British internet trolls who impersonate others could face charges

The Crown Prosecution Service in the U.K. says people could be charged if they create fake online profiles in order to harass or humiliate others.

New guidelines could make it an offence to create fake profiles in order to harass, humiliate others

British prosecutors say it is updating its guidelines to reflect 'new and emerging crimes' in the social media age. (CBC archives)

The Crown Prosecution Service in the U.K. says people could be charged if they create fake online profiles in order to harass or humiliate others.

The agency, responsible for public prosecution of criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales, says it is updating its guidelines to reflect "new and emerging crimes" in the social media age.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said Thursday that "we are seeing more and more cases where social media is being used as a method to facilitate both existing and new offences," including domestic abuse and violence against women.

The new guidelines say that it may be an offense to create a fake online profile in someone else's name in order to "damage their reputation and humiliate them."

Prosecutors are starting a six-week public consultation on revising the rules for online crime, which were last updated in 2012.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.