The £200,000 task force hopes to make the public feel more confident in the people’s collective right to never have to use the block button.
The U.K.’s Home Office is set to spend £200,000 ($264,000) to set up a task force against online abuse. Home Secretary Amber Rudd says that the operation will make the public feel more confident in its ability to tackle “hate speech,” which is illegal in the U.K.
Even mocking the police can be a chargeable offense. In July, the Wiltshire Police in England promised to crack down on people who made fun of them on Twitter.
According to a Daily Mail report on Sunday, the government’s new program will seek to prosecute more Internet trolls for targeting minorities with “abuse” on social media. The task force, which is made up of a small team of police officers, will assess reports made to the police website True Vision and delegate local police departments to enforce the law, which is necessary if the suspect and victim live in different areas of the country.
The task force will also be responsible for contacting tech companies like Facebook and Twitter to delete “hate speech.”
“Online hate crime is completely unacceptable,” said Home Secretary Amber Rudd in a statement over the weekend. “’What is illegal offline is illegal online, and those who commit these cowardly crimes should be met with the full force of the law.”
Rudd said that the formation of the task force is an “important step to ensure victims have the confidence to come forward and report the vile abuse to which they are being subjected.”
In other words, if someone calls you a mean name on the Internet, you’ll have someone to tattle to.
As the Daily Mail notes, the task force—much like Scotland Yard’s own unit of detectives dedicated to investigating online abuse—has prompted fears that these efforts will have a severe impact on the freedom of expression in the U.K.
Feature Image via BBC