Industry News

UK Laws to Unmask the Identity of Internet Bullies

The UK Government will amend the Defamation Bill to make websites disclose the identity of people who post offensive messages online. Their identification will be possible without costly, time-consuming legal trials.

Websites will be asked to cooperate and give away the identity of vicious commenters who choose to anonymously insult and denigrate others by trolling articles on various sites. That means victims will be legally entitled to find out the names of those who attacked them publicly.

If websites refuse to cooperate, they can end up in court and be fined thousands of pounds for the defamatory comments. This way the government holds websites operators responsible for all content on their company site even if it was posted by their visitors.

“Website operators are in principle liable as publishers for everything that appears on their sites, even though the content is often determined by users,” Justice Secretary Ken Clarke explains. “But most operators are not in a position to know whether the material posted is defamatory or not and very often – faced with a complaint – they will immediately remove material.” he added.

However, the law will also halt those people who falsely claim some articles are offensive just to have them removed from a website. A one-year time limit was added to prevent old articles from prompting rush of defamation claims. People also need to prove serious harm before making such a claim.

About the author


Bogdan Botezatu is living his second childhood at Bitdefender as senior e-threat analyst. When he is not documenting sophisticated strains of malware or writing removal tools, he teaches extreme sports such as surfing the web without protection or rodeo with wild Trojan horses. He believes that most things in life can be beat with strong heuristics and that antimalware research is like working for a secret agency: you need to stay focused at all times, but you get all the glory when you catch the bad guys.