One could argue that parts of this blog are in violation of Section 127 of the UK Communications Act 2003.
127 Improper use of public electronic communications network
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he—
(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or
(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.
After all, this blog contains a large amount of bad taste, directed not least at the head of state of the country that passed this law, and even incendiary calls for an overthrow of the British monarchy.
Paradoxically, the most “grossly offensive” thing I can see on this page is the text of the law itself. “Grossly offensive” is such a vague term that it can cover almost anything. Or nothing. It doesn’t even specify to whom the statement in question must seem “grossly offensive”.
In a lively democracy – which I think the UK is – arguments will be exchanged every day that somebody, somewhere will find “grossly offensive”. Heck, I am no wimp, but even I hear stuff uttered every day that I find quite offensive and that makes my blood boil. Offensive against reason, against the laws of logic, against decency, against human rights. But I would never dream of invoking a law or the powers of the state to lock the person up who makes these statements, because I am left with two good alternatives: I can pick up the debate and try to get it civilized again, or I can stop listening and walk away.
I propose that the only way to demonstrate the ridiculousness and at the same time the danger of laws like these is for bloggers and other internet users to file hundreds and thousands of charges against each other for violation of Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 and swamp law enforcement so much that they will themselves petition for the abolishment, or at least a concretion and limitation, of the law. But most likely, this appeal violates some other law again.
(Hat tip to the Liberal Conspiracy blog which is a case in point: although I disagree with a whole lot of what is being written on that blog, I enjoy the debate with them.)