Ambitious new legislation in the UK is trying to set limits and guidelines on acceptable behavior online. Those who engage in trolling, abuse, cyber-bullying and doxxing, may now be prosecuted under the law.
The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) published new rules on Monday, explaining how each of these offenses can now constitute the basis of prosecuting a suspect. According to a report on the new rules from The Independent, creating a hashtag to encourage abuse, or calling on others to retweet a “grossly offensive image” can now lead to serious repercussions.
Doxxing has also become prosecutable, if you publish someone’s home address, bank details or other sensitive personal information. Posting photoshopped images of someone, with “disturbing or sinister” content is also a big no-no.
Finally, the new rules say that sexting between two consenting minors should not be prosecuted, unless the case specifically involves “exploitation, grooming or bullying”.
Some critics, especially those online, may see the new rules as draconian or as censorship, though the office justified some of these steps as being legal preemptive moves, and by citing a major report from earlier in the year, which showed that one in four teenagers suffered abuse online.