No need for new laws on trolls

Threatening behavior is already illegal in this country. If someone says they are going to rape you or murder you they are breaking our nation's laws. That's why we don't need new ones to deal with an old problem. Anyone who suggests we do should be treated with extreme suspicion. They're either stupid or they think you are stupid.

Currently in the UK a farcical debate is being orchestrated in the media about internet "trolls". The narrative runs like this, "we need new laws to sort out 'trolls' who are saying awful things to their victims online". It's implied our Police are powerless to intervene as the net is "like the Wild West". All this despite people already having been jailed for online harassment because making threats is already against the law.
The last time I blogged about Agent Hopkins I was under the impression her act had run out of steam. I'm able to admit I'm wrong, that's kind of the point of being a Discordian. Full disclosure: since then I booked her to appear on a radio show I was producing and thought her contributions were excellent. Now though she's suddenly turned into marriage material. Listen to this interview:

I've been a forum user in the past. I don't go on them so much these days, they seem a little outdated by Twitter. On forums I'd tend to use an alias. I mainly went on conspiracy forums. Above Top Secret was one of my favourites. It's there I learned the definition of a troll which I refer to in the above tweet. To "troll" for a response on one of those forums was easy for me, I'm not convinced 9/11 could only have been an inside job or that aliens have had a series of secret meetings with the US president in the mid 1950s. Bingo! I'm a troll.

However, that's not what this debate is about. It's about the UK Government continuing its attempts to censor the internet. Something I have warned about previously. The technique they are using is called "boiling the frog". The idea goes that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.

Last year (July 2013) I wrote in "#censorshipagenda":
They will gradually increase the temperature now as other parts of this particular campaign are ramped up, including the Leveson proposals, so-called Hate Crime legislation and banning people from being allowed into the UK because they dare to think or say the "wrong thing".
That's clearly part of this.

There are some things which transcend petty left wing or right wing politics and the "cult of celebrity". Free speech is one of them. Hopkins is bang on the money.

What worries me is that there's a clear tactic at work behind the scenes here. They are announcing "problems" which we already have laws to deal with. They are not enforcing these laws and then demanding news ones. Just as they did with Leveson. I blogged about this also:

"#censorshipagenda follow up article"

Why are MPs encouraging people who appear to have been the victims of crime to campaign for a new laws?

An early example of this is the Leveson Enquiry, about phone hacking, which was already illegal:
Leveson Inquiry: Ian Hislop says new press laws not needed
New laws are not needed to govern the press, Private Eye editor Ian Hislop has told an inquiry into media ethics. Practices such as phone hacking, paying police officers and being in contempt of court contravene existing laws, Mr Hislop told the Leveson Inquiry. He said the inquiry should examine why the laws were not rigorously enforced

Full story from The BBC. [my emphasis]

This is an area of concern for me because for most of my adult life I've earned a coin working almost exclusively in commercial radio. Less rigidly controlled than the "impartial" BBC the format I've always thought it does best has to be opinionated talk. Aside from my old employer LBC that's a dead duck these days. The reason for that is simple, Government regulation.
The myth of media impartiality, shamelessly pushed by the BBC, is deeply corrosive. It's a lie repeated so often that otherwise intelligent people have been hypnotised into believing it. All acts of communication have an implied perspective. How you define a term like "troll" is a good example:
To think that the Government is seeking to protect you from people saying mean things on the internet is absurd to me. If you have doubts though, check this article here about the so-called "porn filters":

Oh, and by the way, this blog is now classified as "extreme" by a number of institutions according to podcast listeners. Interesting times...

Nick Margerrison.


Rob Someone said…
That word hatespeech always strikes me as being somewhat Orwellian - remove the right to use the words, and soon there will be no possibility of thinking the thoughts.
Funny how a few days after listening to the Hopkins / Smurfwaite exchange (next time it's mud-wrestling), all I remember is the catchphrase 'menstrual mafia', which I shall steal and use as my own LOL ha ha ha smiley face etc.

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