July 31st, 2012

Twitter Troll Nicked for Threats Not Insults

Another day and another Twitter user silenced. Before the dust has even settled on the Twitter joke trial, a 17 year old kid has been arrested, apparently after some seriously poor taste Tweets sent to Team GB diver Tom Daley. While his arrest over night is splitting opinion, its worth bearing in mind that while the messages sent about Daley’s dead father were disgusting, it was probably the threat to “drown” the diver that crossed the legal line and got the police involved.

That pertinent fact does not seem to be getting much traction though…

Incidentally, Guido gets regular online death threats and abuse. He doesn’t dial 999. He does sometimes find out the threatener’s phone number and call them. They never sound very brave in person…


111 Comments

  1. 1
    Kebab Time says:

    I think what is most disturbing is to twitter mob mentality

    “I may despise what you say but i will defend to the death your right to say it”

    http://kebabtime.blogspot.com/2012/05/freedom-of-speech-part-3.html

  2. 2
    Shaba Ranx says:

    Me be feelin dat celebrities get da police support. When tweets be disrespectin ordinary folk, ya can get no police.

  3. 3
    Tristram Smallbore-ffipps says:

    Not nice messages but you would hope that the Keystones would have taken notice of the recent Appeal Court overturning the conviction of the man who threatened to blow up Robin Hood airport. It seems they prefer to invent the law rather than apply it.

  4. 4
    Chris Rawlins says:

    Spot on, Guido! It is time for the competition authorities in the UK, US and EU to investigate both Twitter and Facebook to determine whether there are grounds for abuse of power issues, given that both are now effectively cross-border utilities.

  5. 5
    Simon_C says:

    IMHO, if it directed at the target via @, then after one warning, it’s harassment, plain and simple. If it was just about them, then it would have to be incitement.
    IANAL

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Gman says:

    Free Speech is not a license to threaten to murder someone. To commit a criminal act or encourage others to commit a criminal act is not freedom of speech.

    The ‘twitter’ police do worry me, but in this situation sounds perfectly acceptable.

  8. 8
    Finger Jockey says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of the threat. Is there a log of it somewhere?

  9. 9
    Coat Hanger says:

    That seems to be true in many instances, though I suspect if someone was threatening to drown you, the police would normally act.

  10. 10
    Socialism Ate My Future says:

    Great another idiot which no doubt will end up being used as a case for more Internet regulation.

    Still for the amount of money we’ve pumped into the games our medal count is rather poor.

  11. 11
    Socialism Ate My Future says:

    Innint breadwin!

  12. 12
    John Gray says:

    We have clearly not worked out how to deal with offensive tweets yet.
    There seems to be three levels of trolling:

    1- Stupid – Like the Doncaster airport guy – a simple warning would suffice
    2- Offensive – Like the guy who offended Tom Daley – a fixed penalty would probably do. Not 37 plod all claiming overtime arriving at 3.20am
    3- Illegal – Threatening or racist

    It does not take a genius to tell these apart

  13. 13
    Oy Vey says:

    The inevitable Twitter pile-on that followed Daley re-tweeting the message included several threats against him as well as posting his phone number.

    A fair amount of twitter users will also need to be arrested as a part of this

  14. 14
    Tom Daleys Budgerigar says:

    Tweet tweet

  15. 15
    Stuart says:

    Just identify and humiliate the coward

  16. 16
    Ah! Monika says:

    you get idiot’s sending me this…’

    Daley would do well on here with his superfluous apostrophes

  17. 17
    A lover of free speech says:

    There were also messages in direct response to others ‘I’ll stick a knife down your throat’ and also ‘I’ll cone to your house with a rope and strangle you’. I’m all for free speech but if someone stood up in the street and started yelling these kind of comments at people that’s threatening. He’s crossed a line or damn nearly anyway.

  18. 18
    Glamstrad says:

    My mate got banned off of the Twitter for saying to Jessie J that she couldn’t sing and looked like a child had made a face out of Lego and wrapped it in ham.

    He was outraged, until I reminded him that Twitter was only there to advertise your newest film/dvd/book/CD/website for free, and us normal people should be thankful of having this personal (assistant) connection to the glorious, shining, beautiful people.

  19. 19
    Sophie says:

    Thought Crime. Speech Crime. Text Crime.

    New Labours work is done – a Policeman in everyones head.

    Welcome to East Germany.

    So the twitter kid is an ass – do we really need the Police battering down his door to drag him to court? Is it reasonable to suspect that he really did mean to drown Daley?

    Come on.

    What he siad was disgraceful – he should be mocked & villified – not used by the State to stamp their power & control over the users of new media.

    A Policeman in everyones head – I dont want to live in a society like that.

  20. 20
    Anonymous says:

    Obviously completely f**king ridiculous to arrest this kid. And “threats”?? You plank Guido – it would be interesting to see him try and drown an Olympic diver, I know who my money would be on.

  21. 21
    Anonymous says:

    There’s tweets of him laughing at a guy because his sister died, then telling him he dug her up to fuck her. Also a 5 minute Youtube rant of him threatening to kill the same guy.

    All that on top of the “death threats” to Tom.

    I agree with you in principle, but there’s a line.

  22. 22
    Handycock (Teen Fondler) says:

    All social media and political blogs, like this one, should be closed down immediately and I and some of my colleagues are actively pursuing this aim. Boaz.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Jack Dorsey says:

    Look what I’ve started. Talk about unknown unknown unintended consequences.

  25. 25
    Disastrous ‘Dave’, the Deluded Dimwit of Drowning (in Debt) Street says:

    I’m going to win the next Election with a huge majority – just like I did the last!

  26. 26
    Forkbender says:

    On this blog many is the time that folks have said ,” string ‘em up with piano wire”, I sure that they do not physically mean that but it could be construed as threatening physical violence, in the same way as this mis-guided youth has been.

  27. 27
    Al Capone says:

    Ever heard of concrete?.

  28. 28
    Socialism Ate My Future says:

    +1

    You should go to the USSRofA under Obama if you think it’s getting bad here….

  29. 29
    UKIP.i.am says:

    Its not about the winning. Its about sending out a socialist message.

  30. 30
    Anonymous says:

    Ah but, she was bla..

  31. 31
    Well it's a thought says:

    Normally I would have something to say like why don’t plod do what they are good at like speed traps, but it was a threat to life no matter what medium was used.

  32. 32
    Doesn't end there says:

    Doesn’t end with the ‘police PERSON’ (remember we’re in PC lalaland now) in everyone’s head … how about knickers in the bottle? (I’m sure you remember the old Commy trick of cotton wool in the armpits and knickers in the jar – for reference of course).

    And then of course … there’s ‘disclosure’ by your family / kids / friends / workmates – all for the best possible intentions.

    [Wonders – will this even get thro’ the Mod?]

  33. 33
    Eileen Critchley says:

    You’re dead meat Guido!

    Please call after 3pm as I’m being sprayed at 2.

  34. 34
    UKIP.i.am says:

    Is that a threat or a joke?

  35. 35
    Forkbender says:

    Disasterous Dave, calm down dear, there’s a good little fella

  36. 36
    The Prick posing as PM says:

    Oh yes indeedy – we must send out the Socialist message – just like Tony wants us too.

  37. 37
    Don Corleone says:

    The equestrian event is as good as fixed. If you want to get ahead get a head.

  38. 38
    Selohesra says:

    Why do people have to use the internet to be nasty to each other – they should stick to looking a pictures of bosoms & front bottoms like it was invented for

  39. 39
    Tabba eniaD says:

    Go on – den – say yo peece! – yo am de ray cyst!

  40. 40
    Blowing Whistles says:

    The Olympics seems to be a good time to bury other bad news like political expenses corruption at both Parliamentary and local government level along with financial corruption in the City. Wandsworth Council indeed – try Bournemouth Borough Council – where the police never investigate any crimes committed by Councillors and executive members.

  41. 41
    Gordon Brown says:

    Like me, – they should be banged up for years – where they can do no harm!

  42. 42
    Forkbender says:

    In that case I think he should be sectioned and spend some time at a mental institution, there is definitely something wrong with him upstairs.

  43. 43
    PC Police says:

    eer! – you’ll be for the high jump my lad – and no mistake! – no, – make that the high board!

  44. 44
    Moussa Koussa says:

    “””Incidentally, Guido gets regular online death threats and abuse””””

    Yeap but you deserve them. LOL

  45. 45
    CopPissedOffWithTwitter says:

    I don’t know all the facts. All I will say, as a copper, that the law is struggling with social media. To me these offences are suitable for what’s called a First Instance Harrassment Warning (which is what it says, a warning and a non-judicial shot across the offender’s bows). Yet they get treated as telecommunications offences by default and involve extra-jurisdictional issues.

    To me, though, TwitterCrime (I have christened it thus, although ‘TwitterBollocks’ would be just as apt) these are alkin to s.4 and 5 Public Order Act offences (POA 1986). If a bloke walked up to you in the street and said some of these things then you could ask a police officer to tell him to stop (s.5) or be nicked, or just nick him (s.4, deals with threats). Before you get all Guardian on my arse (they have a big problem with the POA), imagine if the person gobbing off is 6′ tall and the person being abused is an old lady. You need the law: it is implicit in the charging standard that someone HAS to be genuinely “harassed, alarmed or distressed.”

    The issues concerning that after charge are quite properly a matter for the courts, which is where some wackiness creeps in but FFS don’t blame Old Bill. Discretion for these matters has been taken away from us after thirteen years of ArbeitNeuLabour (I am a lone voice in where I work to taking a very pragmatic, as libertarian-as-I-can-be view of these offences, but I’ve got broad shoulders and no ambition) and this new lot are hardly a shining example of dynamism in sorting out legal issues, putting their energies into closing prisons and sub-contracting us out to their mates at G4S.

    So a combination of ham-fisted legal reform, archiac courts, CPS charging standards designed in the 1980s, robo-cops who are not allowed to use commonsense and discretion has led to this Stasi-esque load of bollocks. We need to get a sense of proportion about all of this, realise that freedom of speech where there is no offence is sacrosanct (airport bloke) but that dickheads who get off on being egregriously offensive (bloke who had a pop at Tom Daley, who is clearly a decent young man representing his country) needs a gentle (legal) slap.

    Thanks for reading.

  46. 46
    Ah! Monika says:

    4. Ignore

  47. 47
    Only 12 days 12 hours 39 minutes until the Olympics are over! Yay! says:

    “there is definitely something wrong with him upstairs.”

    Goes without saying. And we know this because he uses Twátter.

  48. 48
    Ah! Monika says:

    Thanks for writing.

  49. 49
    Ava Banana says:

    If one loses, alll must lose – all in it together girls!

  50. 50
    Ah! Monika says:

    Light the Blue ( ? ) touchpaper. Email Guido with some facts.

  51. 51
    I really, really can't be arsed to..... says:

    Anyone who sets up a twitter account using his/her real name, a traceable email account and does NOT use a VPN client to mask their IP address, is asking for trouble if they post so-called “offensive” stuff.

  52. 52
    Only 12 days 12 hours 35 minutes until the Olympics are over! Yay! says:

    “I’ve got .. no ambition”

    That’s a shame, because we seriously need a decent Home Secretary (to replace the sack of shit we’ve got at the moment), and you sound like an ideal candidate.

  53. 53
    Sir Aston Martin says:

    Dat’s de Babylon, bro.

  54. 54
    I really, really can't be arsed to..... says:

    ……………at such length, too.

  55. 55
    CopPissedOffWithTwitter says:

    That’s true, but this kid is seventeen. What I’m seeing in younger people is this view that conduct like this is normal. It’s kids growing up never having had the internet or social media. He probably thinks this is all just banter.

    The irony is the law of unintended consequences. The Gramscian long-marchers who preached political correctness for forty years have created an equal and opposite reaction, a rebellious generation of trolls who think that being shocking and offensive is perfectly normal.

    I don’t know where we go from here.

  56. 56
    Sir Aston Martin says:

    But what about Facebook and chatrooms for grooming, Mike?

    Jahbulon.

  57. 57
    MAD FRANKIE HADDOCK son of COD says:

    It’s a bloody good job the twitter gestapo don’t come on here
    we would all be banged up

  58. 58
    Litvinenko says:

    Sticks and stones…….but Polonium-210

  59. 59
    Sir Aston Martin says:

    >I sure that they do not physically mean that

    You might be surprised!

  60. 60
    CopPissedOffWithTwitter says:

    Thanks, but if I was an ambitious policeman I’d have to dump every vestige of common-sense and dignity I had.

  61. 61
    CopPissedOffWithTwitter says:

    :)

  62. 62
    Aidan Burley says:

    I think fighting Hitler was a bunch of leftie multicultural crap. Sieg Heil!

  63. 63
    Only 12 days 12 hours 29 minutes until the Olympics are over! Yay! says:

    +1

    The problem is, the average Labour-ejookayted Yoof with an A* GCSE in ICT (“Computing” to you and me) would have difficulty in defining ‘VPN client’, ‘IP address’ or pretty-much any other IT-related term (with the possible exception of “download” and maybe “torrent”).

  64. 64
    Anonymous says:

    +1

    When I was a kid, you’d often hear “I’m going gonna murder you,” “I’m gonna this…” “I’m gonna that… ” (sometimes it was your parents going to be doing the murdering!), all sorts of other threats that were just words, of the heat of the moment. It’s part of life’s rich tapestry. You can either ignore it (best solution) or let it bother you.

    There does seem to be a trend for insults/criticisms to be retweeted by those ‘offended’ to what, solicit a response from friends, maybe reassure themselves that they are not worthy of that insult.

    There are options such as ignore / block / report as spam (with a warning from Twitter/FB). Do the police need to be involved in something that is clearly just someone (an immature idiot) mouthing off, as insulting and nasty as it is – no. I’m sure there are more worthy crooks and criminals about.

    Did not the online community not take care of the ‘offender’ by, figuratively speaking, ‘beating him up’ and putting him right. Doubt that he would do it again.

    It wasn’t a nice thing to say, the lad was a complete idiot, and he was taken to task, but it really didn’t need the SWAT team at 3 in the morning?

  65. 65
    MacGuffin says:

    Tom Daley has blossomed into quite the attractive young man. I look forward to his further development. I believe it is a wise use of resources to arrest anyone causing that handsome young man distress, although it is enjoyable to see Tom all intense and moody.

  66. 66
    Cynical-old-bag says:

    Jimmy Carr was recently hauled over the coals for something which our Government thought to be “morally wrong”, but not actually illegal. Much was made of this in the media. Surely these tweet messages are far, far worse and I wonder what will actually happen to the perpetrators – if anything.

  67. 67
    Ah! Monika says:

    ..but you’ll probably discover that writing on here is a sackable offence with loss of pension.

  68. 68
    Durr... says:

    Maybe another job for Leveson whilst he’s at it.

  69. 69
    Sir Aston Martin says:

    Agreed. Alternatively, he should be made the Commissioner.

  70. 70
    Ah! Monika says:

    You are ” Officer A ” and I claim my £5

  71. 71
    Wotta Tossa says:

    What goes around, comes around. LOL.

  72. 72
    Yawn says:

    Yes,especially the twat who keeps imitating Aiden Burley.

  73. 73
    The Labour Parteh says:

    We think lying through our teeth and starting a war the killed 100,000 civilians (foreign, so that’s OK) was an excellent demonstration of an Ethical Foreign Policy ™, which clearly distinguishes us from the Nasty Party.

  74. 74
    CopPissedOffWithTwitter says:

    It’s OK, Tom Winsor’s already had my pension.

  75. 75
    Blair Supporter says:

    Tony has been threatend with death – and at this site too – more than anyone. He is a politician so that’s all right, it seems. It isn’t. It should NEVER be permitted. They should ALL be charged. Anyone taken copies/screenshots of Riley’s tweets threatening Tom Daley? His account is now protected.

  76. 76
    MAD FRANKIE HADDOCK son of COD says:

    There is not truth in the rumour that the Chinese swim so fast because they are chased up the pool by a solider in a speed boat with a cattle prod
    I mean she only shaved 5 seconds off the world record , could happen to anybody !

  77. 77
    JC says:

    Oooo, that’s a bit educationalist…
    I’m calling the fuzz.

  78. 78
    Only 12 days 12 hours 17 minutes until the Olympics are over! Yay! says:

    That’s a shame. So “common sense” is inimical to “career progression” in the UK police force service? It doesn’t surprise me. Sounds quite a lot like politics. Which, I guess, is where it all comes from.

  79. 79
    IT Duty Pedant says:

    So you are all IT experts now huh?

    So you are going to use a VPN client right to mask your IP address? mmm Into what will the VPN client terminate and how will that mask your IP address?

    Don’t call Liebour Edukashun ICT training if you dont know any better yourselves as it just makes you look like.

    I think the buzzword you are looking for is an anonymising proxy server btw

  80. 80
    Twitter Plod says:

    The Plod likes Twitter twime as it’s so easy to trove and twakes up twittle of their Twime

  81. 81
    harry says:

    kudos, my friend.

  82. 82
    Plato says:

    But, where is that line?

    Any genius can spot the obvious No’s or Yes’s.

  83. 83
    Tom Daley Budgerigar2 says:

    Do you like me budgie smugglers? Briefly!

  84. 84
    Blowing Whistles says:

    Public domain already
    Councillor Sue Anderson (racist tweet), former councillor Powell (racist texts),
    multiple staff at Town hall – racist emails ….

    Nil investigations to date – but if it involves joe public – well plod descends in numbers.

    At Present – there are questions as to who is the ‘King’ of the fraudsters down at the Town Hall …

  85. 85
    Plato says:

    Watch ’12 Angry Men’ and all these questions will be answered….

  86. 86
    CopPissedOffWithTwitter says:

    I’m a dab hand at Bubble Shooter, if that helps.

  87. 87
    Aidan Burley is a cunt says:

    Oh I agree with you. I just think someone who hired a Nazi costume for a party and then tried to blame it on others is not best placed to criticise anything. Least of all one who isn’t even British born but a Kiwi.

  88. 88
    Have you nothing better to do Officer says:

    Oh i get your point , speeding motorists never kill anyone.

  89. 89
    News editor says:

    Corruption , theft and fraud are the default position of every local Council in the country and have been for decades, you will have to come up with a new angle on it to make headlines.

  90. 90
    And to think some people think its about catching thieves says:

    Of course it is, in order to get promotion in the police you have to attend amongst other things interview panels where your devotion to political correctness is put to the test.

  91. 91
    Blowing Whistles says:

    When the likes of celebrity mouths – jonathan wross and his branded mate – are not prosecuted for certain remarks – well there appears to be laws exempting celebrities as well as political pygmies.

    The real problem is the legal vultures – who for a fee (for those who can afford it) wil twist the laws to suit their clients’ deep pockets.

    Whats the news of the Chris Huhne prosecution – anyone?

  92. 92
    harry says:

    You can read his tweets here…

    http://www.allmytweets.net/#rileyy_69

    Seems like a sad little boy trying to act ‘big’, if you ask me.

  93. 93
    Anonymous says:

    You think? Wait until the lawyers start defining, “offensive”. It’ll take a genius to sort it out. Unfortunately, all we have is the EUHR.

  94. 94

    That’s not murder – it’s vermin control.

  95. 95
    David Laws Lib Dem Fiddler says:

    Guido, there are offences under the Malicious Communication Act or POA. Threats to Kill is another offence. I agree with your action. However, the recent snooper’s charter was written to suppress free speech.

  96. 96
    Trolls will be trolls says:

    You either believe in the freedom of speech or you don’t, I can’t believe some of the comments on here :(

    Sticks and stones.

  97. 97
    will says:

    this will make an interesting trial as Tom Daley is currently the poster boy of the olympics. so who will the celebs back the tweeter or Tom Daley or will they stay silent on this matter.

    i bet most of the celebs will not wish to be harassed by the tom daley fan club for backing this individual.

    I think a police caution and a ban from twitter would be acceptable for this individual.

  98. 98
    Old Grumpy says:

    Of course they’re not brave, Guido! They are COWARDS, who hide in the jungle of anonymity! They’d never say the things they say face to face!

    A corollary to this theorem is: In countries where personal weapons abound, everybody is polite!

  99. 99
    I really, really can't be arsed to..... says:

    He’s a Twink.

  100. 100
    I really, really can't be arsed to..... says:

    I use Expat Shield from Anchor Free to access The Pirate Bay, which is now currently by my ISP.
    It also shows a different IP address from my regular ISP’s range, when checking on What Is My IP?

  101. 101
    Anonymous says:

    So you can now be arrested for bad taste!
    Well Barbara Cartland & Jimmy Saville are no longer here but Polly Toynbee, Cherie Blair, Janet Street Porter, Sally Bercow, Vivian Westwood and a good many others might need to take a tad more care with their gobbets of work and wisdom!

  102. 102
    Twitter is for... says:

    Sounds like your mate is a bit of a twat then. Would he have dared to say the same thing to her face?

  103. 103
    for sure says:

    wacism belongs in 2

  104. 104
    keredybretsa says:

    To Tweet what we think or Think before we Tweet? Freedom of Tweeting. As we have seen or probably will be seeing in the future. More Twitter prosecutions…more Twitter injunctions. So it’s safer to Think before we Tweet better than becoming an Anti-Social-Tweeting-Stalking-Bully, who can quickly become the next victim.

  105. 105
    The Twitter Police says:

    Didn’t Emma West receive a string of online threats against her and her child from the demented anti-waycists? Strangely old bill and media aren’t interested in those.

  106. 106
    Blowing Whistles says:

    Matters are progressing – I don’t need some ‘news editors’ prattling on. I am not ‘suborned’ under Media Laws, buster. I am “the public interest” and once realised – it is ever so powerful. Go take a hike Mr News Editor.

  107. 107

    I have been subject to a nasty vicious campaign of abuse by an idiot who uses his blog to call me a racist publicly.

    His name is Tommy Ball, if you google him you will see he is the guy who called British soldiers ‘uneducated racist thugs’ and child killers’.

    I took him to task as an SNP member for his abuse.

    He even taunted me by contacting me to harass me.

    So, I decided to stand up to this lying nationalist bigot because that’s what Glaswegians do!

    http://glasgowunihumanrights.blogspot.fr/2012/07/how-to-use-camera-movement-in-outing.html

    http://glasgowunihumanrights.blogspot.fr/2012/07/the-walking-politically-dead-tommy-ball.html

    http://glasgowunihumanrights.blogspot.fr/2012/07/scottish-independence-how-to-deal-with.html

    Now, he is screaming for help on Twitter where he abused British soldiers, bullies like him don’t like it when people fight back.

    I am such a hero you know!

    And remain a humble Glaswegian pottering about the place.

  108. 108
    Gerry says:

    Whilst the troller was repugnant his initial tweets were not the cause of police action but his later threats were & police rightfully took action

  109. 109
    the mystic mould with the appearance of the face of Jesus says:

    the streets are plagued with zombies and you shoot me you fuckwit. I’m going to take this chainsaw and fuck you over NOOB!!

  110. 110
    Not a brave man says:

    Guido,

    I have met you before and have to say you were absolutely charming, and I can’t imagine squaring up to you in face or behind the wall of t’interwebs, but I have to say you don’t seem like the kind of guy I’d be afraid of receiving a phone call from.

    That said, I am glad to hear that you stand up for yourself. I am all for being a libertarian, that means freedom unless it infringes someone elses – it is never right to make threats and anyone making them should be ashamed. I am happy to be not brave but to stick to my principles, that said should someone infringe my rights then it is another story.

    It is a sad world where commentators are threatened.

  111. 111
    JH says:

    I find the Lego/Ham insult quite amusing.

    If people want to ‘engage’ in the ‘social’ networks, they need thick skin/ham.


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