Monday, 30 September 2013

Newton Emerson - PSNI turn blind eye offline while exercising firm hand online

In contrast with the averted legal gaze cast over loyalist murals and gable walls, Newton Emerson makes the point that the PSNI has not been as pliant when it comes to threatening words and images posted on social media walls. He said in the September 26 2013 edition of the Irish News:
"It is hard to avoid a comparison with the rise in social media prosecutions, and not just because Facebook messages are said to be posted to a 'wall'. Between 2009 and 2012, Facebook and Twitter were mentioned by the PSNI in almost 5,000 incident investigations. Over the same period, annual convictions tripled to 110 a year."
Newton then asked:
"How can the PSNI, the Public Prosecutiom Service and the courts chose to police this virtually infinite cyberspace for threatening words and images while ignoring a few dozen physical spaces right under their nose?"
He answered his own question:
"We are all wearily familiar with the answers. Paramilitary mural painters, unlike Internet trolls, would respond to lawful sanction with violence."
But perhaps a very real question needs answered: Are law enforcement agencies simply cherry picking those they chose to pursue within the infinite cyberspace, while allowing the more sinister and unruly elements to carry on unfettered?

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