Thursday, September 20, 2012
Australia: Can internet "trolls" be regulated?
I have copped plenty of abuse online but I just regard it as an amusing comment on the inadequacy of the abuser. Why DO people take the stuff seriously? Maybe if you've got a weak ego ....
I do answer abuse with abuse sometimes but mostly I ignore it and that is the last I hear of it
Threats of physical harm are quite a different matter from abuse, however. Most threats are probably empty but all should be prosecuted in my view, as doing so could prevent real harm -- JR
"Trolling is extremely fun," explained one, identified to the Herald only as Apples212. "I've been trolling my whole life, ever since I can remember. It's extremely relaxing, as all you really have to do is put the 'bait' out there, sit back and wait for someone to bite. I do it because it's fun, and sometimes it's necessary.
"Trolling always makes me feel calm and relaxed, it is one of the best feelings I've ever done [sic]."
The use of the word "troll" for those stirring up trouble in cyberspace goes back nearly 20 years, and was originally derived from the fishing term for trailing bait from a line.
In recent weeks it has been all over the mainstream media, courtesy of much-publicised Twitter attacks on the minor celebrity Charlotte Dawson, and the rugby league footballer and Wests Tigers captain, Robbie Farah.
The Premier, Barry O'Farrell, rushed to Farah's defence, The Daily Telegraph in Sydney sallied forth with a front-page declaration of war against trolls, and the federal Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, and the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, declared a temporary cessation of hostilities with News Limited, the Telegraph's parent company, to congratulate the paper on its "worthwhile initiative".
Roxon promised to consult with state colleagues to see "what other action, if any, can be taken to improve the law in this area".
But lawyers, social media experts, ethicists and even the regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, agree that trying to formulate, and then apply, new black-and-white law in this area is almost certainly doomed to fail.
"If you regulate for specific technologies, different ones will proliferate and your technologically specific policy or legislation will be useless," says associate professor David Rolph, a media law specialist at the University of Sydney.
Rolph and others point out that laws against racial vilification, defamation, harassment or menacing behaviour already exist and could be invoked by those willing to take civil action or press for prosecution. But in practice those laws are not well suited to social media and their application in cyberspace has been little-tested in the courts.
One recent exception is a case in Victoria earlier this year, where Michael Trkulja successfully sued Yahoo!7 for defamation and won himself nearly $250,000, after arguing that the search engine was linking his name unfairly with the Melbourne underworld.
The false rape claims never stop in Britain
Any tendency to take the word of a "victim" in the absence or corroborating evidence is very foolish indeed
A 20-year-old woman who falsely claimed she was raped by three men older than her because she regretted having sex with them has been jailed for two years.
Rosie Dodd, of Nottingham, claimed the men, who were aged 21, 23 and 25, assaulted her at a home in Clifton, Nottinghamshire, in the early hours of a Saturday in June.
The trio were arrested after Dodd claimed they had all raped her after she met them on a night out in the city - and they spent a total of nearly 50 hours in police custody before being released on bail.
The men maintained Dodd had willingly had sex with them - and police became suspicious after carrying out further enquiries, challenging Dodd about her account.
But Dodd then admitted she had made up the rape claims because she regretted having consensual sex with the trio, Nottingham Crown Court was told today.
Detective Constable Gina Farrell led the investigation for Nottinghamshire Police and slammed Dodd after the hearing for never showing ‘an ounce of remorse’ for what she put the men through.
She said: ‘We take every report of rape and sexual assault extremely seriously, just as we did in this case. But it soon became apparent that there were inconsistencies with Dodd’s account. ‘The three men accused of rape were quite badly affected by the damaging accusations and Dodd has never shown an ounce of remorse for what she put them through.’
DC Farrell added that time the force’s specially-trained officers spent with Dodds could have been given to someone who ‘really needed our help’.
Detective Inspector Stephen Waldram, head of the force’s rape investigation team, stated after the hearing that there was ‘no justification’ for Dodd’s lies and anyone doing the same ‘will be exposed’. 'There is no justification for lying about something so serious and incredibly damaging and police actively investigate a false claim just as thoroughly as a genuine one to ensure innocent people are not convicted for something they didn’t do'
He said: ‘People lie that they’ve been raped for a multitude of reasons - like having regrets about having sex with a person, or as a way of getting back at someone.
‘There is no justification for lying about something so serious and incredibly damaging and police actively investigate a false claim just as thoroughly as a genuine one to ensure innocent people are not convicted for something they didn’t do.
‘It’s important to stress that anyone who contacts us to say they have been assaulted will be treated with the sensitivity and respect they deserve.’
Dodds was jailed for two years after previously pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.
Reward for whiners? In Britain, domestic violence will now include mental torment too
Men who bully their partners by verbally abusing them, taking control of their finances or isolating them from friends and family are guilty of domestic violence and could be prosecuted, ministers will say tomorrow.
In a dramatic shake-up, details of which have been leaked to the Mail, the definition of domestic abuse is to be widened to encompass a wide range of coercive or threatening behaviour.
At the moment, domestic abuse is generally taken to refer to acts of physical violence. But police and prosecutors will be expected to use the new definition when identifying and monitoring cases, meaning men who abuse partners in a ‘controlling’ fashion could face charges too.
It will also be applied to those under 18 for the first time as concerns grow that increasing numbers of teenage girls are the victims of abusive relationships.
There has never been a specific criminal offence of domestic violence. Instead, ministers agreed a definition in 2004 that refers to ‘incidents of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse’. The Government is concerned that the police and other agencies are not applying this broadly enough.
The Centre for Social Justice, a think-tank set up by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, has led calls for ‘coercive control’ to be included in official definitions of domestic abuse, and wants to see prosecutions even if no physical harm has been caused.
The new definition will not be written into law, however, as the CSJ has proposed. Instead it will be broadened to define domestic violence as ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality’.
A source said: ‘This isn’t about people having a row and shouting. It’s about people’s whole lives being controlled, whether that’s not being allowed a bank account, access to a phone or to leave the house.’
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Home Secretary Theresa May will say this can encompass ‘psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional’ control. Mrs May has described domestic violence as ‘a particularly dreadful form of abuse’.
Domestic abuse prosecutions more than doubled from 35,000 in 2005 to 74,000 in 2010, and the conviction rate increased from 46 per cent to 72 per cent
The definition will include so-called ‘honour’ attacks, female genital mutilation and forced marriage, and make it clear that victims are not confined to one gender. According to recent Home Office statistics, 7 per cent of women and 5 per cent of men reported that they had experienced domestic violence.
Whitehall sources insisted the law would not change as a result of the reform, but said police and prosecutors would use the new definition. ‘Even though non-statutory, the change is supposed to influence public-sector bodies,’ one said.
‘You wouldn’t be prosecuted for coercive control, just as you wouldn’t be prosecuted for domestic violence, because neither of them are criminal offences. But if coercive control amounted to harassment, then you could be prosecuted for that.
Prosecutions for domestic abuse in Britain more than doubled from 35,000 in 2005 to 74,000 in 2010, and the conviction rate increased from 46 per cent to 72 per cent.
Last year, according to the Home Office, there were more than one million female victims of domestic abuse in England and Wales, with domestic violence accounting for 18 per cent of all violent incidents.
Diana Barran, of the charity Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse, said extreme levels of control, rather than physical violence, were probably the most common precursor to domestic killings.
‘People are completely controlled in all their daily activities, prevented from taking medication, prevented from seeing friends, controlled in what they wear, who they talk to, literally on every single level.’
French magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish Mohammed cartoons
FEARS that a wave of anger in the Islamic world could spread to Europe mounted as it emerged a French magazine was planning to publish cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Mohammed.
Satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo confirmed that its latest edition contains several cartoons featuring Mohammed that the publication's editor said would "shock those who will want to be shocked."
The magazine is due to hit the streets today against a background of protests across the Islamic world over a crude US-made film that mocks Mohammed and portrays Muslims as gratuitously violent.
At least 30 people have died so far in demonstrations held in over 20 countries.
Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy over its handling of the issues relating to Islam. Last year it published an edition "guest-edited" by the Prophet Mohammed that it called Sharia Hebdo. The magazine's offices in Paris were subsequently fire-bombed in what was widely seen as a reaction by Islamists.
Charlie Hebdo's latest move was greeted with immediate calls from political and religious leaders for the media to act responsibly and avoid inflaming the current situation.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault issued a statement expressing his "disapproval of all excesses."
The magazine's editor, originally a cartoonist who uses the name Charb, denied he was being deliberately provocative at a delicate time. "The freedom of the press, is that a provocation?" he said.
"I'm not asking strict Muslims to read Charlie Hebdo, just like I wouldn't go to a mosque to listen to speeches that go against everything I believe."
Dalil Boubakeur, the senior cleric at Paris's biggest mosque, appealed for France's Muslims to remain calm. "It is with astonishment, sadness and concern that I have learned that this publication is risking increasing the current outrage across the Muslim world," he said. "I would appeal to them not to pour oil on the fire."
Even before news of Charlie Hebdo's plans emerged, France's large Muslim community was being urged to take to the streets in defiance of an official ban on demonstrations over the controversial film.
Messages on Twitter and social networking sites called for demonstrations to be held Saturday in Paris, Marseille and other major cities, a week after police in the capital arrested 150 people for taking part in a rowdy protest near the US embassy.
Most messages read "Don't touch my Prophet", a variation of the French anti-racism slogan "Don't Touch my Mate" popular in the 1980s.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Sunday the authorities would not permit any more demonstrations against the film, saying Saturday's protest had been orchestrated by groups that "advocate radical Islam".
France is home to Western Europe's largest Islamic community, with at least four million Muslims in the country.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.