Be careful what you say about this post, it could land you in jail

Be careful what you say about this post, it could land you in jail

Silenced.Lawmakers in the UK are seeking to beef up an existing law that makes being an internet jerk a criminal act.

Under the existing Malicious Communications Act of 1988, anyone found guilty of internet abuse could face up to 6 months in prison. Some now feel that’s not enough and are pushing to have the maximum sentence increased:

Ms Bray’s plan would give magistrates the ability to send such cases for trial at crown court, where the jail term given could be four times longer and there is more time to bring a case. The change will be discussed by a committee of MPs on Thursday and if approved will be added to laws to be voted on later this year.

While I can understand the desire to police the internet, and cut down on the trolls that cause havoc, it’s also a concern that we’ve moved beyond proving defamation or hate speech, and are now happy to throw someone in jail, just because they’re jerk. Don’t get me wrong, I know that some people are truly harassed–some to the point of suicide–but don’t we have existing measures (restraining orders etc) that prevent this stuff?

There’s no sign that this law is coming to the U.S., but then again our lawmakers seem determined to legislate our freedoms and rights into extinction, so I wouldn’t rule it out.

What are your thoughts? Is this a good law?

ByAndy Beal

Andy Beal is The Original Online Reputation Expert™. A bestselling author of two critically-acclaimed reputation management books, a keynote speaker at dozens of events, and brand consultant experience with thousands of individuals and companies.

    3 Comments for “Be careful what you say about this post, it could land you in jail”
    1. In the US there is discussion on what constitutes a journalist. It looks like a bill designed to ensure free speech will actually restrict it to people writing in “official media”.

      A key part of the problem is that there is a cozy relationship between government and traditional media. It is now getting ridiculous – a newspaper with a circulation of under 200,000 is dictating a lot of the government’s public sector agenda.

      But the online media have no such cozy relationship – they are seen as a threat by the traditional media people just as much as by the government. So they are working to keep their joint powerbase to themselves.

      I suspect, however, all is not lost. These control freaks expose themselves by their attitudes. While there will be a period of ever more desperate last ditch defences of the old ways, they will be swept away. What we need to be careful of is that the new ways are not hampered like cars were by the man with the red flag.

    Comments are closed.