Legal action against the BlockBot team? - blog by Gurdur

 




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Legal action against the BlockBot team?
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Posted 15-Mar-2015 at 09:17 PM (21:17) by Gurdur

Imagine if I was to make a public list. I could call it,
Quote:
"A list of pedophiles, rapists, and those who shield them in any way.
Plus anyone else I simply don't like."
Now imagine I put your name on that list, and I publicize it high and low. You of course furiously complain to me that you are neither a pedophile, nor a rapist, nor someone who shields any suchlike. I dismiss your complaint airily and say, I never called you pedophile, rapist or suchlike. You should have read the fine print:

Quote:
"Plus anyone else I simply don't like."
That is the situation with the BlockBot as it is at this time, and has been since its initial creation by James Billingham (@oolon) and Garrison Jackinsky (@aratina). Right from the start claims were made loudly by those and its supporters that it was an app to block abusive trolls and misogynists; right from the start it was actually used against anyone who criticized in any way Freethought Blogs (FTB), the loose larger FTB group being the ones who together with the tiny Atheism+ group formed the basis of support and admin of the BlockBot. Up till very recently the BlockBot was officially advertised as:
"Twitter is polluted by a number of anti-feminist obsessives, who viciously harass those who don't support their warped views. The Block Bot is a Twitter application to automatically block the nastiest of these people."

Only in the very last week or so has someone now tried doing damage control by altering the wording on the BlockBot info pages to make those overall claims less blatant. For over a year and a half the claims remained blatant and extremely dishonest, given that the BlockBot was used as a weapon of social shunning and of defamation against anyone deemed worthy. A large number of people - including, right from the beginning, a large number of women - were blacklisted by the BlockBot team. Now that they got overly ambitious, and started blacklisting people like Adam Rutherford and Prof. Brian Cox, as well as many feminist women academics, they seem to have realized they could be in legal hot-water with people who can financially afford to undertake legal action against them.

Till now, "financially able" has been the catch. A while back I did some research, and it seems to mount an effective legal action for defamation in the USA or Britain would cost very roughly around $250,000 - whether you won or lost. Few of us have a spare $250,000 lying around we can afford to use for a legal action - let alone risking losing the lot. Legal action for defamation is a good deal less risky in Britain than in the USA, since British law is far more harsh about defamation, and since here is not the collision between state and federal jurisdictions that there is in the USA. Moreover, there is some possible chance of getting legal aid in Britain. Nonetheless, the high cost in money, time and risk have barred this option for most - a bar that is something the BlockBot team have relied on, since its creators, especially James Billingham (@oolon), and many of its supporters have made many abusive trolling attacks on Twitter users, and have made many claims that are simply lies. The relevant tweet is no longer available, since James Billingham (@oolon) has made his Twitter account private, and may have deleted the tweet, but he once tweeted in relation to the separate GGautoblocker as wel as to the original BlockBot that the system was working perfectly as designed - with many false positives. In other words, he expressly admitted of many false positives among those blacklisted as a mode of operation.

There is, however, sometimes more than one way to skin a cat. Legal action inside Britain may not be so dependent on costly defamation law; Sam Smith (@MHWitchfinder) has reportedly filed suit as a Letter of Claim on issues on under the UK Data Protection Act 1998. He would like it to be known that similar complaints may be possible to:

Quote:
"Via email - the Deputy Information Commissioner for Data Protection Act supervision david.smith@ico.org.uk and his assistant angela.russell@ico.org.uk"
It is reported to me by Sam Smith (@MHWitchfinder) that James Billingham (@oolon) has in response alleged online- and/or offline-harassment, including - or even more ridiculously, only relating to - the copying or sending of any emails to him. I cannot verify these claims as yet. Nor can I verify as yet the usefulness of a complaint and claim under UK Data Protection Act 1998, nor can I say which relevant section applies. I suggest you contact @MHWitchfinder to find out; I also suggest you get a good solicitor in Britain to advise you on any such proceedings.

Edited to add: possibly as a result of facing the consequences for such far-reacing defamation and attempted cyber-no-platorming, Sarah Brown - @auntysarah- has resigned from the BlockBot team:
https://twitter.com/auntysarah/statu...08838184919040

A few words of advice from me:

Never trust anyone's opinions on law, except those of a good lawyer, and sometimes not even then. A lawyer in the USA will most likely have nothing useful to say about British law, and a British lawyer is unlikely to have much useful to say about US law.

Especially don't believe any old claptrap you see around the net; previously, James Billingham (@oolon) was running around for a while claiming that any (defamatory) opinion could be given on the net by simply prefacing it with,
"It is my opinion that...".

This is nonsense, and will not protect the person making such claims under much of both US and British law.

Keep everything factual and documented. I cannot speak for Sam Smith's action, I do not know if it is still in operation, and I do not know under exactly which provision of the Data Protection Act 1998 it was made. Nor do I know of the correct procedure for making such a claim. Nor have I known Sam Smith a long time, nor do I know him well. It is though an option worth looking at and using, should you be in the UK, and should you have been one of those blacklisted on the BlockBot for whatever specious reason.



        


              

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  1. Old Comment
    BluePoppy's Avatar
    As a journalist I have, just recently, been called just about anything under the sun. If somebody feels the need to block me using the bot, so be it. Being wrongfully accused of a crime is a different matter. Thanks for posting possible routes of legal action. However, I have my doubts you can tame bad manners on either side w/legal actions. Just my 2c.
    Posted 15-Mar-2015 at 11:47 PM (23:47) by BluePoppy BluePoppy is offline
  2. Old Comment

    How do I find these people to service this request?

    I am a "neutral" but have followed several prominent figures, on both sides, in the past.

    Because I am an idiot my original twitter handle contained my full name.

    This name is on the list.

    I don't mind stumping up the £10 for this information.

    https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/personal-information/

    takes me so far.

    I am also unsure, given the vituperative nature of some of the individuals involved if I want to give them my full personal details, as I would need to, to follow this request through.

    I have no wish to throw extra money at a legal practicioner for this however.

    How do I move this forwards?
    Posted 16-Mar-2015 at 12:41 PM (12:41) by Unregistered
  3. Old Comment
    I surely "have been one of those blacklisted on the BlockBot for whatever specious reason" on occasion, but it would never have occured to me to try to use the force of law to silence their speech. Granted, they do things differently over there in Britain, but I find this entire project deeply disturbing.
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 03:31 AM (03:31) by D4M10N D4M10N is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 03:52 AM (03:52) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Also see https://twitter.com/Grummz/status/577651682961674240


    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 04:15 AM (04:15) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Also see https://twitter.com/whenindoubtdo/st...49527315447808


    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 05:02 AM (05:02) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  7. Old Comment

    Silencing?

    Damion. Silencing? How? Surely it is the blockbotters who have provided a tool for silencing the voices of Twatterers they disapprove of, at least within their own community. The Blockbot enables any user to banish voices for every other user for whatever petty reason they may have. It also acts as a giant smear campaign, again initiated against people based on the foibles of individual blockbot users.
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 10:16 AM (10:16) by Simon
  8. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Silencing? How?
    By haling people into court for merely calling you an abusive person or a bigot, which is an expression of personal distaste at worst.

    Quote:
    Surely it is the blockbotters who have provided a tool for silencing the voices of Twatterers they disapprove of, at least within their own community.
    Only to the extent that mass blocking tends to increase the odds of being suspended from Twitter. Other than that, it's not silencing at all, but rather freedom of association. If people don't want to hear from the people on those lists (many of whom I quite enjoy) that's up to them.

    Quote:
    The Blockbot enables any user to banish voices for every other user for whatever petty reason they may have.
    As is surely their right, if by banish you mean voluntarily avoid reading.

    Quote:
    It also acts as a giant smear campaign, again initiated against people based on the foibles of individual blockbot users.
    It is indeed a smear to be labelled an "anti-feminist obsessive" who viciously harasses people, but somehow I will press on. Others with far more delicate feelings may well feel the need to hit back using the force of law, but should I ever get put back on the blocklists, I will boast about it to the world, such is my opinion of the extant selection criteria. :biggrin
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 03:20 PM (15:20) by D4M10N D4M10N is offline
  9. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    D4M10N, you get one warning only, owing to your conduct on Twitter, your refusal to answer questions there while trying to play the interrogator, and your overall lack of discussion in good faith.

    Cut out immediately the emotive trolling, such as your wrong imputation of "fragile feelings" to others. Your statements are all too clearly in refusal of acknowledgment of others' situations, and they are unpersuasive. Any more such comments and I will split them all off to a separate blog post and you can argue it there.

    For others: DNFTT.
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 04:00 PM (16:00) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Hi Gurdur,

    I can't read internetese. With my dyslexia it's difficult enough to read standard english. Internet abbreviations don't compute with me. I did a google search for DNFTT and didn't find answer. What's DNFTT? Sorry to ask but I do try my best to understand what others are saying, most especially people like you for whom I have great respect.

    Never mind I found it. It helps to get it right when doing a search. Typing abbrevs is another thing dyslexics like me don't do well. Random letters jumble up badly in my head.
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 07:37 PM (19:37) by An Ardent Skeptic An Ardent Skeptic is offline
    Updated 17-Mar-2015 at 07:55 PM (19:55) by An Ardent Skeptic (Edited because I'm an idiot who can't keep letters in their proper order when doing a google search!)
  11. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by An Ardent Skeptic View Comment
    I can't read internetese. With my dyslexia it's difficult enough to read standard english. Internet abbreviations don't compute with me. I did a google search for DNFTT and didn't find answer. What's DNFTT? Sorry to ask but I do try my best to understand what others are saying, most especially people like you for whom I have great respect.
    No worries. Sorry to have been opaque.
    DNFTT = Do Not Feed The Troll.
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 08:11 PM (20:11) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  12. Old Comment
    Well summed up, Tim.

    One can only hope this is the beginning of the end for BB and associated SJW shenanigans.

    Ardent: A dyslexic walks into a bra...
    Posted 18-Mar-2015 at 10:28 AM (10:28) by Phil Giordana, FCD
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BlockBot Busted? Front Page Rewrite and a Resignation for a Block Bot Team in Disarray | Matthew Hopkins – The Witchfinder General

16-Mar-2015, 08:10 PM (20:10)
ising the Block Bot or being involved with #GamerGate. Also, the ‘Blocker’ who added me seems to have resigned, although whether that is connected is unknown. Hilariously, having removed all the dubious allegat

Are you listed on the Block Bot? This post has some interesting suggestions | Stop Trans Chauvinism

17-Mar-2015, 12:11 AM (00:11)
., criticising the Block Bot or being involved with#GamerGate. Also, the ‘Blocker’ who added me seems to have resigned, although whether that is connected is unknown. Hilariously, having removed all the dubious allegat

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