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British Gov. Considering Making Online Trolling a Criminal Offense, Complete With Prison Time

The British government is reportedly considering making online trolling a criminal offense, complete with prison time.

The proposed legislation would criminalize “online abuse” that causes “psychological harm,” with up to two years in prison as the penalty.

Opponents of the legislation have argued that it will be a major blow to the freedom of speech and civil liberties. They have specifically argued that the proposal is too broad and open to interpretation, instead of creating clear rules of conduct.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sports is now taking recommendations by the Law Commission. Their goal is to find ways to punish trolling after incidents involving sports journalists and Premier League athletes made global headlines.

According to a report from The Times, the potential new law will mean that the courts no longer focus on the intent of mean messages, but instead the effect on the recipient. It will focus on penalizing “threatening communications,” “knowingly false communication” and “pile-ons.”

“‘Threatening communications,’ for example, will target messages and posts that contain threats of harm intended to mainly create a state of fear for the victim, while ‘pile-ons’ would address an incident in which a number of individuals gang up on someone with harassing messages on social media,” Fox News reports.

The proposed law has been sent to the cabinet for approval and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is reportedly planning to add the new offenses before it is introduced to Parliament in December.

“We are making our laws fit for the digital age,” a government spokesman told The Times. “Our comprehensive Online Safety Bill will make tech companies responsible for people’s safety and we are carefully considering the Law Commission’s recommendations on strengthening criminal offenses.”

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25 responses to “British Gov. Considering Making Online Trolling a Criminal Offense, Complete With Prison Time”

  1. Chief007 says:

    Most people do take care of what they post, especially on todays social media. They just use the few examples of the crazies to try and shut us all down. I’m in the UK as well and definitely since Blair was PM, they’ve been eroding our freedom of speech a little bit at a time. More often than not, unbeknownst to the public. They sneak these little acts into larger bills, that are passed and as in the states, mainstream media never pick these things up. If anything they run interference.

  2. TheDarkWall says:

    Not outright, but it would certainly be more bloody, and for people to endure something like that the tyranny would have to be much worse. Which is why the frogs in a boiling pot approach is taken. Granted the UK is boiling faster than most.

  3. TheDarkWall says:

    I’m going to have to disagree here. The UK government is even more censorious than our own. Even if that wasn’t the case though, with how much disinformation they have going around, how long is it before they use that to be like “Oh, you’re involved in vax disinformation campaigns” or some stupid bullshit like that. It would just give them one more step towards the social credit system they want and invading your privacy even more. Patriot act part 2. And all for what, to stop people from being mean online? Bullshit. As always they heroically crusade to take our rights away because “just think of the poor children”. A culture of weakness will breed tyranny as it sacrifices anyone and anything to guard against any potential threat what so ever. And those at the top will become gods with all the power that has been abdicated to them.

  4. LukeG says:

    No more podcasts? Did I miss something? I hope everything is okay, must be something serious

  5. Danjesspearce says:

    We got no guns in the uk man, we are fucked.

  6. Danjesspearce says:

    Not sure man, can’t even get the joe rogan podcast, same time been off

  7. Hughesy says:

    Yeah, you keep fighting the big fight. Let me know how that works out for you.

  8. arakitai says:

    Thinking out loud here.

    I used to work in a group with similar dynamics to what Tim’s got going on, so I’d say whatever it is, it’s no joke. These guys don’t play around, especially Tim. Tim is the epitome of a workaholic. He derives his self image from his work and he’s extremely talented at what he does. It’s a positive feedback cycle. If he’s taken 5 days off of the work that means something very serious is going on.

    He’s announced that there will be nothing at the very least until Wednesday. Personally I wouldn’t expect anything until Friday. Beyond that, it’ll have cataclysmic impacts on the YouTube algorithm and they start losing real money. So at the very least someone will put out a video with some bare facts.

    I’d say that either Tim got absolutely smashed by Covid or there was a serious security problem at the compound. A lesser probability is some sort of YouTube ban. I’m skeptical of the latter because there’s no need to be secretive about that. During the first segment he missed he said he wasn’t feeling well and could take the day or two off. That was Thursday morning. But I’m skeptical that that’s all this is because 1) it doesn’t make sense to be so secretive and 2) it would probably behoove them to have someone fill in for Tim for a day or two. Or at least put out a different format video. So my money is on some sort of security problem.

    Maybe some Antifa hero mailed them some anthrax. Or delivered it by hand. The far left absolutely despises Tim and would be willing to take the PR hit to take him out, even if it meant they would finally become the target of the establishment machine.(Pelosi & friends might thank Antifa for it in their black little hearts, but they’d have to do something. Can’t let the U.S. turn into 1980’s Nicaragua.) It’s why I’m not a huge fan of the whole mail thing. It’s one thing to know the location of the compound – which is staffed by a bunch of armed and physically fit skaters – and another to have a clear attack vector and simply deliver a substance or device through the mail. A kilo of ANFO with a GPS triggered aurdino device would take almost no specialized knowledge to build. There’s plenty of pyro shitheads out there who would get hard at the thought of doing something like this. Although it might be a bit much to ask some Antifa salad brain to have the wherewithal to plan and pull something like that off.

    But I’m digressing. My bet is on some sort of security issue. Maybe they just got smashed by Covid. Something like that. We’ll know eventually.

  9. Vashts1985 says:

    is tim dead? whats this about former cast members? whats happening?

  10. arakitai says:

    Online spaces are not real spaces. Communication on them is not real communication. For example, if I say in a post that someone should kill and cook their children and then serve them up for dinner then every rational person will know that I’m just being a dumb-ass and making stupid statements. A rational person has never and will never take that shit seriously. It’s normal. It’s how everyone who’s in their 30’s and 40’s has grown up. It’s been the online norm for 25 years. Now suddenly we’re all pretending that online speech is real speech. It’s not.

    Meanwhile we’ve destroyed the town square and most private places that non-family members congregate at. Private, protected speech has been decimated. This is the good, valuable speech that stitches a community together. It’s all but gone in most developed nations.

    Without the town square we’re using the idiotic version of it as a substitute. Twitter can be made into a town square but unfortunately it’s a funhouse mirror version of the town hall. All the denizens of the town square have head trauma and are medicated with meth. And now all the meth heads can get jail time for engaging in the most widely accepted and expected activity on the platform. It’s completely insane.

    Pocketnet and other darkweb alternatives are going to absolutely shred these laws. You can not track, censor or control crypto based solutions. Some of these are now working on evading deep-packet inspection techniques. Once they’ve solved that problem, you’re not censoring these crypto networks without destroying the internet.

    So you’re going to have the current crop of 6 to 10 year olds absolutely flood these spaces over the next decade and then you will have real revolutionaries that organize online in ways that the government can’t even detect without massive and unrealistic levels of surveillance. Right now Pocketnet is somewhat clunky and kind of crappy. But I can organize a BLM or an Antifa or a Clan rally on there without any chance of detection or censorship. Now think about the children of these insane liberals who want nothing to do with mommy and daddy’s crusade of communism, who don’t give a shit about political correctness, who just want a normal life where they can speak freely and associate with whom they deem fit. They will be neglected, angry, fucked up, highly tech literate and extremely motivated to nail mommy and daddy to the castle walls. Because mommy and daddy don’t give a fuck about them.

    These idiots are making sure that the societal upheaval that is happening never has a chance to settle down. It’ll just keep getting worse and worse until everything just falls apart.

    In short, these laws will bring about exactly what they are trying to prevent.

  11. Wolv256 says:

    Grow up. They don’t care about you, they just want to control you. Nothing they want is good. Stop even treating them like they are legitimate at all.

  12. Wolv256 says:

    Grow up. They do t care about you, they just want to control you. Nothing they want is good.

  13. Hughesy says:

    As a UK national and resident, I applaud what they are obviously trying to achieve, but this is entirely the wrong way to go about things. The easiest way to deal with this (in my opinion) is to ensure that everyTwitter or Facebook or *insert Social Media company* account is verified to an individual so there will be no more anonymous keyboard warriors. Sure, have the freedom of speech, but be responsible for your words and deeds. That would be the law I vote for.

  14. Wolv256 says:

    Well then the people will be considering a revolution.

  15. urbanmusicgal says:

    If this passes, then I will immediately begin invoking massive legal complaints and retribution against any woke, crt, dei propaganda that shows up on my phone, email, etc., any campaigns against free speech for holding school boards accountable, etc. What a heyday for us.

  16. Poetentiate says:

    This would be a good thing because it tends to be the preferred mode of “attack” by the Gender most likely to jettison their freedoms and insist that Big Brother protect and “save” them. However I anticipate that despite that it will probably be applied in a sexist manner because when men troll they are evil but when women troll they are crying out for “help”.

  17. prcntm says:

    It’s like people just forgot that the internet is populated largely by sarcastic assholes who (usually) don’t mean what they say and are only there for the LOLs (and cat videos).

    I would actually expect this to happen eventually for a sufficiently advanced civilization. As we get more and more secure and scarcity becomes less and less a problem, we begin to ignore and some even forget that physical survival is actually a thing. Basically, as we stop having to worry about physical safety and survival, we begin to focus more on mental or emotional safety and survival. So this particular trend (for me) is expected in the long run.

    The problem I have is that we have not yet created a post-scarcity society. We are nowhere near that level of technology. As a species our physical safety and survival are still very much on the line. This is why moves like this make so little sense to me. We are focusing on the next set of problems without actually solving the problems that allow us to move forward.

    Perhaps we are reaching the Great Filter: an event that very few, if any, advanced civilizations survive. We are running way ahead of the curve and we might burn ourselves out as a species and civilization before we have a chance to effectively secure our own survival. We won’t get interstellar colonization. We might not even get interplanetary colonization. Instead we will run in this endless circle of forgetting to secure our physical survival before we start focusing on protecting ourselves mentally or emotionally leading to repeated collapses that prevent us from advancing or could eventually lead to outright extinction.

  18. prcntm says:

    You can be as mean, racist, hateful, and vile as you want… until someone doesn’t think you’re kidding.

  19. Rawdog says:

    “Government” never GIVES you rights. You have to TAKE them. And that involves working together.

  20. Carl says:

    The same court system that openly claims “context is what we say it is” and then ignores evidence is going to police online discourse. What could possibly go wrong?

  21. Laharl says:

    “Who defines what threatening conversations are? ”

    Not you !

  22. NeverMetTheGuy says:

    What the hell is the world these days? Instead of giving people freedom do to things, every country is taking that away. If this is what happened with every other empire over the years then it’s no wonder they fail, because who asks for this? What majority of people think this is a good idea?

  23. benedikt says:

    Who defines what threatening conversations are? I bet every conversation that does not fit the narrative will be classified as threatening (:

  24. NoOne123 says:

    Horrifying and insane. Don’t think for a moment its not on purpose. Its about absolute control. Man i really REALLY hope this doesn’t pass for our bros in the UK….

  25. Anno713 says:

    These liberal snowflakes and our fascist overlords are about to step on some toes they are going to regret. Usually I would laugh at this absurd bullshit but giving the times.. this just adds to the ever growing heap of what pisses me off. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!