Metropolitan Police ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’ for ‘trolling’ claim

The London Metropolitan Police have been criticised for being institutionally sexist and racist, following being forced to drop a prosecution against a Caucasian man, who was arrested and charged following being outspoken on Twitter against a muslim woman.

In an embarrassing climb-down, the Metropolitan Police were forced to drop charges against the man, who was arrested and charged under Section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, following heated exchanges with a Muslim woman on Twitter.

The man, aged 46, was arrested and charged by the Metropolitan Police following using Twitter to ask a muslim woman to “explain Brussels,” but the prosecution was halted following the intervention of the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that the man had been “charged under section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986; publishing or distributing written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, likely or intended to stir up racial hatred,” adding that, “This follows an investigation by officers at Croydon police community safety unit.

Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert Jonathan Bishop criticised the police, saying that the arrest and prosecution of the man sadly comes as no surprise. “The Metropolitan Police still have not learned the lessons from the time of Stephen Lawrence,” he said. “They feel they have to respond to certain enquiries based on the protected characteristics of the alleged victim, in this case a woman that is a muslim, but this amounts simply to benevolent sexism against men and institutional racism against Caucasians.
My research has found that crime recording by South Wales Police is sexist against men when it comes to Internet trolling, and in fact I have found that there are often more than double the amount of arrests and prosecutions of men for Internet trolling than women.
This goes against my other research that finds that most breakdowns in relationships online involve women and their interactions with other women, and the lack of replication of this fact in crime recording seems to be an endemic problem across police forces.

Investigatory Powers Bill has mixed reception

The UK Government introduced the Investigatory Powers Bill to Parliament today. The Bill has had a mixed reception.

The Investigatory Powers Bill sets out the powers available to the police, security and intelligence services to gather and access communications and communications data in the digital age, subject to strict safeguards and world-leading oversight arrangements.

Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom.
AT HOME: Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom. Courtesy: Originally posted to Flickr by the Home Office.

Home Secretary Theresa May introduced the Bill. “This is vital legislation and we are determined to get it right,” she said. “Our proposals have been studied in detail by a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament established to provide rigorous scrutiny, and 2 further committees.
The revised Bill we introduced today reflects the majority of the committees’ recommendations – we have strengthened safeguards, enhanced privacy protections and bolstered oversight arrangements – and will now be examined by Parliament before passing into law by the end of 2016.
This timetable was agreed by Parliament when we introduced the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act in summer 2014.

Andy Burnham is the Shadow Home Secretary.
HOME ALONE: Andy Burnham is the Shadow Home Secretary. Courtesy: NHS Confederation

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham was more critical. “Labour has taken a responsible and constructive approach to working with the Government on this important legislation and we will continue to do so,” he said. “However, it has major implications for privacy and how we are governed and policed.
We will therefore take time to get this legislation right and will not be rushed into reaching our judgement on it.

Home Secretary Theresa May disagreed. “[T]he Government has also published an operational case for bulk powers as set out by the security and intelligence agencies – giving unprecedented detail on why they need their existing powers and how they are used,” she said. “Terrorists and criminals are operating online and we need to ensure the police and security services can keep pace with the modern world and continue to protect the British public from the many serious threats we face.

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham conceded the Bill was an improvement on the Draft Bill. “It is clear that the Government has made a number of changes to their original proposals,” he said. “We welcome that and the stronger safeguards they have incorporated into the Bill.

A spokesperson for the The Worker Revolutionary Party UK added: “May’s bill is nothing more than an attempt to put this illegal mass surveillance on a legal footing – to put into law the right of the state to monitor and hack into every phone, tablet and computer in the country. It will legalise the use of already existing facilities on these devices that enable them to be hacked and taken over.

The Investigatory Powers Bill is scheduled to pass into law before the end of 2016, addressing themes which were the focus of the Joint Committee, Intelligence and Security Committee and Science and Technology Committee reports.

Director of Public Prosecutions issues new social media guidance

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has launched new guidance on the prosecution of offences involving social media.

The revised guidelines cover cases where offenders set up fake profiles in the names of others, as well as advising prosecutors on the use of social media in new offences, such as revenge pornography and controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship.

Alison Saunders says that the new guidance is essential. “Online communication is developing at such a fast pace, new ways of targeting and abusing individuals online are constantly emerging,” she said. “We are seeing more and more cases where social media is being used as a method to facilitate both existing and new offences.
It is vital that prosecutors consider the bigger picture when looking at evidence and examine both the online and offline behaviour pattern of the defendant.

Alison Saunders is the Director of Public Prosecutions.
GOING PUBLIC: Alison Saunders is the Director of Public Prosecutions. Courtesy: Obtained from YouTube.

As the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders has faced criticism and controversy around the handling of trials for rape and sexual assault. The Crown Prosecution Service has been criticised for being too eager to bring cases for perverting the course of justice against those who have falsely accused others of rape, including the case of Eleanor de Freitas, who killed herself after the Crown Prosecution Service decided to take over a private prosecution brought against her by the man she accused, despite her having a mental illness.

Alison Saunders justified the new guidance. “Online abuse is cowardly and can be deeply upsetting to the victim,” she said. “Worryingly we have seen an increase in the use of cyber-enabled crime in cases related to Violence against Women and Girls, including domestic abuse.
“Offenders can mistakenly think that by using false online profiles and creating websites under a false name their offences are untraceable.

Thankfully this is not the case and an online footprint will be left by the offender.
Our guidelines are under constant review and continuously updated to ensure prosecutors have clear advice on new methods of committing crimes.

In April 2015, Saunders was criticized for her decision to not prosecute Greville Janner on child sexual abuse charges despite his meeting the evidential test for prosecution, citing his poor health, as well as for dropping charges against nine journalists as part of the Operation Elveden case.

Call for changes in CCTV guidance on fly tippers

Calls have been made for the UK Government to review its policy on not allowing CCTV cameras to be used to catch fly tippers.

Although the Government introduced fixed penalty notices for small scale fly-tipping, the problem persists across the country, particularly on farmland.

Fly-tipping in London
TOP TIP: CCTV use for detecting fly-tipping was restricted by the Coalition Government. Courtesy: Alan Stanton (originally posted to Flickr as ‘Scales Road Mattress Mountain’)
Due to changes to the Law under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, installing security cameras on land to catch fly tippers is not permitted, making catching those responsible for causing damage to the land extremely difficult.

Gavin Williamson is the MP for South Staffordshire. “I was particularly concerned to hear about the fact that as a result of changes to the Law it is not possible to position cameras in order to crack down on fly tippers,” he said. “We are extremely fortunate to live in a very beautiful part of the country.
Incidents such as this are not only visually abhorrent, but can also be extremely damaging to our environment.
I have urged Ministers to review these measures so that these acts of vandalism can be stopped and prevent our green spaces from becoming a permanent eyesore in our picturesque countryside.

Councillor Jonathan Bishop is a privacy expert. “In my point of view preventing crime is more important than punishing it,” he said. “Once word spreads that sites at risk of fly tipping are being monitored with CCTV the amount of fly tipping will go down because people will not want to be caught.

Home Secretary defends Investigatory Powers Bill

Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom.
AT HOME: Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom. Courtesy: Originally posted to Flickr by the Home Office.

A joint House of Lords/House of Commons committee has recommended that legal professional privilege (LPP) should be protected in the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill and not merely in a code of practice.

In a report, the committee said it was concerned that there were no substantive provisions addressing LPP on the face of the Bill, and considered that “this may call into question the application of LPP when the Bill’s powers are exercised…”

The committee said it had made a number of detailed recommendations on the Bill, including those aimed at ensuring that vital protections for lawyers and journalists were not compromised.

The report stated: “The committee recommends that provision for the protection of LPP in relation to all categories of acquisition and interference addressed in the Bill should be included on the face of the Bill and not solely in a code of practice.

Theresa May is the Home Secretary. “Our draft Investigatory Powers Bill brings together all of the powers already available to law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies to obtain communications and data about communications,” she said. “[I]t introduces a double-lock on the way these powers are authorized using Secretary of State approval, backed up by the decision of a judge; and it ensures these powers are fit for the digital age.

Jack Straw ‘peerage block’ is ‘disgusting’ says ex-Labour councillor

A former Labour Party councillor who documented New Labour’s reforms to data misuse laws says he is disgusted that former Home Secretary Jack Straw is to be denied a peerage by Jeremy Corbyn.

Independent councillor, Jonathan Bishop, wrote the research paper, “Tough on data misuse, tough on the causes of data misuse: A review of New Labour’s approach to information security and regulating the misuse of digital information (1997-2010)” says that Jack Straw’s contribution to legal reform should not go unrecognised.

Jack Straw introduced the Human Rights Act, Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act, all within the space of two years.
JACK OF ALL TRADES: Jack Straw introduced the Human Rights Act, Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act, all within the space of two years. Courtesy: Obtained from Wikipedia

Claims in The Guardian that Jeremy Corbyn is to deny Jack Straw elevation to the House of Lords was criticised by Councillor Bishop. “It was Jack Straw who introduced the Human Rights Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Data Protection Act,” he said. “These were the biggest reforms to data, information and privacy rights in the space of two years that the UK has ever seen.
So what if Jack Straw made some mistakes. It is my view that if Jeremy Corbyn does block his elevation to the House of Lords that he should apply to be a cross-bencher, as having seen in recent weeks the poor quality of the Human Rights Committee in the House of Lords scrutinising Justice Secretary Michael Gove, someone of Jack Straw’s caliber is desperately needed.

Ruth Banks’s stalking claim dismissed

Allegations by Ruth Banks that a colleague at Aberdeen University, Ramyar Chavoshinejad, stalked her have been proven false by Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Ruth Banks is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics at the University of Aberdeen. Ruth Banks falsely accused a colleague of stalking.
FALSE ALLEGATIONS: Ruth Banks is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics at the University of Aberdeen. Ruth Banks falsely accused a colleague of stalking. Courtesy: LinkedIn

Ruth Banks is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics at University of Aberdeen, and when colleague Ramyar Chavoshinejad wrote about her daily on his own Facebook page she reported him for stalking.

Representing Ramyar Chavoshinejad, solicitor Les Green, said that Chavoshinejad had stopped posting the messages when asked to, and that Chavoshinejad was “socially inept,” thinking that posting messages about Ruth Banks was the best way to tell her that he was interested in her romantically.

Jonathan Bishop is a cyberstalking expert who founded Action on Digital Addiction and Cyberstalking. “There are many false allegations of stalking and harassment which result even through there has been no communication that perceived inappropriate behaviour from the person who doesn’t want it towards the person doing it prior to police involvement,” he said. “I would like the Crown Prosecution Service to amend its guidance so that if someone claiming to be a victim of harassment or stalking has not made efforts to communicate that is how they feel then they should have little recourse under the law,” he said. “I am pleased the UK Government are looking at the introduction of stalking prevention orders as a means to do this in respect of stranger stalking, but would prefer these to operate like fixed-penalty notices so that people like Ramyar Chavoshinejad are protected from false allegations of stalking.

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.

‘Defamation’ victim’s Google and Facebook bid dismissed

A woman who tried to sue Facebook and Google in January over claims she was defamed on the platforms has lost her legal battle.

Camille Saskia Richardson sued the UK divisions of Google and Facebook for the defamation, but her bid was blocked by High Court Master Jervis Kay QC in June, who said that as the subsidiaries were not directly responsible they could not be liable for the actions of the parent company.

Camille Saskia Richardson’s bid to appeal the decision when Justice Warby ruled the decision of Jervis Kay QC.

Man convicted following use of Scan Net

A Barking man has been given a suspended prison sentence for an assault in Romford.

Gheorghe-Marian Ciovica, 30, of Eldred Road, Barking pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm (GBH). He was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on 6 July 2015, to two years’ imprisonment suspended, 200 hours’ community service and a four month curfew from Romford town centre

On 2 May 2015, CCTV captured the moment when a 32-year-old man was suddenly pushed to the ground as he walked along South Street, Romford in the early hours of the morning. Just after the victim got to his feet, he was struck by a single punch causing him to fall and bang his head on the ground rendering him unconscious.

When police arrived on scene, the victim was being attended to by a friend and other members of the public and Ciovica had made off on a train towards central London.

Officers obtained CCTV footage showing Ciovica leaving a town centre venue where Scan Net – an ID scanner system checking and registering patrons’ identification as they enter licensed premises – had recorded his personal details as he gained access earlier in the evening.

Officers placed an alert on Scan Net to notify police upon Ciovica’s return.

Ciovica was arrested at a town centre venue when he returned on Saturday, 9 May. He was remanded to appear at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 11 May, where he pleaded guilty to a charge of GBH.

DC Ian Spring is from Havering CID Violent Crime Unit. “The use of Scan Net and CCTV around Romford town centre played a big part in identifying and capturing Ciovica,” he said. “Romford has a great nightlife and we hope people can safely enjoy what it has to offer.

In 2013, researchers at the Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-Learning System in Swansea devised a technology for using CCTV to reduce crime, including through automatic processing. The research is entitled, “Reducing Corruption and Protecting Privacy in Emerging Economies: The Potential of Neuroeconomic Gamification and Western Media Regulation in Trust Building and Economic Growth” and was published in the IGI Global book, “Economic Behavior, Game Theory, and Technology in Emerging Markets,” by Bryan Christiansen and Muslum Basilgan.