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General Chat Thread, Illegal or just inappropriate? in General; Some friends and I were having coffee in a small High Street shopping centre and we started playing around to ...
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    Illegal or just inappropriate?

    Some friends and I were having coffee in a small High Street shopping centre and we started playing around to configure a laptop to connect via bluetooth to a mobile phone thence to the internet. We turned on bluetooth and weren't surprised to see about a dozen devices listed. However, I was astonished to see one named: "I hate <insert derogatory term for an ethnic group>". My friends continued the configuration whilst I fired up my own mobile. I watched as various folks left to see if I could pin down who was transmitting this. The device disappeared as a group of four young men left. I didn't approach any of them.

    I don't know the regulations about this sort of thing but suspect that, if someone had displayed such text on a T-shirt (etc.), they would have been in trouble!

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    Pete10141748's Avatar
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    I doubt that it's illegal.
    It is racist, insulting and downright rude!

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    creese's Avatar
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    My guess is that they are allowed to be a moron in private, fortunately not publicly.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    I see what you mean. They are broadcasting rasist remarks (however indirectly).

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    I don't know the regulations about this sort of thing but suspect that, if someone had displayed such text on a T-shirt (etc.), they would have been in trouble!
    Why do you suspect that? A month or so ago I saw a West Indian man wearing a T shirt saying "F*ck White Trash"

    Unfortunately I suspect it is which ethnic group that you are targeting, that results in whether you will get in bother or not!

    I am assuming the group of young men were white?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bertie_Dellend View Post
    I am assuming the group of young men were white?
    Yes, aged between 18 and 30, wearing suits and appeared perfectly "normal". That added to my surprise because I had a mental vision of what the owner of the device might have looked like.

    As a side line, I thought that overt racism would be dealt with harshly, rather than "tut tut". I realise that a bluetooth device was required to see what was being transmitted but, as they are used more and more frequently, I wouldn't be surprised if some Government regulations are formulated (in due course) to cover such a transmission.

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Would be covered by the Public Order Act 1986:
    The Public Order Act 1986 contains the offences of inciting or stirring up racial hatred. It prohibits the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or displaying any written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting with the intention of stirring up racial hatred or where racial hatred is likely to be stirred up.
    By broadcasting via bluetooth, he is displaying written material.

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    Well, the closest it would come to a crime would be a section 5 offence 'Threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour which is likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress'.

    However, the fact that its on someone's phone via bluetooth can easily be claimed as a freedom of speech issue - as people are allowed to be racist and hold their own opinions (it is protected under human rights laws). Simply holding those views and stating them is not the same as stirring up racial hatred or tensions, and I'd seriously doubt that any court would accept that argument.

    So, I'd say that it was legal but poor taste. There isn't anything about communications that I know of that would cover it, as people post racist comments in UK hosted forums all the time, with forums dedicated to it too. Its when they start straying and inciting violence that the issue becomes serious.

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    Disaster's Avatar
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    He might not have even known, this is the sort of trick some people might play on another if they leave their phone lying about....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Disaster View Post
    this is the sort of trick some people might play on another if they leave their phone lying about....
    If your friend is Prince Phillip

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disaster View Post
    He might not have even known, this is the sort of trick some people might play on another if they leave their phone lying about....
    This would be my first thought. Could probably be done under that new incitement act at a push, but otherwise Public order is the catch all.

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    I agree with localzuk - I don't think you could say he was "intending to stir up racial hatred", merely expressing his own views of racial hatred. Having racist views isn't illegal. It might be different if his Bluetooth or t-shirt said "punch every Asian person you see" or gave reasons why we should hate them, but it wasn't saying either of those things. So, not very pleasant, but not illegal IMO.

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    I have come across similar names before when I have been in pubs/clubs.

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    I've done a bit of Bluesnarfing in my time and I can assure you this sort of thing is very common. There's some sick horrible racist people out there.
    Last edited by tech_guy; 31st March 2011 at 12:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    Would be covered by the Public Order Act 1986:

    By broadcasting via bluetooth, he is displaying written material.
    Technically speaking, the OP was displaying the material.

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