An Internet trolling expert and general election candidate has thrown his weight behind the Lib Dems’ plans for a Digital Rights Bill, but says youth rights should be a core feature.
The Pluralist Party candidate for Liverpool Walton, Dzon, known professionally as Jonathan Bishop, says he fully supports Liberal Democrat proposals for a Digital Rights Bill. “Whilst as a trolling expert I know that current laws are good enough to protect rights to free speech and from Internet abuse, a new law to set out case law and CPS best practice in black and white will stop the misuse and lack of use of current legislation,” he said. “It is essential that at the heart of this bill that youth rights are protected, as all too often it is young people that are prosecuted and convicted for trolling, even though if case law like DPP v Chambers were applied they would be found innocent.
“A new Digital Rights Bill should insert into existing trolling law like the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and Malicious Communications Act 1988 prescribed defences against prosecution based on what is set out in DPP v Chambers, DPP v Collins, DPP v Connolly and the DPP’s guidance on offences arising out of social media, so that only those incidents of trolling that are illegal are prosecute whereas those that are free speech are not.”
Nick Clegg is leader of the Liberal Democrats who has proposed the Digital Rights Bill. “The way in which we work, socialise, buy products and use services has changed at lightning speed since the digital revolution,” he said. “However government and politicians have responded at snail’s pace, and failed to ensure the rights of consumers, businesses, journalists and children are protected in the online world.
“Our Digital Rights Bill will finally enshrine into law our rights as citizens of this country to privacy, to stop information about us being abused online, and to protect our right to freedom of speech.”
Lib Dem proposals include a Code of Practice for online services who would by law have to correct information about members of the public where it is inaccurate or defamatory and enshrine in law the responsibility of government to defend the free press, including the rights of journalists and citizen journalists to express their views freely online.