Britain gets Facebook to delete 30 prisoners’ pages after some inmates taunted victims
LONDON (AP) — The criminals are behind bars but their victims are still feeling their reach — through the Internet.
The British government said Thursday that Facebook had removed the profiles of 30 U.K. inmates at its request after several incidents in which prisoners reportedly used the social networking site to organize crime or taunt others.
The announcement made some Internet users worry about government interference online, but many crime victims said even more should be done.
“ When someone is convicted of a crime he loses his civil liberty though sentencing,” said Gary Trowsdale of Families United, a group founded by relatives of young murder victims. “ We say he should use his cyber-liberty as well.”
Families United met earlier this week with Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who said the government would act “to tackle those cases where offenders seek to taunt or harass victims and their families” through Web sites.
British prisoners are banned from using social networking sites like Facebook. Britain — unlike many European countries — bars almost all inmates from access to the Internet, except for educational purposes under supervision. But authorities acknowledge that some have used smuggled mobile phones to update their pages, or have gotten friends on the outside to do it for them.
The Sunday Times newspaper reported last month that Colin Gunn — a gangland boss convicted of conspiring to murder a couple in 2004 — warned on Facebook that “I will be home one day and I can’t wait to look into certain people’s eyes and see the fear of me being there.”