Welsh Government refuse to confirm Internet trolling policy

The Welsh Government has refused to confirm under which circumstances it is willing to prevent access to student support in terms of Internet trolling carried out by students wishing to claim such funding from Student Finance Wales or the Student Loans Company.

Courtesy: Rachel Johnson
TO TROLL OR NOT TO TROLL: The Welsh Government refuses to confirm under what circumstances it will penalise a student for Internet trolling. Courtesy: Rachel Johnson

The Welsh Government was asked by Crocels News under which circumstances it would “unfit” (i.e. declare ineligible) students who carry out Internet trolling of its staff. “If a member of the public asks for information, you only have to provide information you already have in recorded form,” said Steve Nicholls of its Higher Education Division. “You do not have to create new information or find the answer to a question from staff who may happen to know it.

Man spared jail after underage girl’s web of deceit

At-risk adult Sebastian Bickerton-King was deceived into a relationship with a girl who told him she was 16 when she was actually 15.
VULNERABLE: At-risk adult Sebastian Bickerton-King was deceived into a relationship with a girl who told him she was 16 when she was actually 15. Courtesy: Raymonds Press.

23-year-old Sebastian Bickerton-King has been spared jail, following an ordeal where he was lied to by his girlfriend that she was at the age of consent, when she was actually 15.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, lured Sebastian Bickerton-King into exchanging sexual images with her by convincing him she was at the age of consent. Bickerton-King has Asperger syndrome, leading to the relationship becoming obsessional in nature.

After Sebastian Bickerton-King disclosed the images to the girl’s family following her threatening to kill herself, he was charged with offences relating to child pornography and revenge porn.

In defence of Sebastian Bickerton-King, his Counsel Caroline Bradley said: “The defendant had engrossed himself in the internet environment. In his own mind he was in love with the girl and he thought she was in love with him. He felt hugely rejected when she ended their relationship. She was vulnerable and so was he.

Judge Jonathan Bennett sitting at Derby Crown Court accepted from Bickerton-King’s defence that the “victim was 15 but I accept you (he) believed she was 16.” Judge Jonathan Bennett awarded against Bickerton-King a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, ordered him to enrol in a three-year sex offenders’ treatment program and awarded a five-year sexual harm prevention order against him.

E-dating warning after suspected rape

Those looking for love online are today being warned by Humberside Police to take precautions after Hull man was arrested on suspicion of raping a woman he met via social media.

The 47-year-old was arrested in connection with the allegation on Tuesday, March 7. He has been released on police bail to a date in April, pending further enquiries.

Today officers from the force cyber crime unit are highlighting the case as part of an ongoing drive to highlight the potential dangers around online dating.

A recent report from the National Crime Agency’s Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) identified a significant increase in the number of reports to UK police forces about serious sexual assaults carried out by offenders who have met their victims through online dating.

Most of these assaults take place the first time they meet face-to-face and it is feared that potential victims are being lured into letting their guard down – not thinking of those they meet as strangers.

Detective Inspector Rich Osgerby is from Humberside Police. “Online relationships tend to progress far more quickly that those offline, as people feel more able to be more open and emotionally honest,” he said. “The result of this is that individuals may then have a sense of being at more advanced stage in the relationship by the time they meet the person face-to-face and no longer regard them as a stranger, even though it is the first time they are meeting.
This can lead to individuals taking more risks than they otherwise would and putting themselves into more vulnerable situations.

Jonathan Bishop is an e-dating expert. “My research concurs with comments of Humberside Police that relationships can progress faster online and this is one of the causes of serious crime resulting from online dating,” he said. “My first romantic relationship started online, but today one has to be extra careful as the Internet is much more widely used.
Many years ago when I reported to the police people trying to extort money from me through online dating, it was simply recorded as an incident, so it is good that Humberside Police and the National Crime Agency are starting to take the issue more seriously.

E-Dating conviction part of ‘six-fold increase’

RAPIST: Jason Lawrance has been sentenced to life in prison for raping women he groomed via the e-dating website, match.com. Courtesy: Obtained from Sky News.
RAPIST: Jason Lawrance has been sentenced to life in prison for raping women he groomed via the e-dating website, match.com. Courtesy: Obtained from Sky News.

The conviction of Jason Lawrance for raping 5 women he met on the match.com e-dating website is part of a six-fold increase, the National Crime Agency has said.

The NCA’s Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS), which supports police investigations into serious sexual assaults committed by strangers, identified an increase in the number of people that were raped during their first face-to-face meeting following initial contact through an online dating website or app.

Derby Crown Court convicted Jason Lawrance and sentenced him to life for his rape of the women. Alan Charles is Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner. “This is a truly shocking case in so many ways and the courage of the victims in helping to secure this conviction should be applauded,” he said. “It was a complex police investigation into a string of attacks against women and I’m pleased to see the person responsible has been brought to justice for his despicable crimes.

Sean Sutton is Head of the NCA’s Serious Crimes Analysis Section. “More than nine million Britons have logged on to online dating sites, and the majority have found that they are a convenient and safe environment to find a relationship,” he said. “This initial work clearly raises a lot of questions and we will be working with academia to build a more complete picture.
However this will take time and we wanted to release our headline findings at the earliest opportunity.
Our aim here is to make people aware of the potential danger, so they can be better prepared and make the choices that are right for them.
A rape victim is never at fault and we do not want the circumstances in which these assaults take place to cause any victim to doubt that.
Sexual assault is a crime, full stop, and we want victims to feel confident reporting it to the police.

Jonathan Bishop is an e-dating expert who co-founded Action on Digital Addiction and Cyberstalking. “The extent of sexual offences following contact on e-dating websites is more widespread than people realise,” he said. “My research into e-dating websites suggests that e-dating profiles need to be properly configured to make clear whether someone is looking for sexual encounters so that those who do not want them are protected from claims they consented to sex when they did not.

MP tries to brand constituent as a ‘troll’

The Conservative Member of Parliament for Telford, Lucy Allan, has been exposed as a malicious troll-caller after doctoring an email from one of her constituents.

Lucy Allan’s victim was Adam Watling, 27, an audio producer from Telford who was writing as Rusty Shackleford. “I think this is deceitful and it calls into question her integrity,” he said. “The fact she is doing this and also representing voters is very worrying.
I would like her to resign as it is a serious thing for an MP to do to someone, to misrepresent an email from a constituent so grossly.

Lucy Allan MP posted a doctored photograph to try to claim one of her constituents threatened her. Courtesy: Obtained from YouTube
YOU’RE HAVING ME ALLAN: Lucy Allan MP posted a doctored photograph to try to claim one of her constituents threatened her. Courtesy: Obtained from YouTube

Jonathan Bishop is an Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert, who made a speech at the E-Society Conference in Madeira this year, where he showed how young men, like Adam Watling, are being falsely branded as trolls by politicians, journalists and feminists, when the reality is different. He says that Lucy Allan is breaching many statutes by her actions.  “There are a significant number of laws that Lucy Allan is breaking by trying to damage her constituent’s reputation through her magnitude 4 trolling,” he said. “Everyone knows this is defamation under civil law, but the Communications Act 2003 also makes it a criminal offence to send a message over the Internet that one knows is untrue,” he continued. “Furthermore, Lucy Allan is breaking the Public Order Act 1986 by posting in a publicly accessible online location words which could be perceived as threatening or offensive by unsuspecting persons.

Adam Watling made clear that he is not who Lucy Allan is trying to portray him as. “Despite changing my Facebook name, I am a genuine Telford constituent and I have lived here all my life., he said. “And just because I emailed under a different name, why does that make it OK to add a death threat to my email?
I would never say the words she attributed to my initial email. I do not understand why she would take the comments she may or may not have received from someone else and add them to my email when she put it on her Facebook.
I just don’t understand why that gives her the right to add three words to my email. This is not selective editing, this is adding things I did not say.

‘Sexist’ MP receives ‘rape threats’

An expert has explained why a United Kingdom Member of Parliament who criticised the holding of a “International Men’s Day” debate was subject to rape threats.

Jess Phillips, the Member of Parliament for MP for Birmingham Yardley, faced a torrent of rape threats after speaking against calls for an International Men’s Day debate. Jess Phillips comments were widely seen as sexist, and experts say Jess Phillips should have expected the reaction.

Jess Phillips MP
SEXIST?: Jess Phillips MP faced rape-threats following speaking against an International Men’s Day debate. Courtesy: Birmingham Mail.
Jonathan Bishop is an Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert. Bishop has been researching and publishing on why rape threats exist online.”No one should be shocked over the rape-threats received by Birmingham MP, Jess Phillips after she opposed an International Men’s Day debate,” he said. “Women are usually targeted by rape threats because that is seen by as their weak-spot, which all bullies focus on.
If Jess Phillips was a black man, it is likely she would have received racial slurs if she had spoken against an ‘International Whites Day.’
TROLLING EXPERT: Jonathan Bishop is an Internet trolling expert. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.
TROLLING EXPERT: Jonathan Bishop is an Internet trolling expert. Courtesy: Steve Powderhill Photography.
Bishop’s research found that women who spoke up for men’s rights and those of a different religion to them were not trolled, but praised. Those women who wanted less rights for men were trolled. This is because trolls always target hypocrites, he argues. “This is how the trolls likely saw Jess Phillips – as a sexist hypocritical woman who doesn’t speak against International Women’s Day, but who does speak against an International Men’s Day debate,” Bishop concluded.
Jess Phillips remains defiant. “Being told that ‘I asked for it’ regarding threats to rape me is not fun. Its not 1st time in my life I’ve heard it,” she said. “Today my son is 7. I’m glad he is not old enough to go on internet and find all the people threatening to rape me.

Mumsnet founder in swatting ordeal

Mumsnet founder, Justine Roberts, has been the victim of a prank call to the police, who sent a SWAT team to her home.

HACKED OFF: Justice Roberts faced a police SWAT team at her home following the actions of a troll. Courtesy: Index on Censorship.
HACKED OFF: Justice Roberts faced a police SWAT team at her home following the actions of a troll. Courtesy: Index on Censorship.

Justine Roberts set up the Mumsnet website in 2000, and was believed to have been a victim of a troll who used the @DadSecurity Twitter account.

Jason Barratt is an expert in swatting, based at the Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-Learning Systems in Swansea. “Swatting is utterly dangerous, the SWAT teams respond according and within line of their training, which is to neutralise any threats by any means. If this means killing the threat, they will,” he said. “They’re trained to not even blink an eye if they have to pull the trigger of their guns to end a person’s life.
And any dogs in the mix, dogs will defend their owners, but SWAT are trained to shoot dogs.
Frankly, Justine Roberts is lucky that she is alive, they could have so easily shot and killed her, which is probably what the troll who instigated the swatting was hoping for.

Jason Barratt is co-author of the chapter, ‘The Impacts of Alcohol on E-Dating Activity: Increases in Flame Trolling Corresponds with Higher Alcohol Consumption,’ which is part of the book, Psychological and Social Implications Surrounding Internet and Gaming Addiction,’ by Jonathan Bishop and published by IGI Global.

Wales’s first revenge porn conviction

Wales has had its first successful prosecution for porn revenge since the introduction of a specific offence in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

Clayton Kennedy, 20, was convicted at Cardiff Magistrates Court for posting a picture of a former partner on Facebook for a total of 30 minutes. The image was seen by his friends.

Internet trolling and Cyberstalking expert, Jonathan Bishop, says that the Director of Public Prosecutions needs to update its social media guidance in light of the conviction. “Under the CPS’s social media guidance, Clayton Kennedy should not have been prosecuted,” he said. “Under CPS social media guidance, because the image was posted only for his friends and was taken down shortly after posting, then Clayton Kennedy should have been acquitted.
It is not fair for Clayton Kennedy to have been convicted of an offence CPS guidance said he should not have been and the Director of Public Prosecutions should as a matter of urgency reflect this judgement by updating the guidance so everyone knows where they stand.”

Cardiff magistrate Dr Chantal Nichols made Kennedy the subject of a restraining order and fined him £405. “This was a nasty offence with the potential to have a emotional impact on the victim,” Dr Chantal Nichols said as one of the first lay judges to use the new law. “This is a relatively new offence but we want to make sure that you understand that what you did is very serious,” Dr Chantal Nichols concluded.

‘Cyberbullying’ app shut-down

The anonymous messaging service, Secret, which was once thought to be worth $100m (£66.5), is to be shut down.

The app, created to promote free speech, was criticised for promoting cyber-bullying instead, which is often called Internet trolling. User numbers of the app has seen a sharp decrease.

Founder, David Byttow, said he would be returning some of the $35 funding back to investors. “Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company,” he said, suggesting that the service was “failing fast.”

Justice on trolling should be for all – expert

Internet troll, Joshua Mark Bonehill-Paine, has escaped jail following a campaign of defamation against five people., accusing them of being child rapists, homosexuals and of a particular religious persuasion.

Joshua Mark Bonehill-Paine, 22, from Yeovil in Somerset, was found guilty of six charges of sending malicious communications at Yeovil Magistrates Court and given a 3 month prison term, suspended for 18-months.

Jonathan Bishop is an Internet trolling and cyber-stalking expert. “This is one of the most serious cases of cyber-hickery, which is a persistent campaign of hate against one or more people,” he said. “It is not the first case where someone was blackened with allegations of child rape, as similar things happened to Nicola Brookes.
Nicola Brookes was not so lucky however, as on finding one of the people who accused of child rape was a police officer they said there was not enough evidence, even though the IP addresses were clearly linked to that police officer.
The police and CPS need to start being more consistent of trolling, as it is not fair for Nicola Brookes goes without justice just because her troll was a police officer, when they allegedly committed the same offence as Joshua Mark Bonehill-Paine.