Britain: A nation of accidental criminals

Nearly half of us don't know we're breaking the law when we post pictures, download videos and... er... impersonate a police officer online.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
According to data crunched by, 59% of us Brits are digital desperados, internet outlaws and highjackers on the information highway. We’re uploading concert footage illegally, downloading copyrighted images and getting up to all manner of high jinks online.

The seedy criminal underbelly of the web has finally been exposed.  

Nearly a third of the people surveyed ‘don’t know what constitutes an illegal tweet’ – the shame! (MT confesses it doesn’t know either but presumes it’s something to do with libel. Something that we, as an upstanding title, know nothing about of course. Perhaps selling drugs on Twitter would be illegal too? Or ‘twaping’- posting from someone else account without their permission? Oh dear. We’re getting ahead of ourselves here.)

Only 55% of these digital dingbats know that ‘the incitement of violence online’ is illegal and just three out of four people were able to spot that ‘falsely giving the impression that you are a police officer’ is breaking the law.

Impersonating a violent police officer on Twitter being the greatest evil of all.

Of the nine ‘HIGH RISK’ areas, these are the key areas of skulduggery:

•    Uploading copyrighted content (photos, song lyrics, guitar tabs, tv clips) to a personal website or social network (33% average pass rate)
•    Misusing copyrighted material on blogs and online plagiarism (35% average pass rate)
•    Discussing or publishing details of a super injunction (38% average pass rate)
•    Defaming other people using social media (42% average pass rate)
•    Uploading and downloading music illegally (44% average pass rate)

If you are a web villain and want to confess your sins, please feel free to do so anonymously below. MT will issue an e-pardon to all those worthy of our webby forgiveness.

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