justice needs to be allowed to run it's course before people start disclosing details in these cases.

    Another important fact to remember here is that an arrest is not a conviction. This isn't something the police can give you an on-the-spot-fine for. So people need to calm down and let the police do their jobs.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    It would appear that this was a willfully vindictive act by a few individuals, intended to cause further hurt to the victim. Are we really suggesting that we should all look the other way and ignore it in the name of free speech?

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    even advocating the violent overthrow of organized government.


    Actually, no, advocating violent revolution is not protected speech. Further, if your advocacy can be construed as directly inciting or instigating violence then the speech is forbidden by law.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    Read Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) and the subsequent case Hess v. Indiana.

    The test for whether advocating law violation is protected speech is that the speech must be directed to incite imminent lawless action and must be likely to incite such action.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    Precisely.

     

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    TheLoot (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    Another instance of "too drunk to consent"? Unless he poured the booze down her throat, this case was stupid to begin with. Anything to place blame elsewhere after the fact...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    Well then I don't understand your claim that advocating the violent overthrow of organized government is not protected speech.

    Clearly it is protected speech, and the Brandenburg case itself dealt with a KKK leader whose conviction for advocating violence was reversed by the Supreme Court.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    "Reporting the fact of crimes should always be legal. Legal meaning/including means place, time, gender, race and number of victims. But names of the victims should never be allowed."

    Rape is different from, say, a mugging or pickpocketing, in that, often, the victim is forced to feel shame and humiliation by idiots who say "(s)he asked for it" or (s)he deserved it".
    NOT revealing the victim's identity (unless they allow it) minimizes the additional trauma (besides the rape itself).

     

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    Thebeseeched, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 2:08pm

    How was her name released to begin with...that is really where the problem is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    But the issue is that the identity is already known by a subset of the public having got the information from legal sources.

    Defending the further suppression of the information in order to enforce relative apart from absolute secrecy which is already lost is a dangerous slippery slope.

    If something happens in a public place or in a place to which the public has a right of access, the government may not ban me from talking about what I know.

     

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    Blimfark Smith, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 2:36pm

    "The cat is out of the bag" = BS

    All of this shoulder-shrugging regarding the release of the victim's identity (which, I agree, should extend to the accused until an actual verdict) basically consigns that person to victimhood. "Oh, well, sorry somebody victimized you AGAIN... but you've just got to accept reality?" No. SOMEBODY needs to be held accountable for the release of the name. If tweeters don't want to get arrested, they can reveal their source, and the leak can be traced back to its origins -- and plugged, to everyone's benefit. QED: arresting someone HAS made people not share other names, contrary to the author's assertion.

     

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    DomiKko, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    I don't want to see anyone hurt but if the name is out there, it's out there. It's silly to do things that could drastically affect the lives of people who are just curious. If it's trending then people haven't committed any wrong in mentioning the name.

    If it were me, I would clearly not want my name out there but I hope I would retain the ideal that maybe people will have to suffer a little for everyone to retain some freedom of speech.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    Sorry, I was very imprecise in my language, but what I was trying to say is in agreement with what you said.

     

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    rob, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    I dare you to go burn the flag and talk smack about Christianity and see how far your freedom of speech gets you in the USA.

     

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    Andrew F (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Re: "The cat is out of the bag" = BS

    In this case, the original leak came from SkyNews, not Twitter users. Yet police are arresting people who basically re-tweeted or otherwise passed on the information. If the police want to go after SkyNews, fine -- they screwed up. But it scares me that the simple act of pressing the "retweet" button could subject a person to criminal liability.

     

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    Andrew F (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:04pm

    Wikileaks

    From a free speech perspective, this sounds similar to Wikileaks. Bradley Manning clearly broke the law by leaking information. But should Wikileaks be held accountable for basically forwarding or distributing that info?

    Some dice here: SkyNews screwed up by leaking her name. Might make sense to go after them -- but it bothers me that you can get trouble for a "retweet".

     

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    Laroquod (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "A lot of the tweets were definitely not supporting the victim. Many people who tweeted were apologists for Ched Evans."

    That's irrelevant. The purpose of this law is to prevent public identification of a victim -- not to punish people with a certain opinion about that victim.

    For this law to be taken truly seriously, you would have to punish those who unwittingly mention the victim's name while supporting her, to the exact same extent as those who mention the name in course of smearing it. Both are prejudicial to a trial, so if an anti-victim tweeter gets jail time for mentioning a name, then so should a pro-victim tweeter.

    If you think it's absolutely preposterous for a citizen to get jail time for mentioning a victim's name while tweeting in support of her, then you are against this law. Can't have it both ways.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    COME ON, you should not be accepting it FULL STOP
    Its unfortunate that the name was leaked, but it happened, and in a list of all the bad things the police could be spending their time on, THIS would not be to far above loitering or j walking

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 8:31pm

    Re:

    As oposed to strict laws, brought by organisations with FAR to much bias on the matter

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 9:52pm

    Re: Free speech

    The victims name was NOT stated in public court, if stated at all it is stated in closed court and only heard by the court, defence, prosecution, and maybe jury (though sometimes even the jury is denied the name).

    Rape (sexual assault) being a highly contentious issue on all sides is one of the main areas of law within Commonwealth Countries (UK/AU/NZ/CAN) where victims identities (and all other identifiers) are fully protected under gag orders. In the case of the UK this is for the life of the victim as it should be.

    Minors (Children & Young persons) have a similar law protecting their names and anything they might have been involved in within Criminal law proceedings.

    It's not a matter of censorship, and definitely doesn't come under Freedom of Speech (a USA only concept) it's a matter of common sense, protection of the innocent and something the large majority of reasonable people actually agree with.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 9:55pm

    Re:

    You can posit thoughts, opinions, etc. Just do not identify the victim in any way.

    You DO NOT need to know a name to talk about specific cases, you do not need to know addresses, you do not need to know victim's associations, or the victims physical characteristics.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 9:57pm

    Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    They are only going after the original tweeters who are within the jurisdiction of the UK and who were posting the name out of malice.

    Though I think any who knowingly posted the name whether for malice or not and knew about the law (there is a huge onus) should be at least warned, at most prosecuted if in malice.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    Actually NO they are not, they are 'in camera' or closed comments that are not meant for public record.

    The cases themselves do not refer to names but instead pseudonyms either letters or numbers (or both).

    Whether you agree with the case, its outcome, or not. The rights of the victim are paramount

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    They didn't get it from legal sources.

    Even if they got it from twitter and then replied and reposted with the name still in there adding their opinion they have gotten it from an unlawful (and probably illegal) source since any publication of the name is an illegal act making twitter an illegal place in this instance.

    If something happens in a public place or in a place to which the public has a right of access, the government may not ban me from talking about what I know.
    You are talking about the USA ONLY... though even the USA has limits on speech.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 12:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    So freedom of speech is only an American notion? If this is your opinion, censorship and prior restraint is equally only American, and there is nothing to talk about.

    Any argument supporting bans on republication of information in this case necessarily must support the government's power to ban Wikileaks and everyone who mentions any classified information even over the dinner table.
    So if I discover the identity of the victim, I could be prosecuted for mentioning her name in a private email. This is no different from China prosecuting dissidents on account of leaking state secrets.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 12:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    So freedom of speech is only an American notion? Actually as far as we are talking about in this instance/context yes it is. The rest of the planet used "Freedom of Expression" which incorporates all types of communication mediums into allowing the dichotomy of ideas to spread between humans.

    Though it is also limited by what the community itself feels is responsible and reasonable Expression. It's also stated as a natural right, whereas "Freedom of Speech" under the US Bill of Rights isn't.

    So if I discover the identity of the victim, I could be prosecuted for mentioning her name in a private email.

    You are either being intentionally argumentative or you mistakenly typed private when you meant public. If you meant public then yes you can be prosecuted, that is what criminal law is all about.

    If you actually meant private, then you really have a problem with comprehension about everything I and others have written about publishing the name publicly

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 1:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    I actually meant private, and what your and the government apparently argue is that republication of information may be banned in order to protect someone from unwanted attention.

    I know that the government for now only goes after republication of the information, but nothing logically limits the rationale to only publishing.

    After all, the distinction between private and public is only a matter of degree, and if I send an email to 5 of my friends mentioning the victim's name, and my friends send the email to all their friends, there is no difference between private and public dissemination of the information, and if private dissemination becomes so big that everyone knows the information I am sure the government will now argue that all dissemination must be banned.

     

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  55.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 1:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    The whole problem with your argument is you expect everyone to bow down to the idea that All speech should be free to yell from the rooftops or print on whatever surface at hand.

    The world isn't that black and white, the USG itself has absolute limitations on speech, mostly revolving around harm issues.

    The government is based on the will of the people, laws are based on what the society at the time decrees to be appropriate behaviour be that based on some Rights in a "Bill of Rights", Magna Carter, Statute, or supposedly etched into stone tablets on some mountain. It doesn't matter. You are trying to impose your ideas on other humans who you think are somehow wronged when they themselves actually agree with these laws and models of behaviour.

    The Republic of the USA is just ONE form of government, and when it comes down to it not as democratic as some others and sometimes better than others.

    Allow the community of the jurisdiction to self govern themselves and stop placing your ideologies, however altruistic you think they are, onto peoples who, in the case of the UK, have had a longer criminal legal history than the USA and strangely are actually less criminally inclined as the USA is, based on your prison population. Why? Because they don't go around demanding the Rights that they already understand they have but also understand those same rights come with major responsibilities to both themselves and their fellow citizens.

    BTW I am not a citizen of the UK nor Europe.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 1:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    Sure, it's black or white. Either information is legal to disseminate or it isn't.

    You aren't really denying that the government could or should ban dissemination of information even through private communication if the limited republication ban fails.

    All statist fascists fall back on the same argument that government may ban everything the 'community' wants. Sure it can ban everything like drugs and noncommercial copyright infringement.

    The reason for the high US prison population is not that the population is more inclined to crime, but the government defining 'crime' down to nonviolent drug offenses.

     

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  57.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    Ah I see, you're one of those ideological holier than thou, everyone else is a communist/fascist people.

    Though you seem to at one instance say that the community (via Govt) can ban some things that the community agree upon, but not others that the community agree upon.. dissonance maybe?

    In other words your maxim is "I'll do what I want when I want to and anyone who doesn't like it I'll brand them with some *ist statement"


    Oh and if it's because of your 'govt' defining laws improperly that the prison rate is so high then change the govt or laws.. Isn't that what your 2nd amendment is for?

    Though before you look at 'drug' laws as the major problem, be sure to also look at plea bargaining, moralistic criminal offences, and 3-strike systems.

    Though by all means try to change the rest of the world into your image before you try to even change your own system, that you seem to not like either. Maybe you should immigrate to the UK and change the laws by voting and community debates.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 2:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    I don't like plea bargaining, three strikes for *nonviolent offenses* or the criminalization of moral offenses. Most which goes for American justice is disguised corporate
    fascism.

    And no, I don't think that you are a statist fascist, but the free speech and
    privacy laws in Europe are really bad, and most if not of all of the policies are driven by the statist mindset that the government once on a prohibition track must succeed at any cost because the 'community' has ordained that something must be criminal.

    And yes, legitimacy flows from individual consent. If the government decrees that drinking water between 2 AM and 4 AM on all Sundays, is punishable by fine or imprisonment, or that copying my cds for my friend is illegal, I have a moral right to resist.

     

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  59.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 2:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    Three strikes for ANY offence is wrong in my eyes, and though I don't agree with the 'corporate fascism' theory, it seems a germ of truth is there when you consider the privatisation of US prison system. That's just plain corruption waiting to happen.

    I prefer to think feudalism is still alive and kicking in most places, though the internet and current global climates is giving it major problems. Good!

    What I really think the problem with here is one of a cultural difference, even more enhanced when You consider I am actually Australian and see the UK going away into the EU weird system of trial by judges (no juries of peers etc.. NUTS!!!) than it's original common-law/magna-carta values.

    Though I grew up with certain restrictions on what you can legally say or do, I don't miss them since no-one really worries about the restrictions unless they become highly egregious and then we change it, and our High Court will as well - they really are not beholden to the Govt and the Govt hates it.

    Victims in sexual assaults are already in a highly contentious arena giving them the legal privilege of not having there names made public on punishment of incarceration is in my view good for all society, and outweighs any foreseeable harm that could arise from such.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 3:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    I agree with most of what you say, and no counterargument over the privatized American prison system. Really stupid and counterproductive.

    I would have no problem with the government keeping the identity of all crime victims secret as a matter of law, but the theory that the government should first make certain information secret then having the derived power to forbid any publication and republication of said information freaks me out.

    First, I think that going after the first publisher is understandable, but what about the 2nd, 3rd and 4th publisher in the chain?

    If I get classified information by illegal means, and I am the first publisher, I should definitely get jail, but what if I happen to be someone who heard or read the information or got it from the first publisher,
    should the government's power extend to punishing me or restraining me from telling what I know to someone else?

    In this case, the government may only be interested in going after the first publisher, but is it really germane to the government's action? If a news media is the first publisher, it seems that anyone having obtained the information is now likely getting it over the airwaves or other public channels.

    At some point the government's power to punish or restrain republication must stop. This is my problem with granting the government such sweeping power. On the other hand, if the government should have such power in order to protect privacy, I can't see how such a power can be logically limited to only republication in this case.

     

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  61.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 3:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    I haven't looked at the actual act they are going by though if similar to ours there also needs to be an intent to publish so mistake and mens rae is a defence.

    Seems they have arrested three individuals and only those with malicious intent, which makes life easier. Also Sky news the news org stupidly transmitted the tweets on a screen shot with the name on it.. They were not initial source. They are going after the initial source and those most likely communicating back and forth. Remember this was Not for support of the victim but instead to intimidate and in some ways defame the victim.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/26/ched-evans-rape-twitter-investigation?INTCMP=ILC NETTXT3487

    Also original article from guardian not one linked in TD article above
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/23/ched-evans-rape-culture-twitter?INTCMP=ILCNETT XT3487

    Gotta run.

     

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  62.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    I'm not talking about the legal definition of "fact", I'm talking about the real definition of "fact". "Mr. Doe was accused of raping Mrs. Doe in a court of law" is a fact.

    And what right of theirs is infringed upon by having their name said in public, and in a factual context? You think people have a right to use violence (or the threat thereof) to stop other people from speaking their name in public?

    Someone's rights are being violated here, but it certainly isn't the victim's.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    btr1701, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    > The purpose and intent of the law is to
    > protect the victim from being put through
    > further pain and suffering which I completely
    > agree with.

    It's also unenforceable against the vast majority of Twitter users who aren't even in Britain and aren't subject to British law.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    btr1701, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    > Sorry to have to break this to you, but your
    > constitution and amendments to said document
    > have no jurisdiction outside of your borders.

    And likewise, this UK law is not binding on the vast majority of Twitter users, who are located outside the UK. Those of us in the US can tweet this woman's name as much as we like and nothing can be done about it.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    btr1701, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    > and even advocating the violent overthrow of
    > organized government.

    Actually, that one's been ruled to be unprotected speech. Peaceful overthrow of the government, yes, but advocating violence, no.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    No, advocating violence is protected speech, see Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969).

    Several cases have applied Brandenburg's holding to violent and offensive speech having upheld it as protected by the First Amendment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 28th, 2012 @ 2:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    The only person who knows about the factual data of her name are the victim and whomever she has told (most likely family & support friends), the alleged defendant at the time (and his friends & family), the police, solicitors and the court. In fact sometimes the court doesn't even know since the pseudonym is put in place by prosecutors before submitting the first fact sheet (brief).

    During the investigation/trial the victims name can not be published by ANYONE in conjunction with the trial or might have pre-knowledge of identities of all concerned. This is not the USA, trials are not open always to the public and never filmed and the briefs of evidence are never fully shown to the press (they are not public documents) even when given to courts they are not. Civil matters are different, criminal is tightly controlled to protect BOTH sides.

    Since this is also a sexual assault matter at the outcome of any proceedings the victim, if a verdict is guilty is found is then given the absolute legal right of not having their names, or other identifiers published in any medium in relation to the matter.

    The allegations here are that someone found out the name (most likely knew it from foreknowledge..ie: friend of defendant) and posted it maliciously with the intent to harass and intimidate the victim and others were a party to this intent. They are the ones the police are going after, as they should.

    The community of the UK, and most other Commonwealth countries, actually agree with these laws on both ethical and moral grounds. That community includes 100% the actual main stream media, the legal profession, victims right groups, all political parties and over 90% of general population.

    Saying it is wrong, is a US-centric bias, and alluding to the rights of the defendant and others who want to be malicious, vindictive, and/or intimidatory are somehow breached is in my opinion beneath the intelligence I know you have Chris.

    Freedoms are won and given by the community at large along with a caveat of responsibility towards that community. When you breach that responsibility and harmed said community then the community at large should be able to restrict those rights.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2012 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    No, apparently her name was leaked by SkyNews.

    The cat is out of the bag like in the Wikileaks situation.

    Once information is published, punishing further dissemination is censorship. There is even a landmark European Court of Human Rights case holding that the government can't continue punish republication indefinitely even when the information touches on national security.

     

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  69.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Apr 28th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    > No, advocating violence is protected speech

    All the people in prison for making threats to other people would beg to differ.

    Try threatening to kill the president and see what happens to you.

    (And yes, the Supreme Court has upheld 18 USC 871, which allows you to be arrested and imprisoned for doing just that.)

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    There is a difference between the true threat exception and the incitement to imminent lawless action test.

    Read Brandenburg v. Ohio, Watts v. United States and Virginia v. Black.

    The federal statute you're referring to deals with true threats to specific individuals, and not merely advocating violent action against the government. People are in prison for making true threats, but no one is in prison for merely advocating violence.

     

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  71.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Apr 28th, 2012 @ 11:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    > The federal statute you're referring to deals with true
    > threats to specific individuals, and not merely advocating
    > violent action against the government.

    You're seriously making the case that threatening to assassinate the president isn't the equivalent of advocating violent action against the government?

    > People are in prison for making true threats, but no one is in
    > prison for merely advocating violence.

    So basically your argument is that it's okay to advocate violence against the government so long as you're not really serious about it, which means you're not really advocating violence against the government.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2012 @ 11:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    'You're seriously making the case that threatening to assassinate the president isn't the equivalent of advocating violent action against the government?'
    No, it isn't my distinction but that made by the courts. The First Amendment distinction between true threats and protected advocacy of violence is well settled law.

    There are some elements required in a prosecution for making true threats which are different from speech merely advocating violence or law violation.

    Read the cases, the law is clear, and I win the argument. Merely advocating violence has been protected speech since Brandenburg. If advocacy falls within the true threat exception, however the speech is treated as a threat.

    But even a statement prosecuted as a true threat to the president must be objectively understood as likely causing fear of serious bodily harm. '

    There are a lot of room for speech advocating or defending violence against the president that would not constitute a true threat.

     

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  73.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Apr 29th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    > Read the cases, the law is clear, and I win the argument.
    > Merely advocating violence has been protected speech since
    > Brandenburg. If advocacy falls within the true threat exception,
    > however the speech is treated as a threat.

    If it's not a true threat, then it's not actually advocating violence. The logic is inescapable. Any advocacy of violence brings with it the threat of that violence if it's an *actual* advocacy of violence. If there's no threat, there's no real advocacy.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    This might be your opinion, but the courts disagree.
    Your opinion doesn't count only that of the courts and the Supreme Court has spoken.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    Advocacy and incitement

    "Any advocacy of violence brings with it the threat of
    that violence if it's an *actual* advocacy of violence. "

    What do you mean by *actual* advocacy? I think you conflate actual advocacy with incitement to violence.

    Incitement to violence is unprotected speech, but merely saying in a public place that the government and president deserve violent overthrow is not incitement to violence.In order to qualify as incitement to violence the speech must both be intended to incite the action and likely under the circumstances to do so. This is in essence the Brandenburg test and a very high hurdle.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Mike Ross, Apr 29th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

    Canute syndrome

    How futile... UK law only applies in the UK, which is pretty much a complete FAIL when it comes to trying to control what appears on the internet. I'm an American in America, under first amendment protection: I can name Lauren Crawford and say anything nasty about her that I like (should I wish to do so) and the British courts can tie themselves in convulsions if they like but they can't DO anything about it.

    The law, and the legal profession, have a LOT of catching up to do, and a lot of rethinking to do.

    Oh and no jail time or community service FYI, I checked and the maximum penalty is a fairly small fine.

     

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  77.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy does not need to be defined by victim status.

    We appear to be talking past each other; you're talking about what the law is, and I'm talking about what's right.

    And I don't agree that freedoms are "given by the community". What a horrible standard for rights.

     

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  78.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    > This might be your
    > opinion, but the
    > courts disagree.

    It's not an opinion. It's a fact. An advocation of violence absent the actual threat of that violence isn't really an advocation of violence.

    Basic logic.

    > Your opinion doesn't
    > count only that of
    > the courts and the
    > Supreme Court has
    > spoken.

    A bunch of judges can declare from on high that sun rises in the west, but that don't make it so, and my living room will still get the morning sunshine regardless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    For this law to be taken truly seriously, you would have to punish those who unwittingly mention the victim's name while supporting her, to the exact same extent as those who mention the name in course of smearing it.


    That is indeed what the law states, it's designed not to prevent smearing the victim, it's to stop people spreading their name full stop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    no, you have it wrong, I can say we need to violently overthrow the govt, run them out into the streets, tar and feather them and be done with this form of govt and start over

    that is the threat of violence, that is PROTECTED speech I advocated violence, but did not COMMIT any act of violence

    and no, not all threats against the president do you go to jail for, look at the ted nugent story, they knew what he meant, and he did not actually pose a real threat, hence why he didnt go to jail or be arrested

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship and First Amendment

    It will get you looked at funny and maybe called names, but it IS NOT ILLEGAL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:14pm

    and that is part of the problem, this woman was raped and vicitimized, and now you people on your high horse of free speech, are continuing to victimize her again, you are verbally raping her again, I hope your wife/sister/mother/daughter gets raped and the free speech group go on and on about her deserving it, then lets see how you like it...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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