back to article Cruel new punishment for hackers: Twitter, Facebook bans

Fraudsters and hackers could soon get slapped with social media bans as the government plans to encourage judges to dish out online punishments for online crime. The online tagging system is one of several recommendations announced today in the 2011 Cyber Security Strategy. Intended to protect Britain and Britain's web …


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  1. DJ Smiley

    and enforce it HOW?

    So, you have people who are clever enough to make it look like they are attacking from location $foo.....

    And you want to ban them from location $bar....

    Plus, no good hacker cares about facebook or twitter access.... plenty of other ways to get the real infomation you need..... now, a full INTERNET ban, might be far more fitting (including no smartphone).

    1. LarsG


      It will be against their human right, call the lawyers!

  2. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Before the government start lecturing the public about online security

    perhaps, just perhaps, they might get their own fucking act together ?

    1. Ted Treen


      Brings to mind an old phrase regarding pigs and flying...

  3. Titus Technophobe
    Thumb Up


    The punishment seems to fit the crime. In what way is this cruel? I can't see how this could be effectively implemented, but it would seem very fair.

    1. Ross R

      I'm just guessing here, but I think there may be a touch of sarcasm to the headline.

  4. Mad Dave


    Surely the people who are most likely to be subject to these measures are the people most likely to know how to open a CD tray and stick in a GNU/Linux live CD?

  5. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Net Cops

    Will they be correcting grammar and citing Godwin's Law too?

  6. Dave 15 Silver badge

    why not give them a holiday?

    Seems we are getting so soft on criminals.

    Fraud is fraud where ever its done

    Hacking and virus spreading over the net costs us all a fortune in cash and time.

    Both should cause the perpetrator very lengthy prison sentances.

    And I think 'fiddling your expenses' is fraud and shoudl result in MP's not paying them back but being locked up for at least 10 years.

  7. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge


    From the same legal system that can't even stop people smuggling mobile phones into jails?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "getting spooks to warn UK consumers to update their anti-virus software on Facebook"

    W O W! The stupidity never ceases to AMAZE me.

    Yet again, another ill conceived idea. Who is paying this persons wages?? Your wasting your money!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      it's "You're wasting your money!"

  9. HollyHopDrive

    Well, that will work then....

    I'm not being funny, but who the hell though that would work. Ok, so I say, yes, I promise not to be naughty, I won't use facebook, twitter. The court orders my ISP to 'monitor' my broadband.

    I can still anonymously use any of the following without fear of being [easily] caught

    - Pay as you go mobile bought cash

    - 3g mifi hotspot (paygo £120 from 3, pay cash, 12 months internet)

    - McDonalds (other public hotspots available)

    - My neighbours wifi, especially easy if I happen to 'help them' with their computer problems. admin/password/letmein etc

    Well done courts, that'll show them not to abuse the internet.

    Repeat after me F A I L.

  10. Paul Hatch

    Reality check

    The major flaw in this is enforcement.

    Yes they can ban people under their real names but when stirring things up they never use real name accounts anyway.

    In reality they force a deemed miscreant into setting up new accounts under yet another pseudonym. This is a double edge sword in itself. If the miscreant is left to continue using their existing accounts, it is far easier for the authorities to monitor them.

    That said, once caught, they are far more likely to set up new accounts off their own back to shake the authorities off.

    Just an idiot politician wanting to sound tough with no way of enforcing it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hate the word 'cyber'

    I would be embarrassed to have 'cyber' on my business card..

  12. No such thing as an Anonymous Coward

    Social media bans for hackers...

    Is this a joke.

    The plans sound like they were thought up by someone with little to no IT knowledge, while assuming that once the perps are caught, the restrictions will scare the living bejesus out of them into being good. If their not an average Joe/Jane, actually have a bit more than an above average amount of IT knowledge, then the restriction will be a cake walk to get round.

    Something that would actually have a chance of working as a punishment, would be to make it illegal to own or possess any IT or communications equipment (apart from a land line with a basic phone).

    Advise from the GCHQ spooks, only useful if they actually say what they do in secret.

  13. JakeyC

    And you'll enforce this how, exactly?

    Will someone please educate politicians as to how the internet works as clearly none of them use it.

    Without constant supervision there is no way on earth you can prevent a specific individual from accessing the internet.

    Fine, cut off service contracts held in their name or at their address, but then what?

    Watch them to make sure they don't go to Starbucks?

    Ban visiting mates who are known to have internet access?

    Oh and why reward them by removing Facebook from their lives? They should be made to do EVERYTHING via Facebook until they're so sick of it, they voluntarily become Luddites.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, if someone hasn't figured out yet not to download sketchy attachments, they're not going to learn now.

    How about getting people who know anything about computers to make these kind of decisions? That'd be a good start. Oh "social media", the kids love that! That's the way to go! Please.

    Some "hacking" I see online is nothing more than petty vandalism. Some is real serious fraud or theft. How about we step back and forget about if it was done on a computer or not, and make then a judgement based on the severity of the actual crime.

    Of course, that might require some people actually working harder...

  15. Leona A

    what about

    dishing our a proper punishment and putting the little scrotes in prison? or is that against their human rights of some BS like that? What a joke.

  16. Arrrggghh-otron


    I await the phishing campaign based on security warnings that pretend to be from the government...

    And are they so behind the times that they are telling people to only be suspicious of email attachments from unknown sources? Suspecting any unsolicited email even when they purport to be from people you know is the default case...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suppose I should sign up then.

    To twitster, farcebook, and all the others. Just so I have something they can take away in punishment. Lest I get into trouble for being invulnerable there. Just in case, you see.

    Glad to see they're well behind their times with their cyber this and their cyber that. How about "strengthening the public" by insisting the various (*cough*) vendors do something about their fantastibadly vulernable software? No? Makes too much sense? Thought so. Carry on government.

  18. miknik

    Quick, send round the iPlod...

    ...that little scrote is tweeting again! Hmmm, good luck enforcing this

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Or maybe:




  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Horses for courses

    Some may regard having to use these things as a punishment.

  20. Brezin Bardout

    And the logical next step...,26173/

    But more seriously, I suppose as long as these bans are in addition to proper sentencing and deterrents, I suppose it's not that illogical. If you commit driving offenses you get banned from driving. Of course, as others have pointed out, good luck enforcing that.

  21. Keep Refrigerated

    I feel safer already!

    "People convicted of sexual offences, harassment or anti-social behaviour could have their internet access restricted to protect the public."

    Fantastic, protected from people saying rude things about me on the internet! And what will these anti-social, sexual deviants do with all that spare time they now have on their hands, not spent sat at a keyboard because they're banned.....?

    Could they just leave abstract digital universe alone and get back to protecting people from, y'know, actual physical harm that does pyhsical damage irl?

  22. Asgard
    Big Brother

    Feature creep and control freaks

    Every time they get new legal powers, we quickly find it being totally abused by various government departments.

    Therefore ... "monitor the use of computers by convicted criminals outside prison" ... is ready made to be abused in so many new ways to monitor people. Everything from endless copyright spying to monitoring political protesters who have been arrested for e.g. obstructing a pavement whilst protesting at the corrupt way the rich and powerful are running the world for their own gain.

    They never stop with their need to find ever more ways to control us all. :(

    Plus that is before you even add in that history shows whenever countries descends into revolution, other world leaders get very tetchy it could happen to them next as well and given the scale of the so called "Arab Spring" combined with the pain of the austerity measures which are causing growing civil unrest, you can bet our leaders would love more legal powers ready to spy on more people.

  23. jake Silver badge

    Personally ...

    ... If I were in charge, I'd force 'em to use so-called "social media" for all interactions with other human beings.

    Seriously, nobody scamming the !GooMyFaceYouMSTwit ever actually pays any attention to their marks, nor their marks pasture of choice ... Force 'em to live there, if they want to "market" there ...

    As a side effect, those of us who already never see !GooMyFaceYouMSTwit would also never see the scammers ... Win-win!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Cyber-hygiene tips from the government"

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    Laugh? I nearly started.

  25. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward

    Looks like a damned good excuse for another govt safety warning

    Is it just me, or does this document's security advice look like it is about five years out of date? There is absolutely nothing new or useful here. Just another excuse to spend more taxpayer money "doing something"!

    "Something" will probably be this:

    ******* CLAIRVOYANCE MODE ON *******************

    Switch on TV:

    Rear view of evil looking man in black hat (BOFH) furiously typing on a keyboard and muttering things like "fucking TOR", "there's my new Ferrari paid off" and suddenly "curses...." BLEEPING RED INTRUDER ALERT!!!! flashes onto screen.

    Loud knock on door:

    Followed by:

    Loud explosion as door flies across the room.

    The tactical squad sweeps in and tasers the still-muttering,frothy-mouthed evil hacker into unconsciousness. The squad then take turns kicking his quivering body down the stairs into the waiting black police van.

    Voice off:

    Remember kids.... "free" music and films, unpopular political views, free-thinking, pornography, social networking with other misfits.... it just isn't worth it.

    Sign up and join SafeNet today! Be one of the good guys. You don't need no stinkin' internet.

    This message was brought to you be the UK/US/Hollywood SafeNet Initiative.

    cool and dramatic music and fade to black.

    CUT! Its a wrap!

    ******* CLAIRVOYANCE MODE OFF *********

    Yuk..... I think I just had a very clear vision of the murky near future.

    Sadly, these recurring visions would be a lot funnier if they weren't so likely to happen.

    I'm counting on fellow reg readers to come up with an excellent catch-phrase for this inspiring new initiative. You know, something snappy on the lines of .. "Just say warez". And no... my non.existent ad agency has not been commissioned to do this gov infomercial, yet.

  26. RichyB
    Thumb Down

    The last thing this bloody contry needs is people worrying about posting on facebook or twitter for fk sake.. Why not waste more money introducing pointless policies.

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