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.
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.“
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.
The Welsh Assembly member for Rhondda, Leanne Wood, has benefited from the proven benevolent sexism at South Wales Police, amounting to what an expert calls ‘female privilege.’
Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood became one of the many women in South Wales who benefit from police attention for Internet trolling just because they are women.
A freedom of information request by Crocels News has found up to 5 times as many men are arrested and charged for Internet trolling as women.
Leanne Wood’s victim, popular DJ Dave Begley, sent a spur of the moment tweet to Leanne Wood’s Twitter account, which she was not manning due to being on the television at the time. The tweet conveyed a non-credible threat that Begley wished Leanne Wood was “gang raped by immigrants,” when it was in the moment and not intended to be perceived as Mr Begley’s actual opinion.
Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert Councillor Jonathan Bishop, of Action on Digital Addiction and Cyberstalking, says he is not surprised by the situation. “My research has found that South Wales Police are up to five times more likely to take action where the person accused of trolling is a man and the accuser is woman,” he said. “This female privilege at the heart of South Wales Police is totally unacceptable as everyone should have equal access to justice regardless of their sex.
“The legal case of Calver v The Adjudication Panel for Wales found that politicians are expected to have a thicker skin and the case of DPP v Chambers found that someone has to feel apprehension to be a victim of trolling.
“Rape threats are common online and most are non-credible threats.”
“If the leader of Plaid Cymru feels apprehension from receiving a non-credible threat on Twitter, one should ask whether she is in the right job.
Councillor Bishop said that most trolling laws focus on the rights of the victim as opposed to the rights of the public in general, and he did not think police time should be focussed on public figures like Leanne Wood. “I might have had a different opinion on the prosecution of Mr Begley if the focus had not been on Leanne Wood’s feelings, but if he had been prosecuted under the Public Order Act for making threatening statements that could offend members of the public,” he said. “We should question why the police are spending time on rape threats rather than focusing on actual victims of rape of all sexes who all too often are blamed, disbelieved or otherwise fobbed off by the police for what is usually a planned attack against them.”
District Judge Neil Thomas of Swansea Magistrates Court sentenced Dave Begley to 12 weeks in prison. Leanne Wood remains the Welsh Assembly Member for Rhondda.
Child protection concerns have been raised over the launch of Pokémon GO.
Experts have said that whilst on the face of it the Pokémon GO can be fun, there are risks that might not have been intended.
One expert, Cheyenne MacDonald, said about Pokémon GO: “[W]orryingly, there are now claims that the app could be used for something more sinister altogether – such as pedophiles using the ‘lure’ element of the game to trap distracted children.”
Another expert, from Action on Digital Addiction and Cyberstalking, who did not want to be named, was concerned about Pokémon GO. “There is an item in game which lures Pokémon to your location, or can be set to a ‘pokestop’,” they said. “Most pokestops are public places, but in some cities it shows they did little research, where most of the pokestops are parks out of the way.“
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.“
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.“
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 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.“
The UK Members of Parliament that have been most affected by Internet abuse following voting for the UK to be involved in military action in Syria are those that have a prior record for condemning Internet trolling, it has been revealed.
The MPs most harshly treated by trolls include Stella Creasy and Ben Bradshaw, both of whom have been critical of those who rigorously hold them to account online.
Ben Bradshaw’s Wikipedia page was targeted, with an anonymous editor writing: “Ben Bradshaw can no longer sleep at night due to the screams of murdered children haunting his dreams and as such can be seen regulalry (sic) cycling round Exeter’s picturesque city centre at all times of the day.” Stella Creasy’s Wikipedia article was edited to call her a “Labour Co-operative politician and warmonger.”
Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert, Jonathan Bishop, says it should not be surprising that the Members of Parliament that are most against free speech would be most targeted. “Both Stella Creasy and Ben Bradshaw have a history of criticising being trolled by members of the public,” he said. “It is not unsurprising therefore that when they act in a way perceived as denying others (in Syria) the freedoms they take for granted, that they will be subject to scrutiny more so than those without a history attacking free speech online.“
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.”
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.“
A Labour MP has criticised the feedback they have received on social media following voting in the UK Parliamentary debate on taking military action in Syria.
Stella Creasy, an alternate MP elected to UK Parliament following an all-women-shortlist that prevented Labour men from standing, criticised members of the public for holding her to account on Twitter for voting in favour of military action in Syria.
The MP has already had other members of the public sent to jail for trolling her, including Peter Nunn of Bristol.
Calls have been made by some of her colleagues for Stella Creasy to resign, but the alternate MP remains defiant. “The one thing I will not do is be bullied by a sitting Walthamstow Labour councillor with the threat of deselection,” she fumed.
Ann Coffey is the Labour MP for Stockport and believes it is inappropriate to target members of the public when their behaviour is little different to those of MPs. “I think that some of the remarks made by my parliamentary colleagues have been very unfortunate,” she said. “For example, remarks made about blood on your hands, that you’ve got nowhere to hide, and I think that if you have that at the top of party what you have is permission to target MPs.“