Sunday, June 05, 2016

UK: Number of arrests for 'offensive' social media posts soars as police target internet

The number of people being arrested over laws to stop 'offensive' social media posts is soaring, new figures show.

Statistics released by the Metropolitan Police show more than 850 people in London were detained under the controversial Communications Act last year.

The number of arrests has jumped by more than a third in the past five years, during which time police in the capital have questioned people over more than 3,500 allegations.

The figures, published by The Register, mean that during 2015, more than two people were arrested in London every day for allegedly posting messages which fall foul of the rules.

The law allows people to be prosecuted for sending 'offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing' messages on 'public communication networks' such as Facebook or Twitter.

The laws have been used to tackle online harassment, stalking and repeated 'trolling', but critics fear overzealous use of the rules could clamp down on free speech.

The act came under scrutiny in 2012 when Paul Chambers successfully challenged a conviction he got for tweeting that he would blow up Robin Hood Airport when it closed after heavy snow.

After his prosecution - for what he insisted was no more than a 'silly joke' - guidance was given by the Director of Public Prosecutions raising the threshold for prosecutions.

But figures released last year showed that, around the country, more than 1,200 were prosecuted in 2014 for offences under the act.

Last month, Markus Meechan from North Lanarkshire was arrested under the Communications Act for uploaded footage of his girlfriend's dog doing a Nazi salute and jumping when it heard words 'gas the Jews'. He insisted he is not racist and taught the dog the trick to 'annoy my girlfriend and give my friends something to laugh at'.



Bird of Paradise said...

Just be happy were no longer a british collony but just wait the demac-RATS will want the same for us

Anonymous said...

It is sad that the police are busy with this nonsense instead of pursuing criminals.

Anonymous said...

Coz it's such easy "work" for the police, unlike REAL policing with REAL criminals who might even be dangerous - then the police claim they lack enough officers and budget, but seem to have plenty of time and resources for such tame internet targets.

Anonymous said...

People should not be prosecuted for speech, opinions, insults, and such on the web. But they should be sufficiently punished for making viruses and hacking, because entering your computer and causing trouble is similar to entering your home or business and causing trouble. That's so far how it seems to me, unless someone wishes to correct me.

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

Arresting those who violate Big Brothers rules rather then arresting the ISIS goons