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.

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.

Trolling for the Lulz?: Using Media Theory to Understand Transgressive Humour and Other Internet Trolling in Online Communities

Trolling for the Lulz?: Using Media Theory to Understand Transgressive Humour and Other Internet Trolling in Online Communities

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

Internet trolling as a term has changed in meaning since it first entered mainstream use on the Internet in the 1990s. In the 2010s, it has come to refer to the posting of provocative or offensive messages on the Internet to harm others. This change in usage of the term opens up new challenges for understanding the phenomenon, especially as some are still resistant to taking it beyond its original meaning. This chapter tries to distinguish the 1990s kind from the 2010s kind by referring to the former as classical trolling and the latter as anonymous trolling. Taking part in the former is considered to be “trolling for the Lolz” (i.e. positive) and the second to mean “trolling for the Lulz” (i.e. negative). Through using document and genre analysis, this chapter finds that there are common ways in which anonymous trolling manifests differently on different platforms. The chapter concludes by presenting a model for understanding which genres of online community are at risk for particular types of trolling.

Citation

Jonathan Bishop (2014). Trolling for the Lulz?: Using Media Theory to Understand Transgressive Humour and Other Internet Trolling in Online Communities. In: Jonathan Bishop (Ed.) Transforming Politics and Policy in the Digital Age. IGI Global, Hershey, PA. (pages 155-172).

Anti-trolling MPs targeted over Syria vote

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 is the Member of Parliament for Exeter.
ON YOUR BIKE: Ben Bradshaw is the Member of Parliament for Exeter. Courtesy: Exeter Express and Echo.

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.

Reality Bites: The real profile of an Internet Troll and her enablers

Reality Bites: The real profile of an Internet Troll and her enablers

Isaac T. Quill

Meme Image

Reality Bites - The Real Profile Of An Internet Troll And Her Enablers. By: Isaac T. Quill (Twitter Handle: ‏@TicklishQuill)

Meme Full Text

If one pays attention to popular culture and the mass media, Internet trolls are unemployed young men in their 20s at home in their parents’ basement spending their time posting abusive messages online.

This study finds that this stereotype, whilst common in the mass media, is not representative of the empirical data collected. The research found that most trolling on blogs and defriending is done by women and because of other women.

It finds that the people who troll are unlikely to be youths not in education, employment or training (NEETs), but more likely to be those in wealthy areas who are bored.

It equally finds that those who troll, or indeed troll-call, are likely to show the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder respectively.

With the media focussing on represent young people as trolls, the research finds that the existence of benevolent sexism in the police perpetuates this myth, meaning women are getting more favourably treatment, either as trolls or troll-callers.

In fact the research finds trolls are as likely to be men or women…

Citation

Isaac T. Quill (2015). Reality Bites: The real profile of an Internet Troll and her enablers. Available online at: http://twitter.com/TicklishQuill/status/661129407856250880

Bibliography

Jonathan Bishop (2015). The Misrepresentation of Digital Teens as Trolls: Considering Political, News and Feminist Agendas. Invited Speech to the 13th International Conference on E-Society (E-Society 2015), Madeira, Portugal, 14-16 March 2015.

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.

Secret courts ‘do not go far enough’

The coming into force of a law that allows lay judges to make decisions on criminal cases does not go far enough an Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert has said.

Jonathan Bishop, who edited the book, Examining the Concepts, Issues and Implications of Internet trolling says that whilst he supports the Single Justice Procedure, its application through using local lay judges is not appropriate. “There are thousands of miscarriages of justice every day where members of the public are being told to plead guilty when under the law they are not,” he said. “The Single Justice Procedure, if carried out by specialist judges expert in the area of law applicable, could weed out cases that are not in the public interest,” he stated.

Bishop, who spoke at the E-Society conference this year on how youths are being misrepresented as trolls, said he believes the current system where people are encouraged to plead guilty is wrong. “It should not be for the accused to say they are guilty, as in my view many people who plead guilty would be found not guilty if the law was properly applied,” he said. “The current implementation of the Single Justice Procedure does not go far enough, as no one should be allowed to admit to committing an offence unless a fully qualified judge has given a view that they might have.
If, and only if, a judge says someone is guilty should a case then be able to proceed to trial, and then only if the accused is of the view they are not guilty, as no one should be allowed to admit they are guilty of an offence, when the proper response should be to feel remorse for whatever they did, whether legal or illegal.

Determining the Risk of Digital Addiction to Adolescent Targets of Internet Trolling: Implications for the UK Legal System

Determining the Risk of Digital Addiction to Adolescent Targets of Internet Trolling: Implications for the UK Legal System

Jonathan Bishop

Abstract

Research on digital addiction has been increasing significantly since the start of the 2010s. What is not currently available is a measurement scale to assess the extent to which adolescents are at risk of abuse on the Internet that might lead them to develop digital addiction. This chapter sets out to develop a check-list that can be used to risk assess those youths who might be at risk of digital addiction. Through using data from a study into 1,828 young people aged 9-16, the study devised a 6-point check-list based on using a t-test to determine those at high risk and those at low risk. The check-list can be seen as a reliable way for screening those adolescents for whom concerns are raised over their online activities. The chapter concludes that further research will be needed to test the scale with people in older age ranges.

Full Text

Citation

Jonathan Bishop (2015). Determining the Risk of Digital Addiction to Adolescent Targets of Internet Trolling: Implications for the UK Legal System. In J. Bishop (Ed.), Psychological and Social Implications Surrounding Internet and Gaming Addiction (pp. 31-42). IGI Global, Hershey, PA. Available online at: http://resources.crocels.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/determining-the-risk-of-digital-addiction-to-adolescent-targets-of-internet-trolling.pdf

Anti-free speech MP made ‘troll’ fear for his liberty

A Bristol man has dropped his appeal against the conviction he received for the trolling on an MP elected via an all-woman-shortlist, when it became apparent his liberty could be deprived further.

Bristol man, Peter Nunn, drops his appeal of his trolling conviction for fear of a longer sentence.
FEARFUL: Bristol man, Peter Nunn, drops his appeal of his trolling conviction for fear of a longer sentence. Courtesy: Obtained from express.co.uk

Callous woman MP, Stella Creasy, had Peter Nunn, 33, convicted for sending her a “menacing” message. Second-rate Creasy does not fit the bill of a typical parliamentarian, who in Steve Rotheram MP’s words are “pachyderms with little or no feeling.” Stella Creasy perhaps feels she deserves favours from the police, following her in some people’s minds only getting in to Parliament via an all-women-shortlist, where her male rivals were not able to compete with her on merit.

Stella Creasy MP took advantage of her status as a woman to silence Peter Nunn. Courtesy: Obtained from dailymail.co.uk
TAKING ADVANTAGE: Stella Creasy MP took advantage of her status as a woman to silence Peter Nunn. Courtesy: Obtained from dailymail.co.uk

Despite his appeal against his conviction, Peter Nunn dropped his claim when it became apparent there could be serious consequences if the judge was not able to understand that politicians, even women politicians, should be able to ignore abuse from the public.

Judge Richard Marks QC says that Peter Nunn needs to be taught a "lesson" for daring to criticise Stella Creasy MP.
JUDGE DREAD: Judge Richard Marks QC says that Peter Nunn needs to be taught a “lesson” for daring to criticise Stella Creasy MP. Courtesy: Obtained from dailymail.co.uk

David Patience is Peter Nunn’s Counsel. “This court would have had the power to vary the sentence upwards,” he told the Old Bailey. “Mr Nunn has with some reluctance decided the appropriate course was to abandon the appeal despite his view there were issues of some substance that did arise.

Peter Nunn also sent messages to radical feminist, Caroline Criado Perez, who started a misandrist campaign to remove men from the British ten pound note. Peter Nunn has been barred from contacted either Caroline Criado-Perez or Stella Creasy, with the sitting judge, Richard Marks QC saying he hoped his judgement would be a “lesson” to Nunn.