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. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 28 Apr 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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