Websites 'to identify abusers'

Government plans will give websites greater protection from being sued if they help identify victims of so-called 'internet trolls' who post abusive and defamatory messages online.

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Ken Clarke: New online libel laws to allow people to protect their reputations

Ken Clarke has announced Government plans that will force websites to name trolls. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said: "The Government wants a libel regime for the internet that makes it possible for people to protect their reputations effectively but also ensures that information online can't be easily censored by casual threats of litigation against website operators.

"It will be very important to ensure that these measures do not inadvertently expose genuine whistleblowers, and we are committed to getting the detail right to minimise this risk."

Ken Clarke: New laws will give websites 'a defence against libel'

Websites will be forced to name people that send defamatory messages online under new Government plans.

As the law stands, individuals can be the subject of scurrilous rumour and allegation on the web with little meaningful remedy against the person responsible.

Website operators are in principle liable as publishers for everything that appears on their sites, even though the content is often determined by users.

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.

Our proposed approach will mean that website operators have a defence against libel as long as they comply with a procedure to help identify the authors of allegedly defamatory material.


Websites to be forced to name online trolls

Websites will be given greater protection from being sued if they help to identify internet trolls, under new Government plans.

The Defamation bill will be debated in the Commons today. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Reforms of the libel laws will see a duty placed on internet service providers to try to identify those posting defamatory messages without victims needing to resort to costly legal action.

The Defamation Bill, which will be debated in the Commons today, will also see would-be claimants having to show they have suffered serious harm to their reputations, or are likely to do so, before they can take a defamation case forward.

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