22/02/2019

Why your child is not safe on YouTube

Is Google responsible for YouTube users leaving abusing comments on children’s videos?

Google would like us all to believe that the use of YouTube by paedophiles is an unfortunate event which it has no control over and which it did not cause. The truth, however, very different.
For a start, not only that Google has known about this practice for some time, I would go as far as to suggest that by the way Google has conducted itself, it has willingly placed kids at substantial risks.
To fully understand Google's culpability, we need to understand Google's age restrictions policies in relation to YouTube and in relation to Google's mobile phone operating system Android, which accounts to about 80% of the of the new mobile phone sales and which is where most YouTube videos are being watched. So, starting with YouTube age restriction policy, and this is this is very important, Google’s officially says that Read more about child safety online

25/01/2019

Is online abuse a criminal offence

Is online abuse a criminal offence in the UK Yair Cohen,

 UK social media lawyer, speaks to Jason Mohammad on BBC Wales: 

It appears you are in the public eye. Many people think it's perfectly fine to sit behind a smartphone or computer and send abuse. Well, the TV presenter [Katie Price] has simply had enough. She's calling on the UK government to adopt Harvey's Law, named after her son, Harvey Price, to make online abuse a specific criminal offense, creating a register of offenders. . Do you think online abuse should be made a criminal offense? And maybe you are put off from going online because of the abuse you could experience. I know a lot of people in the public eye who get it every single day.
 Jason Mohammad: Let's talk to Yair Cohen who's a social media lawyer from the Internet Law Center. Yair, good morning to you. Good to have you. How are you?
Yair Cohen: Hey, good morning. Excellent, excellent. Jason Mohammad: How does it stand at the moment?

Is there anybody stopping somebody sitting in their bedroom sending a lot of hateful abuse to somebody within the public eye? 

Yair Cohen: The law should be stopping them. We have got laws in place, the same laws that apply to offline activities also apply to online activities. I think that, over the years, people have been made to think that they are two different societies.
There is the online society and there's the offline society, whereas the online society is completely unregulated. You can do whatever you want. There are no consequences for your actions, whilst the offline society, you're pretty much heavily regulated.
 There is the police, there is the court, there is everything else. And what we are starting to see now is a bit of a shift in understanding that there aren't two societies.
People are the same people, and what is happening online affects that individual, and their families, and the children, and the parents offline as well.

So the laws are pretty much the same laws. We're talking about particularly the law of harassment. When one is being harassed online, the harassment is an ongoing thing. It is there 24/7. It is there all the time for everyone to see. It doesn't go away. It doesn't stop when you switch the computer off. So we will probably be looking at an offense of harassment being committed by people who just shout abuse at other people online.

Jason Mohammad: So, Yair, when you look at some of the newspapers, you see very often there are articles whereby members of Parliament, politicians, television presenters, sports stars are being abused on a daily basis. Therefore, it begs the question whether social media companies should be taking much more responsibility. Yair Cohen: The approach by government, especially during the Tony Blair era when the internet just started to become more widely available, was that free speech was king, which means the Crown Prosecution Service was giving instructions to the police not to even investigate offenses that are committed online that involve abuse and harassment. It was considered as something which might interfere with free speech, and it wasn't until very recently where members of Parliament started to receive abuse themselves, and experience the strength of the harassment, that suddenly there's been a shift in mindset, and police is starting now to investigate because they are told that they have to do that. Jason Mohammad:

You switched on your phone in the morning, and you were subject to some sort of abuse, what would you do? The first thing you'd have to do surely is go to the police?

Yair Cohen: It depends. It depends on the strength, it depends on the severity of it, but most people will go to the police. Unfortunately, the police is still not up to dealing with those sort of things, so the police will say, "Well, there's nothing we can do about it. It's happening online. Just go home," and it happens time and time again, and we sometimes have to send people four, five, six times back to the police station and say, "No, no, no. You've got to tell them that they've got to investigate." Yair Cohen: The alternative is to take out a civil injunction, because remember harassment is both a civil wrongdoing and a criminal wrongdoing. So even if police isn't doing anything, the individual can either take a private prosecution, so they themselves can go to the magistrate courts and start a case against their abuser, or they can go to a civil court and obtain a civil injunction, which, of course, is very expensive. Jason Mohammad: Yair, good to talk to you. Thank you very much indeed. That is Yair Cohen speaking to us

06/02/2018

Yes, there are porn lawyers in the UK and it's all gonna be all right!

Working as a lawyer in the internet environment could be challenging, worrying and at times highly frustrating. It's good however that at Cohen Davis we have a culture that says that you must never give up. After all, often clients come to us just as they are about to throw in the towel and in a last effort to solve a long standing legal issue concerning them and the internet.

In many cases they get referred to my firm but only after their regular non-internet specialist lawyers have tried their best to help but failed. Not everyone in the legal profession appreciates the value of experience and knowledge of the internet industry to making a success out of a client's case.

Unfortunately, sometimes new clients come to us for help after years, yes years, of suffering and we always wish they had found out about us a bit earlier so that they could have avoided months and years of unnecessary pain. Hopefully this blog post will help achieve that.

But what really makes the work of an internet lawyer so worthwhile is where you achieve an extraordinary outcome. An extraordinary outcome is an outcome which turns the life of your client from being completely miserable to becoming absolutely fantastic.

In one of those cases a gentermaan telephone our officers before Christmas last year. He was crying on the phone. After some prompting he told one of my colleagues that four years ago he was in a bad place, he was homeless, away from his wife and children.

He was deparete and needed money so when he was approached by someone who offered him a couple of hundred pounds to take part in a short pornographic video he reluctantly agreed. That video turned out to be derogatory and highly embarrassing. Since its publication, he said, he lives in constant shame and fear that his wife and children will find out. The video also exposed him to blackmail and harassment. He previously spoke to other lawyers who told him that nothing could be done about the situation. He said that he was resolved to take his own life if we told him we couldn't help.

He said we were his last hope. He has been saving money for 4 years with the hope that one day he will find a lawyer who will be willing and able to take on his case. Fortunately for him, he came to the right place! What he saved however was not nearly enough to cover a project like this but nevertheless my colleagues insisted that we took on his case.

We all worked extra time here to have his case resolved before Christmas, which we did manage to do. After a successful ending, he then sent us the most beautiful testimonial which made the whole thing worthwhile for all of us here. He also wanted us to tell his story, of course without mentioning any names, because he knows there are other people out there, just like him who are victims of pornographic extortions and who are as desperate to get their lives back, by having pornographic videos deleted from the internet, as he was before he made that call that changed his life.
"I don't know if you have the real notion of what just happened! You guys have helped me to overtake the most difficult moment of my life! You were the ones on my side when I couldn't find hope anywhere else! I felt I was being understood from day one. You understood the whole situation and you were capable of putting into words all the turmoil that was inside me. Even your patience ,with my almost daily calls asking for updates ,was overwhelming! Great team, great people ! God bless you all, Thank you!"
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