Harassment on Facebook of school children. Do we need an internet police?

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About 2 years ago I received a telephone call from an extremely worried mother. She told me that her son, a sixth former who studied at a school near Rochdale, was being falsely accused of some very serious matters on Facebook.  I am a lawyer and my speciality is internet law and social media so I am used to receiving telephone calls from people who feel distressed about things that are being said about them on the internet. This telephone call, however, was different because it came not from the person who was being abused online, but from his mother.

It seemed a pupil at the school had created a Facebook Page, which he used for the purpose of posting unpleasant and false commentary about his fellow pupils and about their relationships with one another. Many of the posts were of an abusive and sexual nature and cannot be repeated here for obvious reasons. It was apparent that some of the pupils who became the subject of the abusive commentary were very distressed and a few even posted on the Page, begging the author to stop, but to no avail.

#online_harassment_laywer

The worried mother told me that she was concerned that if the posts remained on the internet, they could potentially harm her son’s future as when he grows up and applies for jobs, the potential employer might believe those false allegations about him and will not want to employ him as a result. She also told me that her son was too scared to report the abuse to the school so she decided to report it herself, but that the school told her that no school policy was breached because all the abusive posts appear to have been posted after school hours. The school did not feel that it had any responsibility to police or to sanction any action taken by its pupils outside school time. She then asked Facebook to remove the offensive Page but never received a reply. I agreed to take on that case on a voluntary basis and after receiving legal correspondence, Facebook agreed to delete the Page from the internet.

This case taught me a number of valuable lessons. First, that schools must be attentive and sensitive to how the internet is being used by pupils and if online abuse exists, the school must act regardless of whether the abuse was posted on the internet after school hours. Second, that young children don’t always appreciate the long term damage that internet posts can cause to them and to their employment prospects. And third, that every school must have an easily accessible method by which pupils can report online abuse and harassment that affects them or others.

This case also reminded me that the lack of policing of the internet can result in short as well as long term devastating outcomes to some of the most vulnerable member of our society. It made me wonder whether time has now come for us, the adults, to rethink some of the anarchistic idealisms that govern the current use of the internet and introduce at least some basic governing and policing principles similar to the ones already exists in the ‘real world of our thriving offline society.

 

 

TalkTalk breach of data. Leaving TalkTalk without paying a fine

As with many similar consumer contracts, there is a 21 day cooling off period, which is essentially a grace period in which a consumer has the opportunity to change their mind without incurring a penalty. If your contract has gone beyond the 21 day cooling off period you may be asking, “What can I do?”
Read more: TalkTalk data breach can I leave TalkTalk?

Remove defamation from the internet legal advice

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Defamation lawyerHow quickly we can remove defamation from the internet will depend on many factors such as when the defamation was first published , prior to after the 01 of January 2014? How long has the defamatory post been on the internet, for 12 months or longer? The links of the defamatory website to the UK, particularly the server, the poster, the operator and owner of the website and the laws of country where the defamatory website is located.
Take the test and see if you can remove the defamation from the internet. Follow this link: Defamation lawyer legal advice

Legal advice defamation against a company

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Legal advice defamation against a company.

defamation_company legal adviceDefamation against a company often comes with a huge price tag. Experience tells us that if the company defamed is listed on the stock market, defamation on investors’ forums could influence shares prices and the ability of the board to raise investment. There is also evidence…Legal advice defamation against a company.

New Internet Trolls Law

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New internet trolls laws

New internet trolls laws

Chris Grayling’s announcement of 2 years jail term for internet trolls is inconsistent with the ministry of justice’ reluctance to prosecute internet trolls. In 2013 the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) published clear guidance to prosecutors under which communications that are grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false but deficient in detail (as most tweets are) will be unlikely to be prosecuted. This means that offences involving twitter in particular are subject to a high threshold and that in many cases a prosecution is unlikely to be in the public interest. Whenever prosecution is not in the public interest, police is unlikely to waste time investigating the offence in the first place. On the ground, it is clear that unless the police is given direction and resources to enable it to start investigate anti-social behaviour on social media, the imposition of longer maximum jail terms to internet troll pays nothing but a lip service to the increasing number of victims of online anti-social behaviour.
In reality, almost half of the calls made to the police in the UK relate to alleged offences committed via social media. Only a tiny number of those calls will result in a crime being recorded and a handful will actually be investigated, let alone prosecuted. Out of those prosecuted, only numerous will relate to social media offences committed against normal members of the public and the vast majority of prosecutions will related to famous people, members of Parliament and celebrities.
2 years maximum jail term for internet trolls will make no difference to a single internet trolling victim until the police is directed and given the resources to investigate social media offences.

176k in damages to posters of a Ripp off report review

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In a somewhat bizarre case, a couple who posted a review on the notorious American website RipOff Report against a company they felt provided a disappointed service, had been awarded damages by a court in the USA for having received unfair demands by the company to remove their review.

The company sued the couple for an alleged breach of A Non-Disparagement clause, which is a common clause in the USA that restricts individuals from taking any action that negatively impacts an organisation, its reputation, products, services, management or employees.

The court found that this clause was not part of the engagement agreement between the parties at the time of their engagement, which meant that the company had not been justified in taking legal action against the couple.

The Federal court awarded damages of $300,000 (£176,000) without ruling on whether non-disparagement clauses are legal in consumer matters.

Removing reviews from RipOff Report

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Fake reviews plague consumer websites | Money | The Guardian

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Fake reviews plague consumer websites | Money | The Guardian

Fake reviews plague consumer websites
Consumer website reviews should give you the truth about goods and services – unless they’ve been written to order.

Many of the fake reviews uncovered by Money were written by computer science specialists in countries such as Bangladesh, India and Indonesia, who, for a relatively low fee, will write and send false reviews using scores of aliases and fake addresses. Read more

Mike Deri Smith
The Guardian, Saturday 26 January 2013

Right to Erasure: Australians could win a legal right to delete drunken party pictures from social media sites

The Australian Law Reform Commission says people should have the right to have embarrassing photos they posted online removed from the web.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/right-to-rub-out-embarrassing-pictures-and-data-posted-online-floated-by-the-australian-law-reform-commission/story-fnjwnhzf-1226766338419

The Internet Law Centre

Cyberattack in Israel “shuts down” road for hours

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Cyberattack in Israel “shuts down” road for hours

A major road artery in Israel was paralyzed for hours by a cyberattack this September, according to a security expert speaking to Associated Press.

Attackers used a Trojan program to target a security camera system in the Carmel Tunnels toll road in Haifa, shutting down the road for hours, and causing “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in damage, according to Associated Press.

A source, speaking anonymously to Associated Press, said that Israeli experts thought that the attack was the work of a rogue group, rather than a government, due to the level of expertise involved.

via Cyberattack in Israel “shuts down” road for hours – We Live Security.

Is it safe to use Gmail?

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Gmail privacy court case

Social media lawyers

A warning for Gmail corporate users

Gmail users have no “reasonable expectation” that their communications (both ways) are confidential says Google in a motion to dismiss a rapidly developing important legal challenge to its practice of reading Gmail users’ emails.

A USA law suit is claiming that Google reads private email messages that are sent to Gmail users without the consent of the senders.

A Court document  claims  that  Google is  scanning emails so that the company can target ads to users.  – a key component of the company’s business model.

In the law suit papers, documents have been disclosed from an earlier court case where Google claimed in its defence that:

“Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient’s ECS [electronic communication service] provider in the course of delivery,”

Non Gmail users should be alarmed by this latest revelation because

while Gmail users may have consented to having their emails scanned by Google by agreeing to the company’s terms of service, non-Gmail users have not provided consent.

The lawsuit against Google, which was filed in May 2013, alleges that the company “unlawfully opens up, reads, and acquires the content of people’s private email messages.”

Read the full Motion to Dismiss that contains what appears to be an admission by Google for breach of privacy sent and received through Gmail.