Google, Facebook And Twitter Ordered To Delete Photos By UK Law Enforcement

from the the-internet-police dept

It seems that, once again, the UK is going censorship crazy and not realizing how that only attacts more attention to that which they're trying to censor. This time, it involves some photos that were posted online of one Jon Venables, who at the age of 10, murdered 2-year old James Bulger, in a rather horrifying story. Venables was released from jail in 2001, at the age of 19 (though he has since gone back to prison). Photos of Venables, now 30 years old and apparently using a new identity to avoid his past, appeared online. The UK apparently wants a right to forget the fact that Venables did what he did, and seems to think that there should be no additional public consequences. Attorney General Dominic Grieve has said he's going to take legal action against anyone posting the photo, and has gone even further in telling Google, Facebook and Twitter that they need to magically delete any and all such photos that appear via their services.

It appears that at least Twitter has pushed back a little bit, pointing out that it will take down images if the law requires it upon notification, but that it cannot and will not monitor every one of its users to prevent them from posting the image:
Sinead McSweeney, Twitter's director of public policy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said she did not wish to be drawn into commenting on individual accounts.

She added: "We work with law enforcement here in the UK. We have established points of contact with law enforcement in the UK where they communicate with us about content, they bring content to our attention that is illegal, and appropriate steps are taken by the company. You may read into those words what you wish in context of the current [issue]."

McSweeney, who appeared alongside officials from Google and Facebook, said Twitter could not be expected to proactively monitor what is published on its social network across the globe each day. She added: "It's important that people increasingly understand that online is no different to offline: what is illegal offline is illegal online."
You can argue that it's unfair for Venables, under his new identity, to be connected back to what he actually did, though I'm not sure I buy that argument. But, it's taking it to a whole different level to then seek to prosecute people for merely posting a photo to their social network feed. They then take it to an entirely ridiculous level to order that third party service providers actively police and censor this particular photo. And, of course, all this is doing is calling much, much, much, much more attention to the photo. A lot more people are now seeing the photo than would have if people had just ignored the original postings.


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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 3:59am

    the reason he has a new identity is because it was judged that he would be at a high risk of getting attacked if people found out. It's not to forget James Bulger.

    the order to proactievly delete the photo is a bit too far, I will admit.

     

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      Duke (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 7:48am

      Re:

      This. The last time Venables was in the news after his identity was nearly revealed there were all sorts of nasty death threats etc.

      His case was screwed up since the beginning (the ECHR ruled that he didn't receive a fair trial, the UK courts had to intervene in reducing his sentence after the then Home Secretary decided to increase it for political gain) and the UK is being really cautious about what happened.

      In general, though, the UK has a fairly strong "rehabilitation of offenders" system whereby there are processes under which old offences can be forgotten (although still on record), particularly when children are involved.

      But in this case it is more likely to be about protecting him from the mob reaction (there's footage of the original trial around somewhere, and it is deeply disturbing) if his identity is compromised (and the costs the government will have to go through to hide him again).

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 4:09am

    If Google (etc) does this for the UK, then the copyright cartel is going to wonder why they can't do the same for them.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 4:37am

      Re:

      The simple answer, of course, would that there's a huge difference between filtering a single photo on your own site and filtering "stuff that might be infringing" on the entire internet. Not that those idiots would understand that, of course.

       

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    Vic (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 4:33am

    Overreach much...

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 4:36am

    "The UK apparently wants a right to forget the fact that Venables did what he did, and seems to think that there should be no additional public consequences"

    Well, what he did was indeed horrific and no punishment will ever right the crime. However, the issue of "additional public consequences" is troubling.

    Although it was undoubtedly unequipped to deal with the issue of a pair of child murderers who were themselves still children, they have served the punishment given by the courts. Under their original identities, there was absolutely no chance of them ever being given the chance of a normal life, and would constantly be under the threat of violence for them and their families. Some would say that this is OK considering their crime, but a new identity was necessary for them to truly have a chance at rehabilitation. Some might argue there's no point to even trying that in this case, but unless you support summary execution of children for doing what they did, they have to be rehabilitated in some way.

    Now, one of them has been identified and these pictures are being shared. They are being shared for one clear purpose - a vigilante attack. People sharing these photos want someone to recognise this person and retaliate for his crime. This is mob mentality, with all the dangers that poses (false identification either on the photo or in the street, for example), and is clearly an incitement to violence. This isn't someone having an embarrassing photo shared or a piece of content they wanted to sell - this is people baying for blood.

    From what I've seen, it's usually the same photo or photos being shared. From that, it's not difficult for a filter to be put into place for those specific photos, although I certainly. Whether law enforcement should be threatening prosecution to those posting the photos is questionable, but this isn't merely a case of sharing something people don't like. This is a clear call to violence related to a case that's still shocking and emotional for a great many people 20 years later.

    It's amazing that so many years after the crime (which led to a lot of attempts at censorship at the time when the tabloids tried to blame Child's Play 3), its repercussions are still being felt.

     

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      Mason Wheeler, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 5:01am

      Sounds familiar

      We saw a lot of similar crap over here in the US last year with the Trayvon Martin case. A bunch of people seemed to think that the law wasn't doing a good enough job, so they started posting personal identification about Zimmerman online, including his home address... which turned out to be wrong. The family who actually lived there was put through hell because of that mistake.

       

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      G Thompson (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 5:07am

      Re:

      I'm with you on this one PaulT, the posting of the Images serve no other purpose than an intent to incite some form of revenge (in any form.. not just violence) towards Venables.

      The only problem I can see is jurisdictional overreach if they stry to enforce it outside of the confines of the UK legal jurisdiction which interestingly in this instance could also be the greater commonwealth as well. When they try to get someone outside of the UK to remove that is when people (especially in the US) have to think and look at the ethics of actually posting the pictures whether or not the infamous First Amendment comes into it or not (incitement overrides it in some instances anyway)

      The repercussions of the murders are still being felt any time someone talks about doli incapax, and I shudder at the thought of what would of happened if at the time the two children in question were under 10 yrs old. Thankfully they weren't.

      As for Mike's statement of "additional public consequences" I think that is due to the major cultural differences between the USA and its basically punishment only system of incarceration (even for minors) compared to the Commonwealth role of rehabilitation for all, especially minors to stop such things as recidivism and to allow entry back into the community understanding that you have 'done your time'. Though the creep of the 'punishment at any price' philosophy into other Western countries is troubling.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 5:33am

        Re: Re:

        "The only problem I can see is jurisdictional overreach if they stay to enforce it outside of the confines of the UK "

        Agreed, it really does get very problematic when you consider the international nature of the services. Can a UK enforcement agency block material from the rest of the world? If not, then such blocks are easily routed around. If so, that opens dangerous precedents. Few people have friends just in one country - who gets the photos blocked? And so forth... Even without considering the different levels of free speech, it's a very difficult situation.

        "Thankfully they weren't."

        Barely. 7 months before, and the murderers would both have been 9.

        As for the punishment, it's a hugely difficult question there too. I have no idea how to address it, quite honestly, but to say that people deserve punishment after their sentences have been carried out is extremely troubling.

         

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      Beech, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:31am

      Response to: PaulT on Feb 28th, 2013 @ 4:36am

      I respectfully disagree. Perhaps the photo is being circulated to warm parents to keep their easily-murdered children away from this man, in case he has a relapse

       

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        PaulT (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:50am

        Re: Response to: PaulT on Feb 28th, 2013 @ 4:36am

        Nope, that's certainly not the case on the photos I've seen circulated. The call for retribution has been pretty clear.

        Plus, even that would be a dangerous thing in this day and age led by tabloid scare tactics. We are talking about the country where a paediatrician was attacked because some morons couldn't tell that "paediatrician" didn't mean "paedophile" http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/aug/30/childprotection.society

        If idiots are capable of that, correctly identifying a child murderer is essentially a call to violence in many peoples' minds.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 8:44am

      Re:

      Yes what you say is true and it would be no surprise to hear about him being beat to death. Still far more people are seeing the image because of their abusive overreach.

      People need to let it go they cannot hold a fucking ten year old accountable their entire life. I mean shit I can hardly remember being ten and I've completely forgot the mindset I had back then.

      They're making a mess of this and they should know once something is on the internet THERE IS NO DELETING IT EVER!

       

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      FuzzyDuck, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 8:44am

      Re:

      There is this little fact that he has been jailed again, as an adult, for possessing child porn. The guy is a pedophile, add to that the fact that he has killed a baby once already and lots of people conclude that he shouldn't be walking around freely potentially endangering other children.

      While it's laudable to give him a second chance, or rather a third chance by now, should we risk the well being of some innocent child who might happen to cross his path, to give him that chance?

      That's not to justify any retribution from to public, it's to explain why many people are unhappy that he's walking around freely. Posting his picture is probably more an expression of discontent with the way the justice system works.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 1:24am

        Re: Re:

        If this person is considered dangerous, it should be up to the law to put him away, not an angry mob. In actual fact I'd probably agree that based on the evidence available, he shouldn't be walking around in public. But, most of my information comes from the same place as everybody else's - internet rumours. If nothing else, the danger that someone who just happens to look like him could be attacked (or that some of the pictures circulated are of some other party who looks a bit similar) is reason enough not to allow this sort of thing. Lynch mobs are not something to be encouraged in the 21st century.

         

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      art guerrilla (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 12:09pm

      Re:

      1. on the scale of heinous crimes, i guess child killer is pretty much towards the one end of the scale; child molester would be pretty close, no ? ? ?

      ...and, yet, -at least in the states- their home location is PUBLICIZED by the gummint AFTER they have 'paid their debt to society' (such that their 'debt' is NEVER paid, is it ?)

      in fact, they will FORCE the EX-offender to register their location, INFORM THEIR NEIGHBORS they are in that neighborhood, etc, etc, etc...
      do you think that might be used for 'revenge' too ? ? ?

      (ps i am against this sort of continuing punishment AFTER they've served their punishment...)

      2. are the kids killing kids not adults now ? ? ? so, do we *screen*, protect, shield EVERYONE who did something 'bad' in the past and *someone* *may* *possibly* want to exact revenge ? ? ?
      wouldn't that include approximately half the planet ? ? ?

      art guerrilla
      aka ann archy
      eof

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 5:19am

    For once a Streisand effect link is relevant on techdirt. I blame the trolls

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 5:48am

    The contentid system has started a slippery slope to where the Internet becomes a controlled publication system. Whether based on a manual or automatic systems, filtering would become a bottleneck on publication, and this leads to means of deciding what should be published, or given priority through the checking queue.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 5:49am

    WELL, what responsibility does Mike have for "Masnicking" this story?

    I can't find any implications beyond that it's a difficult anomaly. No actual actions against Mike's beloved Google have taken place, so his theme here is exaggeration of what I think rather remote possibility. It's not helpful to my understanding of the world today, not least because likely will remain a unique anomaly.

    And so I'd say that the larger question is how Mike in his little way (plus numerous others amplifying almost non-stories) helps feed irrelevant "news" frenzies while ignoring vastly larger ones.

    For reasons above, Mike should have just left this alone. Besides that, this is -- not incidentally -- just about the least worrisome story involving Google that one can find, shows it under attack, not as spying on everyone...

     

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      PaulT (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:15am

      Re: WELL, what responsibility does Mike have for "Masnicking" this story?

      Did "I don't understand this story or its implications" really need 3 paragraphs of drooling conspiracy-laden idiocy to put across?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:15am

      Re: WELL, what responsibility does Mike have for "Masnicking" this story?

      > does not compute
      > doesn't matter had sex
      > whine anyway

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:29am

      Re: WELL, what responsibility does Mike have for "Masnicking" this story?

      "WELL, what responsibility does Mike have for "Masnicking" this story?"

      WELL, what responsibility does out_of_the_blue have for "bluing" this story with his inane ramblings?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:57am

      Re: WELL, what responsibility does Mike have for "Masnicking" this story?

      Sir, you need help. I'm very serious. Please get some counseling, before you do or say something you regret.

       

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      DP, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 12:41pm

      Re: WELL, what responsibility does Mike have for "Masnicking" this story?

      Grow up, OOTB. You are a very sad case.

       

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    Old Fool (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:27am

    Be aware of Venalbles

    After kidnapping Bulgers Venables used a brick to smash Bulgers head in - even at the age of 10 he must have been aware of his actions.
    Then they catch him with paedophilia material on several occasions.
    The only picture I want to see of him is in the deepest darkest dungeon doing several life sentences.

     

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      ChrisB (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:39am

      Re: Be aware of Venalbles

      > even at the age of 10 he must have been aware of his actions.

      Are you crazy? So if a 10-year-old girl "consents" to having sex, it isn't stat. rape?

      That dagger cuts both ways. Be careful what you wish for.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:27am

    No right to be forgotten

    The notion that it's unfair to be publicly remembered for a crime which sentence has been served or expunged is ridiculous.

    If you commit a public act, your conviction and sentencing is a public fact. You have no right of privacy to force others to forget facts already publicly known.

    Just because the state thinks that you have paid your debt to society does not mean that other private actors should be barred from discussing and retelling what happened.

    First, even a rehabilitated convict may still be a recidivist. I have a right to warn my family and children against associating with him.

    Second, in Europe where self-defense is a nullity, and you have no effective right to bear arms, voluntarily disassociating yourself from potentially dangerous criminal is the only recourse.

    If you can't legally retell the fact that Joe Smoe was a pedophile, terrorist or murderer, you can't exercise your right of self-protection.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:57am

      Re: No right to be forgotten

      "discussing and retelling"

      There's a game often played by children in the UK known as Chinese whispers, which I think is called telephone in the US. There's a real danger there.

      "Second, in Europe where self-defense is a nullity"

      Probably a lie, unless you think that "Europe" means "stuff you read in the Daily Mail about the UK".

      "you have no effective right to bear arms"

      You do realise that "Europe" is not a single country and different countries have different rules regarding firearms, right?

      "If you can't legally retell the fact that Joe Smoe was a pedophile, terrorist or murderer, you can't exercise your right of self-protection."

      What if you're lying, inciting people to attack innocents due to mistaken identity or destroying the lives of their children in return (see the "paedophile" link I posted above)? Your right to self protection may harm others - where's their protection?

       

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        G Thompson (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 7:17am

        Re: Re: No right to be forgotten

        I seriously think we are beating a dead horse here.. It's like seatbelts in cars, Consumer protections, Social Health and Education, Nakedness on TV, sarcastic humour, etc. The cultural differences are bloody huge and the "we are right and better always" will always be there *sigh*

         

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      G Thompson (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 7:09am

      Re: No right to be forgotten

      Self defence is NOT a nullity in EU or UK, nor any Western country I know of. Or are you referring to the fact that you cannot claim self defence using weaponry since those same weapons are illegal (as they should be) to use when there is NO claim of threat to life.

      It seems you have a strange idea of self protection when you are so worried about someone that you think you can claim pre-emptive (with intent to harm) self defence.. Self defence, even in the USA doesn't work like that.

       

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      nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 7:16am

      Re: No right to be forgotten

      You have no right of privacy to force others to forget facts already publicly known.


      Says the anonymous coward; who may or may not be a convicted criminal or as yet undetected lawbreaker - we just don't know, and therefore we cannot protect ourselves!

      Mike, please can you reveal who this anonymous commenter is?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:37am

    Re:

    No, what this case is about is not about posting information falsely identifying an alleged criminal. What this case is about is a government demand to censor otherwise truthful information contradicting state penal policy.

    Eugene Volokh over at The Volokh Conspiracy has convincingly explained why such a right to have public speech about past convictions censored is problematic.

    And please explain why you think the First Amendment is infamous. The First Amendment grants the highest level of speech protection in the world.

    And posting a picture of a former criminal is not incitement to violence. It's stretching the definition of incitement to speech which presumptively should be outlawed without concrete proof.

     

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      G Thompson (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 7:04am

      Re: Re:

      And please explain why you think the First Amendment is infamous. The First Amendment grants the highest level of speech protection in the world.


      When you understand why I snort laughingly at your statement (with the rest of the planet) then you will understand why your statement is total parochial bullshit. Though Understanding how you think by what Eugene states, which as much as I respect and appreciate the guy, he is highly biased towards American jurisprudence then any other US constitutional scholar.

      The First Ammendment is ok but it seems not even your citizens, government, or religious institutions even use it to its fullest. Or am I sorely missing something about your patriot act, TSA, color of law problems with LEO's ... need I go on?

      As for posting a picture, by itself no it doesn't incite.. But the context and state of mind of why the person posted it, and others are being told to pass it on for 'the sake of the children' is absolutely grounds for incitement and/or harassment charges under UK, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, EU, and believe it or not even USA laws (though the bar is higher in USA).

       

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    Atkray (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    The internet never forgets.

    If Jon Venables wanted to put this behind him he would have come out of Jail at 19 and gone on a crusade to prevent it from ever happening again. Appearances on Oprah etc...leverage his notoriety for good. That is the only way he ever could have overcome this.

     

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      Listyraesder, Mar 2nd, 2013 @ 2:28pm

      Re: The internet never forgets.

      If Venables had appeared on TV, he and the TV network would have been in contempt of court and he'd have gone straight back to prison, the network would have been heavily fined and nothing would have been achieved.

      In the UK, we don't allow trial by media.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    "Self defence is NOT a nullity in EU or UK, nor any Western country I know of. Or are you referring to the fact that you cannot claim self defence using
    weaponry since those same weapons are illegal (as they should be) to use when there is NO claim of threat to life."

    So you are saying that self-defense is not illegal, while acknowledging that owning and using illegal means to defend yourself nullify that right.
    Priceless.




    "It seems you have a strange idea of self protection when you are so worried about someone that you think you can claim pre-emptive (with intent to harm)
    self defence.. Self defence, even in the USA doesn't work like that."

    Nonsense, you have a First Amendment association right to preemptivly defending yourself by staying away from persons with criminal convictions, and this right also extends to warning others by communicating truthful information.

    "What if you're lying, inciting people to attack innocents due to mistaken identity or destroying the lives of their children in return (see the "paedophile"
    link I posted above)? Your right to self protection may harm others - where's their protection?"

    This is not incitement but defamation. You surely know that incitement to violence is also illegal in the US.

    Falsely telling that someone is a criminal living at address XX is defamation but not incitement.

    Incitement to violence has to be imminent and direct. If I merely publish a picture of someone, I am not responsible for inciting the observer to violence unless there is a proven intend to cause the violence.


    This is blackletter law that you surely must know about.

    "Says the anonymous coward; who may or may not be a convicted criminal or as yet undetected lawbreaker - we just don't know, and therefore we cannot protect
    ourselves!"

    Surely you can. You have a free speech right to out a potential or former criminal.

    Are you so dense that you can't understand the difference between private decisions to retell a truthful fact and state attempts to censor speech?

    What we have in the UK is a criminal conviction which validity the government does not regret and the state's attempt to erase the fact from public memory by threat of legal action.

    Don't you find that troubling?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 8:35am

      Re: Re:

      Flat wrong. Deliberately posting someone's personal information with malicious intent is absolutely incitement under UK law. The twisted aspect of this is that this is from the hate speech laws.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    Re:

    "As for posting a picture, by itself no it doesn't incite.. But the context and state of mind of why the person posted it, and others are being told to
    pass it on for 'the sake of the children' is absolutely grounds for incitement and/or harassment charges under UK, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, EU,
    and believe it or not even USA laws (though the bar is higher in USA)."


    You realize that if this is correct under UK law, it would be sufficient to prosecute all disseminators under current incitement law which certainly provides for harsher penalties.

    But incitement is not the government's justification for attempting to have the information vanish.

    Intend to incite violence would in any case have to be proven on the part of the publisher. But the government's theory is broader and troubling. The government's argument seems to be that you can't legally republish a fact doubting the state's determination that a former criminal or inmate is no longer dangerous or morally blameworthy.

    If you want to defend the UK's policy, you should honestly address the government's arguments for its actions. And its justification is not that republishing the speech constitutes incitement to violence but rather that it interferes with its public policy of rehabilitating criminals.

    The government may be right or wrong in its determination, but it should not have the power to do it by censorship.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    International law

    "As for posting a picture, by itself no it doesn't incite.. But the context and state of mind of why the person posted it, and others are being told to
    pass it on for 'the sake of the children' is absolutely grounds for incitement and/or harassment charges under UK, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, EU,
    and believe it or not even USA laws (though the bar is higher in USA)."

    A followup comment:

    The internet makes the most permissive law the  default standard because you can't censor speech at the border without shutting down the internet.

    Even without the First Amendment, you can't seriously even believe that all other nations would enforce a UK, German or Austrian right to be forgotten.

    There are all sorts of local public policy arguments why such an attempt is unworkable and dangerous.

    The only avenue left is suppression of the speech as incitement to unlawful retaliation. Under Brandenburg such a prosecution would certainly fail unless the speaker intended to incite imminent lawless action.

    If I read an angry letter to the editor in the newspaper, and I kill a politician, the author is not guilty of incitement unless there is a proven intend to cause violence.

    There are American court cases in which victims of violence have tried to sue makers of violent video games for negligence.

    Even if not considering the First Amendment, it's commonsense that criminal incitement should be limited to speech calling for violence and not cover speech merely arousing hatred or distrust.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    "Nope, that's certainly not the case on the photos I've seen circulated. The call for retribution has been pretty clear.

    Plus, even that would be a dangerous thing in this day and age led by tabloid scare tactics. We are talking about the country where a paediatrician was
    attacked because some morons couldn't tell that "paediatrician" didn't mean "paedophile""

    So speech should be subject to a heckler's veto or lowest common denominator?

    If I publish a cartoon of a religious figure, and his followers go on a rampage, my speech should be censored because some of the recipients lack or refuse to exercise their rational faculties?

    It's a very dangerous logic that would provide less protection for controversial speech.

    And this is not really about defamation or half truth but republishing truthful information.

    The fact that someone has a criminal conviction is a fact unlike the speculating that he is still dangerous. If I publish the fact that an individual got a conviction some years ago, and a recipient draws the inference from the fact that the convict is still dangerous, it's a reason for punishing the party doing the violence not for punishing or censoring me for relaying the fact.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 1:20am

      Re:

      Whoa, come back here! You spiralled off into the land of absurdity very quickly there...

      Stick to the facts: a specific individual is being targeted with threats. This isn't a heckler or a religion being mocked - it's one person being specifically targeted with things that amount to death threats. Are you saying that we should allow death threats because "freedom of speech". Even the holy US 1st amendment has a "shouting fire in a crowded theatre" exception to it.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 8:51am

    Re:

    "Flat wrong. Deliberately posting someone's personal information with malicious intent is absolutely incitement under UK law. The twisted aspect of this
    is that this is from the hate speech laws. "

    Please elaborate on why this is flatly wrong.

    As far I know, it's not illegal to extract information about someone's criminal past from publicly accessible sources (worldlii.org or newspaper archives) and republish these facts in a blog or on Twitter.
    Are you arguing that once a convict has paid back his debt to society, it's suddently is illegal to reuse and republish this information?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    Murder = Death or Life in Prison.

    Some of you guys sound like its OK that this person bashed in the head of another kid with a brick. That he should be forgiven and should be able to live next to your family.
    WTF? This proves to me that some posters here argue simply to argue. There is absolutely no justification for censoring people warning others about a known murderer.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 10:59am

      Re:

      This proves to me that some posters here argue simply to argue.


      But all it really proves is that people can have differing opinions.

       

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    Zos (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    anyone have a link to the offending photo we can spread around?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    had the democratic nations, led by the USA not started down this censorship road, trying to protect an industry that needs to adapt, not get it's old ways protected, perhaps things would not have gotten so ridiculous!

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    Orders

    > Attorney General Dominic Grieve has said
    > he's going to take legal action against
    > anyone posting the photo

    Too bad he can only do that for people in England. I can post all the photos and details of Venables I want to. British judges and their orders have no jurisdiction over me in California.

     

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    green, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 12:04pm

    everybody in a witness protection program should have their photo, name and address published online. What - how can you not agree? are you against free speech or summat>???????????

     

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    Prefer not to say, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 4:01pm

    Venables Photo

    Part of the reason for the ban on publishing the photograph is that an unrelated person (who had been accused of being Jon Venables new identity) has recently taken his own life as a result of this sort of viral sharing, where the facts were not as they appeared. Because of the protective legislation, this sort of photo is almost impossible to verify & where it isn't true, that is an innocent man's life which is being destroyed by people sharing his photo & his name and accusing him of a crime so vile, people are still horrified and shocked by it 20 years on. If it isn't hard for the web sites to filter that particular photo & prevent it from being published, then they should do so. It might be censorship, but one person has already died, isn't that enough?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 3:16am

    False analogy

    The First Amendment has no shouting fire exception. The formulation was invented by Justice Holmes, and does not mean what you think it means.

    It is falsely shouting fire in a crowded theatre thereby causing violence that is the crux of the argument.

    Merely publishing the fact that someone has a prior *valid* criminal conviction is not incitement by any stretch

     

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      PaulT (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 3:42am

      Re: False analogy

      "Merely publishing the fact that someone has a prior *valid* criminal conviction is not incitement by any stretch"

      Except that's definitely NOT the context in which I've personally seen these photos published by some people. There's a specific call to violence associated with most of them.

       

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        btrussell (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 4:40pm

        Re: Re: False analogy

        No pedophile deserves or expects that. That is why they hide it right?
        We should buy him lunch and dinner./s


        Apparently the law isn't living up to peoples expectations of punishment and deterrence. Perhaps this is a stepping stone to having the laws changed. So far though, they are looking at the wrong laws. He needs to be locked up for his own safety.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2013 @ 6:41am

    You know, I love how so many people (including the OP) missed the whole point. This isn't about whether he deserves more punishment, or whether he is still dangerous or whether the government should just let all the murderers out and ignore them. The law is clear - all children who are convicted of crimes have their identities protected upon release so that they still have a chance at a new life. If he is still a criminal and a paedophile, so be it. Put him on trial, send him to prison - but you can't connect his new identity to his old one. Why even bother dredging up the past, he may not even have done it (after all none of us are privy to the facts of the case) and connecting his past identity can prejudice the proceedings. The worst result could be that he gets let off, despite having committed the crime, because someone on the internet thought they knew better. Not to mention the risk of vigilante justice, as has already been pointed out, since no-one has the right to harm another out of retribution regardless of what they have done.

    Plus, for all you people abroad saying that you should share it because the UK Legal system has no rights or powers over you, think of how arrogant and spiteful you are being. You would be outraged if a foreign government interfered in your countries legal system, why should it be any different for foreign citizens? Just show some respect for everyone else in the world and let other countries deal with their own issues themselves.

     

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      btr1701 (profile), Mar 4th, 2013 @ 10:01am

      Re:

      > If he is still a criminal and a paedophile,
      > so be it. Put him on trial, send him to
      > prison - but you can't connect his new
      > identity to his old one.

      Yes, I can, because I'm not in Britain or subject to British law. The fact that my tweets, web postings, etc. are accessible to British citizens doesn't mean British law applies worldwide.

      > Plus, for all you people abroad saying that
      > you should share it because the UK Legal
      > system has no rights or powers over you,
      > think of how arrogant and spiteful you are being.

      Really? I'm being spiteful because I refuse to let a foreign government do that which my own government isn't even allowed to do?

      > You would be outraged if a foreign government
      > interfered in your countries legal system

      No I wouldn't. I'd recognize that my country's laws only apply to my country. I wouldn't presume to believe or assert that my government can constrain the behavior of everyone in the world.

       

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    Vondruke, Mar 3rd, 2013 @ 9:21am

    Law Enforcement is wrong for trying to control media, but the media is wrong for chastising something someone did, no matter how horrific when that person was a child. Aware or not (that is pure speculation), there is a reason why we have laws pertaining solely for minors. If we are to treat them as adults then those laws hold no meaning. If we are to pick and choose simply because of the severity of the crime in how it was performed then where is the line? How do you measure this, by pure subjectivity of morals?

     

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


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