UK Government Would Like To Put Internet Trolls In Jail For Two Years

from the and-you-just-got-yourself-some-trolling dept

The war on free speech continues. Andy Przybylski points us to the news that the UK's Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, is apparently really upset about internet trolls, and thinks they should be jailed for up to two years. He's pushing to extend an existing law -- which we've ridiculed in the past -- which allows for jailing trolls up to six months. Grayling thinks the threat of even longer sentences would suddenly make people nice online.
"These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No-one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media," Grayling said.

"That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence."
The article also quotes a lawyer claiming -- apparently with total seriousness -- "There is a public interest in having people put away for a long time. It is putting someone in fear of their life and fear of physical harm."

No one denies that trolls can be abusive and harassing -- to the point of seriously upsetting some people's lives. But putting people in jail for being assholes? That crosses over a line. Grayling also has an interesting definition of cruelty:
"This is a law to combat cruelty – and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob. We must send out a clear message: if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years."
Of course, some people would argue that jailing people for two years for being jerks is actually pretty damn cruel as well. Perhaps the response should be to put Grayling in jail for his own cruelty...

Filed Under: chris grayling, free speech, harassment, trolls, uk


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  1. identicon
    Victor David, 21 Oct 2014 @ 12:32pm

    Troll bad, law good, me hungry

    True, internet trolls are cowards. They are safely behind their computer and can't face immediate repercussions for their idiotic and childish behavior. They wouldn't do what they do in person.

    And the answer of course is to punish. It's what dickweeds like Grayling like to do. For every problem, no matter how easy it is to avoid (don't feed the trolls, right?), punish, punish. How dare they offend me? say the righteous. How dare they mock when I have the awesome indignation to smite?

    Instead of simply letting things their course, letting the community cull the trolls or have their fun engaging them if that's what they want, little MissPantiesTwisted wants to go all armageddon on them. Get a life, and far away from public service would be good.

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