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Internet trolls could now face prosecution

11th October 2016

Internet trolls could be charged

New legal guidelines have been put forward that could see internet trolls who post doctored images and derogatory hashtags to embarrass and humiliate others face prosecution.

The new law would cover England and Wales and would also punish people who harass others online and those who publish people’s personal information, such as bank details.

If the new rules that have been proposed are introduced, they will help the police recognise online crimes easier and those in legal jobs and positions will need to get up to speed with the new legislation, which will be subject to public consultation for 13 weeks.

People must think about their actions

In an article on the BBC, Alison Saunders, who is the Director of Public Prosecutions, was quoted telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme that people now must think about their actions.

She 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.”

The new rules currently do not include punishing trolls from abroad with some people believing that without changes to legislation in the UK and overseas, the new rules will not make a huge impact.

Kevin Healey, who has suffered at the hands of internet trolls, added, “With the laws in the UK, if someone is trolling you from outside the UK - and my last batch of trolls were from the US - the police said we can't do anything.”

New rules have also been discussed about sexting, with the Crown Prosecution Service having said they will caution people posting offensive material, but underage sexting between consenting children in a relationship will not be prosecuted.

A new law on revenge porn, introduced in April 2015, has led to the prosecution of over 200 people in England and Wales.

Image Credit: Chinnapong (Shutterstock)