'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts'

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 3:49 am

Subway Fracas Escalates Into Test of the Internet's Power to Shame
by Jonathan Krim
Thursday, July 7, 2005

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If you no longer marvel at the Internet's power to connect and transform the world, you need to hear the story of a woman known to many around the globe as, loosely translated, Dog Poop Girl.

Recently, the woman was on the subway in her native South Korea when her dog decided that this was a good place to do its business.

The woman made no move to clean up the mess, and several fellow travelers got agitated. The woman allegedly grew belligerent in response.

What happened next was a remarkable show of Internet force, and a peek into an unsettling corner of the future.

One of the train riders took pictures of the incident with a camera phone and posted them on a popular Web site. Net dwellers soon began to call her by the unflattering nickname, and issued a call to arms for more information about her.

According to one blog that has covered the story, "within days, her identity and her past were revealed. Requests for information about her parents and relatives started popping up and people started to recognize her by the dog and the bag she was carrying," because her face was partially obscured by her hair.

Online discussion groups crackled with chatter about every shred of the woman's life that could be found, and with debate over whether the Internet mob had gone too far. The incident became national news in South Korea and even was discussed in Sunday sermons in Korean churches in the Washington area.

Humiliated in public and indelibly marked, the woman reportedly quit her university.


Using the Internet as a tool to settle scores is hardly new. Search for any major retailer and you'll probably also find some kind of http://www.that-store-stinks.com Web site, with complaints about products or service.

Increasingly, the Internet also is a venue of so-called citizen journalism, in which swarms of surfers mobilize to gather information on what the traditional media isn't covering, or is covering in a way that dissatisfies some people.

But what happens when the two converge, and the Internet populace is stirred to action against individuals?

The Dog Poop Girl case "involves a norm that most people would seemingly agree to -- clean up after your dog," wrote Daniel J. Solove, a George Washington University law professor who specializes in privacy issues, on one blog. "But having a permanent record of one's norm violations is upping the sanction to a whole new level . . . allowing bloggers to act as a cyber-posse, tracking down norm violators and branding them with digital scarlet letters."

Howard Rheingold, who studies and writes about the impact of technology on the behavior of groups, said the debate should begin with an understanding that the rules of privacy have changed.

"The shadow side of the empowerment that comes with a billion and a half people being online is the surveillance aspect," he said. "We used to worry about big brother -- the state -- but now of course it's our neighbors, or people on the subway."

With society awash in personal data that is bought and sold daily, those who would use it as a weapon have few barriers.

When hackers get mad at each other they sometimes strike back by making public online the personal information of their adversary, a practice known as "dropping docs."


At the same time, it is easy to imagine the benefits of coordinated Internet posses to help track down those wanted for crimes, or to help solve mysteries.

It was the clarion call of one well-known blogger, for example, that led to answers about the dubious press credentials of Jeff Gannon, who attended White House news conferences and asked questions that favored President Bush and attacked Democrats.

But the mob went further, reporting and speculating on aspects of Gannon's private life.

"Where the line is between doing what the media or the legal system won't do is a pretty interesting question, and I don't have the answer," said Dan Gillmor, a former newspaper columnist who now is organizing citizen-journalism projects. "People have to think about consequences."

In discussions with dozens of people about this story, and in reading comments on blogs, I found an intriguing common thread. The instinct of most was to accept using the Internet as a new social-enforcement tool, but to search for that point on the continuum where enough was too much.

Putting Dog Poop Girl's picture on the Web was OK, some said, but not the clamoring for more information that followed. Others said the woman's face and other identifying features should have been obscured more. Still others said she was entitled to no privacy at all.

But there was also this, on the blog of Don Park:

"What would I have done if I was at the scene? I would have just cleaned up the mess without saying anything. . . . [The] mess is cleaned up and the girl, embarrassed at the right level."

Jonathan Krim can be reached atkrimj@washpost.com.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 3:51 am

The Tale of Dog Poop Girl Is Not So Funny After All
by Samatha Henig
July 7, 2005

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Congressional efforts to create a federal shield law for journalists have raised, not for the first time, the question of just who is a journalist. If we give “journalists” the right to refuse to testify to protect anonymous sources, does that right apply to everyone with an Internet connection and some Web space? Or any guy with a mimeograph machine in the basement? How about someone whose only tools are a fax machine and a mailing list?

While lawyers and lawmakers wrestle with these issues, another cyber-issue has bubbled to the surface in South Korea: the rights of bloggers to enforce the law.

As described in an article in today’s Washington Post, it all started when a woman recently refused to clean up her dog’s excrement on a subway in South Korea. Fellow travelers, obviously bothered by the new addition to the train, expressed their irritation. She did not yield. In the old days, that would have been the end of it. But today, when face-to-face persuasion fails, there’s a fallback plan: anonymous Internet humiliation.

The Post notes, “One of the train riders took pictures of the incident with a camera phone and posted them on a popular Web site. Net dwellers soon began to call her by the unflattering nickname [loosely translated to ‘Dog Poop Girl’], and issued a call to arms for more information about her.”

And information they received. “According to one blog that has covered the story, ‘within days, her identity and her past were revealed.’” But that wasn’t enough: blogs and online discussion groups buzzed with dirt about Dog Poop Girl’s parents and relatives, and cries for more invasions of her privacy.

As George Washington University law professor Daniel J. Solove wrote on one blog, this was a demonstration of bloggers acting “as a cyber-posse, tracking down norm violators and branding them with digital scarlet letters.”

We’ve seen blogs act as media or political watchdogs, but not as aggressive watchdogs of individual violations of social norms. So this seems like a notable step. And, as with the emergence of “citizen” journalism, it is an undefined and unregulated step in a cyberworld that lacks boundaries and standards. As one online response to the Post article points out: “If the Internet was around in the late 1930’s in Germany, would it be OK for someone to post names and addresses of all the Jewish families in the country. Would it be OK to post their pictures, their kids’ pictures and list their kids’ school addresses and their places of work. If the Internet was around, would it be OK for the KKK to publish a list of the Blacks that needed attention from the lynch mob. I would argue that this question is a lot more complex than just dog poop.”

No doubt about it, the rise of citizen cyber-police such as those who tracked down and shamed the hapless Korean dog owner is a development with multiple ramifications. And trying to patrol these Internet lynch mobs may turn out to be just as impossible as trying to keep the world free of dog poop.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:04 am

Suicide and “Dog Poop Girl” Lead to Clash Between Google and South Korean Government
by Vivian Kim
April 21, 2009

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Cyber-bullying that led to the suicide of an actress and the fleeing of “dog poop girl” from her hometown provided impetus for a new Cyber Defamation Law in South Korea requiring that the real name of a user be published with any of the user’s uploads or posts. This has led to tension between Google and the South Korean government over Google’s evasion of the country’s new Internet regulations. Google claims that the South Korean law violates its own policy of freedom of expression and the right to remain anonymous.

Actress Choi Jin-sil committed suicide on October 2, 2008. Reportedly, she was depressed over online rumors that claimed she had hassled actor Ahn Jae-hwan over a loan she had made to him, leading to his suicide less than a month before Choi’s. The rumors suggested she was partially to blame in the actor’s suicide.
In another case of cyber-bullying, a picture and the story of a young woman who had refused to clean up her dog’s droppings on the subway were posted online. The story spread quickly. She was soon identified and her personal information was released on the Internet, causing her to drop out of school and change residence.

Google has opted to discontinue South Korea’s YouTube uploads and comments, rather than change its registration system to verify its users’ identities in compliance with the law. In addition, Google triggered alarm by informing South Koreans how they can circumvent the law, and post and upload anonymously by switching their country setting on YouTube accounts.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:05 am

Google Disables Uploads, Comments on YouTube Korea
by Martyn Williams
IDG News Service
Apr 13, 2009

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Google has disabled user uploads and comments on the Korean version of its YouTube video portal in reaction to a new law that requires the real name of a contributor be listed along with each contribution they make.

The rules, part of a Cyber Defamation Law, came into effect on April 1 for all sites with over 100,000 unique visitors per day. It requires that users provide their real name and national ID card number.

In response to the requirements Google has stopped users from uploading via its Korean portal rather than start a new registration system.

"We have a bias in favor of freedom of expression and are committed to openness," said Lucinda Barlow, a spokeswoman for YouTube in Asia. "It's very important that if users want to be anonymous that they have that chance."

But while the move obeys the letter of the law it skirts around the spirit of it by allowing users based in South Korea to continue uploading and commenting on YouTube by switching their preference setting to a country other than Korea.


YouTube noted this workaround on its Korean Web site, and any videos and comments contributed this way will still be seen by Internet users in the country.

The decision was taken after close consultation and debate between Google Korea and its headquarters, Barlow said.

The new law was rushed into force after the suicide of a popular actress in October focused attention on the problem of online bullying in the highly-connected country.

Choi Jin Sil was apparently driven to suicide after a series of online rumors had her pressuring a fellow actor to repay a loan she had made to him. The actor, Ahn Jae Hwan, had killed himself a month earlier.

The suicide was the latest in a string of so-called cyber-bullying incidents in the country and helped generate support for the stricter law.

The first high-profile case occurred in 2005 and involved a woman who quickly became known as "dog poop girl." After her dog defecated on the Seoul subway and she failed to clean it up, a fellow traveller posted a picture of her online with an account of the incident. The story spread fast and within days a campaign had identified her, where she lived, and the university she attended. In the end, she reportedly dropped out of school and fled her home because of the controversy.

Already many major Korean portals and Web sites require users to provide their national ID card number when registering accounts but Google, which has a much smaller profile in South Korea than it enjoys in the west, does not ask for this information so the law would have also required it to build a new verification system.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:12 am

Google refuses South Korean government’s real-name system: Google bypasses internet regulations regarding user protections by limiting YouTube Korea’s Web site functionality
by englishhani@hani.co.kr
April 10, 2009

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Google’s Korea Unit has decided to refuse South Korean government’s Internet regulations. Based on the Law on Internet Address Management, South Korea implements a “real-name” system, which requires a Web site to confirm users’ personal information such as their real names and resident registration numbers when they want to post comments or upload content.

An amendment to the law, South Korea’s Act on the Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and User Protection, went into effect on April 1 expanding the scope of sites subject to the real name registration system from requiring those with 300,000 users per day to websites who have at least 100,000 to comply. Analysts indicate that this would mean that Google, the world’s largest internet company, would be required to comply by restricting South Korean users from uploading video clips or leaving comments on its Korean version of its video-sharing Web site YouTube Korea (kr.youtube.com) unless they use real names.

Google’s Korea unit, however, has found a way around being subjected to the country’s Internet real-name system, voluntarily shutting down some of the Web site’s functions. A notice was available on YouTube Korea Web site’s on April 9 saying, “YouTube has decided to restrict its video upload and comment functions in South Korea.” It also stated, “Because there is no upload function, users won’t be required to confirm their identification.” South Korea is currently the only country that enforces the Internet real-name system. This act by Google is the first time that a company operating in South Korea has refused the real-name system by shutting down its online bulletin board-type functions.

On the same day, Rachel Whetstone, vice president of Global Communications & Public Affairs at Google, offered in a statement posted on Google Korea’s Website the reason why the company has refused to comply to the real-name system. In a statement titled, “Freedom of Expression on the Internet,” Whetstone said, “Google thinks the freedom of expression is most important value to uphold on the internet.” Whetstone continued to say, “We concluded in the end that it is impossible to provide benefits to internet users while observing this country’s law because the law does not fall in line with Google’s principles.”

Analysts suggest even though it has limited some of YouTube Korea’s Web site functionality, Google had no choice but to find a way to refuse compliance with the real-name system in order to maintain its mission. Google maintains a corporate mission of providing universal access to information for all users, and has attempted to apply this to the services it provides worldwide.

Globally, YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing Web site, allows users to create accounts by simply by giving an ID, password and an E-mail address, and Google gmail users are allowed to use YouTube with their Google IDs. As Google refuses to conform its position on user’s rights to South Korea’s real-name system’s requirements, South Koreans can access YouTube Korea’s site, but cannot post video clips or comments. Google has not restricted South Koreans accessing the site outside of South Korea or foreigners living in South Korea from posting their contents on the YouTube site.

Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:15 am

S. Korea may clash with Google over Internet regulation differences: KCC investigates Google hoping to turn up other illegalities, not for real name system evasion, while netizens criticize Internet laws
by englishhani@hani.co.kr
April 17, 2009

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The South Korean government is considering legal action against Google following the refusal of Google-owned Web site YouTube to implement the “real name system,” which requires any Web site that has more than 100,000 users per day to confirm users’ personal information such as their real names and resident registration numbers when they want to post comments or upload content.

The situation is showing signs of developing into a clash between the South Korean government, which is seeking to extend the application of its internet regulations to all Internet businesses, and the world’s largest Internet company, which is trying to maintain its principle of “freedom of expression” based on the option of exercising the “freedom of anonymous expression” on the Internet that it maintains elsewhere throughout the world.

An official at the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), who wished to remain nameless, said Thursday that the KCC was “in an uproar” over Google’s April 9 decision. “The people higher up said that they could not just leave Google alone and told us to find something to punish them with, so the related team is researching possible illegalities,” the official said.

On April 9, Google announced that it would be blocking users with South Korean nationality from uploading content and posting comments on YouTube Korea’s Web site, effectively rejecting the implementation of the real name system. Initially, the KCC reacted tepidly, calling the case “not something to take administrative measures over,” but in just a few days, it has taken a 180-degree turn. According to sources, the KCC has apparently made the determination that Google’s decisions have represented an evasion of regulations and that it is not a situation that they can leave alone as a regulatory authority.

KCC network policy official Hwang Cheol-jeung says that the commission will be examining whether or not Google has engaged in illegal activities in any of the various services it operates in South Korea. Since Google’s Korea Unit is conducting many activities in South Korea besides operating the YouTube Korea video site, including search and keyword-based advertising, observers are concerned that this investigation could potentially turn up illegal practices in areas such as internet obscenity, unwholesome advertising, and copyright infringements.

Choi See-joong, chairman of KCC, expressed strong dissatisfaction with Google at a Wednesday meeting of the National Assembly’s Committee on Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting & Communications (CCSTB&C). At the CCSTB&C meeting, Grand National Party lawmaker Na Kyung-won said that with Google’s measure, “They are speaking as though Korea is a backwards Internet nation that is intensifying its Internet censorship. Why are you just standing around doing nothing?” Choi responded that plans were underway to “send a message of severe dismay to Google about their terribly commercial approach with which it has tried to deceive people by a transparent guile.” He also said that he planned to meet with the head of Google Korea to determine the company’s true motives, and that the KCC was currently conducting legality investigations.

Meanwhile, Google Korea Unit head Lee Won-jin appeared on the MBC show “Son Seok-hee’s Focused View” Thursday and said, “There are no ‘true motives’ behind the shutdown of upload functions. What you see is everything.” Lee added that it was “a difficult decision, made after extensive discussions with the head office, and with a long-term view on the significance of the South Korean market.” Analysts are interpreting that this means the decision came from Google’s headquarters, and as such is not liable to be influenced by the South Korean government’s will. Lee also said, “In refusing to accept this regulation, we support opportunities for freedom of expression in South Korea’s Internet culture.”

South Korean companies are concerned about issues of “reverse discrimination” in Internet regulations. “When I saw Google’s decision, I was jealous and at the same time deeply distressed,” said an official at one portal site. “South Korean businesses will have to endure criticism from users while following unwanted regulations,” the official added.

Han Chang-min, Korea Internet Corporations Association secretary-general, expressed the frustration experienced by several Internet companies, “The fair thing to do would be to apply the real name system to all foreign sites accessible to users in South Korea, or else remove the regulation for South Korean businesses.”

Industry experts suggest that the differences between the South Korean government and Google over how to apply the new Internet regulations reveals the fallacy of creating regulation that applies to only specific geographical regions on the Internet, which is a “network of networks.” According to the government, the difficulty it faces is that it is impossible to regulate Internet policy if it leaves cases like Google’s alone. Jeon Byeong-guk, director of the Internet consulting company SearchMaster.co.kr, says that the government and Google “have come face-to-face in a situation where there are no points of agreement.” Jeon added, “Since Google does not have a large share of the South Korean market, the question is what is to be gained from the government simply cracking its whip.”

Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:23 am

Twitter joke trial: Paul Chambers wins high court appeal against conviction: Accountant says he feels 'relieved and vindicated' as court rules his joke tweet about blowing up an airport was not menacing
by Owen Bowcott
legal affairs correspondent
27 July 2012

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Paul Chambers, who was found guilty of sending a menacing tweet, has won his high court challenge against his conviction. Outside the court, Chambers, 27, said he felt "relieved and vindicated", adding: "It's ridiculous it ever got so far."

He had tweeted in frustration when he discovered that Robin Hood airport in South Yorkshire was closed because of snow. Eager to see his girlfriend, he sent out a tweet on the publicly accessible site declaring: "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"

He has always maintained that he did not believe anyone would take his "silly joke" seriously.

The lord chief justice, Lord Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Owen and Mr Justice Griffith Williams, said: "We have concluded that, on an objective assessment, the decision of the crown court that this 'tweet' constituted or included a message of a menacing character was not open to it.

"On this basis, the appeal against conviction must be allowed."

Chambers said outside court: "It was a long, hard road. I would like to thank everyone on Twitter." He had lost two jobs because of his conviction, he said, but "it was now time to move on".

After the judgment Chambers's supporters accused the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of wasting public funds in pursuing its action against the trainee accountant.

Louise Mensch, who is Chambers's constituency MP, was in court to hear him cleared. "The CPS owe the whole country an enormous apology," she said, "for having wasted public money and put him through two and a half years of serious stress for what was a joke.

"When parliament returns we will be asking searching questions about why freedom of speech was trashed. There was nothing menacing about this message. It was completely obvious."


Chambers had arrived at the snow-bound airport on 6 January 2010 hoping to fly to Belfast to meet Sarah Tonner, whom he had met on Twitter where she was known as @CrazyColours.

A week later he was arrested by four officers from South Yorkshire police who visited his office at a car distribution firm in Doncaster. Chambers subsequently lost his job as a financial supervisor.

He was prosecuted under section 127(1) of the Communications Act 2003, which prohibits sending "by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character".

In May 2010 Chambers was convicted by the district judge Jonathan Bennett sitting at Doncaster magistrates court and fined £1,000. In November 2010 the crown court judge Jacqueline Davies, sitting with two magistrates, dismissed his appeal, saying that the electronic communication was "clearly menacing" and that airport staff were sufficiently concerned to report it.

John Cooper QC, who represented Chambers, said: "It's an important decision for social networks. It means that in future not only does a message have to be of a truly menacing character but the person who sends it has to intend it to be menacing.

"Now people can have a joke even if it's a bad joke … this case should never have been prosecuted and it may be that the CPS will have questions to answer about this."

David Allen Green, Chambers's solicitor, said: "This shameful prosecution should never have been brought. For two and a half years the CPS have adopted a ridiculous position. There are very serious questions for the director of public prosecutions to answer in this case. We welcome this very clear judgment that sets out a high threshold for what constitutes a menacing character."

After the lord chief justice left the high court there was celebration and applause. The comedian Al Murray was one of those in court to support Chambers. "It's a victory for common sense," he said. "It's extraordinary this ever came to court. The judges saw there was no menacing message. It's a really important victory."

Asked outside the Royal Courts of Justice whether he would employ Chambers as a gag writer, Murray replied: "No."

Chambers swung his arm in mock defeat.

Index on Censorship, the free speech campaign, welcomed the court ruling. "Today's judgment is an advance in the justice system's handling of free speech on the web," said Kirsty Hughes, the organisation's chief executive. "As more and more of us use social media, it is important that the law understands how people communicate online. This ruling is a step in the right direction."

But Chris Watson, a social media expert and head of telecoms at the law firm CMS Cameron McKenna, said: "This verdict will be seen as a victory for freedom of speech campaigners, but I can see why the CPS pursued this case.

"The police have a duty to take all terrorism threats seriously, but specifically on the question of what people can say on social media, the public seems very unaware that the same rules apply to social media as any other public forum.

"While the ruling today suggests the threat to Robin Hood airport should not have been considered credible, the public would be very wrong to take this as a green light to say whatever they want on social media, without consequence. I expect to see the police and CPS to bring similar cases to court in an attempt to correct public misconceptions on where the law stands."
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:36 am

Lord McAlpine libel row with Sally Bercow formally settled in high court: Sally Bercow has apologised for 'irresponsible use of Twitter' and agreed to pay undisclosed damages to peer, court told
by theguardian.com
October 22, 2013

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Image

Lord McAlpine's libel action against Sally Bercow has been formally settled at the high court.

Sally Bercow, who is married to the Commons Speaker John Bercow, was not at Tuesday's brief hearing before Mr Justice Tugendhat in London.

Sir Edward Garnier QC told the judge that she had apologised for her "irresponsible use of Twitter", which caused the peer great distress and embarrassment, and had agreed to pay him undisclosed damages -– which had been given to charity -– and his costs.

She had also undertaken never to repeat the allegations about him and had withdrawn them unreservedly.

Bercow accepted an earlier offer to settle the matter after Tugendhat's ruling in May that a tweet posted by her was highly defamatory.


Her posting appeared two days after a Newsnight report last November wrongly implicated the former Conservative Party treasurer in allegations of sex abuse at Bryn Estyn children's home in the 1970s and 1980s.

Bercow denied that the tweet -– "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*" –- was defamatory, but McAlpine, who has already received six-figure payouts from the BBC and ITV, said it pointed the finger of blame during a media frenzy.

The judge agreed with McAlpine.

Bercow's QC, William McCormick, said: "Mrs Bercow wishes and hopes that as a result of this matter other Twitter users will behave more responsibly in how they use that platform. She certainly intends to do so herself."

Garnier said that, at the time of her tweet, Bercow had more than 56,000 followers and, as was foreseeable, a substantial number of them re-tweeted her "unsubtle message".

Afterwards, McAlpine's lawyer, Andrew Reid, said: "Today has seen closure of a piece of litigation which has now become the leading case in terms of internet responsibility.

"Our client had never wanted the situation to get to this stage. It was always his intention to avoid litigation if at all possible, just as it was always Mrs Bercow's intention, until today, not to provide an apology satisfactory to our client.

"It is to be hoped that lessons will be learned: This litigation could so easily have been avoided if common sense had prevailed over political positioning.

"In January of this year, Lord McAlpine made a 'without prejudice' offer to Mrs Bercow to settle at a substantially lower sum than his leading counsel, Sir Edward Garnier QC, advised that he was likely to obtain if the matter went to full trial.

"He made the offer in an attempt to avoid the detrimental effect of litigation on his health, but sadly, Mrs Bercow was not prepared at the relevant time to avail herself of this reasonable offer."

He added that it was now a legal requirement that, if Bercow were to re-activate her Twitter account, she must formally issue on it her apology.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 4:44 am

McAlpine v Bercow
by Wikipedia
May 18, 2016

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McAlpine v Bercow was a landmark legal case in 2013 between Conservative peer Lord McAlpine and Sally Bercow, the wife of John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons.

Background

Lord McAlpine alleged that he was defamed by comments implying that he was a paedophile published by Sally Bercow on Twitter, a social networking service.[1] This followed the broadcast on 2 November 2012 of a report by BBC Two's Newsnight which falsely linked an unnamed "senior Conservative" politician to sex abuse claims.[2][3]On 4 November 2012, Bercow tweeted "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*"[4][5]

When the allegations against McAlpine proved to be unfounded, Bercow was one of a number of people that the peer threatened with legal action.[6] The BBC subsequently apologised and paid £185,000 to McAlpine in damages and the ITV television network paid him £125,000 in damages. McAlpine commenced legal actions against users of Twitter who had repeated the claims but users with fewer than 500 followers were allowed to settle the matter by making a donation of £25 to the BBC Children in Needcharity.[2][7][8] McAlpine donated the libel damages from BBC and ITV to Children in Need and other charities.[9]

McAlpine's lawyers said that they would continue to pursue 20 "high profile Tweeters" (users with more than 500 followers) including Bercow, comedian Alan Davies and writer George Monbiot.[4] Acting on behalf of McAlpine, solicitor Andrew Reid announced: "Twitter is not just a closed coffee shop among friends. It goes out to hundreds of thousands of people and you must take responsibility for it. It is not a place where you can gossip and say things with impunity, and we are about to demonstrate that."[10]

In November 2012, Monbiot published "Lord McAlpine – An Abject Apology" on his personal website and apologised for acting "in an unprofessional, thoughtless and cruel manner." Monbiot also wrote personally to McAlpine[11][12] and agreed to undertake charity work.[5][13] Davies apologised publicly and privately to McAlpine in November 2012.[14] In contrast, Bercow "consistently denied that her tweets were libellous" and in December 2012 she appointed the law firm Carter-Ruck to defend her against the claim.[7][15][16][17] At the time that the tweet was made she had 56,000 followers, described by Sir Edward Garnier QC, for McAlpine, as "a bigger readership than many regional newspapers."[5][18]

Judgment

At a preliminary hearing held on 16 April 2013 it was decided that the trial should be split into two stages. The first stage would decide if the words of the tweet could be considered defamatory. If this was found to be the case a second hearing would be held to determine the level of damages unless both parties were able to reach an agreement.[18]

The judgment in the first stage was handed down on 24 May 2013. The Hon. Mr Justice Tugendhat was asked to rule on the meaning of Bercow's tweet, particularly the phrase "innocent face" which the judge said was intended to be read "as a stage direction" with readers "imagining that they can see [Bercow's] face as she asks the question in the Tweet. The words direct the reader to imagine that the expression on her face is one of innocence, that is an expression which purports to indicate (sincerely, on the Defendant's case, but insincerely or ironically on the Claimant's case) that she does not know the answer to her question."[19][20]

The judge said that there were two different kinds of meaning recognised in law: "a natural and ordinary meaning" and "an innuendo meaning." Citing Jones v Skelton,[21] Mr Justice Tugendhat explained that a natural and ordinary meaning may be either the literal meaning or a meaning "that does not require the support of extrinsic facts passing beyond general knowledge." An innuendo meaning, he said, "is a meaning which can be implied from the words complained of, but only if the reader also knows other facts (which are not general knowledge). These are generally called extrinsic facts."[22] The judge decided that any reasonable reader would understand both meanings of Bercow's tweet and interpret the "innocent face" as insincere and ironical: "There is no sensible reason for including those words in the tweet if they are to be taken as meaning that the defendant simply wants to know the answer to a factual question."[20][23] The judge decided that the Tweet meant "in its natural and ordinary defamatory meaning, that the Claimant was a paedophile who was guilty of sexually abusing boys living in care."[24] With regard to the innuendo of the tweet Mr Justice Tugendhat found that the Tweet carried a meaning "to the same effect" and found that the tweet was "an allegation of guilt. I see no room on these facts for any less serious meaning."[24][25] As it had already been accepted by Bercow prior to the hearing that McAlpine was innocent of the allegations her tweet was "seriously defamatory" and indefensible in law.[20]


Following judgment both parties reached an agreement and Bercow agreed to pay damages.[26] She must also apologise in open court to McAlpine. He has said that he will travel to London from his home in Italy "to hear it personally."[9]

Reactions

Prior to judgment Bercow made two offers to settle out of court. Both were rejected by McAlpine, leading to Joshua Rozenberg, a lawyer and columnist for London's The Guardian newspaper, to opine "that the undisclosed, agreed damages were higher than she had hoped."[20] McAlpine's solicitor Andrew Reid said: "The apologies previously received from Mrs Bercow did not concede that her tweet was defamatory but clearly she must now accept this fact. Her failure to admit that her tweet was defamatory caused considerable unnecessary pain and suffering to Lord McAlpine and his family over the last six months. The judgment is one of great public interest and provides both a warning to and guidance for people who use social media." Rozenberg noted: "The law of defamation is well known to those who write for a living. One hopes Twitter users are beginning to learn what a powerful and potentially dangerous weapon they have at their fingertips. A tweet is more like a broadcast than an email and is subject to the law of libel in the same way."[20]

Bercow said: "The High Court found that my tweet constituted a serious libel, both in its natural meaning and as an innuendo. To say I am surprised and disappointed by this is an understatement. I will accept the ruling as the end of the matter. I remain sorry for the distress I have caused Lord McAlpine and I repeat my apologies. Today's ruling should be seen as a warning to all social media users."[5]

Patrick Strudwick, also writing in The Guardian, noted that on the day of the hearing many Twitter users tweeted: "Why is Sally Bercow trending? *libel face*", a humorous reference to her defamatory tweet.[27]

References

1. "Bercow in court for McAlpine case". Braintree & Witham Times. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
2. Greenslade, Roy (24 May 2013). "Twitter users should learn lessons from Sally Bercow's libellous tweet". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
3. "Lord McAlpine's solicitor says Sally Bercow 'acted dishonourably'". BBC News. 24 May 2013. Retrieved26 May 2012.
4. Dowell, Ben (23 November 2012). "McAlpine libel: 20 tweeters including Sally Bercow pursued for damages". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
5. Sherwin, Adam (24 May 2013). "Twitter libel: Sally Bercow says she has 'learned the hard way' as she settles with Tory peer Lord McAlpine over libellous tweet". The Independent. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
6. Furness, Hannah (15 November 2012). "Lord McAlpine threatens to sue Speaker's wife Sally Bercow".The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
7. Halliday, Josh (21 February 2013). "Lord McAlpine drops some Twitter defamation cases". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
8. Rayner, Gordon (21 November 2012). "Lord McAlpine tells Twitter users he does not intend to 'create hardship' as he pursues them for damages". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
9. Cheston, Paul (24 May 2013). "Humiliation for Sally Bercow as Speaker's wife faces £150,000 bill over Lord McAlpine libel tweet". Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
10. Swinford, Steven; Rayner, Gordon (15 November 2012). "Peer to sue tweeters who linked him to sex abuse as BBC pays £185,000 damages". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
11. Monbiot, George (10 November 2012). "Lord McAlpine – An Abject Apology". monbiot.com. Retrieved26 May 2013.
12. Furness, Hannah (16 November 2012). "Lord McAlpine: Guardian will not pay George Monbiot's legal costs". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
13. Halliday, Josh (12 March 2013). "Lord McAlpine row: George Monbiot reaches 'unprecedented' settlement". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
14. Hough, Andrew (19 November 2012). "Alan Davies apologises over Lord McAlpine tweet". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
15. "Sally Bercow Sued By Lord McAlpine For £50k". Sky News. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 23 December2012.
16. Halliday, Josh (13 December 2012). "Sally Bercow faces Lord McAlpine high court battle". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
17. Halliday, Josh (4 March 2013). "Sally Bercow denies 'trivialising' public apology to Lord McAlpine". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
18. Halliday, Josh (16 April 2013). "Lord McAlpine wins first round in hearing for Twitter libel case". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
19. "McAlpine-Bercow Judgment" (PDF). judiciary.gov.uk. 24 May 2013. ¶ 7. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
20. Rozenberg, Joshua (24 May 2013). "Sally Bercow learns the social media rules the hard way in McAlpine case". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
21. [1963] 1 WLR 1362
22. "McAlpine-Bercow Judgment" (PDF). judiciary.gov.uk. 24 May 2013. ¶ 47-54. Retrieved 14 November2014.
23. "McAlpine-Bercow Judgment" (PDF). judiciary.gov.uk. 24 May 2013. ¶ 84. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
24. "McAlpine-Bercow Judgment" (PDF). judiciary.gov.uk. 24 May 2013. ¶ 88-91. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
25. ^Halliday, Josh (24 May 2013). "Sally Bercow tweet libelled Lord McAlpine, high court rules". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
26. "High Court: Sally Bercow's Lord McAlpine tweet was libel". BBC News. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 24 May2013.
27. Strudwick, Patrick (24 May 2013). "Sally Bercow's Lord McAlpine libel: Twitter is over. O.V.E.R.". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
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Re: 'You want to know what they're writing, even if it hurts

Postby admin » Thu May 19, 2016 5:08 am

Let's Talk About Zoe Quinn's Ex For Once
by Lindsey Weedston
August 21, 2014

[TRIGGER WARNING: ABUSE, THREATS, HARASSMENT, STALKING]

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


UPDATE: The comment section on this post is now CLOSED because I'm still getting whiny asshole comments months later from people who are too committed to hating Zoe Quinn to keep up with the facts, which include that her ex has admitted to wanting 4chan and other horrible troll sites to pick up on this, that he knew there was a high chance Zoe would be harassed, that he's been involved with the "leaders" of #GamerGate and coaching them on how to fuel the fire, that this whole thing is just entertainment for him, has violated his restraining order, has been caught in lies on numerous occasions and sexually harasses women who speak up against him. You can see all of this shit here. It's done. Shut the fuck up about it forever.

I'm getting all kinds of people insisting that Zoe Quinn is horrible, from clear misogynists to women who identify as feminists. All kinds of accusations -- that she used sex to get good reviews, that she was emotionally abusive to her ex, that she fake doxxed herself or invented her harassment. All kinds of people pontificating on how AWFUL she was to cheat, to sleep with a married man (even though she said she didn't know at the time that he was married, but no one's taking the time to mention this), to lie about it, etc.

Is cheating wrong? Yes. It's very hurtful, breaks trust, and depending on the couple and the situation, there can be consent issues involved. No one's denying this. Surely Zoe, whether these assertions are true or not, is not a perfect person.

But her ex is clearly not perfect, either. I'm here to talk about what he did to her in order to counter the chorus of voices painting Zoe as the devil and her ex as the blameless victim.

I don't know everything about the details of their relationship. And I certainly shouldn't, because I don't know either of them personally. I feel weird reading any of the Facebook or other online conversations between the two of them, because that's their private business.

But that shit is now online for everyone to see because Zoe's ex put it there without her consent. Huge fucking images containing long conversations between the two of them during their breakup, all posted in a public website he made to tell the world every detail of their falling out (from his point of view, anyway). Isn't that messed up? Imagine you had what you thought was a private conversation from your then-partner and then they posted all of it online without asking if it was okay.

This is a violation of consent. This is a violation of someone's privacy. Clear as day, right out there for everyone to see it.

Now let's talk about emotional abuse.

This is something that doesn't get talked about much. Most of the time when you bring up emotional abuse, people scoff and roll their eyes. A lot of people don't think that emotional abuse is a real thing, or that's is a lesser form of abuse than physical (untrue, many psychologists consider it to be worse). A lot of feminists will talk about gaslighting, but will get dismissed as making things up or being too sensitive, or called any number of ableist slurs.

Yet now that Zoe's ex has posted intimate details of their private breakup online, everyone's all about the emotional abuse. "Oh look!" they say after reading their private conversation, "Zoe was gaslighting him! She was emotionally abusive! Abuse! Abuse! She's a terrible abuser!"

I can't comment on whether Zoe was being emotionally abusive or not, because again, I do not feel right about reading their private conversations. I did look at some of it, specifically the parts where Zoe admits to cheating, but that felt icky so I stopped.

Now, I'm in the habit of believing people when they say they were abused. But it's a little difficult when what Zoe's ex has done is intensely abusive to the point of being dangerous. And even if you are abused, this does not give you leave to be abusive in return.

Zoe's ex obviously knew that Zoe had already been a target of harassment, death threats, rape threats, doxxing, people calling her at home and at least one guy showing up at her home. He must have understood that her continuing her work, remaining visible online, put her life in danger. Not to mention her mental health. He more than anyone, other than Zoe herself and women like her, should have understood this.

In spite of this knowledge, he decides to create an entire public website not only talking about her sex life (which we all know can derail any woman's career) but spills out a shit ton of fuel for the Zoe-hate fire. This is not just a violation of privacy, this is DANGEROUS. And, predictably, she's experienced a massive resurgence in harassment. This is not something you can deny. I've already engaged with Twitter accounts clearly made for the sole purpose of harassing and/or smearing her, seen a vile pornographic comic of her that's being spread by gamer dudes, and seen comment after comment calling her gross misogynistic slurs.

And I have no doubt at all that she's receiving death threats and rape threats. Again.


Yet despite the public nature of this harassment, the website hasn't come down. That WordPress site created by her ex to detail their entire relationship and post private conversations is still there.

And I'm supposed to feel sorry for this guy? No. He is putting her at risk. He continues to put her at risk. Nothing justifies this. Cheating is wrong, but nothing justifies the endangerment of someone's life or the trauma of these massive, orchestrated harassment campaigns. At the very least, he fueled all of this. He is responsible for it.

Sounds like abuse to me. Does not sound like the behavior of a good person who would be great in a relationship. If you're abusive after the relationship, I am not going to believe you were a saint during.


Zoe, on the other hand, refuses to talk about the details of her private relationship with her ex. She has declared publicly that she will not take the bait because it's no one's business. She took the classy, respectful route. Not that he deserves it.

It pisses me off that the only time people want to talk about emotional abuse is when they want to smear a woman or use it to justify their hatred/harassment of her. Fuck that. You want to take emotional abuse seriously, I'd best hear about her ex's abusive behavior as well. Maybe Quinn can't be held up as a saint, but she's still inspiring to me. I know I wouldn't be able to resist the bait. I would lash back out at a guy who did that to me. Maybe even go into hiding to avoid the harassment. But she stands strong. That's incredible.

But her ex is nothing but a soggy weasel as far as I'm concerned.
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