View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
  2. Software
June 13, 2012

Websites may be forced to identify trolls under new law

New government proposals want to force Internet Service providers to identify people who have posted offensive or threatening messages online.

By Tineka Smith

Website trolls

The new proposal means that victims of insults online could take action against people responsible without having to rely on police or the High Court.

Websites will be able to try and resolve issues between a dispute about malicious comments, but if unsuccessful websites will then have to cooperate with identifying anonymous trolls so the victims can take legal action.

The move for identifying trolls could also goes against the Defamation Bill, which attempts to support and strengthen freedom of speech on the web.

"The timing of the Government’s steps on defamation are surprising since at least some of what Leveson reports on, later this year, may impact the Defamation Bill," says Marc Dautlich, Information law expert at Pinsent Masons. "As to the specific measures proposed on trolls, what they do not explain is how whistleblowers with legitimate concerns to report will be distinguished and protected from those posting abuse, who will rightly find themselves more easily identifiable under the new measures by the targets of their attacks."

The new proposal comes after Nicola Brookes, a British woman, won a court order last week which ordered Facebook to give the names, email, and IP addresses of users who harassed her on the social website.

"With regards to the Nicola Brookes case the difference with this order is that it has been made against a social media platform and not simply an ISP," says Dautlich. "The risk here is in terms of the richness of information that Facebook collects and in the future may be asked to reveal. It means that law enforcement agencies can now attempt to access all sorts of details about individuals to support enforcement measures."

Content from our partners
Unlocking growth through hybrid cloud: 5 key takeaways
How businesses can safeguard themselves on the cyber frontline
How hackers’ tactics are evolving in an increasingly complex landscape

Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.
THANK YOU