UK Websites Forced to Reveal Trolls

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Should online users have a right to know the identities of harassers on social sites like Facebook? A recent change to a UK law addressed just that, concluding that they in fact, do.

The matter stems from the case of a British Facebook user who was harassed by others on the social site. According to a BBC report, Nicola Brookes was wrongly labeled defamatory titles by harassers commonly referred to in the online community as “trolls.”

Brookes took her case to court, wanting to know who was behind the verbal insults. The conclusion? Facebook had to reveal the identities to Brookes. The online world commonly provides a veil of secrecy for such perpetrators.

Meanwhile, the new allowance is included in the country’s Defamation Bill. “Our proposed approach will mean that website operators have a defence against libel as long as they identify the authors of allegedly defamatory material when requested to do so by a complainant,” explained UK Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke, according to the BBC.

Others worry that the new law change could cause privacy violations. Privacy International has expressed concern that involved sites would be prompted to quickly leak identities following simple accusations.