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Former Australian Cop Wants Jail For Internet Trolls 254

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-mad,-mate? dept.
beaverdownunder writes "A former police officer in the Australian state of Victoria has called on law enforcement to prosecute creators of hate pages on social media following Facebook's decision to close down a page mocking Jill Meagher, the 29-year-old Melbourne woman abducted and killed last month. Susan McLean, who spent 27 years with Victoria Police before launching her cyber safety consultancy three years ago, said police have the ability to prosecute the creators of pages that are in breach of Australian laws but appear to be unwilling to use it. 'There have been many cases in the UK where these people have been hunted down and charged and jailed. We need to do that in Australia.' Under section 474.17 of the Commonwealth Crimes Act, it is an offense to use 'a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offense,' punishable by three years in jail."
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Former Australian Cop Wants Jail For Internet Trolls

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  • Do Not Want! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @03:10PM (#41685585)

    a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offense,' punishable by three years in jail."

    Cause offense? Your existance offends me! Your funny-colored hair offends me! The fact that you're a man, woman, human, or bovine offends me! See, that's the problem with "cause offense" -- it's entirely subjective. It depends on the recipient. No free country should have a law on the books claiming things that are offensive are illegal, anymore than people should be liable for the emotional reactions of others. When you make something criminal, you need to be specific about the behavior. "Entered house with force and intent to steal." That's provable, objective, and fairly unambiguous. "Caused emotional distress" can't be proven, it's totally subjective, and highly ambiguous. In any criminal test, you have to ask yourself: Could a reasonable person determine ahead of time that the behavior in question was (unambiguously) illegal?

    Kill this law with fire, and while you're at it, tell the legislator to fuck off, eat a bag of dicks, and that his face is ugly. But be sure to put a smiley face at the end... we wouldn't want to sound... offensive. In other news, please enjoy this politically, culturally, and sexually correct joke:

    ___________________________________

  • Re:Do Not Want! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @03:39PM (#41685973)

    You countered your own argument:

    "Could a reasonable person determine ahead of time that the behavior in question was (unambiguously) illegal?"

    A reasonable person could. Sure as with all tests of reasonableness there's going to be a nebulous area between hey, that's ok, and hey holy shit you crossed a line. But so what? As long as the penalty for treading into the nebula is appropriate. (read: small -- community service, small fine, a warning the first time...) I'm fine with 'a test of reasonableness'.

    No free country should have a law on the books claiming things that are offensive are illegal, anymore than people should be liable for the emotional reactions of others.

    Right. As teens my friends and I thought it was hilarious to call that 11 year old boy a faggot every time any of us saw him - it was so funny we got the whole grade 6 to join in. It was just our thing. Why should we be at all liable in any way that it upset him to the point of depression and attempted suicide?

    And now when I continually proposition my hot coworker for sex and compliment her ass? She should be flattered. But now I've got this sexual harrassment charge pending. WTF!

    No free country should have a law on the books claiming that offending people are illegal, right?

    So then I posted images of holocaust mass graves, except with little penises drawn on the bodies, and each one labelled a faggot. It was hilarious, so I posted it to the local jewish temple's public forum with the subject "the faggots deserved it"

    Like what reasonable person could determine ahead of time that this was going to offend any one? Not me, that's for sure!

    Now in all serious, I -am- a proponent of free speech, and I even defend our right to say something that offends, or even to be offensive.

    But at the same time, I do think there should be tools in law for people to protect themselves from complete assholes who are just deliberately harassing them.

    There IS a balance that needs to be struck.

  • Re:Do Not Want! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @03:54PM (#41686131)

    Americans used to say, "I hate what you say, but I would die for your right to say it."

    Actually, that was Voltaire, a french man best known for writing such withering critiques of certain written works that the authors would commit suicide. He said "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Americans paraphrase it by just saying "free speech, fuck yeah!"

  • Re:*shrug* (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @04:02PM (#41686199)
    Death by 1000 paper cuts. Sure there are despots and places that make skull monuments of the people they've killed, but the ones who are "just looking out for you" and who "know what's best for you" are the ones that are the most ill-intentioned, even if they don't think so. The well-intentioned try as they might, can't figure out why some people just won't jump on board. I mean, if you listen to the current political babblers on TV here in the US, you'd get the impression that they're downright flabbergasted that Romney isn't polling in the single digits or low teens. (I have one reason why... Obama killed an American Citizen with a drone.... pissing on the right of due process and innocence until proven guilty all in the name of "war on Terrah!") But I digress....

    That's why the US government is dismantling the Bill of Rights piece by piece... not all at once, because "we know what's best." Fuck 'em. First we start by getting the weirdos... the people who post photoshopped images of Michele Obama dry-humping a fencepost. Then we start getting those "evil nasty pirates" who spread IP around like peanut butter. Then we go after those who aren't "tolerant" of others' beliefs and rituals.... then we get a police state that rivals Orwell's vision in size, scope, and efficiency.

    So defending the trolls who are just being crass and crude is simply keeping our freedoms intact.

It's a naive, domestic operating system without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.

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