Did I hurt your feelings?
Oh, it gets worse…
“The Crown Office is keen to make it clear that it doesn’t want to be perceived as curbing freedom of speech. It will not be prosecuting people for satirical comments, offensive humour or provocative statements. Previous complaints made against online abuse have shown that it is hard to determine what constitutes a crime and what constitutes a provocative statement is not always clear cut. “The rule of thumb is simple — if it would be illegal to say it on the street, it is illegal to say it online,” said Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC, clarifying the guidelines. Primarily prosecutors will need to ensure that communications fits into one of four categories in order to instigate criminal proceedings.
These are as follows:
Communications that target an individual or group in a way that constitutes hate crime, domestic abuse or stalking.
Communications that are considered to be credible threats. These could relate to violence towards a person, damage to property or inciting public disorder.
Communications that breach a court order or contain information that is illegal to publish.
Communications that don’t fall into the first three categories, but are otherwise deemed to be “grossly offensive, indecent or obscene or involve the communication of false information” in a way that “results in adverse consequences” for the person or people it pertains to.”