Tag Archives: anonymity

One rule for them: the privileges enjoyed by this Tory MP sex offender have been astonishing

Khan and can’t: Imran Ahmad Khan has been convicted of a serious crime – but will his erstwhile boss, that utter incompetent Boris Johnson, also be convicted of a criminal offence before long?

Are the newspapers really sure they have permission to reveal that now ex-Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan is a convicted sex offender?

The lengths to which he – and, it seems, the authorities – went to avoid admitting he was facing charges were phenomenal, and strongly reinforce the prevailing opinion that MPs, and particularly Tories, get preferential treatment:

  • His victim said he wasn’t ‘taken very seriously’ when he made the allegation of sexual assault to the Tory press office days before Khan was elected as MP for Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in the December 2019 general election.
  • Turned away by the Tories, the victim resorted to the police, making a complaint days after Khan was elected. But Khan was sent a questionnaire by Staffordshire Police rather than being interviewed under caution at a station because of “Covid protocols in place at the time”.
  • Neither Staffordshire Police nor the Crown Prosecution Service informed the media or the public when Khan was charged by postal requisition – the point at which suspects in criminal cases are routinely named.
  • His first appearance at Westminster Magistrates’ Court by video link on June 3 last year did not appear on the public or press lists. Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring granted him an interim anonymity order ahead of another unlisted hearing, which the CPS refused to confirm was taking place as well as what charge Khan was facing.
  • He attempted to stop key details of the case – including the age of his victim, his own homosexuality, and even his fondness for a gin and tonic – coming into the public domain.
  • On June 17 last year, Khan argued in court that he should be granted anonymity.
  • Then he tweeted in support of press freedom, retweeting a message by then-foreign secretary Dominic Raab about the situation in Hong Kong. He had previously claimed Extinction Rebellion had constrained press freedom when the protest group blocked a newspaper printing press.
  • His anonymity – unprecedented in a case not involving national security – was only lifted after legal challenges from two media organisations.

Now Khan has been convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male at a house in Staffordshire in 2008.

Southwark Crown Court heard how Khan forced the teenager to drink gin and tonic, dragged him upstairs, pushed him onto a bed and asked him to watch porn before the attack.

The victim, now 29, told a jury he was left feeling “scared, vulnerable, numb, shocked and surprised” after Khan touched his feet and legs, and came within “a hair’s breadth” of his genitals.

The boy ran to his parents and a police report was made – but no further action was taken at the time because the victim did not want to make a formal complaint.

Of course, now that a court has returned a “guilty” verdict, the Tory Party’s attitude has gone into reverse. Whereas in 2019 the victim wasn’t “taken very seriously”, now Khan has been expelled from the organisation.

He is awaiting sentencing for the offence and if he is imprisoned for more than a year he will be automatically expelled from the House of Commons.

He could also be subjected to the recall process, by which Wakefield constituents may have him removed as their MP.

Labour has already called for him to resign, so the people of Wakefield “can get the representation they deserve”.

This Writer is fine with all of that; whatever is appropriate, I’ll go with it.

But I want to know how the police and courts will be prevented from treating accused MPs as though the law doesn’t apply to them.

Source: Tory MP guilty of sex attack on boy after forcing him to drink gin | Metro News

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Patel lies about David Amess as she demands removal of social media anonymity

Hate: it was naked on Priti Patel’s face during her Tory conference speech, yet she talks about closing anonymous social media accounts to end it. She speaks with a forked tongue.

The hypocrisy is bald and blatant:

In fact, we know who wants to remove social media anonymity – it’s Priti Patel. But government sources of stories to news media would keep their anonymity, meaning huge opportunities to mislead the public will still be available to them. Remember the false claim that three Labour MPs were going to defect to the Conservatives during conference season?

Patel made her claim during an interview on Sky News, in response to the stabbing of David Amess.

She said there had been a “coarsening” of the public debate (without acknowledging the role that recent Tory governments have played in it) and added:

We can’t carry on like this. I spend too much time with communities who have been under attack, basically who have had all sorts of postings online and it is a struggle to get those posts taken down.

We want to make some big changes on that.

And she said:

This is about wider public discourse and I would also go as far to say social media, anonymity on social media, where we’re members of parliament are subjects of some of the most cruel comments attacks.

And they are relentless, many of them are relentless.

My colleagues go through just some of the most appalling attacks I’ve seen online and I have as well.

Off the top of my head, This Writer doesn’t recall Patel ever showing any concern about the enormous volume of hate sent to Diane Abbott on a regular basis. But then, Ms Abbott is a black female Labour MP and not a white male Tory knight – so it seems other rules apply.

And there’s an elephant in this room. Why is Patel suggesting a crackdown on anonymous social media accounts when the suspect in the Amess murder, Ali Harbi Ali, has not used one?

According to a YouGov poll, a majority of people think there should be curbs on anonymity…

… and This Writer is not a fan of unmonitored anonymity, having been a victim of online hate myself.

But I would not seek to ban online anonymity. I would suggest that those who wanted to be anonymous registered for it, and if social media platforms received verifiable complaints about their activities – in other words, if they were caught abusing others, that privilege may be removed.

The reason for this should be clear to everybody but if it isn’t, read the following:

And of course removing online anonymity will only increase the imbalance between the privileged and the rest of us:

Again: I have certainly been a victim of online abuse organised by people on Twitter with blue ticks next to their name. I am not aware of any instance when that organisation has acted on complaints against these “celebrities”.

So it seems that, rather than acting to end online abuse, Ms Patel is trying to increase the ability of the rich and privileged to cause such abuse, while ending any chance for ordinary people to defend themselves.

And let’s not forget that this is coming from the minister who wants to “turn back the boats” of refugees coming to the UK, exposing children to the possibility of drowning at sea, while granting her employees who cause such deaths immunity from prosecution:

Hate – whether online or in real life – has always been a tool of the Tories and Patel’s words stand on their heads. She may say she wants to shut it down but in fact it seems clear that she wants to increase it.

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Hodge wants ban on social media anonymity – what a great idea! It will curtail fake anti-Semitism claims

It’s the first time This Writer has agreed with Margaret Hodge in years.

She has said the government must ban online anonymity or make social media directors personally liable for defamatory posts, revealing that she receives tens of thousands of abusive tweets a month:

Hodge accused the government of deliberately delaying the online harms bill in order to avoid difficult conversations with powerful social media companies, and said she was prepared to take up a campaign to make sure the law was tough enough.

The Online Harms Bill arises from a White Paper produced last year – and This Site commented on it at the time.

The White Paper – and now the Bill (I expect; I haven’t actually seen any information on it since April last year) proposed a statutory duty of care, to be conferred on media companies including platforms such as Facebook and Google, online messaging services like WhatsApp and file hosting sites.

They would be required to comply with a code of practice, setting out the steps they must take to meet the duty of care. This may include designing products and platforms to make them safer, directing users who have suffered harm towards support, combating disinformation (for example by using fact-checking services), and improving the transparency of political advertising.

They would be expected to co-operate with police and other enforcement agencies on illegalities including incitement of violence and selling illegal weapons.

And they would have to compile annual “transparency reports” detailing the amount of harmful content found on their platforms and what they are doing to combat it.

The government would have powers to direct the regulator – initially Ofcom, with a dedicated regulator to follow in the future – on specific issues such as terrorist activity or child sexual exploitation.

I pointed out last year that the White Paper did not include any measures to stop people creating anonymous accounts.

If Ms Hodge wants to see that happen now, then I am all for it.

It will stop me receiving much (but not all) of the abuse I get from people wrongly accusing me of anti-Semitism after the Labour Party expelled me under false pretences (as shown in court).

But that’s not what was on offer in April last year. As I made perfectly clear, “regulating online media platforms will not stop people posting “harmful” content to them, if there is nothing to stop them from doing so. It is farcically easy to create anonymous accounts, from which to post objectionable and/or abusive content.

“Shut one down? That’s fine – the individual responsible can have another up and running in a matter of minutes, if they don’t have multiple aliases working already.”

And I made that point that “it has been argued that people must have a right to be able to post anonymously, because of personal circumstances that make it important – possibly for their personal safety.”

My response: “Fine. A system can be devised in which people apply for anonymity and the number of people or organisations able to ascertain their real identity is strictly limited. That would allow these individuals to continue functioning in the online world. And it would prevent others from abusing social media platforms. Any posts from an unrecognised anonymous account would be easy to flag up and isolate.”

If Ms Hodge is proposing such a system then I am behind her every step of the way, and never mind all the other differences we have.

Although – as a staunch witch-hunter herself – I wonder whether she would approve of that outcome.

Source: Margaret Hodge calls for ban on social media anonymity | Online abuse | The Guardian

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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