Internet users who post degrading photoshopped images online or create derogatory hashtags could face prosecution under new guidelines, which aim to police social media more rigorously. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) issued new rules on Monday detailing cyber offences that could result in criminal charges. Creating a hashtag to encourage an online harassment campaign, or urging others to retweet a "grossly offensive image" are outlined as unacceptable behaviour in the guidelines. Doxxing, the publishing of an individual's home address or bank details, baiting, when someone is harassed online by being branded sexually promiscuous, and posting "disturbing or sinister" photoshopped images of someone on social media, were also cited as unacceptable. Prosecutors did acknowledge that many photoshopped images were "humorous and inoffensive".
It may not sound like it at first, but the FBI's decision to move fast on its investigation of Hillary Clinton's email practices is good news for the Democratic front-runner. As my colleague Del Quentin Wilber reported this week, federal prosecutors have begun setting up formal interviews with Clinton's advisors. After those sessions, they're expected to seek an interview with the candidate herself. Clinton has long said she will cooperate. Signs are that FBI Director James Comey, who has personally overseen the inquiry, wants to get the probe done before the Democratic Convention in July.
Civil rights groups and activists have sued Baton Rouge law enforcement agencies over their treatment of protesters rallying against the police shooting death of a black man, saying officers used excessive force and physically and verbally abused peaceful demonstrators. The lawsuit, announced Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, came hours after 15-year-old Cameron Sterling spoke publicly for the first time since the death at police hands of his father, Alton Sterling. Sterling was shot to death July 5 as two white officers pinned him to the pavement outside a convenience store. The killing was captured on cellphone video and circulated widely on the Internet, sparking widespread protests across the capital city and elsewhere in the U.S. Authorities in Baton Rouge arrested about 200 demonstrators over a three-day period, often taking to the streets in riot gear or riding in military-style vehicles. The arrests come amid heightened tensions in the city since Sterling's death, the fatal police shooting of a black motorist in Minnesota and the killings of five police officers in Dallas last week.
Sex offenders will soon have to report their email addresses, user names and other Internet identifiers to police under a bill Governor Jerry Brown signed Wednesday. The bill, authored by state Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), will apply to people convicted on or after Jan. 1, 2017 of Internet-related sex crimes. Law enforcement can use the information only to investigate a sex crime, kidnapping or human trafficking. Offenders will have 30 days to report new or modified addresses and usernames. The bill amends parts of California law enacted in 2012 when voters passed Proposition 35, an anti sex-trafficking law.
Gen. Loretta Lynch ended her latest nationwide tour with a stop at the Los Angeles Police Department on Wednesday, looking at how police use technology to prevent crimes and interact with residents. Protesters stood outside the city's emergency operations center where Lynch spent part of Wednesday afternoon, urging her to take a critical look at the department she was visiting and criticizing recent deadly shootings by police. Inside, Lynch met with LAPD brass to discuss how the department uses body cameras, social media and other tech-driven initiatives. Lynch noted the role that social media and other technologies have played in "illuminating the challenges and the tensions" between law enforcement and communities across the country. Agencies, she said, must find a way to use technology to not only protect residents but also allow for "meaningful interaction and input" into policing.