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.

Child protection concerns over Pokémon GO

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.

Instagram passing responsibility for legal breaches onto users

Instagram, the photograph sharing service, is trying to pass responsibility for its alleged breaches of the law onto its users, it has been found.

Instagram, which is led by Kevin Systrom as its CEO, has been founded inviting corporations it has been alleged to have breached the intellectual property of to get in touch with users who might not be aware of such actions.

The news comes as increasing pressure is being put on its rival Twitter to take responsibility for the illegal actions of its users, such as the posting of indecent, obscene, menacing or threatening content, which it says to victims are within its own rules.

Kevin Systrom is the CEO of Instagram, which is asking corporations to take its alleged breaches of the law up with users directly
NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY: Kevin Systrom is the CEO of Instagram, which is asking corporations to take its alleged breaches of the law up with users directly. Courtesy: AFP

In one instance a corporation was asked by Instagram in a trademark dispute to contact a user directly, telling them “If you would like to contact the user to see if they might be willing to yield their username to you, we would suggest creating an account with an alternate username and leaving a comment on one of their photos or videos.”

Under the E-Commerce Directive, which has been transposed into UK law through the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002, providers of information society services like Instagram and Twitter are required not to allow any unlawful content to be hosted on their platforms.

Both Instagram and Twitter are expecting both businesses and consumers to resolve issues between themselves, when the law puts the liability firmly at the door of social media platforms. Known as sysop prerogative, website owners like Instagram and Twitter are only allowed in theory to do what the law entitles them to do, but in practice will use their own rules to justify not following the law.

Following being approached by Crocels News, a spokesperson from Instagram confirmed that if the company’s own rules have not been broken that it is in their view not their responsibility, even it would seem if the law has been broken by them.

Eastenders actor’s ex and friend plead guilty to porn revenge

The ex-girlfriend of an Eastenders actor and her friend have pleaded guilty to porn revenge.

Emilia Marcou, 40 of Gorleston in Norfolk made public a video of a former Eastenders actor that she had sex with in a hotel. Marcou was aided by her friend, Sarah McKenna, 40 of Stansted, Essex.

Emilia Marcou pleaded guilty to porn revenge by disclosing an video with the intention to cause distress to her ex-boyfriend.
PORN E-VENGER: Emilia Marcou pleaded guilty to porn revenge by disclosing an video with the intention to cause distress to her ex-boyfriend. Courtesy: Luigi Cianfarano

Known as Porn E-Vengers, Emilia Marcou and Sarah McKenna pleaded guilty to porn revenge under section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court.

Jonathan Bishop of Action on Digital Addiction and Cyberstalking is an Internet trolling and Cyberstalking expert. “The unconsented disclosure of sexual videos has only been a specific offence since 2015, but it has existed for much longer,” he said. “Max Mosley was affected by disclosures of sexual footage of him, but it is important to note that he would not have been protected by the new law because the disclosure was not specifically done to cause him distress, even if that is what happened as a result of the disclosure.
The law is designed to protect former partners from videos made with ex-lovers being disclosed by them, but as the Leveson Inquiry made clear, now that the video is in the public domain, the Eastenders actor concerned as a public figure could have little expectations of privacy, regardless of the porn revenge conviction.

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.

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.

Gazza convicted of ‘trolling’ following ‘provocation’

Former England football star, Paul Gascoigne, has been convicted for trolling ex-girlfriend Amanda Thomas by text and on Twitter, and assaulting a paparazzi photographer.

Gascoigne, known to his fans as “Gazza,” was convicted of assaulting photographer, Steven Shepherd, who he had come into contact with following the unwanted attention his ex-girlfriend and him faced from the paparazzi.

Gascoigne’s defence counsel, Gavin Harris, said that Gazza was provoked by Steven Shepherd who was taking pictures of the football hero, who was in a cafe signing autographs and posing for official photographs with fans.

Paul Gascoigne was provoked by a photographer known to his ex-girlfriend a court has heard.
FOOTBALL HERO: Paul Gascoigne was provoked by a photographer known to his ex-girlfriend a court has heard. Courtesy: Scott Heppell/AP

Gascoigne was also convicted of trolling his ex-girlfriend, Amanda Thomas, by text and also on Twitter. Amanda Thomas had entered a relationship with Steven Shepherd’s colleague, Andrew Stone, and told Gascoigne not to contact her again.

Gascoigne was sentenced to a community order for 12 months for the assault of Steven Shepherd and harassment of Amanda Thomas, and given a 2-year restraining order prohibiting him from contracting Amanda Thomas, including via social media.

Judge Seys Llewellyn ‘out of touch’ over Twitter judgement

A Deputy High Court judge has been severely criticised by an Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert on his decision in a defamation case against skeptics Dr Andrew Lewis and Mrs Melanie Byng.

Judge Seys Llewellyn
OUT OF TOUCH: Judge Seys Llewellyn is out of touch according to expert, Jonathan Bishop. Courtesy: Aberystwyth University.

Deputy Judge Anthony Seys Llewellyn dismissed a defamation case brought by Steve Paris and Angel Garden on the grounds that messages posted to Twitter are “ephemeral,” or in other words don’t last a long period of time.

Social media expert Jonathan Bishop says that Judge Seys Llewellyn lacks insight. “Judge Seys Llewellyn is severely out of touch,” he said. “He has not factored in that whilst posts may not be easily visible on a Twitter timeline for any length of time, it is still possible to search for them on the platform, and it is quite possible Google will list tweets high in the search engine results.”

Judge Seys Llewellyn justified his decision saying that the pleadings of the defendants in the case were; “compelling as to the unlikelihood of a re-tweet by either of them directly causing a significant number of others for the first time to read the original tweet, or thereby to read for the first time the material to which the original tweet links“.

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.