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The Crocels Trolling Academy

Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-Learning Systems

The Institute of Life Sciences, Swansea University, Singleton Park,
Swansea, West Wales & The Valleys, SA2 8PP, Wales, GB.
Telephone: 0845 4786390 Web:

24 September 2012
Geraint Davies
Member of Parliament for Swansea West
31 High Street

Dear Mr Davies,
Re: Internet trolling
Thank you for putting my correspondence on Internet trolling to the Government to date. In
addition to these, I am writing further to the adjournment debate held by Steve Rotheram
MP on 17 September 2012. Mr Rotheram made a number of statements I would like to
refute as someone who has the following papers accepted/published on trolling law:
1. J. Bishop (In Press). The Art of Trolling Law Enforcement: A Review and Model for
implementing 'flame trolling' legislation enacted in Great Britain (1981-2012). International
Review of Law, Computers and Technology.
2. J. Bishop (2012). Scope and Limitations in the Government of Wales Act 2006 for Tackling
Internet Abuses in the Form of Flame Trolling. Statute Law Review.
3. J. Bishop (2010). Tough on data misuse, tough on the causes of data misuse: A review of New
Labour's approach to information security and regulating the misuse of digital information
(19972010). International Review of Law, Computers & Technology 24 (3), pp.299-303.

I have been researching and developing online communities and trolling since the 1990s,
and the friends list you see on Facebook was actually first conceived by me in 1999.
Mr Rotheram said in the debate, Part of the problem is that a degree of professionalism is
associated with some trolls that might be too sophisticated for our laws to combat in their
current guise. The relevant legislation on this matter predates the birth of social media such
as Facebook and Twitter, which were not launched until 2004 and 2006 respectively.
Mr Rotheram is mistaken, who you can only expect from a novice MP who only entered the
House of Commons in 2010. Having been trained in research at Kingston, Aberystwyth and
Cardiff Met universities, I am well aware that it is easy without training to make mistakes
around terminology. For instance cyberbullying was the buzzword for all Internet abuse and
data misuse combined during New Labours rein, such as on Friendster, MySpace and Bebo.
Internet trolling as a term for all Internet abuse and data misuse only came to prominence
with a single interview in the Daily Mail with an English student in 2011, which I refuted by
a letter. This was a featured letter and recognised as letter of the week.

Having published on Internet trolling in 2008, and data misuse in 2010 I was well placed to
become the leading authority on the subject that I am. In the 1980s and 1990s, Internet
trolling was posting comments to Bulletin Board Systems and Usenet (1980s/90s social
media) to provoke others for consensual entertainment. Trolling for newbies was where
established members on these systems posted something they knew would provoke a
reaction. Saying that Apple was better than Microsoft in a Microsoft forum was the most
common example on my BSc(Hons) in Multimedia Studies I got a 2i in 2002.
These were New Labours legislation which updated the previous governments legislation to
deal with Internet trolling (at the time Cyberbullying):

The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 updated the Malicious Communications Act
1988 to explicitly cover electronic message faults (i.e. flame trolling).
The Communications Act 2003 has transitioned the Telecommunications Act 1984 to
deal with all instances of electronic message faults by any public communication
network even ones not invented yet. Even though the Telecommunications Act 1984
applied to the Internet as it is a public telecommunications network, the
Communications Act can apply to any platform accessible to the public.

I see Mr Rotheram as grandstanding. One of his constituents, Georgia Varley, had her
memorial page on Facebook attacked. The Liverpool Echo knows the identities of the people
who did it. Earlier in 2011 Natasha MacBryde, 19, had her memorial page ransacked as well
after she died. The similarities between the cases are stark, as both of them died from falling
in front of a train. Natasha MacBrydes troller, Sean Duffy, was prosecuted and found guilty
under the Malicious Communications Act 1988. But rather than get the same justice for
Georgia Varley, Mr Rotheram appears to have wanted something to campaign against, and
despite being told by experts like myself, the CPS and the police that the criminal offences
are plentiful, he is peddling the idea that the laws are not good enough.
In this debate Mr Rotheram, embarrassingly for him, called this RIP Trolling and not R.I.P
Trolling. The former is a form of hypertrending where one tries to get a living celebritys
name to trend on Twitter with RIP before it to signify they are a Really Important Person. It
is only with the two dots either side of the I that it represents Rest in Peace.
If Mr Rotheram was to read my review of New Labours data misuse laws he will see his
predecessors have already solved the legislative problems he thinks are not. This includes
updating the Malicious Communications Act 1998, so it is disgusting that he is allowing
Georgia Varleys family to go without the same justice that Natasha MacBrydes had.
I hope you will be able to write to Steve Rotheram MP, the MP for Liverpool Rotheram to
raise my concerns.
With best regards,

Jonathan Bishop LLM FBCS CITP