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
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2014 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How did I answer my own question?

    I said the harassment in schools are subtle, so the adults won't pick up on it, and if the victim complains, it's all down to a he-said-she-said.

    And what's with the "your obviously superior mind" comment?

    I wasn't insulting to you. Not that I care, even if in person I'd still tell you off if you persisted.

    Anyway, the problem as I see it, such as Ms Todd and others, is that where do the teens go to get away from the harassment? So they delete the social media account and change emails, but the harassment still continues.

    Shouldn't there be some sort of punishment for those harassing?

    You know, in the work place, harassment is a very serious crime. They actually had it changed to be a health and safety violation. No such punishment exists for teens.

    The grieving family could/should have kept the grieving locked down via privacy settings, but they were grieving. They were not thinking calm and logically.

    So, insults aside, can you be productive and suggest a means to stop online harassment, at least for teens, because it always bleeds into the real world and makes that person's life a living hell. Freedom of speech doesn't apply.

    IF it was so easy to use existing laws, why is it that the police seem to claim otherwise? Of course I know there will be the push for more power, but how about a law-view, a non-power-grab-privacy-invading-online-dissention-suppression law view of the situation? Can this family, with existing laws, charge someone with harassment? Or does it need to be in real life only, leaving the "victim" the only option of no social media or online presence whatsoever?

    What's your solution to stop idiots that harass? The police in Halifax, regarding the teen who committed suicide after being drunk and allegedly raped, then the idiots harassed her and shared photos. The photo sharing they were nabbed for, I think, but again, suppose it was NOT shared through phones, only online. Like those websites about ex gf's and revenge? Should the ex gf not have some sort of recourse?

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