Finally, we might actually be able to do something about the scourge of internet trolls. At least one person is taking the fight to them, but the government wants to help now too. It’s putting powers in place to unmask and prosecute trolling fiends.
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is proposing new legislation that tacks onto the Defamation bill, which would force websites into give up the IP addresses of trolling users without having to spend time going to the High Court. The new powers would also give website publishers a defence against defamation. At the moment, basically, websites are liable for defamatory content, even if the trolling was done by one of their users and not a company employee. Ken Clarke said:
“Our proposed approach will mean that website operators have a defence against libel as long as they identify the authors of allegedly defamatory material when requested to do so by a complainant.”
There are, of course, privacy concerns over that kind of power, plus there’s the potential for abuse as a censorship tool. Apparently the government is committed to getting “the detail right” to avoid that kind of thing, but considering what a mess recent internet-targeted legislation has been, I don’t hold up much hope. Still, any weapon that the public can use against malicious internet trolls is a step in the right direction. Maybe trolling will eventually become a thing of the past, in Britain at least — cross your fingers for that one. [BBC]
Image credit: Troll from Shutterstock