from the sign-of-the-times dept
We've seen it over and over again: some people seem to think that if anyone says something you don't like about you online, it's illegal, and you can go after them for it. Of course, in most places that's not even close to true, but it doesn't stop some people from trying. Slashdot alerts us to the news that police in Tasmania are so fed up with people coming to them about things they don't like online that they've put out a statement telling the public to stop contacting them whenever they find something they think is "abusive or harassing" on Facebook or other social media sites. They specifically state that they have no interest in censoring the internet:
"If the conduct complained of would not amount to an offence if it occurred off-line, then it is not an offence simply because in a particular instance it was undertaken with the aid of digital technology," the department noted.My first thought was "good for them" for putting out such a statement. But, my second thought was to be surprised that so many people go to the police about such things. Perhaps it's a cultural difference, but here in the US, they'd just threaten to sue (or actually sue) in the courts directly, rather than seeking criminal charges that would involve law enforcement.
"For example, complaints have been received about comments posted on Facebook which are abusive or harassing. If this behavior occurred in a public place it would not be a reportable offence.
"It is not the role of Tasmania Police to censor internet content."