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Former Australian Cop Wants Jail For Internet Trolls 254

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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  • *shiver* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Loopy ( 41728 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @04:07PM (#41685541) Journal

    The world is a big, mean, scary place full of ill-intentioned people who will take advantage of the uneducated and the less-vigilant.


    Question: do you think it is easier to defend yourself against hateful onslaught by ill-intentioned individuals or against governments that will take away your life, liberty and property just because you aren't toeing the party line? Follow-up: what do you suppose are some of the best ways to defend against tyranny? /popcorn

  • *shrug* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PeanutButterBreath ( 1224570 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @04:28PM (#41685821)

    Question: do you think it is easier to defend yourself against hateful onslaught by ill-intentioned individuals or against governments that will take away your life, liberty and property just because you aren't toeing the party line?

    That depends very much on what systems of control and accountability are in place, in either instance.

    E.g., I know that either an anonymous stranger or government agents can invade my home or remove my access to my own property. That said, I also know which is more likely to happen. I also know my chances of having such a wrong (if it is indeed a wrong) being redressed in either instance.

    Bonus, I know which is going to help me right any wrong committed by the other.

    I notice you specify "ill-intentioned individuals" and "governments". Perhaps you think all governments are "ill intentioned"? (Honest question). Personally, I don't.

  • by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @04:32PM (#41685881) Journal

    Believe it or not, I think the parent post was on topic.

  • Re:end of slashdot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @04:34PM (#41685915)

    I would think a better definition of troll will be needed. If we use the Slashdot definition it would be prison for anyone who think Microsoft actually has some good products. Doesn't agree with RMS view of Free and Open Source Software. Likes patents. Doesn't consider Android Linux when talking about market share. Does consider Android Linux when talking about Free Software. Thinks Religion and Science can get along, or tries to defend their religion. Claims that New Technology is better the older version. Who didn't like "Cloud Technology" before RMS said it was bad. Who Likes "Cloud Technology" after RMS said it was bad. Doesn't jump to the worst possible scenario on a sliding scale argument.

    If we used Slashdot definition in essence all the people who actually think for themselves without following the general consensus would be in prison.

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

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @05:08PM (#41686273)

    These are people who are misrepresenting the truth, often creating online profiles as people whom they actually are not, and that action is hurtful to society.

    If misrepresenting the truth is a crime, anyone who's a politician or politically active is a criminal. Creating online profiles as people who they are not means a lot of people who only use Facebook to play Farmville are now criminals. And my definition of hurtful to society depends on an objective, clear, and unambiguous hurt -- like cutting off someone's arm, stealing their car, etc. There's a clear loss there. "Someone lied to me!" isn't harming society to the extent that it needs to be regulated behavior.

    And your definition completely omits from its definition of a crime the person's intent in doing those things. I consider that pretty important in determining what should be a crime and what shouldn't be. So do most criminal defense attorneys, judges, and law enforcement... they want to see criminal intent, not just "oops"

  • Re:Dingo(e)s (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BatGnat ( 1568391 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @07:35PM (#41687781)
    I thought I would check the dictionary out:

    Definition of GAOL;chiefly British variant of jail, jailer

    Wouldn't 'jail' technically be a variant of 'gaol', not the other way around?

  • Re:Sure (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Falconhell ( 1289630 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:02PM (#41687995) Journal

    I use ninghys. Never had enough to make up a pugh though. My wallet is enormous.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @08:16PM (#41688083)

    As an aussie I can tell you our police are idiots - this is proof. The simple fact she doesnt even know the definition of a troll, vs someone using hate speech shows how nieve she is. 3 years of xp eating donuts does not qualify you.

  • Re:*shrug* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doctor_Jest ( 688315 ) on Wednesday October 17, 2012 @10:19PM (#41688927)

    ABUSE of freedom and should be curtailed.

    They said the same thing about Playboy. They said the same thing about Gays. They said the same thing about violent films. (and still do). They said the same thing about cartoons of Mohammed. So, who's calling bullshit again? You're no better than the rest of the censors and "offended" if you can say with a straight face that curtailing freedom of speech because you think it's an "abuse" of freedom is a-ok and encouraged. That's the same tired argument I've heard for decades. It flies in the face of reason and what the hell freedom actually means.

    The joy of the internet is you can turn it off. You can change the channel. You aren't forced to watch or read it. Freedom's a great thing, but you miss the entire boat. so I'm going to call bullshit here too, because the basic tenet of freedom of speech is that we support speech we despise. Supporting free speech when you agree with someone isn't freedom. You may not like it. Hell, I think it's distasteful... but I am not about to tell someone they can't do it because it is offensive or blasphemous. Because once you make the rules, those who you trample will come to power one day and use those rules on you.

    I realize most of Europe and Australia don't have speech protections codified like we do in the US. That's a shame, because enlightenment means not burning down buildings when someone offends you. Europe claims to be more enlightened than the US when it comes to accepting things, but it seems the only thing they are "ahead" of the US on is boobs on TV (I give that a BIG thumbs up, btw) and sexual freedom (another thumb up! heh.) They clearly are battling puritanical nonsensical bullshit when it comes to offensive speech.

  • Re:end of slashdot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spauldo ( 118058 ) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @05:45AM (#41690677)

    You know, it'd be funny, if so many of you weren't actually stupid enough to believe this.

    There's a lot of /. users. Anyone who gets some karma has mod points they can use. Anything you say will likely have someone who disagrees with you on this site. Unfortunately, some people are just a bit too quick with the "troll" tag on the moderation system. Usually other mods will compensate, but shit happens sometimes. That doesn't mean you're a troll, and no one (well, hardly anyone) thinks you're a troll unless you're actually trolling.

    Some guy on another story was whining about how /. has this huge socialist bias and was made up of people who feel guilty working for corporations so they demand higher taxes and more restrictions on the GPL. He apparently just doesn't see all the libertarians cluttering up the place in here, just like you don't see all the anti-RMS, pro-Microsoft, and even pro-religion comments in here. They are there, and if they're in the minority, well, that's just the way it goes. You're going to have a minority any time there's more than a few people who disagree.

    These posts are meant for discussion, not syncophantic circlejerking. People are going to disagree with you. Yes, some assholes are going to abuse the moderation system. If you don't like it, you're free to create your own private IRC channel and rant to yourself all day long where no one can disagree with you.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.