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Will new legal guidelines be enough to deter internet trolls?

The BBC reports on new legal guidelines to target internet trolls:

Internet trolls who create derogatory hashtags or doctored images to humiliate others could face prosecution in England and Wales. Inciting people to harass others online, known as virtual mobbing, could also result in court action, under new Crown Prosecution Service guidance. The director of public prosecutions said it means the CPS would prosecute just as if offences occurred offline. But she stressed this did not mean prosecutors could “stifle free speech”.


The new guidance aims to help police identify online crimes more easily.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said: “The internet’s not an anonymous place where people can post without any consequences. People should think about their own conduct. “If you are grossly abusive to people, if you are bullying or harassing people online, then we will prosecute in the same way as if you did it offline.”

However, Ms Saunders said context will be an important factor in decisions – for example “if you’re offensive, the legislation would say you have to be grossly offensive, and that’s quite a high test”.

A new law on revenge porn – someone uploading explicit images or film of a former partner to humiliate or embarrass them – has led to the prosecution of 206 people across England and Wales since its introduction in April 2015.

The public policy statements on hate crime will be subject to public consultation for 13 weeks.

Source: BBC News


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