UK police tell man to be “mindful” about his online comments

Two police officers turned up at the man’s house, admitted that he hadn’t broke any laws, and then proceeded to ask him to be “mindful” of what he posts online.

Online speech is being monitored and even “moderated” in quite extreme, if perhaps not unexpected ways. That's according to a report published by the US-based website InfoWars.

A British man has recently been exposed to the stress of seeing police show up at his door because of a comment he made on the internet, the report claims.

His remarks that proved to be controversial enough to warrant dispatching law enforcement officers to their author's doorstep? It had to do with “Brexit” – i.e., the United Kingdom's ongoing, and highly politically and socially divisive process of leaving the European Union (EU) as a member-state, in the wake of the 2016 referendum that was won by those in favor of the move.

The InfoWars report – that goes on to list other incidents of similar nature – includes a video showing the man asking the officers to explain the reason why they paid him nothing less than a home visit.

And while this particular question remained unanswered in direct terms, one of the policemen remarked that it had to do with “some comment” the man had made – that in turn implied he was “going to drag someone out of an office.”

By making those opinions known, the man was told that he had not violated any UK law – but was nonetheless “asked to be mindful about what he was putting on there, in case it's deemed as inciting.”

Judging by the report, the UK police appear to be taking “preemptive action” by cautioning and perhaps even conditioning citizens, rather than acting on any valid legal grounds against the online commenter – who they also made sure to caution “had every right” to make his opinions known on the web in the first place.

But apparently, this was true as long as he was also willing to take on the experience of the police showing up at his house.

However, if the Brit in question lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain in the First Cold War era, his words expressed in a public forum of the time might have easily been interpreted as a direct violation of the law – known literally as “the verbal delict.”

The term is perhaps best translated and understood in English as “thoughtcrime.”

Didi Rankovic

Didi Rankovic is an experienced online journalist, editor, and translator, with a career spanning over ten years writing for major a English-language website in Serbia, and previously working as translator for international organizations and peacekeepers in the Balkans. Rankovic is passionate about free and open source tech and is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net, focusing on lead stories. [email protected]