back to article Brits: We can stop trolling if we know where they live - poll

The Great British Public want an end to anonymous registration for social media accounts in the aftermath of high-profile online abuse cases, pollsters have claimed – and the older and more conservative they are, the more likely they are to want it. A YouGov survey found that 72 per cent of the British public want social media …

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  1. HereWeGoAgain

    The older...

    "the older and more conservative they are, the more likely they are to want it."

    And the less likely they are to use the internet full stop.

    1. Lobrau

      Re: The older...

      ..or indeed know what a troll is.

    2. Fibbles

      Re: The older...

      When surveyed, 73% of older Tory voters from the Home Counties demanded extra police patrols around 'cyber bridges' in order to crack down on 'international trolls'.

      When surveyed, 84% of 'the yoof' thought the suggestion that the police could hold people to account for their online actions was a 'top laugh' but also that the researcher should 'be real, innit'.

    3. LarsG
      Meh

      Wonderful

      Anyone using the web must also publish their full name, date of birth and address that must be verified by PDF copies of a bank statement, utility bill and passport all accessible to any user of the web.

      Not withstanding the only too obvious implications of this, imagine the rise in violent crime when any slighted moron appears on your doorstep demanding an apology after having been put in his place on the web for his moronic, idiotic opinion. Pretty much sums up the population of this country, get the idea?

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        LarsG

        " imagine the rise in violent crime when any slighted moron appears on your doorstep demanding an apology after having been put in his place on the web for his moronic, idiotic opinion."

        I saw that movie. It's called "Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back."

        But IRL it's kind of stupid.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wonderful

        Don't be silly.

        You identify who you are when you sign up.

        Your identity is not disclosed to all and sundry. Your comments to the world an still be published under a pseudonym.

        But your identity is available to the relevant authorities if you're naughty boy or girl.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the less likely they are to use the internet full stop."

      Is there an internet full stop?

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: "the less likely they are to use the internet full stop."

        Yes, but it's a bugger to find amongst all the other full stops that are to be found on the internet.

        Searching for it on Google, I am told there are "About 453,000,000 results"* - and you can be sure that there will be more than one full stop on the overwhelming majority of those pages (unless any of them are written by certain people I know who don't bother with such niceties as punctuation), so finding the internet full stop is a tough challenge.

        * I honestly thought there would've been more - but they may have been filtered out on the grounds that they're pornographic full stops. Or seditious ones. Or trolls.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Pint

          Re: Yes, but it's a bugger to find

          I'm very much indebted to you for your research, which, patently, I had failed to do. And much more indebted for making me laugh!

          Have a beer, with a side dish of up-vote.

          Having stopped laughing now, I'm seriously worried: what happens if we stumble across the internet full stop by accident? It could be anywhere. It could even be here ---> .

      2. P. Lee Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: "the less likely they are to use the internet full stop."

        Yes, its located at the end of a DNS name.

      3. Scorchio!!

        Re: "the less likely they are to use the internet full stop."

        "Is there an internet full stop?"

        Yes, and it is especially for politicians who do not know any better. Here it is: http://www.turnofftheinternet.com/

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The older...

      What a load of <redacted>

      Not eveyone over the age of 30 is a Daily Fail/Sun/Mirror reader.

      Some of us have very open minds and don't suffer from dememtia. That is why I have never found a compelling need to sign up for Twatter/FaceBlock/etc.

      On the subject of using pesudonyms, I'm all for it. In the majority of forums I post, I do not use my real name but I am ok with using it when you sign up to a site.

      I guess I'd better shut up now, as I'm getting my bus pass next week and I'm obviously far too old to comment here.

    6. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: The older...

      Trolls? The toys with the funny coloured hair?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

    GCHQ need to be able to know who you are and where you live instantly otherwise it would normally take them 10 minutes to get the answer form the NSA.

    Also we all know just how secure webservers are with our our personal data right ?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

      and in other news well known libel lawyers Carter-Ruck announced their intention to buy Surrey

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

        Damm right.

        That list of crap that's blocked that's blocked by Clare Perry pron filter has nothing to do with smut.

    2. JonP

      Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

      Yeah and once they've got everyone used to lack of anonymity online they'll suggest removing anonymity offline - get your er, Facecard and make it easy to sign up to social manipulationmedia and other services...

      1. Richard Jones 1
        FAIL

        Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

        Several posters have already commented that anonymity on the web is something of a red herring as it can and has been busted quite readily. However, can anyone please explain how being anonymous is a part of being sociable?

        We are not talking about a site where people complain about injustice, maltreatment or failures of people to do what the law says they should. If I complained that my hospital is more death camp than a place of healing, (which I am NOT) I might want to be anonymous; but in this case are talking about people allegedly being sociable, or in many cases being antisocial.

        Death generates strong emotions. Then emotions run ahead of the facts. In at last one case it has been reported that many of the so called 'anonymous posts' to an (anti)social site have been traced back to victim's own IP address. Being anonymous was 'oh so useful' in that case

        I may be the only one to say this, but I really hope that GCHQ are doing something a great deal more useful than chase the silly fluff that is the so called social network users.

        Maybe there is something useful in having a list of 10,000 'friends' that you never see, do not know and would not recognise if you bumped into them in the street, but is that really being sociable?

        The survey does no more than record the knee jerk reactions of those who have been manipulated by the 'news' organisations. Hopefully some more mature processes can be brought to the situation

        Do not forget those who sell news are interested in making the sale; sometimes as history tells us, they also make the news to sell the papers/mags/etc. Judging by the falling circulations interest is waning.

        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

          We are not talking about a site where people complain about injustice, maltreatment or failures of people to do what the law says they should.

          I think recent history would contradict you pretty thoroughly. Do a quick search for the role that social media sites have played in the Arab Spring. Explain why some countries such as [redacted] and [redacted] are very interested in monitoring and censoring these sites. These are just the sort of uses to which these fora get put.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

            I am amazed that twats r us has so many who think it is the best thing since doing something useful. I cannot be bothered to look up the details of the teenager's site. But if that is what caused the 'Arab Spring', no wonder it is now off the rails.

            I feel sorry for those who feel that 'profits for me' sorry facebook and its ilk are the pinnacle of social engagement. Someone somewhere get a life before we are all doomed.

          2. Arnold Lieberman
            Unhappy

            Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

            Ah yes, the Arab Spring. How is that going now?

        2. Suricou Raven

          Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

          Because being sociable includes complaining about the family member who can barely find the on-button and screams 'The Internet is broken!' every time a page takes more than five seconds to load.

          And such complaints depend upon the family member not finding them.

        3. Fink-Nottle
          Thumb Down

          Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

          > However, can anyone please explain how being anonymous is a part of being sociable?

          There's a world of difference between a sociable network and a social network.

          A sociable network is the online equivalent of a few mates who meet up in a pub and I agree that anonymity is not needed in this context.

          However, a network that is used by politicians to further their careers, used by employers to vet future employees and used by commercial interests to market their products may be social, but it is definitely not sociable.

        4. h3

          Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

          It is the equivalent of forcing people to wear name tag's if they go to pubs or nightclubs.

          It should be completely separate what people do at work and out of work using your real name is just crazy.

          What is more you have no control over what other people link to you.

          (Plus it makes identify theft a hell of a lot easier for thieves surely the Daily Mail reading element of society doesn't want to do that. Or maybe they do for another thing to complain about).

          1. Richard Jones 1
            Happy

            Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

            OK, I am convinced the antisocial sites are a waste of time and could be career limiting, though at close to 70 career is no concern. Why the heck stick your head in such a noose and invite everyone and his dog to kick your rear end?

            Never touched them, you have all convinced me that I never will.

            Thank you for helping me to avoid the mistake that is so called 'social networking'.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

              "Never touched them, you have all convinced me that I never will."

              In other words, "I don't know anything about it, but I sure as hell will have an opinion on it anyway."

              In thi situation, it is always best to base such an opinion on facts and first hand evidence, rather than shite spouted by politicians and the press. That way, you can avoid looking like a complete idiot. I believe the adage is, to paraphrase, "It is better to keep quiet and risk looking like a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

              1. PJI
                Thumb Down

                Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

                So, by your reasoning, just let your children stroll across the motorway because, as you've never tried it, you are hardly qualified to express an opinion on its advisability.

                Intelligent people learn from others' mistakes or just their own assessment. Fools have to try everything themselves until it is too late to realise this was not a good idea.

                Why are you on a "technical" site? I imagine you are in your garden shed inventing the internet as, after all, who are you to make any decisions based on information?

                No need to reinvent the wheel or try every drug on the grounds that, without the experience, you can not make a grown-up judgement.

                I know many, highly technical, able informatikers who avoid social sites, based on their knowledge, experience, that of others and simple, common sense.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

                Seems to me he knows a lot more than you do.

        5. ecofeco Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Anyone see a Trojan Horse here ?

          >sometimes as history tells us, they also make the news to sell the papers/mags/etc.

          Sometimes?

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    YouGov? Funny smell!

    Personally I find the name of the Company suspect and the fact that the current CEO and former CEO are both Conservative Party Members with politcal aspirations even more suspect.

    Add to that the fact that survey results are very massagable in many ways and I think you may find that suddenly one or two True Blues will start saying things like ' If that's what the people want then I will give a bill to that effect my full support in Parliament.Blah blah'

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: YouGov? Funny smell!

      So Conservative Party trolls.

  4. Mtech25
    Trollface

    Troll trolls

    they see them here

    they seem them there

    the media cries foul

    and let the masses moan

    for a new target has been found

    in a bid to give parents a fright

    but are they doing what is right

    or trying to expand there media might?

  5. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    Right...

    .... and this is *really* going to stop someone from using fake registration details unless they're also going to require you to provide credit card details and a copy of your passport and a DNA sample and...

    ... oh, hang on, *NOW* I see where this is going...

    1. JediHomer

      Re: Right...

      The trouble is, this doesn't even guarantee access... Google+ has a real names policy, I signed up with my real name.. not long ago the account was suspended due to it's names policy. The appeal process required URLs to verify you known by your name and I even supplied a scan of government issued photo ID proving my name. The result, still failed. So now I have a Google+ account under a false name...

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Right...

      Sign up and they send a password through the post? That would verify the address.

      1. David Pollard
        Joke

        Re: Right... send a password through the post?

        What is this 'post' of which you write?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right...

        Google+ has a real names policy

        I have been using Google+/Gmail/etc since launch under an obviously not real name, never had any problems.

        Anon because I don't want that to change.

      3. Gav
        WTF?

        Re: Right...

        You mean you actually really sent Google a scan of one of your own, actual, real, identity documents?

        Wow. I would have told them where they could stick their Google+ long before doing that.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right...

        And is your real name in fact "Jedi Homer"? If so, I can sort of see how Google may have jumped to a conclusion.

        1. Jedihomer Townend

          Re: Right...

          Yes it is.

          I can also see why it triggered filters. Which is why I was ready with documentation. The problem is that even with documentation they still refused it. So the only way to re-activate it was to change my name to something 'acceptable' which now means that anyone who knows me or interacts with me in real life will now find it harder to connect with me on Google+

          Although I suppose with my new Identity; I'm free to wonder Google+ trolling away ;)

      5. Annihilator
        Thumb Down

        Re: Right...

        "Sign up and they send a password through the post? That would verify the address."

        Who's going to pay to post mail all around the world? And FFS why?

        Consider two sites - one demanding full proof of where you live and your identity, one that doesn't. What do you think would be more popular? Consider if this site were a domestic abuse support site.

        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: Right...

          Well of course. When websites ask for my address, I give them the address of the local rubbish dump, so they can send the junk mail directly to them rather than have me redirect it via the recycle bin outside. That's when I don't pick Afghanistan as it is the first country on the list. In any case, by the time the password arrived in the post, people will have forgotten why they wanted to visit the site.

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Right...

          "Who's going to pay to post mail all around the world? And FFS why?"

          The old 'freenet' (the bbs thing, not the java based anonymous network) used to do that.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right...

        Well, to be honest, JediHomer is a fairly unusual name. I suspect you were a hit at school, though.

        As for me, most people tend to look away as I waddle my way through life.

        1. Jediben
          Joke

          Re: Right...

          You tell 'em Homer. That said, we don't get it half as bad as cousin Jedibinladen...

          1. Jedibinladen
            Trollface

            Re: Right...

            funny enough I've had no trouble with google+

            I just linked them to my youtube channel, twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram and of course ask.fm and prove to them that my parents have zero interest in my well being and are happy for me to do whatever I like on the internet so longs as it keeps my quiet.

  6. ToggleMaudlin

    The Great British Public

    ...has no bloody idea what it wants.

    Either way, it's seeming increasingly unlikely that any resolutions to the various tech-related issues being discussed in the media at the moment are going to be subject to informed decisions.

    Why is it that everyone seems obliged to have an opinion on things they know nothing about?

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: The Great British Public

      That would be the Dunning–Kruger effect.

      People's self-impression of competence in a field and their actual competence are not well correlated. Those who possess some knowledge, but not much, tend to vastly overestimate their true ability. With further education they will be able to look back on their earlier selves and see just how arrogantly overconfident they were.

      But that only works if they get that further education. The typical self-confident internet commenter, believing themselves to be a perfect expert on social media policy, has no reason to study psychiatry or sociology or political theory. So they continue to babble their half-coherent ramblings, unable to understand why others laugh at them.

  7. DrXym Silver badge

    It wouldn't make any difference

    No social media website has the capability of verifying a person is real or not. They might ask for a mobile phone number or email address but that's about the extent of what they can do. And even if the UK were to implement some surefire way of verifying a real person, all the troll need do is Tor / VPN from some other place in the world where the sign up process is easier and roll an account from that.

    Also, just because trolls are "anonymous" doesn't seem to stop them from being arrested with seeming ease by the cops. This is because trolls, as a rule are idiots. They leave their IP address all over their messages making it relatively straightforward to find out who they are in real life and arrest them. Assuming they aren't encouraged to use Tor / VPN by draconian and ill-thought out government measures.

    There are plenty obvious downsides to such a system, since it will deter people who might use anonymity to report crimes, abuse, corruption etc. or to comment on controversial subjects without fear of harassment, or who simply like to their online persona to be separate from their real life persona.

    So I don't see any benefit of requiring people to use real names, or verifiable identities. It's just the latest in a series of dumb "campaigns" of late (another being ISP filtering) which suggest a government which has no clue and reaches for the unworkable solution rather than thinking of more practical but less headline catching measures that might work or reduce the problem.

    1. JohnG Silver badge

      Re: It wouldn't make any difference

      "They might ask for a mobile phone number ...."

      Authenticating users via a working mobile phone number may be a reasonable compromise. It doesn't necessarily give the website/social network companies concerned users' real identities but it is a good way to prevent trolls or spammers from opening multiple accounts (unless they are prepared to get a new SIM for each new user account). It might be easier for law enforcement to identify a user via a mobile number than an IP address though.

  8. Rikkeh

    Overcrowded housing

    Something tells me that, if this did come in, we'd find that half the internet lived at 221b Baker Street, 10 Downing Street, 6500 Pennsylvania Ave and a handful of other famous addresses.

    Shotgun 29 Acacia Road, Nuttytown (Bananaman's house).

    1. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Up

      @Rikkey - Re: Overcrowded housing

      So do you live just around the corner from number 22 Acacia Avenue (home of Charlotte T Harlot)? ;-)

    2. Demosthenese

      Re: Overcrowded housing

      When either pandora or spotify started and was US only (can't remember which), they required a US ZIP code to be entered to 'prove' that you were USian. I wonder how many other people joined me in residence at the White House.

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Overcrowded housing

        Personally I live at 123 Fake St, Fake Town, AB12 3CD, and my phone number is 01234567890. Anyone else live here with me?

  9. Christoph Silver badge

    The solution is obvious!

    All this can easily be fixed - what we need is a National Identity Card!

    (Err - remind me, what was the problem we were trying to solve again?)

  10. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    Mass media makes choices obvious shocker!

    What a crock!

    "NEWSFLASH! All bread is tainted with too many magic beans!"

    3 days later..."Excuse me sir. Do you think that bread as a) too many magic beans b) not enough magic beans or c) I don't care."

    Results: 80% of people said bread has too many magic beans!

    "NEWSFLASH! Dog shit smells like shit!"

    4 days later..."Excuse me sir. Do you think that dog shit smells a) too much like shit b) not enough like shit or c) I don't care."

    Results: 80% of people said dog shit smells too much like shit!

    People are easily influenced by anything that's doing the rounds in the mass media. At the moment social media websites and their responsibilities are a hot topic, they're in all sections of the mass media of course people will have strong opinons. Wait at least another 12 months when the frenzy has died down then ask people what they think.

    1. andreas koch
      Unhappy

      @ Amousous Cowherder - Re: Mass media makes choices obvious shocker!

      You're absolutely right:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_6IguuvQVc

      (in German)

      Asking people on the street whether Broccoli should be banned or whether there should be a deposit for stupid and the like. One lady was asked if she supports a cause and she answers yes, after which the reporter ask again: "so, you're against it then?" and she goes: "yes"

      People in bulk only hear noises. Not words.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    slight problem

    A YouGov survey found that 72 per cent of the British public want social media sites to demand the the names and addresses of users.

    Social media which often gets hacked, and would need to store this information in a retrievable way, which means a fairly lax encryption. Which means that when hacked said hackers will have access to your real name and address which may effectively making doxing much easier. Which can lead to harassment over the mail. Something that means you may need to mvoe house, and even then it's no garuntee you'll be safe (remember reading a case of a woman who moved house 3 times to avoid death threats from facebook trolls)

    It's why I refuse to use my real name on youtube and twitter. If you type my name into google on the first page is a very old post from my school, using my school you can find my hometown, using yellow pages you can find my parents address in that town, from my last name. By forcing people to use their real names, although it may deter some, for other it'll just drive them to troll by mail, which can be far more harmful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: slight problem

      @AC 15:20 - "If you type my name into google on the first page is a very old post from my school,..."

      So what was your name again? I'd like to verify your claim.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: slight problem Fixed it for you

      Because they are cr*ap it's why I refuse to use youtube and twitter.

      There you are fixed that one properly for you

    3. Demosthenese

      Re: slight problem

      You have convinced me. I'm now in favour of compulsory real names. It will make my stalking habit so much easier. Oops, I've said too much.

      <---- that is not my real name.

  12. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    No problem ...

    just define "social media" ?

    Not so simple now, eh ?

  13. nigel 15

    I know i post as nigel. But...

    ...really my name is Bob.

    All this survey proves is people are idiots.

  14. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Turn the plan upside down

    Require social media site users to give a false name. If I decide I need to make a death threat against Prince Aristotle Descartes I am going to have a tough time convincing him I know where he lives. Also, if Flocke Kroes makes repeated threats of violence against him, I hope The Register would give the IP address to the police.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @Flocke Kroes

      Thank you, I was missing my fix of Private Eye Pseudo Names ...

  15. smudge Silver badge
    FAIL

    But it's a biased question

    Would you support or oppose social media sites like Twitter only allowing people to use them if they provided a full verified name and address?

    Since people inherently prefer to agree/conform/follow the herd, rather than disagree or go against the flow, then they will be more likely to "support" verified names and addresses than if a neutral question had been asked.

    The question should have been "Should social media sites like Twitter only allow people to use them...".

    For the same reason, after consultation with the Electoral Commission, the Scottish referendum question was changed from "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?" to "Should Scotland be an independent country?".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But it's a biased question

      "Since people inherently prefer to agree/conform/follow the herd, rather than disagree or go against the flow,"

      I agree.

      1. smudge Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: But it's a biased question

        I thought you would.

  16. NomNomNom

    Just require that all users make three rape threats a month. Then the genuine rape threats will be lost in the noise.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      I've just sprayed the logic in your solution all over my keyboard. Three may be a tad low, though.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    GB Public want an end to anonymous registration?

    What was the nature of this survey, what questions were asked and in what order: link

    Thinking about the government's policies on the economy"

    "At £9000 a three year university course will leave the average student at an English university with debt of £27,000"

    "would you support or oppose cutting back on the services the NHS offered for free"

    "Recently, a dispute has arisen between Gibraltar and Spain .. How do you think Britain should react to these events?"

    "do you think it is better for mothers to stay at home and look after their children or go out to work?"

    "Would you support or oppose a ban on zero-hour contracts?

    "Would you support or oppose social media sites like Twitter only allowing people to use them if they provided a full verified name and address?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GB Public want an end to anonymous registration?

      "At £9000 a three year university course will leave the average student at an English university with debt of £27,000"

      Not a question, but still annoying. Stupid student debt, didn't even learn anything worthwhile at uni.

      "would you support or oppose cutting back on the services the NHS offered for free"

      Depends on what degree of cutting back.

      "Recently, a dispute has arisen between Gibraltar and Spain .. How do you think Britain should react to these events?"

      With extreme prejudice.

      "do you think it is better for mothers to stay at home and look after their children or go out to work?"

      Depends on the mother and father.

      "Would you support or oppose a ban on zero-hour contracts?

      Neither, I'd support a set of limitations applied to zero-hour contracts to prevent their abuse but that's it.

      "Would you support or oppose social media sites like Twitter only allowing people to use them if they provided a full verified name and address?"

      Oppose. Since it opens up far more potential problems.

      1. Peter 82

        Re: GB Public want an end to anonymous registration?

        This is almost a Yes Minister survey

        <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA>Survey clip</a>

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GB Public want an end to anonymous registration?

      "Recently, a dispute has arisen between Gibraltar and Spain .. How do you think Britain should react to these events?"

      Nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

      "do you think it is better for mothers to stay at home and look after their children or go out to work?"

      Yes.

      "Would you support or oppose a ban on zero-hour contracts?

      The current lack of protection for these workers is Peter Mandelson's fault as he killed the bill during washup. He should be held personally responsible.

      Would you support or oppose his public flogging?

  18. Rob E
    Facepalm

    Pointless

    What exactly was the point of this survey?

    A YouGov/dailymail poll does not make for good practical law. How would this ever be possible?

    Firstly you'd have to legally define exactly what a social network is, which is not simple.

    Then somehow force these sites (who are often based abroad) to ask for addresses.

    Then after all that, prevent users from putting in whatever details they like.

    I know, lets ISP Block any websites like this INSTANT TROLL FAKE ID generator: http://www.fakenamegenerator.com/gen-random-en-uk.php

    What a complete waste of time.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Pointless

      There's an easy way the government could do it. They could force certain websites to make users pay to activate their accounts.

      If the connection is coming in from a UK IP address the website would have to make the user activate/verify their account. To verify their account the user has to pay a small amount, say 20p. They can only use a debit or credit card to do this. The account is then linked to a card which can be traced back to an owner and address. Only those willing to commit card fraud or steal other's accounts could then sign up to the website from the UK anonymously. Of course it would still be possible to proxy in from some other country.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Pointless

        So if you have no bank account, then no Facebonk for you? Blessing in disguise perhaps.

        Or maybe that bloody big loophole called "UKash" could be used. Or prepaid debit cards. I'm sure the Zuckerbergs wouldn't complain at all about charging money. Give it a few years, I can see that happening anyway.

  19. codejunky Silver badge

    Question

    Did those who responded have to give any identifiable information to be counted?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or

    Would you support or oppose being stopped in the street and asked stupid questions on subjects you know nothing about?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares?

    Anyone signing up for a 'social media site' is a thicko anyway, they deserve whatever they get.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Who cares?

      "Anyone signing up for a 'social media site' is a thicko anyway, they deserve whatever they get."

      And you post that comment on a?????? Cmon you can do it......... Dont think too hard tho

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who cares?

        You're clearly one of the confused little people if you think The Register is a 'social media site'!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It'll never fly

    Even if it were possible to efficiently validate identities (in the absence of a world-wide digital identity standard), the operators of the social media sites would be unlikely to go for it.

    If Facebook, for instance, imposed an identification requirement, then they would lose millions of dogs, cats, fish, sheep and dead people, plus of course all the under-age users. They wouldn't have enough left to make a go of it.

    Apart from that, when the fuck did Yougov take over the country?

  23. Colin Millar
    IT Angle

    Simples

    A web savvy politico writes

    "The internets is a series of trucks - we will just get each truck to display a number plate. If the truck is a bus the bus conductor will have to check ID cards when the passenger gets on. If there is a car we can use web cams like speed cams to check for naughty words instead of speed. If there are planes we get the passengers to take off their shoes and socks and check the name labels sown into the back of their underpants.

    Sorted. These technical types do like to pretend that things are oh so complicated."

  24. Anomalous Cowshed

    Poll

    When asked whether they would approve of the stopping of trolls by registering everybody's address, 75% of hobbits said it was a great idea, followed by 65% of elves and a surprising 47% of orcs, which shows that deep down, orcs are quite sensible, after you strip away that veneer of innate ugliness, savagery and cannibalistic tendencies. I wonder what the trolls had to say about this?

  25. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Trolls live under bridges. I thought everyone knew that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FremontTroll.jpg

  26. Old Handle

    Alternatively how about they ban social media sites from asking your real identity. The most severe online harassment always has an offline component, or at least the threat of same. So people should have the right to protect themselves by concealing their real identity.

  27. MissingSecurity

    I wonder...

    If you guys had a different party in the lead that the results would be different...but I am sure governmnet surveys are completely independant.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Enabling identity theft

    So the next data breaches will not only reveal (hashed) passwords and usernames, but also (possibly unencrypted) copies of passports and utility bills? Brilliant plan.

    1. Mycho Silver badge

      Re: Enabling identity theft

      Good point actually. This will work until the first site breach allows someone to steal the documents used to prove your identity and use it to set up accounts as you.

  29. Yet Another Commentard

    Obligatory car analogy

    It's the same as saying that instead of a registration number on your car it had your full name, address and telephone number. That way the next time some careless twonk cuts you up you know where he lives and can go around and beat the crap out of him, or if there's a hot bird in the car next to you at the lights you can go and chat her up round at her gaff when she gets home.

    I don't see any problems there at all.

  30. Don Jefe

    Revive the Mail Service!

    People should just troll anonymously via post. That way revenues will go into failing postal services all over the world. The big advantage is that it won't embarrass the target of the trolling, which is what this is really all about: The inability of people to overcome being laughed at/made fun of.

    Threatening behavior is the same thing, those threatening rarely actually do anything, its the people who don't publically threaten that are dangerous.

  31. Mycho Silver badge

    Simple solution

    Set up your own social network, enforce a real name and address policy, and people will flock to it for the additional safety they get over networks such as twitter, which will quite obviously go bust because they don't offer the same level of safety as bigbrotherbook.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Compromise? (Ignoring issues around assuring offline identity)

    Make it optional to prove real world identity. Give each twitter / facebook user the option to see posts only from users who have waived anonymity and an option for their posts to be visible only to the same. Celebs / politicians / politicians who think they're celebs could opt to let everyone see them but only see posts from bona fide real people. Parents could ensure that their children had both options selected (yeah, I know). In one fell swoop celebs, politicians and children would be protected from anonymous trolls and all would be right with the world.

  33. Paul V

    While threatening someone with murder/assault/rape is one thing, what the British Media is calling "trolling" goes a bit far when it's just people complaining about being called something nasty.

    But it's nice to see "Your Rights End Where My Feelings Begin" isn't solely an issue with the U.S.

  34. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Holmes

    In a shocking development....

    Members of general public cannot for intelligent response when asked a question with limited response options and about one minute to answer!

  35. Greg J Preece

    Isn't having a survey like this in the wake of a major incident and then calling it objective kinda trolling in itself?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Judging by the percentages you'd think they only polled Daily Fail readers.

  37. Hoe

    Older and less likely to know that even without that 9\10 cases an IP is enough anyway.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I call bullshit...

    Who did they survey? Not anyone I know that is for sure... to me it sounds like the government is following the CCP's internet playbook,

    monitor everything? Check,

    Block 'dangerous' sites? Check.

    Full Name & Address for social media? Check.

    Arresting people based on online comments? Check.

    Hmmm Not that far behind China on the road to 1984...

  39. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    FAIL

    Remember Clare Perry's plan to age limit *all* internet sites by requiring a valid bank account?

    This does.

    It's equally cretinous.

    Here's an idea for all you web UI designers out there planning the next great social media site.

    Include a button for "Do not accept messages/posts from AC."

    Simple. Localized to site and user and easy to enforce.

  40. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Sandel-wearing LibDems? Where did you manage to find them? They've been driven extinct by the Orange Book LibDems.

  41. IT Hack

    Tech?

    My address? Sure! 127.0.0.0

  42. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    OMG !!!!

    I had this weird flashback to a "serious" social networking site.

    Mensch-on anyone ? ----------->>>>>>>>

  43. mark l 2 Silver badge

    There are genuine reasons for not signing up under your real name, From working out in schools for a few years i know many teachers don't sign up with their real names on social media sites because they don't want their pupils to find their accounts.

    Even if a law were passed tomorrow requiring all social media sites based in the UK to require to validate their users, most social media sites are based outside the UK so wouldn't have to comply. And now do you deal with the millions of existing users, block their accounts until they verify their identity? You would soon find your site has no users left as they move to another site that doesn't have such restrictions.

  44. Emperor Zarg

    An IP address is enough to convict paedophiles and copyright-thieves, but a higher burden of proof is required for trolls?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Emperor Zarg

      care to cite any UK case where an IP address alone has been the sole evidence in a jury case that convicted ?

      No, thought not.

      The point is the police and CPS *act* as if it's all that's needed. And scare suspects into "confessing". It's interesting the Pete Townshend case came up in comments today. If you read his autobiography, you'll know this is exactly the tactic they used on him.

      Sadly, it's enough in the UK, to be *accused* of anything vaguely kiddie-fiddling related. Because you will be told that even if you are innocent, and prove it in court, and walk away, there will always be a stain on your character. You will lose your job. Should you try and press a tribunal claim, you'll be "that paedo that got away". No matter how devoted your wife is, eventually she'll have to leave you, because there will be only so many times the parents at your kids school can whisper about her "protecting a paedo" as they make a point of not letting their kids play with yours.

      And when you do the decent thing, and kill yourself, your local paper will report your death as "Suspected paedophile commits suicide" accompanied by a series of gloating comments on the story.

      Just sign here, sir. It's for the best.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a first blush good idea,

    but fails once you begin an even cursory consideration of the implications.

    And I regard myself as a relatively old fart. I know I'm solidly conservative by the number of downvotes I routinely receive in columns like this.

  46. The Alpha Klutz

    we can stop politicians if we know where they live

    yes we can

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