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Rapid increase in internet “troll” convictions

fibreopticConvictions of internet “trolls” in the UK have increased ten-fold in the last decade.

Section 127 of the 2003 Communications Act used to prosecute the sending of “grossly” offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing messages has seen 1,209 people found guilty. Another 685 were cautioned.

In 2004, there were 143 convictions, according to figures released by the Ministry of Justice.

A similar increase in the number of convictions took place under the Malicious Communications Act, which states that it is an offence to send a threatening, offensive or indecent letter, electronic communication or article with the intent to cause distress or anxiety.

Under this law, 694 people were found guilty last year. In 2004, there were 64 convictions.

Section 127 has been increasingly used in recent years due to the surge in the use of social media, although it also covers phone calls and emails.

Public awareness of the problem has intensified after several cases involving prominent individuals came to light, including MP Stella Creasy, campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, and the McCanns.

The Government in October announced increases to the maximum sentence for trolls convicted under the Malicious Communications Act from six months to two years.

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Comments  

-9 #3 Gordon R 2015-05-25 16:06
Does Portugal yet have anything resembling Freedom of Information ? If so - why not cross reference with the Portuguese end ?
Asking how many were 're-repatriated' or warned off in the UK for Internet trolling.
-8 #2 Chip the Duck 2015-05-25 08:03
But first a Freedom of Information Request to find out how much the McCann saga has cost the taxpayers of the UK and Portugal in police time, and what exactly they discovered.
-7 #1 Damien 2015-05-25 06:48
What us Brits need now - before any in / out EU referendum - is for someone to make a Freedom of Information request to identify the nationalities of the anti-McCann trolls. And what sanction was carried out against them !

Following the closure of a number of UK based anti-McCann websites - there is an odd silence that implies something has been 'arranged' at Government level. Hopefully that the trolls leave the UK - never to return ?

Finally - on a separate subject. It cannot be rocket science for Twitter to devise an algorithm that searches for repeat messages that includes 'offensive comment' to an individual from any number of other individuals. And without warning report the offending messages to the Police ?

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