Crackdown on web trolls – UK increases jail time to two years

20 Oct 2014

In a bid to halt the epidemic of poisonous, cowardly trolls and online bullies who are tearing at the very fabric of digital life in the UK, tough new government rules could see jail time increase from six months to two years.

The new harsher sentences are being introduced by the UK’s Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

While a panoply of issues tend to bring out web trolls who make harsh comments from the safety of their computer screen on Facebook and Twitter on any number of issues, it is the venom and hatred they are inciting that requires urgent response.

It is also the threatening nature of comments that requires action.

The move by Grayling follows rape threats against model Chloe Madely last week after her mother Judy Finnigan made controversial remarks about convicted footballer and rapid Ched Evans.

The new rules follow new laws put in place to tackle revenge porn whereby sentences of up to 14 years can be imposed.

Chloe’s Law

The new rules – already dubbed “Choe’s Law” are designed to send out a clear signal that internet trolls will not be tolerated in the UK.

Madeley had leapt to her mother’s defence online only to be met with vitriol and rape threats.

Justice Secretary Grayling said that people are being abused online in a crude and degrading fashion.

“This is a law to combat cruelty and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob,” he said in the Mail on Sunday.

“We must send out a clear message: if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years.”

The UK’s tough stance on issues like online trolling and revenge porn could set an example that could be followed in other countries where online trolling and bullying has cost lives.

Cyber troll image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years