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Cops should help us slay trolls, says Facebook wonk

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LCC Police forces need to be better equipped to deal cybercrime and online misbehaviour, a couple of web grandees have declared.

Lord Richard Allan, director of European policy for Facebook, said that firms providing services online had some ways to tackle bad behaviour on their websites, but needed a hand from law enforcement.

“From the point of view of a service provider, we’re clear that there are certain things we can do, like ban them, but there are limits,” he said.

He added that it was a problem on both sides and, as such, internet firms and police needed to work better together. However, he said that “there is still a gap between online providers and police in terms of knowledge”.

According to Allan, web firms need to be able to go to the police when their own remedies aren’t enough and know that offenders will “face the full force of the law”.

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, agreed, saying that his website could ban abusive users, but if trolls were determined and web-savvy, they could get back in – for example by using different IP addresses.

He added that internet companies had to spend a lot of time and resources chasing down the small number of users who were offensive. He also said that police lacked the necessary skills to be helpful with online problems.

“Often when we contact law enforcement, they don’t know what to do,” he said. “They need more training and need to know more about how it works.”

Wales and Allan were speaking at the London Conference on Cyberspace (LCC) where governments and businesses have gathered to try to come up with agreements on the future of global cyberspace. ®

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