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Commiting criminal acts to expose crime (journalism)

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Commiting criminal acts to expose crime (journalism)

Postby diy » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:55 am

I heard of a story today where a team of journalists set out to test a well known social media site process for dealing with criminal activities (e.g. sharing child porn). Having proved that the sites controls were inadequate they contacted the site for comment. They (the social media site) asked for evidence and promptly reported the journalist to the police.

I heard nothing in the article to suggest that the police were investigating the offences. But as far as I know a journalist has no protection from such prosecution.

Seems a risky thing to do?
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Re: Commiting criminal acts to expose crime (journalism)

Postby dls » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:06 pm

I think it correct - and unavoidable - that the social network site report the journalists. In order to achieve the investigation, the journalists have to do theacts which constiute the crime. Whether those journalists can establish the defence is not for a social networking site to decide.
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Re: Commiting criminal acts to expose crime (journalism)

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:17 pm

It has been speculated that when the social media site asked for examples, they expected to be given links rather than be given copies of the images themselves.

I agree, it's not for them to decide whether or not a defence applies.
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Re: Commiting criminal acts to expose crime (journalism)

Postby Hairyloon » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:02 pm

Smouldering Stoat wrote:It has been speculated that when the social media site asked for examples, they expected to be given links rather than be given copies of the images themselves.

There is no question that the law prohibits the distribution of such images and they have clearly done that and with no excuse for doing so, but it leads me to wonder if sharing such images by means of sending a link doesn't also fall under the prohibition?
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Re: Commiting criminal acts to expose crime (journalism)

Postby diy » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:12 pm

The way it was reported it sounded very much like the social media site did it in spite. i.e. trapping the trapper. But the arguments here are much more reasoned. If the CPS aren't going to consider a prosecution (and I'm not suggesting they should), then where do you draw the line?

There are vigilante groups who entrap people looking to groom kids on social media and they make citizens arrests when their prey meets them at the arrange hook up. The police seem against it, but some of the crime commissioners think they do a valid job.

Given the consequences of a conviction are rather serious, I'm not sure I'd be willing to risk it, to trap a criminal or expose shoddy controls.

it looks like the CPS have a policy, but I couldn't find it:;
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... cuted.html
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Re: Commiting criminal acts to expose crime (journalism)

Postby 3.14 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:19 pm

diy wrote:The way it was reported it sounded very much like the social media site did it in spite. i.e. trapping the trapper. But the arguments here are much more reasoned. If the CPS aren't going to consider a prosecution (and I'm not suggesting they should), then where do you draw the line?

There are vigilante groups who entrap people looking to groom kids on social media and they make citizens arrests when their prey meets them at the arrange hook up. The police seem against it, but some of the crime commissioners think they do a valid job.

Given the consequences of a conviction are rather serious, I'm not sure I'd be willing to risk it, to trap a criminal or expose shoddy controls.

it looks like the CPS have a policy, but I couldn't find it:;
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... cuted.html
Those groups use adults who look like children. (I think)
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Re: Commiting criminal acts to expose crime (journalism)

Postby diy » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:29 pm

Yes I don't think those groups are committing an offence on the basis that they aren't luring the pedo for a kicking in the car park. But the police were quite vocally against them. I personally think they are no different to curtain twitchers who form neighborhood watch or community speed watch and other such busy work dreamed up by the police to appease the something must be done brigade.

I guess there is a risk that their activities raises the stakes and drivers the behavior further underground or escalates the precautions they take not to get found out.
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Re: Commiting criminal acts to expose crime (journalism)

Postby Maz JP » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:56 pm

Pete Townshend of course got cautioned and put on the Register for what he said was 'research' into child pornography.

Be careful out there, people...
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Re: Commiting criminal acts to expose crime (journalism)

Postby dls » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:09 pm

He got cautioned because he admitted the offece. The rest was publicity management.

Perhaps the social network may have a defence saying tha by allowing such maerial closer to the surface, as it were, it supports the police catching those involved. Sadly very similar to the journalists with no sense of irony.
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