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Chilling Guidelines Issued For UK Communications Act Enforcement

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the up-is-down dept.

United Kingdom 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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What about those already found guilty? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336807)

Do they get a new trial?

Re:What about those already found guilty? (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336893)

Nope, these are only guidelines. The state reserves the right to punish whomever it wants. The law still says all those completely harmless things are still illegal.

Re:What about those already found guilty? (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337163)

Nope, these are only guidelines. The state reserves the right to punish whomever it wants.

The parent post has it spot on.

Most countries actually have two parallel legal systems.
The first: The laws and legal precedents that we can all go to the library and read
The second: Unpublished guidelines, policies, and training manuals that shape how the laws are actually applied.

It doesn't actually matter what the law says, if the bureaucrats, police, prosecutors, and judges have already agreed on how to interpret it.

Re:What about those already found guilty? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337355)

Bzzt! Wrong.

Re:What about those already found guilty? (2)

hazah (807503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337419)

Care to elaborate? Because currently this is a completely usless attempt at a rebutal without any substance.

Re:What about those already found guilty? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337585)

Care to elaborate? Because currently this is a completely usless attempt at a rebutal without any substance.

I guess he is referring to the fact that in the UK guidelines on enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing are published - not unpublished

Re:What about those already found guilty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337887)

Wrong.

Re:What about those already found guilty? (1)

joshamania (32599) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337873)

TL;DR The law is whatever they want it to be.

Re:What about those already found guilty? (3, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338093)

Current guidelines in the US:

Once the person becomes a suspect, charge him/her with everything you possibly can, no matter how ridiculous the charge.

Then, use the threat of possibly 175 years in jail to work out a deal for 10 years in jail.

Right now, you are breaking some law that carries the penalty of at least 3 months in jail. Welcome to the land of the free.

Re:What about those already found guilty? (1)

Frontier Owner (2616587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338531)

thats why you go talk to a lawyer first.. Interpretations of the law matters more than what the law says. Any layman can read the law, but how its enforced matters. The law says the speed limit is 65. you can be pulled over for doing 66. that is what the law says. in reality, a bit over is accepted.

Re:What about those already found guilty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42343337)

accepted, sure, but that asshole cop can still pull you over if they really want to, and that is the problem. consistency in law enforcement is a good thing.

Re:What about those already found guilty? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340817)

"It doesn't actually matter what the law says, if the bureaucrats, police, prosecutors, and judges have already agreed on how to interpret it."

I'm not arguing with you, but that is the completely wrong way to go about it.

"The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it." -- James Wilson

Re:What about those already found guilty? (2)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338939)

So it's "We can do this the hard way or the easy way. Take it down now, and nobody gets hurt. Your choice, scumbag." Wow. I feel better already.

inb4 4chan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336809)

tl;dr brit*friends* are *nevermind*

Re:inb4 4chan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337029)

You are a faggot and a nigger.

Re:inb4 4chan (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337061)

Okay, quit telling us why you want to date him, and go find a singles site somewhere.

Re:inb4 4chan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337085)

You were not given permission to speak, nigger slave.

Re:inb4 4chan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337147)

Nigger babies aren't born, they are defecated out. This is the reason that all niggers smell like feces and why they are so popularly referred to as "shitskins".

How is this "chilling"? (5, Insightful)

Dan Dankleton (1898312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336821)

The guidelines are that people should be a bit more liberal in what they accept - not the scariest thing that the UK government has ever proposed.

Re:How is this "chilling"? (4, Insightful)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336931)

Isn't this 'chilling' as in 'relaxing'? It certainly doesn't worry me and looks as though Starmer-Smith is seeking to tackle the problem in a measured, sensible fashion.

Re:How is this "chilling"? (1)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336951)

Sorry - 'Starmer', not 'Starmer-Smith'. He's a completely different person!

Re:How is this "chilling"? (3, Interesting)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338237)

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.

Re:How is this "chilling"? (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336995)

It's still a bit messy though. What it really means is that 'These things are harmless and trivial, but still illegal. So rather than making them legal, we'll just make a non-binding promise not to prosecute.'

And cynically, I continue with the inevitable: '... unless the victim is someone rich, powerful or famous. In which case the full force of the law will come down upon the offender.'

Re:How is this "chilling"? (4, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337127)

As head of the CPS he can't decide what's legal or illegal, just what laws to actually enforce. He obviously thinks the way these laws are being interpreted is absurd and has taken measures to avoid abuse, but a better solution is clearly for the laws to be written more tightly (a lot more tightly). Hopefully this will embarrass the government into fixing the laws.

Re:How is this "chilling"? (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337159)

You must be pretty young if you think embarrassing any government will get them to fix the laws.

Most likely, they'll make it illegal for him to suggest guidelines that are not in strict compliance with the law. Thus able to send him to jail for embarrassing the gov't.

Re:How is this "chilling"? (2)

I Mean, What (2778851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337763)

So it's similar to the POTUS then. He can't make laws by himself but he can say leave potheads in WA and CO alone, there are more important things to do... like bust potheads in every other state.

Re:How is this "chilling"? (2)

Shimbo (100005) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338247)

It's still a bit messy though. What it really means is that 'These things are harmless and trivial, but still illegal. So rather than making them legal, we'll just make a non-binding promise not to prosecute.'

He's reacting to the courts tossing some convictions out on appeal. So case law says harmless things are legal; I agree it would be better if Parliament reframed the law a bit. However, this isn't a situation where the CPS has decided unilaterally not to prosecure.

Re:How is this "chilling"? (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337067)

It's chilling in the way that The Register is a sensationalist trash-publication along the lines of Fox News and The Daily Mail and that it's readers have thus been brainwashed into thinking that everything ever is bad and out to get them, hence why they get confused between what is bad, and what is, in fact, actually good.

Seriously, this is what happens if you routinely read The Register, your brain turns to mush and you just start spouting complete and utter bollocks. You only have to read an Andrew Orlowski or Lewis Page article to see it already had this effect on the staff there years ago.

Re:How is this "chilling"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337169)

While I agree with you about Orlowski, your comment is irrelevant. Slashdot calls it "chilling". El Reg does not.

it's readers have thus been brainwashed into thinking that everything ever is bad and out to get them

Yup, sounds like Slashdot to me. (By the way, there's no apostrophe in "its readers".)

Re:How is this "chilling"? (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337433)

Really, anonymous coward....

Andrew Orlowski (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337399)

See title for the reason I finally stopped visiting the site.

The Register used to be an interesting read when it was IT with a semi-'Private Eye' feel. It now reads like 'The Sun', which is bad enough, but Orlowski's constant extreme pro-copyright biased (shill?) crap was the last straw.

Re:Andrew Orlowski (1)

Cederic (9623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337693)

I still read it, but when I do read one of its articles and go 'wtf' it does indeed usually have Orlowski's name attached.

I read The Inquirer too. High degree of overlap but different perspectives, writing styles and focus.

Re:How is this "chilling"? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338559)

Ah so if someone disagrees with the government position, label him as paranoid or as a 'victim' of 'sensationalist propaganda.' Who does that sound like?

  The correct thing to do is verify the facts and the conclusions made. The law under discussion here is the reprehensible issue, not the behavior of the people whacked with it. this larger issue is independent of how register and slashdot editors spun it..

Re:How is this "chilling"? (1)

Shagg (99693) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337603)

I assume the "chilling" part is that the guidelines were even necessary to begin with.

Re:How is this "chilling"? (1)

greenbird (859670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337847)

The guidelines are that people should be a bit more liberal in what they accept - not the scariest thing that the UK government has ever proposed.

Except that this doesn't change the law nor what is illegal. It's just guidelines for subjectively selectively applying the law only where they feel like it.

-- "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws." From Atlas Shrugs

Go UK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336843)

If these laws were applied to the real world here in the U.S., maybe we could finally put the assholes from Westboro church in jail.

Re:Go UK! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336877)

I did not, in any way, intend that to sound like that here in the U.S. lies the real world. Worded it horribly, sorry. Thanks.

Re:Go UK! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337071)

Maybe we should put you away. How dare you call people assholes on the internet. That is an offensive word.

Delete this post immediately, or face prosecution.

Web trolls should not be hauled before the courts if their malicious tweets and Facebook updates are quickly deleted, the Director of Public Prosecutions advised today.

We'll keep on enjoying freedom of speech, you go right the fuck ahead and move to the UK, stand in the unemployment line, and worship the Queen and house of lords like the medieval peasant you are.

No, it's a statement of fact. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337257)

'course you could try to have a jury of your peers convict him for it, but you'll get nowhere.

Whereas a jury of your peers would agree WBC should be shoved in the slammer.

(PS you'd need standing. Unless you're a member of WBC you don't. And they already sue people for getting irate over their trolling, so no change there).

Re:No, it's a statement of fact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337417)

Good luck getting a "jury of your peers" when remediation is the norm.

Re:No, it's a statement of fact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337425)

No, a jury of my peers would be instructed to follow the law. Which, on this side of the pond, trends towards free speech.

And the law says that they chose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337683)

And the law says that the jury has to choose if the law has actually been broken.

Hell, you merkins have "Fighting words", which are decided by the jury as to whether they apply.

OJ was aquitted because the jury decided the case wasn't proven.

Someone claiming that they were emotionally traumatised HAS to prove that they HAVE been mentally traumatised. If they haven't, or seem to have been faking it, then there was no crime.

Really, you're all a bunch of spinless crybabies.

If you're REALLY worried about it, what the hell are you doing about the wiretap laws in your country? Fic your own fucking country rather than whine about others.

Re:No, it's a statement of fact. (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#42344033)

'course you could try to have a jury of your peers convict him for it, but you'll get nowhere.

And the point is... what if he did get somewhere? Since he offended someone, it should be okay to arrest him.

But I guess it's only valid if certain people are offended...

Re:Go UK! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337345)

In jail for exercising their free speech rights?

They have every right to believe what they want, and express that belief in public, and that is what they do. I may no agree with them, but the last thing I want to see is a government deciding what speech is ok and what isn't.

Free speech was never intended to defend the rights of those who say what others approve of, or those who quietly express their beliefs in out of the way corners. If the most offensive, in your face speech is not protected, then we may as well not claim to have free speech.

(and no laws against yelling fire in a theater are not relevant, nor are laws against fraudulent claims, this is clearly an expression of their opinion)

Re:Go UK! (2)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337771)

True.

But one has to question whether their right to freedom of speech would be substantially harmed if they were restricted from using such hateful speech specifically to cause direct upset to people, and whether that right should be balanced against other rights such as, for example, the right of the family to have a dignified funeral ceremony for a loved one.

As a freedom of speech advocate, finding I'm obliged to support organisations like Westboro causes me issues.

Re:Go UK! (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | about a year and a half ago | (#42343397)

there actually isn't a law against yelling fire in a crowded theater. info here [popehat.com]

Re:Go UK! (4, Insightful)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337553)

and there you have your dilemma.

one of the consequences of free speech is that you get arses like the Westboro church.

speaking as UK citizen, I envy the ability of the USA legal system to say 'we hate what they're saying, but there is a bigger principle at stake here'.

the only other alternative is for someone somewhere to be in charge of deciding when the line has been crossed.

-westboro 'god hates gays'
-pro life 'murderer' signs outside abortion clinics
-islamist 'death to those who insult Islam'
-atheist 'islam is stupid'
-some guy 'some celebrity is fat and ugly'

for any place that you are willing to draw the line, I'll find some offensive speech that sits just above or below your line. The next person in the room won't quite agree with you on where the line has to go.

who decides which person goes to jail?

the Westboro baptist church, is actually something to be proud of. Not because it is hateful, but because it is allowed to be hateful.

Re:Go UK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337897)

OP (Go UK!) here.

I cannot argue with that, you're correct. Freedom should be without limits, as long as it doesn't harm others. What if I picketed my neighbor's house with a "God's gunna see to it that someone molests that 9 year-old daughter of yours eventually"? I'm sure it'd go over as well as the Santa on a cross that I did one year, that was deemed "to offensive to legally stand" in my yard.

It all depends on the "people" that are currently overseeing the legalities of the situation. This obviously changes through the generations, but goddamnit, I hope that eventually it's illegal to terrorize people that are grieving a recent death, by pointing and laughing.

define harm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42338943)

If only damaging assault is harm:

Are you harmed if I take your car?

No. You merely have to go and buy another one or do without.

Are you harmed if I slag you off to your boss?

No.

Even if he then sacks you when he believes what I say?

No. Your boss may have done so, but if he had reason to believe (or you work in a "right-to-work" state), you have nothing.

Are you harmed if I take pictures of you through your bedroom window? Your wife? Your children?

No.

Are you harmed if you're a child whose pictures in sex scenes are distributed?

No.

Are you harmed if you're a child and have consentual sex with me?

No.

Are you harmed if China is a totalitarian state?

No.

Are you harmed if the banks get a bailout?

No.

Define harm.

Because harm doesn't just mean "physically assaulted".

Re:define harm. (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42339413)

While I agree that harm extends past the physical, the below needs to be addressed:

(or you work in a "right-to-work" state)

The definition of "right-to-work" is a state which does not have a law requiring employers to either fire non-union employees or deduct union dues from their paycheck and remit them to a union if a union organizes at their place of business.

You are confusing "right-to-work" with "at-will" employment, a confusion which unions are more than happy to continue perpetuating.

Aye, right enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342447)

I'm not in the USA, so the terms are not common.

Re:Go UK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42343623)

-man in crowded theater (that's not on fire) 'Fire! Fire!'
-individual in 1915 'The draft is a terrible system for raising an army, and is damaging to this country!'

Oh hang on, you can't say either of those in the US. But you can say that all {white,black,yellow,red,straight,gay,trans,cis,$foo} people are inferior and should be {killed,burned,shunned,dissected for the amusement of your peers}. So don't worry about *that* freedom!

Re:Go UK! (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338627)

Yeah, then when we're done with them, we can sic the lawyer lynch mob on anyone else who offends The People and their Servants in the People's Paradise..or at least those voters with attributes on their 'social victimhood' lists. Gotta love 'social justice.'

Attack their free speech and you attack your own, along with everyone elses. Once holes are punched the guarantee is meaningless. WBC is a laughable joke. The fact you're offended by them is truly pathetic.

Isn't the Internet . . . (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336845)

Like the television? If you don't like it . . . . CHANGE THE CHANNEL!!

Re:Isn't the Internet . . . (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337699)

Channels are regulated. Now its individual people. How soon before this is brought off-line to everyday public discussion? Will you be fined automatically by an ever present municipal computer system?

Re:Isn't the Internet . . . (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42339177)

Friend Citizen, what is your security clearance?

These are in no way "chilling" (5, Informative)

davidoff404 (764733) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336847)

They're eminently sensible guidelines for prosecution, particularly in light of the current situation. They are in no way "chilling."

Re:These are in no way "chilling" (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336909)

If anything the intent appears to be to reduce the chilling effect of the existing guidelines. It might not go far enough, but it still seems like a step in the right direction.

Re:These are in no way "chilling" (1)

kraut (2788) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338113)

A very, very small step in roughly the right direction.

Re:These are in no way "chilling" (4, Insightful)

DutchUncle (826473) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337075)

It's "chilling" that the actual law goes so much further than this, and that these guidelines that appear sensible to /.ers need to be made explicit to law enforcement.

Re:These are in no way "chilling" (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337505)

It's "chilling" that the actual law goes so much further than this,

So, it's chilling as in not at all.

The law might be chilling, but the guidlines, as claimed buy TFH are not.

Re:These are in no way "chilling" (4, Insightful)

jthill (303417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337259)

If you say something that offends someone it's the prosecutor's discretion whether or not you're charged,but if he does bring them you'll still be convicted because the law still stands. You're granted permission to say unpopular things by the government, and a government official decides what's unpopular, and he can get convictions for ridiculous things.

The prosecutor is only asked to consider whether it's "likely to be in the public interest" to bring charges. Thank God prosecutors in western nations have no history of bringing politically-motivated charges, charging disfavored people on whim or request or for political advantage with trumped-up offenses, otherwise this setup would be an open invitation to the worst kinds of abuse.

Only if the jury agrees. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337451)

Or you plead guilty rather than go to court.

Yeah, real scary. Having to face your fellow man...

Re:These are in no way "chilling" (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337519)

They're eminently sensible guidelines for prosecution, particularly in light of the current situation. They are in no way "chilling."

Anything shy of changing the LAWS themselves, is chilling.

The laws are chilling....selective enforcement...maybe a little less, but who's to say when the next one in charge comes in, they go the other way and try to over prosecute and stretch the laws even more?

Chilling Guidelines?? (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336867)

They are trying to outline "common sense" from what I've read thus far. We don't get freedom of speech as a constitution right in the UK; but if we can't take the piss out of someone, then take it and dish out more back, what's the point?
Being a sarcastic bell-end is a must! Ludicrous threats for violence too, and if my train is cancelled again I'm going to find the head of south western rail and stick the first 4 coaches of the 7:50 London service up his arse.

Re:Chilling Guidelines?? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Chilling Guidelines?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337101)

The Communications Decency Act is part of US law. How can the UK repeal or rewrite US law? The US had that revolution thing, remember?

Wake up and read TFA, or at least the fucking summary, so you know which country you're talking about. Sheesh.

Re:Chilling Guidelines?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337173)

It's chilling because they say that a person shouldn't be prosecuted if he deletes his comments immediately. It's the first line of TFA.

No guarantee that they wont, no introduction of common sense, just a sort of fuzzy sense that if the british government tells me to delete something, I have to, or else. Or else what? Who knows. That's deliberately fuzzy.

Re:Chilling Guidelines?? (2)

Spad (470073) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337485)

Because Keir Starmer doesn't have that power. The best he can do is change the prosecuting guidelines for the CPS.

Re:Chilling Guidelines?? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337547)

It's chilling in that, rather than repeal or rewrite the...

So, it's chilling in that it isn't.

The law is chilling. The guidelines are not.

The CPS has no authority to rewrite the law. But they've clearly decided that parliament psased an idiotic law and they want nothing to do with it.

Not chilling, quite the opposite! (4, Insightful)

daveewart (66895) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336889)

These guidelines are not chilling: they are the opposite. Following the introduction of these guidelines, many knee-jerk prosecutions will not take place, whereas previously they would have taken place.

Whoever wrote the Slashdot headline is entirely wrong.

Re:Not chilling, quite the opposite! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337099)

The chilling part is that the prosecutors will have guidelines that let them say that one instance is "beyond what is tolerable", and another instance is "clearly intended as humour".

Which means white Britons will go to jail for speaking the truth, and non-whites can say any damn thing they want and get away with it.

Re:Not chilling, quite the opposite! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337151)

No it doesn't, you racist scum.

Re:Not chilling, quite the opposite! (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337129)

At a guess, the submitter's thought process was that these are "Chilling guidelines" in that they're guidelines that "chill" the UK Communications Act, rather than "Scary guidelines" for a "Scary act".

So, you guys, just chillax about it, OK? ;-)

Re:Not chilling, quite the opposite! (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337157)

Chilling as in cooling off from the flames of "jail them all" mouth frothing Daily Mail style "justice", not chilling as in creepy freedom restricting by an overbearing state.

Re:Not chilling, quite the opposite! (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337423)

In Britain this is quite chilling. These are a people that WANT a Nanny State Gov't that regulates politeness with an iron fist and enforces public safety with a million cameras. Essentially, the gov't is saying they might have to live their lives a little less sheltered and allow other people to say things that they may not like.

Pure Anarchy.

Re:Not chilling, quite the opposite! (2)

Space cowboy (13680) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338691)

As opposed to the entire populace of the USA which want to be gate-raped by the TSA, want to be locked up indefinitely without trial in Gitmo, and consider it the lesser evil that innocent children should die rather than american men with small penises give up their gun-toys.

Or perhaps there's a *populace* that is outraged by all these things, but a *government* that implements them. On both sides of the pond.

Simon.

Re:Not chilling, quite the opposite! (1)

computational super (740265) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341525)

I for one, find it very comforting to know that my freedom depends on whether some arbitrary judge thinks that what I said was funny or not.

Re:Not chilling, quite the opposite! (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42343119)

It is still well short of freedom of speech, and British libel laws are still a huge problem.

RIP 4Chan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336897)

We hardly knew ye.

I don't think anyone knows what 'measured' means. (4, Insightful)

Colourspace (563895) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336949)

This is exactly what we wanted - a common sense approach to Twitter messages. Though I am not a twitterer myself, the fact a guy can have his life ruined by posting a joke tweet is exactly what this is about, NOT being knee-jerk, as they have been in the past. In other words his is a *good thing*. 'Measured' in this context means to apply more common sense to these situations.

Re:I don't think anyone knows what 'measured' mean (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338319)

Or maybe we shouldn't make offending these hairtrigger, insecure people a criminal offense in the first place. 'Offending feelings/beliefs' should NEVER be a crime in a free society. Once feelings/consensus matter more than the facts and the truth, the society will fall once it gets too difficult for individuals within it to acknowledge reality when making decisions. The fear and risk of artificially imposed legal reprisals from insecure masses/governments/organizations would be too great.

Western society is suffering from this now, and it shows. Passive aggressive behavior dynamics will be the killer of us all.

Balance? (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336955)

It's easy to balance a scale when you can change the weight of on one side. Then again, it's easy to unbalance it in your favor too.

And that's why a bunch of people a few centuries ago decided that was a bad idea, split from their former country, and decided that freedom of expression need be kept protected. And they were right. Because some three hundred years later the same bullshit is happening.

Re:Balance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337049)

Funny how said 'protected' freedom of expression often gets you a visit from the CIA...

I hope all politicians die (0, Troll)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336967)

I can easily imagine the members of the parliament hanging by their necks in a row. I wish someone would help get rid of the vermin infesting the various palaces. Kate and Billy-boy, sliced groin to neck with their entrails hanging out. And I think that we should start a new sport, fucking up the filth. Every time you see a cop, stab 'em. They deserve it. I hope they all get killed in ghastly accidents. While on the topic, I wouldn't morn if more members of the armed forces were shot and killed. They are basically mercenaries yes? Killing people for pay. And they are the worst sort, protecting the capitalist state and enforcing it on others.

Now for some jokes:
  Another British soldier has been killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. That'll teach him for playing on hardcore.
  12 shot dead at "soldier readiness station". Well, they weren't ready for that were they?
Anyone got some better ones?

Anyway, I just head a knock at the door, I'll post this and then I'll be right back...

Re:I hope all politicians die (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337353)

protecting the expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, or banter or humor, even if distasteful to some and painful to those subjected to it ; ).

Chilling? (1)

Stoopiduk (1593855) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337003)

Are they chilling in that they will cause the idiots prosecuting to chill the fuck out?

Fuck you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337009)

Dr Who is a shitty show. Everything on your dumb shit government issue BBC TV is tripe.

Your accents do not make you sound clever or charming. The british people are worthless, stupid, backwards morons who still worship a fucking queen.

These idiots STILL WORSHIP A FUCKING QUEEN WHO RULES THEM "BY GODS WILL".

Let that sink in. No wonder they want to jail everyone who doesnt toe the line.

The line being the unemployment line, because not one of the pathetic sacks of shit has a fucking job, so far as I can tell. When's the last time britain contributed anything of note to the arts and sciences? Isaac Newton? That was a long fucking time ago.

Re:Fuck you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337065)

Nice try, but not sufficiently angry to be a decent troll. Better run along now, your mom is calling you.

Re:Fuck you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337217)

Hate much? When was the last time you contributed anything of note to the arts and sciences? Never? Not surprised...

Re:Fuck you (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337627)

When's the last time britain contributed anything of note to the arts and sciences? Isaac Newton? That was a long fucking time ago.

We invented Pop idol and the X-factor ... oh wait you may have a point

Re:Fuck you (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338195)

lol.. I'm an american anglophile, but I have to admit I don't appreciate their bringing "reality TV" to the masses. I'll pass on that tradition.. well, that and eel pie.

So help me out here. What's chilling? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337143)

So help me out here. What's chilling about this?

It's hardly chilling. (1)

elvum (9344) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337155)

This is just the latest occasion when I have wished that /. editors would, you know, do some editing. The story is interesting; the attempt by the submitter to spin it as evidence of a particular viewpoint adds nothing.

All legal jurisdictions are having to come to terms with the fact that groups of people in social networks now have the ability to publish (mis)information on a scale that was previously limited to mainstream media outlets. This effort from the UK authorities is (in my opinion) a reasonably balanced one, that does a good job of extending the existing British consensus on where the line should be drawn between free speech and criminal irresponsibility into the modern era.

"Chilling"? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337175)

For a European government those guidelines seem pretty liberal.

Fuck that backward country we have Free Speech (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337291)

See "subject"

Link to the actual guidelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337629)

The actual guidelines are online at http://www.cps.gov.uk/consultations/social_media_consultation.html

"highly reasonable" (1)

stridebird (594984) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338053)

Chilling? I think the submitter fails the goddam Turing test.

"highly reasonable" I would say. Which, come to think of it, is kind of chilling, seeing as it's the UK government being reasonable.

So in other words (1)

Krojack (575051) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338297)

If you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all..... else you go to jail law.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but calling me names will land you in jail.
I'm rubber you're glue, what ever you say bounces off me and locks you in jail.

Yeah ok..

What is obvious? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338797)

..."not obviously beyond what could conceivably be tolerable or acceptable in a diverse society which upholds and respects freedom of expression"

Is there anything that is obviously beyond what could conceivably be tolerable or acceptable in a diverse society which upholds and respects freedom of expression? I can't think of anything.

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