Australia is looking at tougher laws to take target those abusing and harassing others on Twitter.
Trolls (those who post inflammatory messages to elicit a response from their targets) have come under the spotlight in Australia over a number of high-profile incidents on Twitter in the last week.
One sent rugby league player Robbie Farah a tweet which referred to his late mother in an unflattering manner. Several sent death threats to aspiring singer Briden-Starr Aspinall after she winked at One Direction singer Harry Styles.
Tracking down such trolls hasn’t been easy, as officials struggled to obtain information on those users from Twitter itself. That led to the country’s communications minister accusing Twitter of treating Australian laws with contempt.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon plans to discuss stricter telecommunications laws with her state-level counterparts, while New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell asked acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan for a formal review of legislation.
''Twitter should reveal the identities of the anonymous trolls who are breaking the law by abusing others online and cooperate with any police investigation to help reveal who these trolls are,'' a spokeswoman for Roxon told the Canberra Times. “The government is considering what other action, if any, can be taken to improve the law in this area.”
Using Twitter to “menace, harass or cause offence” could lead to a three-year jail sentence under federal law. State laws can also be used to snuff out messages deemed to be offensive, while O'Farrell called for loopholes in both state and federal law to be closed.
Farah called for stricter social media laws, so “people can be protected from the kind of disgusting personal abuse that I have received.”
Meanwhile, Aspinall joined a campaign called Stop The Trolls in an effort to stamp out abusive behavior on the Web.
Photo of Briden-Starr Aspinall via YouTube
Armory builds Iron Man a suit worthy of the Norse gods
Tony Stark would be the most stylish hero in Asgard with this leather armor.22k
Dudes build huge real-life gundam so the U.S. can fight Japan in a giant robot battle
Japan, you have one year to name the battlefield.17k
Homeless man plays best cover of Styx's 'Come Sail Away' you've ever heard
Are we sure this isn't really Dennis DeYoung?16k
The great Reddit meltdown has begun
Winter is coming to the Front Page of the Internet.
The 3 biggest questions heading into the ESL ESEA final
The first edition of the ESL ESEA Pro League is coming to a head this weekend with $250,000 on the line.27