back to article UK plods cuff another bloke in Twitter violence threat probe

A 32-year-old man has been arrested by cops investigating violent threats against high-profile women on Twitter. Scotland Yard said in a statement that the unnamed suspect was manacled at an address in Bristol this morning and is now being quizzed at a nearby police station. He was cuffed on suspicion of committing an offence …

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Pint

Fortunately, these muppets are too impulsive to consider any need to cover their tracks. A pint for the police for acting on this & taking it seriously.

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Kudos to El Reg for NOT stooping to calling threats "trolling" for once.

Shame on the earlier writers.

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Headmaster

Trolling

FWIW only the headlines and perhaps the intros used trolling in the previous coverage - mainly because it was snappy and about general abuse. The copy all the way through made clear the difference between "trash talk" and threats of rape.

This story is definitely about an investigation into threats of violence and serious sexual assault, though.

C.

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Anonymous Coward

Does enphasise a point though

There are already laws to deal with scum like this, they just need to be enforced.

There is no need for additional legislation which would only serve government interests and line lawyers pockets further.

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Joke

Genuine question...

...if I have two twitter accounts and I use one to threaten myself with violence on the other, can I be arrested for it?

"Joke Alert" because while this is a genuine question I would like to know the answer to, it's obviously not to be taken seriously.

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Gimp

Re: Genuine question...

Do you suffer from a sado-masochistic split personality disorder?

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Re: Genuine question...

And presumably you'll have to report yourself and you'll get defenestrated for wasting police time.

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Mushroom

Re: Genuine question...

I would like to see the results of this little thought experiment.

I'd also like to see the result if someone programmed a bot to tweet random sentences and one so happened to be a bomb threat. How would the thought-police deal with that one?

BTW I find myself feeling threatened by this picture of a bomb exploding -->

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Re: Genuine question...

"And presumably you'll have to report yourself and you'll get defenestrated for wasting police time."

Is it not the case that the police have recently prosecuted people for this due them having become aware of it, without the recipient complaining? I thought I had read that this occured, but I may be mistaken.

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Re: Genuine question...

So you think that creasy et all used sock puppets to create a climate of moral outrage?

Not this time it seems, but it wont take long.

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Here's my story. I am a 30 something gender male working in IT who happens to be a supporter of women's rights. Surprising you might say, but there we go.

Now I don't pretend to understand the the abuse and harassment females are facing online, that would be patronizing. But I have taken it upon myself to take a stand and stick up for them online. This has put ME into the firing line from trolls. Of course I realize this just goes with the territory of supporting rights as history shows, and I certainly don't expect an award for what I am doing, at least not yet. Nevertheless I felt strongly that it was my moral duty to do something, so I rang up my Internet Provider and demanded they secure my internet connection from such abuse.

Imagine my surprise when I was told in no uncertain terms that there was NOTHING they could do! (I won't mention the name of the guilty provider) Nothing! They fobbed me off. Imagine it, the very company that is streaming the internet into my home claims they have no control over what they are transmitting!

So now I have to contact my MP. If the Internet Providers won't do anything about the problem of internet trolls then it's time the government stepped in to make them install filters and abuse buttons just as Twitter are planning. Yes before anyone says it I KNOW filters and abuse buttons don't 100% work. Yes I've heard you, i work in IT too remember. But they will provide a partial fix until sufficient laws and restrictions on communicating online can be put in place. At the very least I would like everyone to take internet trolls a bit more seriously.

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Trollface

TrollNomNom

I see what you did there.

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ha 6 downvoters should lose their internet license :)

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Mushroom

I can answer your question, NomNomNom.

The reason your ISP will do nothing about your complaints about trolls, and the reason why you will inevitably receive similar ignorance from your MP, is quite simple, although you are clearly too blinded by political correctness to see it.

That is, because the endless assault on men and men's rights that feminist "men" like yourself have perpetrated in your self-hating ideological zeal, have cast women unjustly as victims, men as aggressors, and created an anti-male mentality throughout society. You don't need help because you're male. You're privileged. We should only be helping women and other "underprivileged" minorities, remember? Wasn't that your agenda?

There's no political mileage in assisting you because you are male, one of the "patriarchy", a "potential rapist". The very same social climate, with its myth of male privilege that you have helped to create is now therefore your undoing, in what I can only regard as a beautiful example of poetic justice.

Enjoy your anti-male discrimination, NomNomNom. You deserve it.

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High-profile women gets protection from police

Are low profile women going to be able to get the same quality of service?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: High-profile women gets protection from police

Regarding internet abuse the rule seems to be this... If you can create a media shit-storm, you are taken seriously and something is done. If you cannot create a media shit-storm then you need to become more famous.

When did we lose the ability to ignore the "bullies / trolls"?. All they are after is a reaction, you give them one by going to the police and creating a media circus they have won. If you don't like what is posted you don't have to visit the site, you don't need to have a twitter / facebook account.

At this rate the internet will become a place where people will fear post in-case anyone else takes offense.

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Re: High-profile women gets protection from police

There's a significant difference between saying "you're fat, ugly and horrible" and "I know where you live, I'm coming to rape you." One is rude, and the internet is full of it. One is unacceptable, and if you get nicked by the plod for it, then tough shit. Similarly with, "I've planted a bomb outside your house to go off a 10:35".

Not that they're necessarily credible threats of course. But while I would probably ignore them, I don't think people should have to put up with that sort of thing, and it's been illegal for centuries to threaten people. So you can't claim to be surprised, or that because you were online you thought it didn't count.

Oddly the last time someone threatened me, it was a bunch of nuisance phone calls at about 1am. And the threat was that "your ears are coming off." "I'm going to come and get you, your ears are coming off." I made the assumption that someone might have been drinking... But then I'm a 6' tall bloke who's often asked if he plays rugby, with the muscles (and the belly sadly) to match.

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Re: High-profile women gets protection from police

"When did we lose the ability to ignore the "bullies / trolls"?."

We never lost that ability. It's just it's not the right solution for every case. The internet is filled with asshats who don't understand the making threats online is the same as making them in person, and can lead to the same consequences (getting prosecuted).

A few high-profile convictions of such scum and maybe others will start to understand that what they're doing is illegal and stop doing it.

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Re: High-profile women gets protection from police

The internet is filled with asshats who don't understand that making threats online is NOT same as making them in person, and should not lead to the same consequences (getting prosecuted).

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Re: High-profile women gets protection from police

Afraid you're dead wrong there. Both legally and morally.

I admit that I think people should keep a sense of proportion, as its mostly obvious that these threats aren't serious. However, I also accept that not everyone is as relaxed about what life throws at them as me. And no one should have to put up with death threats. If you make 'em, you've only got yourself to blame, should you end up in prison.

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What if ISPs suspended Internet access for a week, if Twitter reported that an offensive tweet was sent from one of their IP addresses? There must be something in the T & Cs to allow this for clearly illegal usage.

Quite a deterrent, and no impact of an over-stretched police force.

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"What if ISPs suspended Internet access for a week, if Twitter reported that an offensive tweet was sent from one of their IP addresses?"

So if someone sends an offensive tweet from an internet cafe the business goes down for a week?

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Anonymous Coward

My land-fill Android tablet with fake google account details, free McDonald's wifi, along with one-use email address services and Tor are already way ahead of you!

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Obviously not. I had in find those tweeting from home, and seemingly making no attempt to cover their tracks.

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You're effectively asking an ISP to breach their contract to an end user based on Twitter's request because someone reported to Twitter that they received a tweet they didn't like.

I think you'll find that the "over-stretched police force" would still need to be involved, given that you don't usually punish someone for something unless you can prove they did it. Something to do with the rule of law and due process.

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And?

The police appear to be dealing with this and rightly so. These people need to be stopped and dealt with by the courts.

However, I never understand why the internet being involved makes the slightest bit of difference. The internet is merely the conduit over which the threat is made. It could be done by sound, a letter or even a wall somewhere. Either way, it's the threat that matters and the mechanism for carrying that threat is simply that.....just a mechanism. So, why is the fact it's over the internet a factor? Yes, it makes it easier to do etc.etc., but it is just a transport mechanism for the threat.

It's the same as the 14-year old girl who sadly killed herself recently. People abusing her over this website or that website is not the issue. The issue is the abuse. Whether it's over a website or done in the playground at school, it's the abuse that matters, not the mechanism. If people got hold of her telephone number and kept calling and abusing her, would they suggest telephones should be controlled, filtered etc.etc.? If a threat is make via the post, should letters be stopped, or filtered?

The logic simply doesn't make sense. They're trying to make an inanimate technology the scapegoat for a few sick individuals who think abusing people is funny or somehow clever.

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Re: And?

the difference is they can't stop it

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Re: And?

Ah well, you see the internet is news. Many journalists and editors really do seem to want to be cool. And down wiv da kidz. And da kidz iz doing da internetz all da time (sorry, I'll stop that now). Plus it's mysterious and scary. To many ordinary users it's all done by witchcraft - and it's a jungle out there! To journos the internet is slowly putting many of them out of business, while also giving them news-gathering opportunities that they couldn't have dreamed of twenty years ago.

So teenage girl gets bullied is an old, old boring story. Teenage girl gets bullied online! Exciting! Teenage girl gets bullied online on foreign-owned website: Ban this sick filth now! They're probably swan-eating asylum-seeking foreigners too! And you know you can't trust the water, and the waiters don't speak English...

And of course the Twitter threats story is obviously news, as it's happening to actual journalists. That's real people that we know that is. So it must be news.

I saw a headline on the Torygraph of some commentator suggesting that Twitter is one of the few places where rich lefties meet the great unwashed, and it's a bit of a culture shock for the poor dears. Which is probably a bit harsh, but with a grain of truth.

Not to minimise the importance of the death of the poor kid. I was looking up some medical information the other day, and got curious and went on to the forum of a group for my visual impairment. Had a nose round, as you do, and they had a forum for teenagers. It reminded me just how bloody awful being a teenager can be - especially if you've got a disability that makes you stand out from the crowd. Don't know why they just don't paint target on your school uniform really... Would save time all round. Although I'd already 'dealt with' the issue of bullying by the time I was at secondary school - and anyway boys tend to be much less cruel than girls. A punch in the face beats getting sent to Coventry for a month any day.

Thinking about it, I used to live in Coventry - so that sentence is true in both senses...

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Stop

Re: And?

Nasty man say things on twitter? Stop using Twitter/change account.

Nasty man say things on bus? Get off bus/change bus.

Don't ever think that getting nasty man thrown off the internet will stop nasty man, in the same way that getting nasty man thrown off the bus will stop him getting on the next one.

Sure the bus might have CCTV, but it's blurry and it was last week and you don't know if he's grown his hair or changed his clothers, so you had best just hope it doesn't happen again.

Sure the IP address might have been logged, but it's old and he might be using a proxy or have a different account now so you had best just hope it doesn't happen again.

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Re: Nasty man say things on bus? Get off bus/change bus.

But I have to use the bus. How else am I supposed to get to work?

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Re: And?

"a few sick individuals who think abusing people is funny or somehow clever."

Let's leave the politicians out of this shall we?

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Re: And?

@NomNomNom.

"the difference is they can't stop it"

But, generally, this simply isn't any different to other mechanisms. If you're getting abused in the playground, how do you get it to stop? Go to a teacher? Probably make it worse and won't stop it. If someones scrawling things on walls etc., how do you stop it? If someone knows your address, how do you stop abusive letters? In the case of the girl who killed herself, why was she still using the website up to the end? If it was so distressing, surely you would at least stop using it?

At the end of the day, if people want to say nasty things and threaten etc., they will. The only way to stop it is to take action against them through the police when they cross a boundary.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And?

No, there are other ways to take action.

If a bully is on your case and your appeals to authority go unheard and unanswered then you can build yourself up to deal with the bully yourself.

The same goes with other media too, but it seems that some of the complainants of late have been woefully under-equipped and under-prepared to deal with the darker parts of the internet. If you insist on taunting the bullies it is wise to be ready to fight them - no matter how much we might wish that it weren't so, it never pays to bring a knife to a gunfight.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And?

In continuation of my post above, I am not suggesting for a second that all of the victims of such bullying have "brought it on themselves".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Analogy

"But I have to use Twitter..."

No, you don't.

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Not new

About 25 years ago there was a fashion for phoning random numbers, then if there was an anwering machine, leaving a death threat. I know it was a fashion because the police told me when it happened to me. I didn't take it seriously because it was clear that the caller didn't really know anything about me, but that sort of experience is still nasty.

Everybody likes a bit of power but some people have very little. Like some kids who knock on doors and run away, because kids have almost no power except the power to annoy. Thanks to the Internet, losers who have no other way to make anybody take any notice of them can easily harass specific people. Of course people who threaten violence should be caught and stopped if possible, but it should probably be recognised that they'll never be stopped completely, any more than you can stop kids knocking on doors and running away.

It might help to recognise that no real rape or bombing has ever followed this sort of threat (AFAIK anyway) and is never likely to.

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Re: Not new

I've seen genuine, nasty, stalking as a follow-on to online abuse. But that was a forum for ex-pats, and anyone who's worked abroad knows that ex-pats can form small, incestuous groups that make gangs of teenage girls look stable, balanced and mature.

On Twitter it's a different kettle of fish. But then celebs do get stalked and attacked every so often by nutcases. So you can understand them getting a bit twitchy.

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Devil

Re: Not new

Indeed. Lennon and Dando ddn't have the luxury of being informed over twitter that they needed to be Xtra careful.

And unless the perp is a total raving idiot, if they really meant it, they wouldn't pre-announce it would they?

None of this stacks up. Clearly no one in their right mind is going to reveal to the world that they intend to take a pop at some sleazy columnist or politico if they actually intend to do it.

And even in their wrong mind, they wouldn't be likely to either. Nah. This is just an excuse to make sure that political messages from radical personalities don't get shouted down, and they do the shouting down instead.

Bah! Humbug.

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Unhappy

If you stick your head above the Parapet...

...chances are someone is going to shoot an arrow in your eye.

I don't understand why people 'announce' themselves to the world, on the internet, and are stunned and horrified when someone else (who hides their identity) calls them awful names or threatens them. These young people who have died, because of comments made by other people, were damaged and unhappy to begin with. I would never go on line if i couldn't use an alter ego as it acts as a 'buffer' between me and everyone else out there, so if i do comment or criticize about a subject or someone on line and i receive abuse or threats from others on those forums for the comments and criticisms, then i can just brush them off and not let them get under my skin because they don't know who i am.

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Facepalm

Bunch of sad little twats with no fecking life hiding behind their keyboards, they feel like big men shouting their purile bollocks at women over the internet. No wonder the feminists think all men are arseholes when the few twats like this spoil it for the rest of us 95% of blokes who do manage to get through our day showing respect and courtesy for other people irrespective of of their gender. Sometimes I am ashamed to be a bloke.

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Anonymous Coward

amourous cowherd: women are worse. On and offline. One job I had was totally destroyed and I had to leave, because a female member of staff, who unbeknownst to me was shagging the boss, mounted a campaign of lies about what I wasn't doing, simply because I dared to tell her that her job was to assist us in the lab, not sit on the (flat) roof sunbathing and knitting.

I was essentially forced to service my bosses wife at another company. I made damned sure she didn't enjoy it much. She later went off with a tennis coach...

I was verbally abused by another woman at a company I worked at, but she was the bosses secretary. I was 'moved' to the most menial job and constructively dismissed, after I answered her back.

Id rather have any amount of effing and blinding and empty threats from someone whop has no actual power to destroy my life.

Women seem to carve power more than men, and exercise it often far less responsibly. They are vicious when crossed and utterly ruthless. As this story amply illustrates.

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"for the rest of us 95% of blokes who do manage to get through our day showing respect and courtesy for other people irrespective of of their gender"

Says someone who chose the nick Amorous Cowherder.

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@Amorous Cowherder.

Yes, there are some stupid blokes abusing women. However, a lot of the online issue, especially with girls, is actually gangs of girls against other girls. having spoken to many a teacher, they much prefer the problems associated with boys. Boy does something against another boy; smack in the mouth; next day they're best mates. Life moves on. Girl does something to another girl. Months of constant abuse from the girl and her mates. No physical damage, but far more psychological damage, hence the suicides etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Let's stop talking about the differences between men and women when we are discussing online harassment, bullying and abuse.

Why? Because there is no distinction online. You can't be certain a given message has come from a man or a woman, or that a message you are sending will be read by a given individual, or gender.

Online, everyone is potentially as vulnerable, or as strong, as everyone else. The neat distinctions we make IRL simply don't count here, and that is one of the things we should celebrate about the internet - it is truly a great leveller.

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Anonymous Coward

Create accounts with female IDs then, give it a few months and report back on any difference in treatment. Then we can talk.

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