There’s been a long-running war on the Web against fake user accounts, often because ad-funded platforms like Facebook need to know who you are so they can serve you ads, but police are now cracking down on this in the UK.
That’s because people can’t be trusted to be nice online and are increasingly using social platforms for things like revenge porn and harassment, particularly in cases of violence against women.
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The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which looks after criminal cases in the UK, has just published new guidelines to try to ensure police know about the potential for the Web to be used in this way.
After a number of changes in the law, setting up fake accounts or websites in the name of a victim, or using things like GPS to track their movements, will soon be taken as seriously as any other criminal activity.
The CPS will be consulting with the public over 10 weeks to see whether this is something that people feel needs to be done.
There is still some concern from vulnerable groups that forcing people to use real names might actually leave them more open to abuse, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that there really is no place to hide on the Web.
➤ New guidelines published on the prosecution of those who abuse victims online [Crown Prosecution Service]