Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Hairshirts for all.

A football club have decided to dictate what their "fans" may or may not say, either inside or outside their premises. We're in the end times now folks....I hope nobody reports @Scouse_ma to Liverpool FC

I'm still laughing. This, combined with the latest diktats regarding twitter, porn, lads mags on shelves etc., should see us all sitting silently in our front rooms for a generation. Full story at the Gruaniad

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Careful what you wish for, Twitter

And it’s all hell let loose on Twitter. Again.

Yesterday’s events on Twitter have finally gone mainstream with Caroline Criado-Perez being bombarded with various threats ranging from rape to death via Twitter, resulting in the proposal by a few of Twitters high profile users (ie. those who earn a living from using twitter) for a boycott of the free service they willingly exploit every day to spread their opinions and climb the greasy pole of journalism. August 4th is set to become a #trolliday where nice people refrain from posting pictures of their lunch or trying to flog their books for 24 hours because they have no way to silence their critics.

For the sake of the terminally stupid, I’m going to try to explain the difference between a “troll” and someone who makes a threat of violence on a social network. As an avid twitter commentator and satirist, I am regularly accused of being an abusive troll – mainly based on the fact that someone decides to take offense at something I’ve written and can’t be bothered to argue. I’m currently on my 27th twitter account because with enough followers, you can simply target a twitter user and summon the twitter mob (your followers) to bombard them “block and spam” reports. The algorithms used by twitter then determine if your account survives – enough reports and out the door you go – silenced by your critics.

I receive death threats pretty much every day, as does my wife and family, employers, customers, the dog and anyone who knows me. We’ve all watched flame wars break out since the very first Compuserve account was launched – we all know there are idiots out there and we all know that making death threats is already illegal, so why the big fuss?

If we decide that Twitter is only for posting pictures of kittens and for celebrities to flog us more tat, we will have ruined one of the only free speech platforms we are still allowed to use. Yes, it can be ugly, like a loud row in a pub or fantastic as a method to interact socially and spread news and information and already has enough mechanisms built in to block abusive users or those who do not sing from your hymn sheet – anything further is simply a matter for the Police. Twitter is not a human right, free speech is.

Whilst Caitlin Moran struts around deciding what the rest of us can say on a free medium, Governments are itching to slap another level of moderation on what we can and cannot say to each other. Do we really want celebrities, backed up by arse licking Politicians to be the arbiters of free speech? Abusive, offensive, shocking and rude tweets are all perfectly legal. Death threats are not.

Careful what you wish for, Twitter users, you might just get it. Nothing would please our masters more than our obedient and compliant silence.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Friday, 5 July 2013

"Close down the Internet, it offends us" demands Liverpool

I simply had to post this. I'm being reported to MPs by Liverpool. Enjoy

 Kris Ulmanski of "the Honourables" (sic)

From twitter user @Protect_JFT96 

@DavidHansonMP @SteveRotheramMP @andyburnhammp @timfarron 

Hello chaps, hope you don't mind us tweeting you given your support for the JFT96 and other campaigns. Apologies in advance for the length of this message.

As you can see from our bio, we are a group of LFC supporters who are non-profit, non-gratitude seeking who work on Twitter to try and protect the reputations of the victims of the Hillsborough, Heysel and Munich disasters together with other related abuse. 

On the 24th Anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, there were a series of gross tweets from a specific user @ Old_Holborn which were frankly very disgusting. Copies of some of those can be found at :http://honourables.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/comment-freedom-of-speech-what-law-in.html 

When Old_Holborn did that together with some very nasty tweets about little Jamie Bulger, his real identity exposed by other individuals online as being xxxxxx of Braintree in Essex. We got the blame for that even though it was not our group who initially exposed his identity. We understand that Old Holborn remains the subject of an ongoing Essex Police investigation in conjunction with officers from Merseyside.

We have been subjected to a series of attacks from Old Holborn, however, and his twitter friends ever since, Old Holborn is now on his 22nd different Twitter account since 15th April 2013 and despite repeated suspensions/perma-bans from the social network Twitter just allow him to come back time and time again preaching his hatred of Liverpool, the 96 and indeed more sick references to Jamie Bulger. Even yesterday on the day that Venables was given parole, Old Holborn was still DIRECTLY taunting people with references to Jamie.

Also during that period, some idiotic people issued death threats to Old Holborn and his family. That we cannot agree with nor condone and as such anyone proven to have done so should face the full force of the law. However, we would hope that any potential prosecution of those individuals would take into account it was reactionary. 

We fully understand that Old Holborn (and others) is entitled to an opinion and as such has the right to express an opinion BUT there are some serious problems here that potentially need to be addressed. 

Does direct abuse constitute opinion ? And where do the moral boundaries blur into legal ones. As you are no doubt aware there is a growing problem of suicide especially amongst young people subjected to online abuse. The likes of Old Holborn clearly do not care who they may be targetting and cannot possibly assess the impact their gross comments have on the recipients. Everyone reacts differently.

1) Should a social network be allowing regular abusive users to return to it's network or should it reach a point where so many bans trigger a complete block ? Anyone getting suspended/banned 20+ times clearly has issues.

2) Should Twitter or other social networks be allowed to spread what is no different to hate crime online and for that hatred to go unchecked. Numerous reports have been made about Old Holborn and some of his friends however Twitter are notoriously slow and inefficient to react. In one instance, death threats were issued to one member of our group and when reported to the local police of the perpetrator (Humberside) it was effectively laughed at by Humberside police - so matters have been taken to the recipients local police force(s) who appear much more keen to deal with the issues. The perpetrator is due to appear on assault charges in Crown Court soon, so any death threat by someone like that should be taken seriously. Same person also tweeted gross false sexual allegations about another member of our group, same person engaged in other false gross sexual allegations about a further member of our group. These go WAY beyond banter. It's not a laughing matter to be falsely accused of say beastiality. Especially if that is transmitted on a public social network and could be read by anyone in the world without logging into Twitter first.

3) Given the recent guidelines issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions regarding online communications offences, should the government not be enforcing some of the other parts of UK law and ensuring that ISPs and Social Networks operating in this country do not allow their services to be abused in the manner described above ? If individuals are under investigation by the Police for online communications why are they still allowed access to continue their bile whilst being investigated ? Surely that just creates more of a problem.

4) If the likes of Old Holborn are using Twitter for this sort of purpose - what other uses is it being used for ? Is it being monitored say for terrorist comms ? 

5) Should mental health services be alerted when people persistently act like this online ? It demonstrates a state of mind, an unhealthy state of mind in our opinion. 

6) Old Holborn takes great delight in putting personal information about individuals online too and their families. Surely that is illegal ? 

7) Twitter responses are, frankly, useless most of the time, their systems are far too automated and rely for the vast majority of the time on U.S. based helpdesk systems. Thus there is a time lag on reports. Twitter has offices in the UK - in our opinion it needs UK based support staff 24/7. It also needs to ensure that it is applying local laws to deal with abusive comments not just U.S. ones. Requests to the management of Twitter in the UK via their twitter accounts normally go unanswered. This again is not good enough. 

8) The postcode lottery of police responses to online communications offences is frankly ridiculous. Individual police forces should have clear guidelines as to what does and what does not constitute a breach. At the moment the definitions are far too wide open to individual interpretations. It's either defined clearly or not defined - this is a growing issue.

Would like to make this clear : this is not about restricting people's ability to express opinion but ensuring that with Freedom of Speech comes the responsibility not to offend whole communities by doing so. Twitter is a form of broadcasting - it is no different in those terms to communicating via verbal speech. 

Would the abusive users stand in the middle of Liverpool and say some of the things they say ?? Of course they would not - they'd probably be lynched to be honest but this is where the whole issue of Social Networking, Twitter especially, falls down. 

It has given the radicals a platform, and a dangerous one if used for the wrong purposes. It can breed hatred, hatred for whole communities, beliefs etc based on the words of some very sick individuals. These individuals don't care who they hurt, how they hurt or when they hurt. 

Does any right minded society really want that attitude to propagate unchecked ?

We believe that there is a public interest in the protection of the vulnerable, individuals and their families reputations and indeed the reputations of whole communities. 

We also believe that there is a growing need for Twitter, like Facebook was, to be clamped down on and forced to take privacy, abuse etc much more seriously. 

We would hope therefore that there can be some cross party support for some kind of enforcement of existing UK laws on Twitter and how users use/abuse it together with some kind of mechanism to ensure that where necessary individuals internet access is removed if under investigation for online communication offences. 

Thanks for reading and if you need specific information relating to the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.


You can read the letter the Police sent back to them HERE

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Post Unavailable

In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed this post. If you wish, you may read more about the request at LumenDatabase.org.

Chris O'Byrne of Walton, Liverpool

As most of you know, Liverpool has been trying to close me down ever since I pointed out that the biggest killers of Liverpudlians are in fact Liverpudlians. Hell, they've sent everything at me. The Police, my family and business have been threatened, my colleagues, they've even reported people who FOLLOW me on twitter to the Police.

I find out today, on the day we discover that Jon Venables is to be released back into Scouse society (where he will blend in perfectly) that one of my attackers, the son of Labour Councillor Ann O'Byrne and sister of Labour Councillor Rachael O'Byrne is happily trawling the internet for pictures of my children, specifically my underage daughters (I have 5 daughters).

Hello @Chris_OByrne 

Now as you know, I am immensely proud of my daughters and the thought of a Scouser getting his rocks off over pictures of them disturbs me. Please fell free to let Ann.O'Byrne@liverpool.gov.uk or 
rachael.o'byrne@liverpool.gov.uk that Chris O'Byrne is showing classic Scouse tendencies towards underage children.

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