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Increase in Online Crime Demands Clarity and Direction


Online crime is nothing new, but with statistics soaring through the roof it may be time to take a closer look into what defines the law of the web.

The birth of the internet has embedded a world within our own, but the digital landscape, with all its differences, cannot be governed in tandem with the laws of the land; the real land of hard rocks and foggy minds, not that of hard discs and memory sticks and fibre optic jargon.
In a world where time and distance are dissolved, where space is created like words on page, we must address the need for a carefully considered adaptation of our law, and also define the freedoms of the extended minds we find online.

Whilst we ponder these problems of self, however, possible online crimes are constantly committed, shrouded by the ambiguity of unpolished policy. Sex crimes are indubitably still simply black and white, but harassment, conflicted with the freedom of speech is a stickier puddle to muddle through.


Facebook is the social networking site to have seen the biggest increase in harassment related crime in last two years. Recent records from the British Police have confirmed 1,207 cases, demonstrating a 21% increase in user’s online criminal activity. Twitter on the other hand have seen a proportionally smaller increase, with the London Met Police stating a 19% rise, having recorded 138 more offences over the last year.

Interestingly, Twitter has a much smaller percent of their user-base recorded as having committed a crime of harassment, this is converse to the perception normally enforced by the news; it seems every other day we are forcibly informed of a Twitter troll’s cruel words breaching another’s right to live free from abuse.

David Cameron has even stepped in to offer his opinion of the recently trending #HitlerWasRight hashtag, stating the report was "hugely important". Thanks Dave. This was said in the context of the proposal to ban abusive users from social networks sites, a similar fate to that suffered by sex offenders, a sort of virtual imprisonment.


A lot of policy surrounding social media sites seems to be placed on the shoulders of the sites themselves, so if we are to believe that the online world needs policing, an independent body of judgement must be established. Websites should not be left to create untested laws and be criticised by their failure to find justice, it’s just too much work to do. We would never expect a pub to define its own law, separate to that of state, so we certainly should not expect that of Facebook a place, many describe as a second home, our blue and white world.

Leo Donnelly 
Ever wondered what would happen if you gave a half-crazed, semi-concussed, unstoppable maverick a platform to write about social media? Follow him @LeoAtSMF

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Increase in Online Crime Demands Clarity and Direction Reviewed by Unknown on Sunday, May 17, 2015 Rating: 5

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