1] House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, ‘Social media and criminal offences’, 1st Report of Session 2014–15, HL Paper 37 (London, Stationery Office, 2014), para.
Additionally it is difficult because of the under-reporting of this form of crime, the monetary and human resources necessary for investigating it, the propensity to analyze the straightforward objectives, the limited role of this police as well as its general inexperience and neglect of crime on social media marketing as well as the implications of regulation on freedom of expression. Finally, regulations only features a limited impact on behaviour – this really is also the truth in social media marketing, where architecture or code also plays an important role in regulating behaviour. Any regulatory response will need certainly to take into consideration and accordingly address these challenges. Therefore, when speaking about regulatory responses, this will be done into the context of this challenges.
Crime on Social Media – The Case for Linking Users’ Social Media Registrations with their National Identity Number
OVERVIEW: After speaking about the difficulties with regulating, policing and crime that is investigating violence on social media marketing, the project will now handle the matter of responses towards the challenges. The goal of this chapter is always to gauge the effectiveness of this current UK approach to regulating crime on social media marketing and present the alternative of linking users’ social media marketing registrations making use of their national identity number. Firstly, the current UK approach will be examined by examining its theoretical foundations and how it is often implemented into the context of social media marketing. Secondly, the chapter can have the proposal of launching the measure of linking users’ registration with their ID by discussing two samples of situations where a similar requirement has been put in practice – the mandatory registration of prepaid SIM cards in certain states as well as the Sina Weibo social media marketing in China. Finally, the chapter will discuss the potential of the measure to handle the challenges of regulation and investigation of crime on social media marketing in britain.
The current UK approach is most readily useful summarised into the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications report on social media marketing and criminal offences: ‘what is not an offence off-line really should not be an offence on line.’ In line with the conclusions of this report, the existing UK legislation is with the capacity of coping with task of regulating crime on social media marketing. The substantive side with this approach is defined down into the Crown Prosecution’s Service October 2016 instructions on prosecution of crimes involving communications transmitted through social media marketing. The guidelines divide the offences on social media marketing in four categories – (1) communications which constitute threat to violence or damage to property; (2) communications that especially target individuals (harassment, stalking, controlling behaviour, revenge pornography, etc.); (3) communications which amount to a breach of a court order or even a statutory prohibition (juror misconduct, contempt of court, breach of restraining order, etc.) and (4) grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false communications. It sets out the existing primary legislation, tackling crime on social media marketing as well as the maxims when applying it – there was high threshold at the evidential stage, the context of social media marketing where communication is instantaneous, casual, usually ill thought out and with unintended consequences, the public curiosity about prosecution of crime on social media marketing and Art. 10 ECHR on freedom of expression.
Summary of this Current UK Approach in Respect to Crime on Social media marketing:
The current UK approach is on the basis of the principle of online-offline equivalence – the presumption that there ought to be equivalence of treatment between on line and offline activities and on line and offline law respectively. The principle may be divided in to equivalence of application (the obligations imposed by the legal norm should be equivalent) and equivalence of regulations ( the consequence of applying a norm must be equivalent). While equivalence of application can easily be achieved, equivalence of outcome is not very guaranteed in full in respect to online law. Samples of such divergence of outcomes will be the application of copyright law to the online environment which is on the basis of the principle of copying, regulation of search-engines which can not be equated compared to that of telecoms, access providers or broadcasters.
Social network platforms converge audio-visual and print media with communication platforms, hence making the implementation of the online-offline equivalence principle problematic. Crime on social media marketing differs from crime into the physical world. As an example, cyberbullying differs from bullying in several methods. Into the majority of situations, the victims have no idea their perpetrators – roughly in about 31 % of situations victims know their perpetrator. This has essential implications for the victims since it reinforces the perpetrators’ sense they can act without concern with punishment and makes them commit crimes which they will never otherwise commit in actual life. Whilst the victim of old-fashioned bullying can physically escape the torments of this bully, cyberbullying victims are deprived with this option since many people use technology on a regular basis, therefore the victim may be tormented at any time and any place with no any safe destination to retreat to. There was systematic research showing that some kinds of cyberbullying cause more harm than old-fashioned bullying, especially cyberbullying involving blood supply of videos and images as once such content is released on social media marketing, its reach grows exponentially and it’s also tough to restrict it, causing permanent humiliation of this victim.
Offered these substantive differences, it really is hard to observe the principle of online-offline equivalence can cause adequate regulation of cyberbullying on social media marketing. Firstly, with regards to equivalence of application, as there was inherent difficulty in determining the perpetrators of cybercrimes, and so, criminals feel they can act with impunity, it’s not possible to utilize the law on line in the same manner as in the physical world. Secondly, in terms of equivalence of outcome is worried, while the harm brought on by cyberbullying might be higher than the harm brought on by old-fashioned bullying, applying the same law does maybe not produce similar cause terms of delivering justice towards the victims. Cyberbullying is just an example of a social media-assisted crime. The specific situation of inadequacy of this current legislation is worse in respect to social-media enabled and social-media dependent crimes. As an example, there are no easily available legislative means of stop the release of troubling live videos on Facebook – a criminal practice that became commonplace after the release of the ‘Facebook live’ feature in 2016.
All of this demonstrates that contrary to the claim created by the House of Lords report that the prevailing UK legislation is with the capacity of coping with crime on social media marketing, this is simply not the truth, and either serious adjustment to the existing framework is necessary, or fundamentally new legislation that deals especially aided by the dilemma of cybercrime must be enacted. A requirement to link social media marketing user registrations aided by the users’ national identity number is just a proposal in light of those dilemmas.
This notion hails from the policy in certain states to oblige mobile operators to require proof identity from users when they join a pre-paid sim card. This requirement is justified on grounds of facilitating police agencies in apprehending criminals and terrorists, hence resulting in lowering of crime, terrorism and anti-social behaviour. It absolutely was applied in practice into the context of Internet services in China where in 2011 the us government introduced a law requiring users of several online services to register making use of their names and supply their national ID number. This has been put in practice by the greatest Chinese social networking platform – Sina Weibo. Exactly How this proposal spent some time working in practice will be discussed below.
The rationale that different states use for introducing this type of policy differ, nevertheless the most frequent one is curbing criminal activity. Other reasons include curbing widespread theft of mobile phones. Such is the truth in Latin America where in actuality the cellular phone identification number (IMEI number) is registered against a certain SIM to facilitate investigation of theft. In other countries, the principal concern is always to make certain that there was adequate age verification process. According to the conclusions of this GSM Association’s 2016 report on the subject, your choice of states whether to adopt this type of policy is directly for this option of national identity documents which can be compared against the state government registry. As an example, great britain does not have any formal verifiable ID system. The repealed Identity Cards Act 2006 contained a provision for establishing a national identity register, that has been to be always a reliable record of registerable factual statements about individuals in britain. Having less a national identity register and uniform proof of ID is hence regarding having less a dependence on mandatory registration of pre-paid SIMs. Where there is absolutely no verifiable national registry and proof ID is requested upon registration, often the physical presenting of this documents as well as the physical presence of this consumer are expected before their registration may be processed.
The mandatory registration of pre-paid SIMs is suffering from a quantity of downsides. There exists a possibility for fraudulent registration of SIMs by criminals, who have stolen ID details of an individual. The measure also opens up the likelihood for emergence of black markets for fraudulently registered or stolen SIM cards, which could potentially become another problem regarding the full bowl of regulations enforcement agencies. Also, the SIM or the handset may be physically provided to someone else or stolen, so there is not solution to make certain that the person who has committed a crime could be the person under whose name a phone number is registered. Finally, a SIM registration requirement is jurisdictionally limited, so there is not any solution to block foreign criminals who target a particular country operating a mandatory registration requirement with a phone in a country which won’t have this type of requirement. The alternative way of SIM registration is lawful interception of communications which require phone operators to own capability set up to monitor communications in realtime and invite usage of the enforcement agencies when needed upon authorisation from the relevant authorities. Here is the approach great britain has adopted – the latest development in this regard had been the Interception of Communications Act 2016. In respect to cybercrime, the UK’s approach is in keeping with the requirements of Art. 21 Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention, which empowers its signatory states to legislate and supply measures for real-time collection and interception of content data, subject to the conditions in Art. 15(1) which will be that the measure is relative to the ECHR. There is absolutely no provision into the Cybercrime Convention requiring states to adopt linking of users’ registration with their national ID number.
China features a long history of wanting to introduce a real-name policy on the online world. 1st attempts to do so were not effective as it absolutely was extremely hard to force users to deliver their national ID number retroactively, i.e. after they have registered without it ahead of the introduction of this measure. if the policy had been introduced on Sina Weibo, this matter had been managed by disabling the remarks functions of old users who refuse to register their national ID number. The rationale behind the policy was to expel ‘bad speech’ on the net. The deadline for the implementation of the registration by way of a national ID number on Sina Weibo expired in March 2012, nevertheless the problems with implementing the policy persisted after the deadline.
The introduction of linking users’ registration making use of their national ID number encountered a number of dilemmas. Firstly, there was clearly resistance on behalf of social networking platforms such as for example Sina Weibo because of the immense costs of implementing the policy and ensuring that users’ data is kept safe, the administrative burden of verifying users’ registrations are genuine as well as the negative impact on business since it leads to withdrawal of users. More over, you’ll be able to type any Chinese ID number upon registration, so there is just a big market for stolen or leaked ID numbers and no solution to validate whether or not the registration is accurate and genuine. After China denied market usage of foreign social networking platforms such as Facebook, this led to proliferation of regional social media marketing. The implementation of the policy by the greatest social networking platform – Sina Weibo, led to migration of users to alternative platforms that do not run the policy and thus, break the law. The rest of the users found how to circumvent the requirement by setting their location to ‘overseas’ or through investing in a SIM and making use of Sina Weibo by way of a mobile community. There exists a mandatory SIM card registration requirement in China, nevertheless the sellers of cellphones usually fill in fake information. At the same time, there clearly was little that the us government may do to compel all social media marketing sites to implement the ID registration policy. The us government has curiosity about keeping all users using one or two platforms after which targeting these having its policy. Industry in China is fragmented after the withdrawal of international social media marketing, and so, users not make use of predominantly 1 or 2 platforms. The us government could close the infringing platforms, nonetheless it cannot prevent creating of new ones and fragmentation of this market.
There are numerous of factors why requiring social media marketing sites to link users’ registration with their national ID number could have positive affect police in britain.
The House of Lords Select Committee on Communications report on the subject of social media marketing and criminal offences rightly describes the requirement for police agencies in order to easily determine criminals on social media – “there is little point in criminalising specific behaviour as well as the same time legitimately making that same behaviour impossible to detect.” It is proportionate to require site operators to establish the identity of users before they are able to register a free account. Subsequently though, according to the select committee report, users should really be allowed to utilize the social network platform by making use of pseudonyms.
There was some logic in this statement in light of this protection threats, the spread of ubiquitous surveillance, terrorist propaganda, crime and organised crime on social media. In terms of real-name policies, a form of which can be the requirement to link users’ registration with their national ID number, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has noted that this type of measure improves behaviour on social media marketing, creates a more civil environment and contains a preventive power over stalking and harassment by launching accountability for actions on social media marketing. Interestingly, the EFF has suggested that implementing the requirement wil dramatically reduce the need for lawful interception of communication, currently performed by way of a quantity of governments, like the UK. It is a consistent conclusion, considering that as noted above, governments that do not have a general national registry and centralised identification system by way of a uniform identity document tend to count on spying the world wide web. The matter of increased spying is amongst the big public concerns in great britain. Maybe it’s argued that if the introduction of ID registration on social media marketing contributes to less spying on behalf of the us government, the social media marketing users may well be more prepared to quit their information that is personal. This hypothesis, nonetheless, will not be tested in practice. Extremely little conclusions in this regard could possibly be drawn from the Sina Weibo experience since government control of this online in China is section of every day life and there is no such public revolt against the practice as in the truth associated with the UK’s widespread interception of communications.
Millions of accounts on Facebook belong to young ones who’re under the minimum age for installing a profile regarding the platform – 13 years. Launching a requirement to link users’ registration with their ID number is just a means of launching age verification at the gateway of social media marketing sites and coping with the situation with under-aged users. Regarding this aspect, social media marketing companies are suffering from a challenge by having a massive quantity of fake reports. Requesting ID number upon registration will considerably decrease the amount of fake reports.
As discussed in Chapter I, one of many challenges of policing and prosecuting crime on social media marketing could be the immense human and money that this calls for and the time so it takes. Having easily available methods to determine the idea of origin for many crimes on social media marketing will alleviate this dilemma to a great level. This can decrease the practice to count on amateur detectives – technically savvy citizens who take part in investigating crime without being alert to the official code of practice because of this activity and then forward the data towards the police. Linking users’ registration to their national ID number may also reduce steadily the distraction of this police with finding previously unavailable evidence for minor crime and return its give attention to serious crime and violence on social media marketing.
By launching accountability for one’s actions, the linking of users’ registration on social network platforms along with their national ID number, gets the prospect of expanding the impact of law on behaviour on social media marketing. In Chapter I it absolutely was argued that regulations has limited impact on behaviour as behaviour can be affected by the social norms, market as well as the architecture of this environment. You can find three straight ways in which law influences outcomes – acting under danger of punishment (first-order enforcement), being at the mercy of informal sanctions by the society due to the law (second-order enforcement) and internalisation of this law and avoidance of committing crimes as a result of prospect of guilt (third-order enforcement). The measure under discussion gets the potential of reinforcing the third-order enforcement while the criminals’ sense they can act with impunity on social media marketing since it is tough to determine them and attribute the criminal act in their mind is going to be addressed.
SUMMARY: The current UK approach to regulating and investigating crime and violence on social media marketing is founded on the assumption that what exactly is maybe not an offence on line ought not to be viewed an offence on line. Here is the so-called online-offline equivalence principle. Nonetheless, you can find substantive differences in terms of scale, scope and amount of harm between similar crimes into the physical world and on social media marketing as demonstrated by the exemplory instance of cyberbullying. Also, you can find social media-dependent crimes, that aren’t familiar towards the criminal justice system. These factors render the current UK legislation designed to deal with old-fashioned crime inadequate to handle the specificity of crime on social media marketing. The proposal to require from social networking platforms to request users’ national identity number upon registration is just a departure from the principle of online-offline equivalence. It was first introduced into the context of cellphones aided by the dependence on mandatory registration of SIM cards in certain states and social support systems in China. In both situations, there has been problems with enforcing the measure, mainly because users make an effort to circumvent it through various means. The measure has some limited potential to alleviate the dilemmas of regulation and investigation of crime on social media marketing in britain. It may facilitate the attribution of criminal acts and so, partially curtail the activities of criminals. Also, it has a real prospective to decrease the cost of and time used on investigating crime on social media marketing and reduce how many fake reports and reports belonging to under-aged minors. Arguably, it might also improve third-order enforcement of this law through self-restraint of criminals and reduce the need for hidden surveillance on behalf of the us government.
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 Wall, D. ‘The online as being a Conduit for Criminal Activity’, p. 81
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 Ibid., para. 10
 Hörnle, J. ‘Countering the problems of online pornography – Shrewd regulation of lewd content’  2(1) European Journal of Law and Technology
 Adapted from Wall, D. ‘The online as being a Conduit for Criminal Activity’, p. 81
 Ibid., pp. 80-81
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 R v Smith (Wallace Duncan) ( number 4)  EWCA Crim 631, para. 55
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 Wall, D. ‘Cybercrime, Media and Insecurity: The shaping of public perceptions of cybercrime’  22(1-2) Overseas report on Law, Computers and Technology 45, p. 48
 Ibid., p. 56
 Ibid., p. 57
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 Ibid., p. 341
 Plessis, A.The Rise and Fall of this SecondEmpire: 1852–1871, translated by Jonathan Mandelbaum (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 121
 Wall, D. ‘Cybercrime, Media and Insecurity’, p. 57
 Investigatory Powers Act 2016, Chapter 25
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 Brenner, S. ‘At Light Speed: Attribution and a reaction to Cybercrime/terrorism/warfare’  97(2) Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 379, p. 405
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 House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, ‘Social media and criminal offences’, para. 51
 Ibid., para. 52
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 Brenner, S. ‘At Light Speed’, p. 407
 Ibid., pp. 409-410
 Brenner, S., Schwerha IV, J. ‘Transnational Evidence Gathering and Local Prosecution of Overseas Cybercrime’  20(3) Journal of Computer and Suggestions Law 347, p. 354
 Brenner, S. ‘At Light Speed’, p. 414
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 House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, ‘Social media and criminal offences’, para. 32
 Ibid., p. 5
 Crown Prosecution Service, ‘Guidelines on prosecuting situations involving communications sent via social media’ (October 2016) < http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/communications_sent_via_social_media/>
 Ibid., under Category 4
 Simplified and adapted from House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, ‘Social media and criminal offences’, pp. 30-31
 Chapter 49
 Chapter 34
 Chapter 100
 Chapter 40
 Chapter 21
 Chapter 27
 Chapter 37
 Chapter 44
 Reed, C. ‘Online and Offline Equivalence: Aspiration and Achievement’ 18(3) Overseas Journal of Law and Information Technology 248, p. 248