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Internet "trolls" must be identified under new UK law

Regulations added to the Defamation Bill say that websites must identify anonymous "trolls."

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A number of foreigners have been kidnapped and held for ransom after falling prey to cyber scams, which often involve offers of not-to-be-missed business opportunities. (DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

Want to leave an anonymous comment on the internet accusing your arch nemesis of being stupid, mean and ugly? Don't bother if you're not prepared to have your name attached to the remarks. New rules introduced by the British government would force websites to identify anonymous internet users who defame others, BBC News reported.

The new regulations being added to the Defamation Bill argue that victims have a right to know who is behind a vicious cyber-bullying attack. These cyber-bullies, often referred to as "trolls," can now have their identities revealed without their victims having to sue, the BBC reported.  

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Under the rules, Internet Service Providers would have to reveal the names of people who post "malicious allegations or insults" online, the Daily Telegraph reported. However, the ISPs will be spared from being sued if they help the government identify the trolls.

The new rules follow a high-profile case involving Nicola Brookes, a British woman who was targeted by anonymous trolls on Facebook. The tormentors created a fake Facebook profile pretending to be her and posted explicit comments, the Telegraph reported last week. She took the case to court, and Facebook agreed to reveal the IP addresses of her tormentors. 

Critics are concerned that the regulations will go beyond protecting cyber-bulling victims, BBC News reported. However, the regulations do give ISPs greater protection from being sued, the Press Association reported

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120613/internet-trolls-must-be-identified