UK sets out fresh Facebook and Twitter prosecution guidelines



LONDON // British government prosecutors have set out new guidelines to make it harder to bring legal cases against people who send offensive messages on Twitter and Facebook.

The guidelines, published today, come amid increasing criminal prosecutions against people who post online messages deemed indecent or menacing, and criticism that such cases are a threat to free speech. Civil rights campaigners have complained that British authorities have been too harsh with people who carelessly make insensitive comments online.

"These interim guidelines are intended to strike the right balance between freedom of expression and the need to uphold the criminal law," said Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions.

One of the most notorious of such cases was that of Paul Chambers, who was arrested by antiterrorist police in 2010 a week after he joked on Twitter that he would "blow the airport sky high." He sent the tweet after he was angered that England's Robin Hood airport was closed and his flight was going to be delayed. Chambers was convicted and fined, but this year the High Court overturned his conviction.

Starmer acknowledged that prosecuting Chambers was a wrong "judgment call."

Hundreds of others - many young people - have been caught out, including a teenager who tweeted Olympic diver Tom Daley to tell him he had let his father down. The teenager was arrested but released with a harassment warning.

The new guidelines seek to draw a line between credible threats of violence, harassment or stalking - which will be prosecuted - and "the expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, or banter or humour, even if distasteful to some and painful to those subjected to it," Starmer added.

Prosecutors should only act on such communications if they are "grossly offensive," and no prosecution should be brought unless it can be shown to be necessary and proportionate, the guidance said.

The guidance is intended to help public prosecutors decide whether to charge someone or not, as well as give advice to police. The guidelines come into immediate effect and are subject to change after a consultation.

Figures obtained by the Associated Press through a freedom of information request have showed a rising tally of prosecutions in Britain for electronic communications - phone calls, emails and social media posts - deemed offensive, obscene or menacing from 1,263 in 2009 to 1,843 in 2011.

The number of such convictions grew from 873 in 2009 to 1,286 last year.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

RESULTS

ATP China Open
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Company profile

Company name:+Dharma

Date started:+2018

Founders:+Charaf El Mansouri, Nisma Benani, Leah Howe

Based:+Abu Dhabi

Sector:+TravelTech

Funding stage:+Pre-series A 

Investors:+Convivialite Ventures, BY Partners, Shorooq Partners, L& Ventures, Flat6Labs

TECH SPECS: APPLE IPHONE 14 PLUS

Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2778 x 1284, 458ppi, HDR, True Tone, P3, 1200 nits

Processor: A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine 

Memory: 6GB

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Platform: iOS 16

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Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps; HD slo-mo @ 120/240fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

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Battery: 4323 mAh, up to 26h video, 20h streaming video, 100h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30m; MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

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Torque: 560Nm

Price: Dh234,000 - Dh329,000

On sale: now

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ENGLAND TEAM

England (15-1)
George Furbank; Jonny May, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (capt), Elliot Daly; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Courtney Lawes; Charlie Ewels, Maro Itoje; Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Joe Marler
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, George Kruis, Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz, Ollie Devoto, Jonathan Joseph

Two-step truce

The UN-brokered ceasefire deal for Hodeidah will be implemented in two stages, with the first to be completed before the New Year begins, according to the Arab Coalition supporting the Yemeni government.

By midnight on December 31, the Houthi rebels will have to withdraw from the ports of Hodeidah, Ras Issa and Al Saqef, coalition officials told The National. 

The second stage will be the complete withdrawal of all pro-government forces and rebels from Hodeidah city, to be completed by midnight on January 7.

The process is to be overseen by a Redeployment Co-ordination Committee (RCC) comprising UN monitors and representatives of the government and the rebels.

The agreement also calls the deployment of UN-supervised neutral forces in the city and the establishment of humanitarian corridors to ensure distribution of aid across the country.

Company Profile

Company: Astra Tech
Started: March 2022
Based: Dubai
Founder: Abdallah Abu Sheikh
Industry: technology investment and development
Funding size: $500m

Company Profile

Company name: OneOrder

Started: October 2021

Founders: Tamer Amer and Karim Maurice

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Industry: technology, logistics

Investors: A15 and self-funded

F1 drivers' standings

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 281

2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 247

3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes 222

4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull 177

5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 138

6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull 93

7. Sergio Perez, Force India 86

8. Esteban Ocon, Force India 56

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RESULTS

Catchweight 82kg
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Catchweight 80kg​​​​​​​
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Lightweight
Mohammad Yahya (UAE) beat Ramadan Noaman (EGY) TKO round 2.

Lightweight
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Welterweight
Juho Valamaa (FIN) beat Ahmed Labban (LEB) by unanimous decision.

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Super heavyweight
Maciej Sosnowski (POL) beat Ibrahim El Sawi (EGY) by submission round 1.

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

TEST SQUADS

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Mehedi Hasan, Shafiul Islam, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed.

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson and Jackson Bird.

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Brief scores:

Day 1

Toss: India, chose to bat

India (1st innings): 215-2 (89 ov)

Agarwal 76, Pujara 68 not out; Cummins 2-40

Hot Seat

Director: James Cullen Bressack

Stars: Mel Gibson, Kevin Dillon, Shannen Doherty, Sam Asghari

Rating: 1/5

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates


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