Why the of­fi­cial si­lence on In­ter­net mis­use?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

IToni Ni­cholas t would seem the World Wide Web is the new Eden, re­plete with its own “tree of good and evil.” What many peo­ple seem not to re­al­ize is there’s a price to be paid, de­pend­ing on the fruit you pick from which tree. As many news sites have learned, some the hard way, the laws that gov­ern the con­ven­tional me­dia for the most part also ap­ply to the in­ter­net. This week, an­other so­cial me­dia scan­dal rocked Saint Lucia. On Wed­nes­day “Chris King” posted that he/she had in­fected a lo­cal fe­male that he iden­ti­fied. He ended his ac­com­pa­ny­ing rant with a plea that if she came back to him/ her all her med­i­cal and travel ex­penses would be taken care of. To fur­ther sweeten the weird of­fer was a mar­riage pro­posal. Hardly sur­pris­ing, the post from hell drew wide­spread at­ten­tion in­clud­ing this from the al­leged vic­tim: “Are you f****** kid­ding me? Why the f*** would you’ll run some bo­gus story about me that’s ob­vi­ously spam… there’s gonna be some se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions.” You know, food for the in­tel­lect!

The crazy post was soon taken down but not be­fore it had been trans­mit­ted via other so­cial me­dia plat­forms. Yes, in the blink of an eye the mat­ter had gone vi­ral. Cy­ber bul­ly­ing and re­venge porn have be­come com­mon­place, with the vic­tims usu­ally women.

It was just over a year ago that the STAR fea­tured an ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled “Is Re­venge Porn Too Hot For Pol­icy Makers?” The story cited cases both lo­cal and re­gional, and re­vealed how the prob­lem was han­dled in other coun­tries. There was hardly any of­fi­cial re­ac­tion.

How­ever, it’s only fair to men­tion that on Tues­day this week Zachary Hip­polyte of the RSLPF press re­la­tions depart­ment re­minded cit­i­zens of the li­bel and defama­tion laws, as well as the pro­vi­sions of the Com­puter Mis­use Act.

On Thurs­day the STAR reached out to the ad­min­is­tra­tor of the ear­lier men­tioned web­site used by Chris King to spread his/her HIV dirt. He claimed he had been un­aware of the devil post un­til late that evening. He also felt he had been un­fairly at­tacked, since he was not the orig­i­nal source, nei­ther was his the only medium via which the in­for­ma­tion had been trans­mit­ted. He promised to apol­o­gize to the vic­tim of the HIV post.

On Thurs­day the site’s ad­min­is­tra­tion posted this: “To­day we have made changes to the group set­tings of St Lucia News Daily. Ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately all posts will be fil­tered through ad­min be­fore go­ing pub­lic, this is no longer an Open Group. Yes­ter­day some­one ma­li­ciously went out their way on sev­eral groups and pages in­clud­ing this one to at­tack some­one. On be­half of SNDU, I would like to apol­o­gize to (name deleted), be­cause had we seen that post any sooner, it would of (sic) never been on this page. It’s sad how peo­ple abuse fo­rums like this to sab­o­tage peo­ple’s char­ac­ter. We are also look­ing for ad­mins to as­sist, mes­sage me if any­one is in­ter­ested.”

Mean­while, read­ers may well be won­der­ing whether the of­fi­cial si­lence on the egre­gious mis­use of the in­ter­net has any­thing to do with the fact that politi­cians and their hacks are among the worst of­fend­ers!

In next week’s STAR two vic­tims of re­venge porn tell their tales of woe!

Re­venge porn, n.- A form of sex­ual abuse that in­volves the dis­tri­bu­tion of nude/ sex­u­ally ex­plicit pho­tos and/or videos of an in­di­vid­ual with­out their con­sent. Re­venge porn, some­times called cy­ber-rape or non-con­sen­sual pornog­ra­phy, is usu­ally posted by a scorned exlover or friend, in or­der to seek re­venge af­ter a re­la­tion­ship has gone sour.

What is Cy­ber­bul­ly­ing?

Cy­ber­bul­ly­ing is bul­ly­ing that takes place us­ing elec­tronic tech­nol­ogy. Elec­tronic tech­nol­ogy in­cludes de­vices and equip­ment such as cell phones, com­put­ers, and tablets as well as com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools in­clud­ing so­cial me­dia sites, text mes­sages, chat, and web­sites. Ex­am­ples of cy­ber­bul­ly­ing in­clude mean text mes­sages or emails, ru­mours sent by email or posted on so­cial net­work­ing sites, and em­bar­rass­ing pic­tures, videos, web­sites, or fake pro­files.

Com­puter Mis­use Act of St. Lucia

Ac­cord­ing to sec­tion 15 of the Com­puter Mis­use Act of St. Lucia 2011, in re­gard to ma­li­cious com­mu­ni­ca­tions 1.) a per­son shall not use a com­puter to send a mes­sage, let­ter, elec­tronic com­mu­ni­ca­tion or ar­ti­cle of any de­scrip­tion that a.) Is in­de­cent or ob­scene; b.) Con­sti­tutes a threat; or c.) Is me­nac­ing in char­ac­ter with the in­ten­tion to cause, or be­ing reck­less as to whether he or she causes an­noy­ance, in­con­ve­nience, dis­tress or anx­i­ety to the re­cip­i­ent, or to any other per­son to whom he or she in­tends to be com­mu­ni­cated. 2.) A per­son who con­tra­venes sub­sec­tion 1.) com­mits an of­fence and is li­able on sum­mary con­vic­tion to a fine not ex­ceed­ing ten thou­sand dol­lars, or to im­pris­on­ment for a term not ex­ceed­ing three months or both and in the case of a sub­se­quent con­vic­tion, to a fine not ex­ceed­ing twenty thou­sand dol­lars or to im­pris­on­ment for a term not ex­ceed­ing six months or both.

In this act ‘com­puter’ means a de­vice that ac­cepts in­for­ma­tion, in the form of dig­i­tal­ized data and ma­nip­u­lates the in­for­ma­tion for some re­sult based on a pro­gram or se­quence of in­struc­tions on how the data is to be pro­cessed.

Will the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice be one of those who will speak out and push for the over­haul­ing of cy­ber laws

in Saint Lucia?

The mighty com­puter: What was meant for good and the ad­vance­ment of mankind can some­times turn into

a crime scene of epic pro­por­tions.

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