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The CPS publishes social media hate crime prosecution guidance

by Mark Tyson on 10 October 2016, 14:31

Tags: UK Government

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The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has today published new guidance concerning prosecutions for those who use social media to spread hate and discord. The guidance covers such unsavoury online activities as common-or-garden trolling, 'baiting', under-age 'sexting', 'virtual mobbing' harassment campaigns, and 'doxxing' (encouraging harassment by revealing someone's personal details).

Today is the beginning of Hate Crime Awareness Week so it is a rather apt time for the CPS to issue this guidance. Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Alison Saunders, signed off the new guidance which also contains new sections concerning Violence against Women and Girls (VaWG), Hate Crime and vulnerable victims. The DPP said that while social media is designed to be a positive tool to educate, entertain and enlighten, some users twist its purpose for bullying, intimidation, and harassment. "Ignorance is not a defence and perceived anonymity is not an escape. Those who commit these acts, or encourage others to do the same, can and will be prosecuted," said Saunders.

The police and courts will use the new guidance to decide whether criminal charges will be brought against perpetrators of the above types of social media abuse. Individuals that participate in these online hate crimes could be charged with an offense under the Serious Communications Act 2007.

Today's new guidance comes in the wake of a major report earlier in the year that found one in four teenagers is subjected to abuse online. The Independent reminds us that the survey in that report suggested that 24 per cent of teens were targeted and abused on the internet due to their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability, or transgender identities. In 2015-16 more hate crime prosecutions were completed than ever before with four out of five prosecuted cases resulting in a conviction.

Beyond the above, the CPS today launches its Public Policy Statements on Hate Crime, which will be open to public consultation for the next 13 weeks.

HEXUS Forums :: 17 Comments

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When i got to "while social media is designed to be a positive tool to educate, entertain and enlighten" i had to double check the date. ;)
And there was me thinking that “social media” was designed to take normal social environments and replicate them via the internet.

Which is where all the trouble started in the first place.
I do find some of these cases totally OTT (to the point where people are ending up in court over a flippant remark (a remark that in person would never have gone any further).

But then I also saw early how social media mainly pandered to attention whores and therefore stayed away.

20 years from now we will all be saying “Remember when you could use the internet without fear of the police knocking on your door?”
and so it begins, the mechanism by which state censorship of the interwebs can slowly creep along. In the name of “anti-trolling” the drip feed of what is “approved party line” viewpoints gets endorsed and anyone who speaks out against it now has the threat of this hackneyed piece of BS legislation being enforced against them.

I don't doubt the drafters mean well, but the implication will be anything but, and in the long term we have to hope people see sense and implement sufficient checks and balances, not to mention restraint, otherwise every cry-baby whinger who feels aggrieved will be wasting police time demanding action under this law because
a) he stuck his internet tongue out at me
b) he said he didn't believe in my make-believe “god” or his antiquated dress code/food laws/meditatory practices
or b) he said I should believe in his God and that my eternity depends on it (depending on your side of the fence)
c) he said all refugees should be put in forced labour camps / be given free housing (depending on your side of the fence)
d) he said the government don't know what they're doing, (a given whichever side of the fence)
e) oh and he wrote in a camp way that might have been a sarcastic dig at the butch short-haired girl from down the road, so I'm upset on her behalf too.

sheeeesh people. Do we really need this law on our books? With all the organised crime, bankers spivving our money and Blair/Goodwin/Green not facing any real prospect of legal action this seems like some rather daft BS to waste our parliament's time upon. How about spending time working out Brexit….

Ah - I get it. It's so when they stuff that up, surrender to the EU, and leave us all worse off than we ever were, we can't then bitch about it online and say how useless the whole job lot of them are. Now all the government needs to do is develop a system to spy on everyone's email, facebook et al so they can datamine and see who is dissenting. At least they don't have that capability yet… oh no, wait.
Basically… don't be a dick.

I'm trying to learn photography and my girlfriend doesn't like having her picture taken… that leaves chairs, animals and myself. I had to stop taking test pictures, of myself, due to various people complaining that I was taking too many pictures of myself.