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Maximum sentence for internet trolls raised to 2 years in the UK

Proposed legislation now in effect, quadruples the previous maximum sentence

Perpetrators of online abuse will now face tougher sentencing thanks to new legislation passed in the UK.

From the perspective of the games industry, the most relevant change in the Criminal Justice and Court Act is the increase in the maximum sentence for sending a message or items, "with the intention of causing distress or anxiety," or, "which convey an indecent or grossly offensive message or are themselves of an indecent or grossly offensive nature."

Anyone found guilty of the above will now face a maximum sentence of two years, rather than six months. The change was proposed in October last year, and came into effect yesterday.

"This is a law to combat cruelty, and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob," Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said at the time. "We must send out a clear message: if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years."

Exactly how effective a deterrent this will be in combating abuse and threats remains to be seen. Internet communities are generally composed of people from many countries and cultures, and this new sentencing will only apply to those in the UK.

Thanks to The Telegraph.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.