Wednesday, August 14, 2013

When Does a Post or Website Cross the Line to Cyberbullying and Breaking the Law?

Cyberbullying is not unlike identity theft -- when there is a knowing and willful malicious act to discredit another person or business' reputation through a website or web post -- that is an act of cyberbullying.

Did you know that the act of cyberbullying is a violation of both Canadian and American criminal codes?

Because I am Canadian, I will speak to this issue from a Canadian perspective. That said, the laws are very similar and almost word-for-word equal in the United States. Note that I am not one to usually highlight specific words or passages in many of my postings, but I do want these terms to jump off the page to show readers that cyberbullying is indeed both a provincial and federal crime.

Cyberbullying crosses over to international borders of law enforcement when the post or website that originates in one country includes a citizen or link to a business or website owned by a person in another country.

The Criminal Code of Canada describes libel, to which cyberbullying falls under:

Public slander and false accusation is the spreading of deliberately falsified information that denigrates the honour and dignity of another man or woman or undermines their reputation.

That the victim materially suffered by virtue of the false claims.

That evidence existed at the time of the public utterances and offence proving such allegations to be false.

That actions of the accused contributed to the false accusations.

That the actions of the accused were done with the intent to cause harm to the reputation of the victim.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, convictions for blasphemous libel:

Everyone who publishes a blasphemous libel is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, defamatory libel is:

Everyone who publishes a defamatory libel that he knows is false is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

Even provincial laws show cyberbullying falls under their criminal codes, such as in the case of Ontario:

Defamation -- would lower the opinion of the person in the minds of others or cause a person to be shunned or avoided or exposed to hatred, contempt, or ridicule.

Cyber-libel is when someone has posted or emailed something that is untrue and damaging about you on the Internet.

Next cyberbullying blog: Criminal harassment, including debt collection violations.

No comments:

Post a Comment