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Chilling Guidelines Issued For UK Communications Act Enforcement 111

From El Reg comes word that interim guidelines have been issued for prosecutions under the UK Communications Act that have landed a few folks in jail for offensive speech: "Keir Starmer QC published this morning his interim guidelines for crown prosecutors that demanded a more measured approach to tackling trolling on the Internet. ... 'A prosecution is unlikely to be in the public interest if the communication is swiftly removed, blocked, not intended for a wide audience or not obviously beyond what could conceivably be tolerable or acceptable in a diverse society which upholds and respects freedom of expression. The interim guidelines thus protect the individual from threats or targeted harassment while protecting the expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, or banter or humour, even if distasteful to some and painful to those subjected to it.'"
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Chilling Guidelines Issued For UK Communications Act Enforcement

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @11:57AM (#42336989)

    It's chilling in that, rather than repeal or rewrite the Communications Decency Act, which basically criminalises anything said online if it causes offense to anyone else in any way, they're just saying "We won't bother prosecuting unless enough people kick up a fuss about it."

    Say something offensive to a celebrity, or make a comment that would upset grieving parents that have been in the tabloids that week, or burn a poppy while being the wrong skin-colour, or get an offensive tweet noticed and retweeted enough by Twitter celebrities, and you'll still get prosecuted. Nothing has changed, just the enforcement of a stupid law is going to get a bit more selective (i.e. it will be even more arbritrarily enforced). That's what's chilling.

  • by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @02:23PM (#42338237) Journal
    The UK use of the word means to chill with terror - to be scared into feeling cold. "Anthony Hopkins' chilling portrayal of Hannibal Lecter", that sort of thing.

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