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House of Commons Could Force Social Networks To Identify Trolls 216

Posted by timothy
from the we've-found-a-troll-may-we-burn-her? dept.
concertina226 writes with this news snipped from Techworld UK: "Websites such as Facebook and Twitter could be forced to unmask so-called internet trolls, under new government proposals in the Defamation Bill. The move comes after a British woman won a landmark case to force Facebook to reveal the identities of internet trolls. On 30 May, Nicola Brookes from Brighton was granted a High Court order after receiving 'vicious and depraved' taunts on Facebook. The bill, which is being debated in the House of Commons [Tuesday], will allow victims of online abuse to discover the identity of their persecutors and bring a case against them. The move also aims to protect websites from threats of litigation for inadvertently displaying defamatory comments."
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House of Commons Could Force Social Networks To Identify Trolls

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  • I support this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:09AM (#40295913) Homepage Journal

    (instant -1 from slashdot crowd)

    For those of you willing to listen to my reason and not knee jerk hate me, you have to understand that there are certain people who very carefully hide IN ORDER to hate on their neighbors in SMALL TOWN forums. If you live in a big city, consider yourself immune. Otherwise please hear me out:

    Anonymity is important, for example, in Syria. Anonymity is important, for example, with Wikileaks and Anonymous and any whistle blowers, because of the power imbalance involved. Anonymity is basically besides the fact on national or international level comment boards, such as Slashdot: you might as well be anonymous, since only the force of your ideas matter, not your name.

    But in SMALL TOWN forums, among a couple hundred or thousand people who are neighbors, hiding and hating is a serious problem, and should be fought.

    Only in that context, a small town forum, do I agree anonymity need to be unmasked.

    There are people out there with serious problems, and they ruin small community forums with their abusive attitude by constantly steering all discussions to their strife. And it's always from careful hiding with these characters. You are talking about one troll who can basically sit on a forum and utterly destroy it, for a small community.

    Please understand that this is a real problem before you form an opinion on the matter:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/us/small-town-gossip-moves-to-the-web-anonymous-and-vicious.html [nytimes.com]

  • by iserlohn (49556) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:09AM (#40295923) Homepage

    Your freedom to swing your fists ends at the tip of my nose.

    Harrassment and libel have real victims and even if you do not agree with how easy libel actions are brought to the courts in England and Wales, you would agree with the need for some sort of law prohibiting people from causing harm in these ways.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:20AM (#40296049) Homepage

    I know you guys love your cameras everywhere, but a lot of other places people prefer EXISTING laws to catch criminals. If it's Harassment, then get off your arse and do detective work, Should we install cameras outside of your hose if someone sneaks up and sticks "WANKER" notes on your door?

    it's the same thing. Hire someone to find the jerk that is harassing, or the police can get off their butts and stop eating doughnuts long enough to do their job. It is not hard to locate someone who is doing this online without making new laws to force a company to roll over and do the cops job for them.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:25AM (#40296117) Journal

    Not only that, but Members of Parliament have unlimited freedom of speech within the chambers. They can troll anyone they so please and no statute can be brought against them.

    Hypocrisy, thy name is a Member of Parliament.

  • Re:I support this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:30AM (#40296183) Homepage Journal

    yeah. and if you are bullied at school, you should switch schools. and if you are harassed at work, you should get another job. and if you are the victim of road rage, you should take another route to work. etc, etc.

    it's not actually the better choice to go after the bully, right?

  • by lxs (131946) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:49AM (#40296409)

    Yes. Trolling is a art.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:55AM (#40296491)

    The problem with this is that it is de facto censorship of important opinions

    You come into my house, or local pub, and start laughing and mocking someone who has just lost a relative and if you're lucky you'll be asked to leave and not return. That's not censorship, and transferring the situation to a virtual venue like a forum doesn't make it censorship either.

    There's always the risk of the slipperly slope, and personally I think that the vast majority of what people can say should be legal. I think Voltaire had it right; but that doesn't mean that you should be able to go wherever you like and say anything no matter how hurtful or depraved and expect to be welcome. Even Slashdot uses moderation to hide 'troll' views. A lot of shit still gets through but I doubt it'd be usable if they refused to allow filtering by moderation.

  • by a90Tj2P7 (1533853) on Tuesday June 12, 2012 @11:59AM (#40296547)
    You should probably respond less to the headline and more to the article - this isn't a bill "to identify trolls", it's a bill about harassment and defamation. The very first thing in the bill, which is an amendment to existing defamation law, is that the statement has to have cause or be able to likely cause serious harm. And that's followed by exceptions for just what you're concerned about - matters of public interest, honest opinions, truthful statements. Even those of us who strongly advocate the freedom of speech don't deny that it can be abused, and that things like threats and slander should be legally actionable.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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