People who make death threats on the internet should go to jail?

ArnRand

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Mar 29, 2012
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There's been a spate of high profile threats here in the UK, mainly against women in the public eye, based on some controversy about who should go an our banknotes. And there's a topic about a Bioware writer who apparently quit over threats to her family, so this seems topical.

Here's my position: The person being threatened should be able to press charges against the threatener, and no one else should be able to get involved. The punishment should be a big fine or a few weeks in jail. Repeat offences should have harsher punishments.

What's your opinion?
 

tippy2k2

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I'm not sure if that's the answer but SOMETHING has to be done.

Internet culture is poison. While the vast majority of internet people are sane and nice people, the internet just poisons the brain of some people for some reason and it has got to stop (and the normal people need to stop letting it happen).

I hope that jail-time or fines are not going to be a step that is required but if it has to be done to change the internet mind-set, then so be it. It's reached such a ridiculous level that some steps need to be taken to stem the tide of shit that the internet is turning into.
 

Zhukov

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Dunno about jail. I'd settle for them just shutting their fat fucking mouths.

In most cases I imagine a visit from the cops, a stern warning and a healthy dose of name-and-shame would suffice. Your average keyboard warrior is going to shit themselves in terror when confronted with the slightest hint of consequences.

Also, I'm pretty sure making death threats by mail or similar is already illegal. Surely doing the same over the internet isn't significantly different.
 

Eacaraxe_v1legacy

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Is it legal over the phone, where it can be done with an equal amount of anonymity between public phone use, phreaking, and/or spoofing? How about mail, is it legal there? How about in person, is it legal to threaten to kill someone in person? If "no", then it shouldn't be bloody legal online, now should it.

The internet is not a privileged venue of telecommunications, where keyboard use is not some magical barrier from investigation, prosecution, and even conviction.
 

Erttheking

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I have to agree with Zhukov, just sending police over to their house and telling them to cut the shit should do the job. Maybe not even that. Funny thing happened to me once. I had serious anger issues in high school, and I opened my stupid mouth and mentioned something about a hit list. Eventually it worked its way up and three police officers came over to my house. You know what they did? They very calmly went into my living room, sat down, and had a level headed discussion with me and my parents. They just made sure that I wasn't emotionally unstable, and that I could tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Heck, one of them spotted the Xbox we had in the room and he didn't seem to think playing video games made me a threat to society like so many others do, we actually had a little chat about a part where he got stuck in a game. I eventually had to go to four sessions with a psychologist but apart from that, that was it. I actually think I came out of that situation better. It's amazing what you can do if you approach a situation carefully and don't use too much force. That's why even though in some parts of this country you can face 8 years in jail for a facebook comment, I'm glad that I live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
 

StriderShinryu

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I think it's an easy question to have a moral stance on but is difficult question to navigate in reality simply due to teh fact that the internet is global, it's not always simple and easy to find the culprit and, quite frankly, there are far too many asshats that do it (with varying levels of intention to actually follow through).

Personally, I think it would be more likely for the providers of online services to step up their efforts to stamp it out where they can than to see police get involved. Complaints of threats and/or other garbage should be dealt with quicker and with more force than they are now, even at the ISP level if that's what it takes, especially in cases where there is direct and clear evidence provided.

I also feel that it's important for individuals to just stop shrugging threats and other commentary off as "But it's just the internet." Just because something is said online doesn't mean it doesn't have an impact on the person it's being directed at, especially when it involves their family or loved ones. Also, in the case of online threats, it does not mean there is no intention for either that person or someone else who catches wind of the threat to follow through.
 

Da Orky Man

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Apr 24, 2011
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erttheking said:
I have to agree with Zhukov, just sending police over to their house and telling them to cut the shit should do the job. Maybe not even that. Funny thing happened to me once. I had serious anger issues in high school, and I opened my stupid mouth and mentioned something about a hit list. Eventually it worked its way up and three police officers came over to my house. You know what they did? They very calmly went into my living room, sat down, and had a level headed discussion with me and my parents. They just made sure that I wasn't emotionally unstable, and that I could tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Heck, one of them spotted the Xbox we had in the room and he didn't seem to think playing video games made me a threat to society like so many others do, we actually had a little chat about a part where he got stuck in a game. I eventually had to go to four sessions with a psychologist but apart from that, that was it. I actually think I came out of that situation better. It's amazing what you can do if you approach a situation carefully and don't use too much force. That's why even though in some parts of this country you can face 8 years in jail for a facebook comment, I'm glad that I live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
...
I want to have your babies.

Ahem. I suspect that dealing with such threats like this should make a serious dent in them, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than sending someone to prison/jail for. For repeat offenders a decent fine and mandatory psychologist sessions ought to help.

Also, just thought I'd throw this in, though I have no plans to move to the US for any length of time, Massachusetts has always been the state I would move to. It seems to have a better lid on things than most states.
 

KarmaTheAlligator

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Eacaraxe said:
Is it legal over the phone, where it can be done with an equal amount of anonymity between public phone use, phreaking, and/or spoofing? How about mail, is it legal there? How about in person, is it legal to threaten to kill someone in person? If "no", then it shouldn't be bloody legal online, now should it.

The internet is not a privileged venue of telecommunications, where keyboard use is not some magical barrier from investigation, prosecution, and even conviction.
And that sums up my feelings on the matter pretty well. I have no idea where that idea that the internet is a place where everything is allowed comes from, but it cannot last like this. I like the notion of having the police actually show up to have a discussion with the individual, that should scare quite a few of them.
 

skywolfblue

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There should be a punishment for very specific/graphic death threats.

First time - Temporary ban from the internet, and cops come have a nice chat.

Second time - Jail.
 

shootthebandit

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Yeah the should go to jail. If its sincere they should go down for a long time. If its a joke they should still go down for being a complete tool
 

Raddra

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Well, in any other form of communication it is illegal: if you write it in a letter, send a telegram, say it over the phone or even via recorded speech or whatever you're going to get into trouble. I don't see why the internet should be any different.

Granted, I don't think that society/law enforcement should overreact to it. See erttheking's post: it should be approached carefully with some investigation / level headedness: people can say/do things in the heat of temper that are stupid and unrealistic.
 

Ashadowpie

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putting them in jail is stupid. i'd go for a warning, than a temp ban. if they still do it and the threats are really disturbing or bad, give them a fine or sue? i dont know. i dont understand why people threaten others lives over something so stupid. i would never wish death apon anyone, even people i despise. * sigh * the internet is ment for intelligence and amusement, not fear.
 

Pink Gregory

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As soon as someone acts on those death threats, then something will have to be done.

It'll happen.
 

Bocaj2000

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One of my friends went to court for making threats on Facebook. This shit's a serious crime and deserves punishment. Anonymity does NOT excuse you from consequences to your actions.

EDIT: Death threats are illegal in real life and should be illegal on the internet. It's that simple. If I call you up right now and say, "I'm going to fucking kill you," I'd be arrested. The internet isn't this magical place where your words have no weight. I'd argue that what you say on the internet matters more than in real life due to how many more people are able to see it.
 

Canadamus Prime

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Either jail or some psychiatric facility, preferably one that utilizes padded rooms and straight jackets.
 

J Tyran

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Yes they should, if its a credible threat that could be carried out. The internet is just a communication tool, laws already account for threats and abuse through communication tools. If you write a poison pen death threat letter to someone, phone them and make threats or text them with threats you can be prosecuted.

The internet should be no different.

When I was jailed one of the charges was changed to affray (because it was basically part of a rampage involving a disturbance and beating up a police officer) from threats to kill, I threatened in temper to chop up a neighbour with a sword. I didn't actually mean it or would have done it but the poor guy was obviously frightened, thats the real key.

If a death threat (however its sent) causes fear or distress, if it does its a crime.

There is a caveat though, joke threats in bad taste that are not aimed at an individual should be carefully investigated. Authorities need to establish,

-was it a real threat
-could they have carried out the threat
-where they prepared or considering carrying out that that threat

If none of these are true they should only be charged with a public order offence instead of trying to stick terrorism charges onto them.
 

ThreeName

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kiri2tsubasa said:
I love how some people here have difficulty accepting that the Internet doesn't give you the "right" to send someone death threats, especially since death threats are illegal punishable up to incarceration.
There is literally noone in this thread saying that. Not even one.

OT: Jail time is silly; you still have internet in jail. Just go get some scary-looking coppers in there, they won't be tough away from the keyboard.
 

Olas

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Dec 24, 2011
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I could see them going to jail, not for a long time but for at least a few days. These are death threats we're talking about, not just acting like a dick.