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UK.gov To Treat Online Abuse as Seriously as Hate Crime in Real Life (theregister.co.uk) 307

The UK's Crown Prosecution Service has pledged to tackle online abuse with the same seriousness as it does hate crimes committed in the flesh. From a report: Following public concern about the increasing amount of racist, anti-religious, homophobic and transphobic attacks on social media, the CPS has today published a new set of policy documents on hate crime. This includes revised legal guidance for prosecutors on how they should make decisions on criminal charges and handle cases in court. The rules officially put online abuse on the same level as offline hate crimes -- defined as an action motivated by hostility or prejudice -- like shouting abuse at someone face-to-face. They commit the CPS to prosecuting complaints about online material "with the same robust and proactive approach used with online offending." Prosecutors are told to consider the effect on the wider community and whether to identify both the originators and the "amplifiers or disseminators."
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UK.gov To Treat Online Abuse as Seriously as Hate Crime in Real Life

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  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:09AM (#55057171)

    Turn off the computer.

    Go outside.

    It's only crybabies and bullies calling names. What happened to the island that once said 'here and no further' and stood alone against fascism? They're now cowering because someone used strong language.

    Did someone put something in the water?

    • That island you speak of hung one of the chief "sticks and stones" types at Wandsworth Prison.

      Lord Haw-Haw [wikipedia.org]

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:21AM (#55057265)

      It's not that easy. With the internet and social media playing an increasingly important role in the life of our kids, and the fact that the internet never forgets, you can easily destroy someone's life permanently that way.

      Think back of your youth. I guess everyone here has done something they're not really proud upon, maybe even something that was the talk of the school yard for a while. But it blows over. Eventually. And people forget about it.

      Remember the Star Wars Kid? That's been like a decade ago. Want to bet that you can still find videos today? What do you think, how easy he probably has it, finding a job with that reputation, hell, finding someone who'd want to date and maybe even marry an internet meme?

      • Yeah, but when everyone has all of their dirty laundry aired so to speak no one is going to care. We might see a kind of neo-Puritanism for a while and a few witch trials to go along with it, but eventually it will settle down because everyone's cringe-inducing crap from their younger years will be online and you know the old saying about people in glass houses.
        • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @12:21PM (#55057721)

          Unlikely. Far more likely we'll not get to hear who airs someone else's dirty laundry and what laundry becomes the dirty one depends again on groupthink and popularity.

          Do you really want to live in a world like that?

    • As a Canadian, I'm pretty comfortable with where we usually draw the line - somewhere around "riling up people to cause harm".

      What bothers me is that phrase in the summary... "anti-religious". Wow. So blasphemy laws then, where you're required by law to treat somebody's dangerous delusion with respect?

      I say put some radical Jews, Muslims, and Christians in a room and let the lawsuits fly...

      • by TimothyHollins ( 4720957 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:40AM (#55057451)

        How does riling up people to cause harm differ from riling up people for a laugh? Can a prosecutor tell the difference? How many 14-year olds will get sent to youth care because an angry SJW decided that "someone had to take a stand against racism, bigotry, and transphobia"? What happens when the "right to be offended" finally overturns the "intent matters" clause?

        You see the lunacy of the "anti-religious" point. I think all the points are the same, and just as easy to twist when you want to condemn someone. For those that care about the slippery slope stuff, this new ruling opens up a highway to the SocJus nation.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:50AM (#55057493)

      There's is a populist effort now to curtail the freedom of speech.

      In 1930s, it was the popular-right Nazis. Now, it's the popular-left-socialists. (and I say this with a grain of salt, as I do support some form of socialism). But yeah, if you look at some of the initial tactics, they're no different. Nazis didn't become Nazis on day one... they first became extraordinary popular---so popular that anyone who disagreed with them was afraid to question them.... this is what's happening now! (e.g. Google dude dared to question the current-state-of-affairs, and got fired and perhaps became unemployable due to that... would YOU question something you don't agree with?).

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

      Hitler had it wrong, he shouldn't have sent his planes...
      He should have sent some strongly worded letters insulting the brits instead.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:13AM (#55057199)

    Was this inspired by the Rust programming language community, by any chance? The Rust Code of Conduct [rust-lang.org] and the Rust Moderation Team [rust-lang.org] (which enforces the Rust Code of Conduct) both form the foundation of the Rust community, and have for some time.

    It's all really quite odd. Despite claiming [rust-lang.org] to be "committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, or similar personal characteristic", in my opinion the Rust community is one of the least tolerant programming language communities I've ever seen. For example, it's absurd how they'll downvote you at Reddit or Hacker News, for instance, if you dare to express anything that might be considered criticism of Rust, no matter how slight.

    This stuff coming out of the UK sounds a lot like the hypersensitivity we've seen from the Rust community.

    • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:57AM (#55057547)

      Are you trying to bully the Rust community??

      [Irony alert].

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gweihir ( 88907 )

      The idea is to enforce tolerance by threat of violence. Of course, "tolerance" here does mean "strict and unquestioning adherence to the principles laid out by the authorities". In effect, they have redefined "tolerance" to mean extreme intolerance of anything not explicitly allowed. A tried and true technique, as, for example, nicely illustrated in 1984 by Orwell.

      Ultimately, this fails, because a community that cannot handle criticism can never produce anything good. Obviously so, as no critical discussion

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        The utterly dysfunctional "Rust Community" is an excellent reason to not touch this language at all.

        Should also be a shining example of why you don't let people who contribute nothing, write codes of conduct that will fundamentally fuck up your project so bad that not even fire can save it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All those hatin' on haters are haters.
    People gonna hate.
    People gonna hate haters.
    People gonna hate haters hating.
    People gonna hate haters hating haters.
    ad-nauseum..

  • "Hate Crime" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:19AM (#55057253) Journal

    Hate Crime

    Is that a bellythinkful thoughtcrime?

  • by krouic ( 460022 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:22AM (#55057285)

    When did I miss the episode where hate speech and hate crime became synonyms ?

    • Re:Hate speech (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:40AM (#55057453) Journal

      In a number of European countries, hate speech is lumped in with hate crimes. Try being a public Holocaust Denier in Germany or Austria.

      Not every country has the First Amendment, and the UK has traditionally had more restrictions on speech than the US.

    • by Jahta ( 1141213 )

      When did I miss the episode where hate speech and hate crime became synonyms ?

      Well you may have missed this episode [xkcd.com], which is an important reminder that freedom of speech does not grant you some magical immunity from the consequences of what you say. You only have to look post-Trump USA, and post-Brexit UK, to see how racist (or sexist, homophobic) rhetoric has real world outcomes. As the WWII slogan says "careless talk costs lives [loc.gov]."

  • by DeplorableCodeMonkey ( 4828467 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:41AM (#55057455)

    A MP from Labour had to step down because she wanted to have an uncomfortable conversation about incidents like Rotterham and then was forced to do the ritualized "so sorry, I'm such a racist, I'll go live in a secular convent while I do penance." All because she had the audacity to notice that apparently Rotterham is a large data point in a bigger trend.

    Suppressing speech like this with force may make you feel noble, but it's not going to go away. Others will notice, others will talk. Eventually, the pendulum will swing back and the force it swings back on the smug, self-righteous inquisitors will be a function of how much force they put into the swing when it was on their side. The leaders celebrating this today could very well find themselves facing serious retribution.

    • by Suiggy ( 1544213 )

      You've just been reported to the authorities for spreading this hate fact.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Actually, that MP has been widely supported and her forced resignation condemned. It's true that she could have worded it better, but she definitely has a lot of support now. It may even have boosted her career in the longer term, and it certainly damaged Labour's leader for taking that action.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        Although lets face it, someone guilty of domestic violence should never have fucking been shadow minister for equality in the first place.

    • Eventually, the pendulum will swing back and the force it swings back on the smug, self-righteous inquisitors will be a function of how much force they put into the swing when it was on their side. The leaders celebrating this today could very well find themselves facing serious retribution.

      People forget how quickly it can swing too. I recall a few years ago when Obama was in office how quick liberals were to jump on if you don't toe our line on gay marriage we will withhold Federal funds. Fast forward a few years and the liberals are out of power and sanctuary cities were under threat of having Federal funds withheld. Funny how then it was suddenly immoral to withhold funds. Since the root cause of the instability is not being addressed (declining middle class / severe inequality / too mu

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        With respect, this as dumb as "Oh, so when YOU imprison people for murder, that's OK, but when WE imprison people for being Democrats, suddenly imprisoning people is wrong? Typical hypocrites!"

        Why is it OK to withhold funds from cities that persecute homosexuals and transexuals? Because the government is meant to be protecting people from persecution, and cities are not supposed to persecute their citizens.

        Why is it NOT OK to withhold funds from cities that don't do ICE's job for them? Because (1) that

      • Almost (Score:4, Interesting)

        by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @02:52PM (#55058885)

        (declining middle class / severe inequality / too much social change in a short span)

        These things are inexorably linked due to the ideology behind them. There are, and has been for a couple thousand years, 2 competing ideologies. One where the State is the most important part of society, and the other (which the US is founded upon) that the individual is the most important part of society. The USA succeeded because of ideology enshrining the individual. Now that we have a mass of politicians pushing for (and obtaining to a large degree) socialist/communist programs we are getting what others who taut the Statist ideology get. A 2 class system with the Peons and the Government Elites.

        Compare Locke to Marx, or Hegel, or Dewy, or Crowley. The latter 4 all tell you that the individual is nothing without the State, while the former tells you that the State is nothing without the individual. (Same lesson from Plato, Cicero, and to a large extent Aquinas and Luther). The far left ideology is where we get concepts like "The living Constitution", and yes "Socialized" programs from the Government. The State, and the few elites allowed to run the State are all powerful. Everyone else is simply a servant of the State. (See Socrates' Allegory of the Cave [unadulterated version])

        Europe as a whole is just getting this by the bucket full. People are supposed to be afraid to push back and take control, that's part of the movement selling you Statism as a religion. People are supposed to be brain washed, because that is how you keep control. People are supposed to be poor if they are in the "wrong think" camp, because if you have money you can push back.

        It's too late to continue to claim "it can't happen here", because it's been happening. The push now, and we see it in the US, is to try and turn back from the coming cliff. Let us see if you can prove Rand wrong, or if you all fall to communism.

  • You can't really harass someone online, because there is nothing forcing them to read the shit you write. Furthermore, most online services provide effective mechanisms for blocking a-holes. Also, computer systems keep a record of all messages, making harassment criminal complaints much easier to prove. (Has anybody gotten away with online harassment be using an anonymous proxy service?)
  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @11:54AM (#55057521)

    ... they don't hate anyone - although you might think otherwise to hear or read some of their statements.

    No, when governments kill individuals for resisting them, or millions for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they don't do it out of hatred - or any emotion.

    It's icy cold. Just business.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      And exactly that is what makes governments the most immoral and evil constructs known to man. If not kept on a tight leash, they will go off the rails and ultimately establish fascism. Unfortunately, current generations in the west have no idea what that means and are cheering them on.

  • Internet troll's new hobby: Baiting the UK's Crown Prosecution Service. Good luck trying to track some anonymous person down who is behind 7 proxies (or at least a VPN or Tor, or is using free WiFi from some random cafe or coffeeshop).
  • ... enemies of freedom, privacy, etc.!

    Oh, wait, they would need to round up most of the GCHQ and of the Government. So that is not going to happen as Justitia has long since stopped being blind in the UK.

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