• Sweden's news in English
 
almadalen_header

Swedish lawyers track and charge net trolls

Published: 29 Apr 2014 13:23 GMT+02:00

Stockholm University civil law professor Mårten Schultz quite accidentally sums up his latest venture brashly on his Twitter account.

"In your rearview twitter-mirror is the motherf***ing law"

Translation: You could pay, literally, for what you say online. .

"When people use freedom of speech to hurt other people, they have a responsibility," Schultz told The Local about the new volunteer  Law and Internet Institute (Institutet för Juridik & Internet - IJI), which takes aim specifically at slander, violations, and threats made online.

Some internet users have not relented, but their victims are now fighting back. As Swedish media personality Robert Aschberg hunts down online haters on the new television programme Troll Hunters (Trolljägarna), Schultz and his partners are using Sweden's civil law code to hit up the tormentors for cash.

They're sending the bullies damage claims on behalf of people in Sweden who have been targeted by offensive and threatening statements. 

But where does the online hatred come from? 

"If I scream 'Whore!' in your face, I realize it might come back to bite me in the rear, but psychologists talk about dehumanizing the person on the other side of the cable, you don't see the person," Schultz says.

Last year, net haters bombarded a young Swedish woman with comments after she complained about a Tupac Shakur T-shirt on sale at H&M. 

"How do you think the woman who was raped feels when she sees his face in your stores, on your clothes," Julia wrote on the Swedish clothing giant's Facebook page. Shakur was accused of rape in the early 1990s. He was convicted of sexual abuse in 1993.

The avalanche of abuse that followed shocked Julia. She was called disgusting and encouraged to commit suicide. Another wrote that they hoped Julia would be raped.

"Internet can stoke a mob mentality," Schultz says in reference to Julia's treatment online. "You unite against a common enemy and egg each other one. It's a rabble." 

Julia reported her online abusers to the police, who soon closed down the investigation. They said that it was difficult to investigate because H&M had erased the worst of the comments from its page by the time the local police officers looked into the case.

Schultz and his partners decided they would help Julia instead. They managed to find the name and addresses of several commenters. Citing civil rather than criminal law, the team simply sent five online bullies a 5,000-kronor ($765) damages claim for violating Julia's person (kränkningsersättning) and/or aggravated harassment (allvarligt ofredande). 

One person has transferred the money. 

"And all honour to him," Schultz said. "It wasn't honourable to write what he wrote, but it is honourable to confess to what he did, to take responsibility, and to pay up." 

 

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Saab signs deal worth billions for Swedish subs
What the new submarines could look like. Photo: Saab AB

Saab signs deal worth billions for Swedish subs

UPDATED: A deal between Swedish defence giant Saab and Sweden's military for two submarines worth 8.6 billion kronor ($1.04 billion) is set to boost jobs in the Nordic country, chief executive Håkan Buskhe said on Tuesday. READ  

Lisa Holm murder
Missing teenager murder suspect released

Missing teenager murder suspect released

One of the men police have been holding on suspicion of murdering missing teenager Lisa Holm has been released but his older brother remains in police custody. READ  

Almedalen 2015
LIVE: Sweden's political power forum - Day Three
Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch Thor speaking to the TT newswire. Photo: TT

LIVE: Sweden's political power forum - Day Three

Sweden's newest and youngest leader Ebba Busch Thor takes to the stage at Almedalen on Tuesday, as the biggest week in Swedish politics continues with the Christian Democrats in focus. READ  

Vanished Swedish teen calls mum from Syria
A photo from Nusra Front's Twitter feed in March 2015. Photo: TT

Vanished Swedish teen calls mum from Syria

UPDATED: A 15-year-old girl from southern Sweden who has been missing since last month, has phoned her family to say she’s in Homs in Syria, Swedish media are reporting. READ  

Video
US herring video is 'an insult to Sweden'
Screengrab: BuzzFeed Video/YouTube

US herring video is 'an insult to Sweden'

A fermented herring expert has expressed outrage at a BuzzFeed video in which Americans turn up their noses at the Swedish delicacy. Their comments, he says, are an “insult to the Swedish people and Swedish culture”. READ  

Almedalen 2015 with the Swedish Institute
Why is Sweden still working with Russia?
Panelists discuss the importance of cooperating with Russia. Photo: The Local

Why is Sweden still working with Russia?

Relations between Russia and the EU might be tense, but Sweden is working hard to build connections - from the ground up. READ  

Swedish woman battles killer slug invasion
The 'killer slugs' invade Sweden every year. Photo: Gunnar Lundmark/SvD/SCANPIX

Swedish woman battles killer slug invasion

A Swedish woman armed with nothing but her wits and a bucket has told how she fought off an army of almost 2,000 Spanish slugs. READ  

Presented by Natural Cycles
Swedish women’s sex habits: riskier than ever
Photo: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/IStockPhoto

Swedish women’s sex habits: riskier than ever

Research shows that young Swedish females are taking more risks when it comes to sex – but why? READ  

Opinion
Why Almedalen just keeps getting better
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at Almedalen this week. Photo: TT

Why Almedalen just keeps getting better

Sweden’s annual politics week might be a slick, choreographed jamboree, but it’s also an amazing way to broaden your horizons. Other countries should learn from it, argues The Local's Managing Editor James Savage. READ  

Swede wins $18m in Wall Street harassment case
A Swedish woman sued her Wall Street boss. Photo: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Swede wins $18m in Wall Street harassment case

A New York court has ordered a Wall Street mogul to pay $18 million (nearly 150 million kronor) to a Swedish woman who sued her boss for sexual harassment. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Property of the week: Visby, Gotland
National
Sweden set for sunniest week of the year
Gallery
People-watching: June 26th-28th
Features
The Local's essential guide to who's who in Swedish politics
National
More Swedish military exercises as Russia aggression fears grow
Blog updates

26 June

Editor’s blog, June 26th (The Local Sweden) »

"Greetings from Stockholm, We’re about to transport our newsroom to the idyllic Swedish island of Gotland for..." READ »

 

23 June

Defending Our Interests … And Our Allies (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"This is an important week for European security, with decisions affecting Europe’s unstable Southern and Eastern..." READ »

 
 
 
National
What's on in Sweden this week
Travel
Why Swedish camp sites are set for a bumper summer
National
Swedish summer's really on its way (at least according to forecasters)
Gallery
People-watching: June 24th
National
Why are southern Swedes angry about becoming 'Danish' again?
Society
Lifestyle: When to catch your favourite features on The Local
National
Is Sweden one of the world's most peaceful nations?
Sponsored Article
Harstena: Travelling to Sweden's secret islands
National
One in ten Swedish cats homeless
Sponsored Article
'I constantly evolve my Swedishness'
Gallery
Property of the week: Värmdö, Stockholm
Society
Would you eat this Swedish pizza?
National
Swedish royals' dream honeymoon
National
Swedish hospital opens first centre for male rape victims
Gallery
People-watching: June 20th-21st
Photo: TT
Lifestyle
Midsummer: The Local's guide to Sweden's craziest festival
Sponsored Article
Murder, myth and magic: Travelling to the birthplace of Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th
Sponsored Article
Gallery: Life in Sweden's secret archipelago
Society
Seven alternative names for Sweden's Prince Nicolas Paul Gustaf
National
FBI returns stolen Swedish books
National
Want to smell like Zlatan?
National
Royal joy over birth of new prince
Gallery
Property of the week: Brantevik, Simrishamn
National
How racy graffiti inspired a teacher's high school sex class
Gallery
People-watching: June 12th-14th
National
As it happened: Prince Carl Philip marries Sofia Hellqvist
Technology
Is Stockholm the world's creative capital?
National
Timeline: Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
KTH President: ‘Sweden’s success is because of its size’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: New royal couple Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Features
Ten Swedish festivals to discover
Features
Ten reasons Stockholm is definitely way cooler than Copenhagen
National
VIDEO: Watch Swedish man rescue baby elk from cold creek
National
VIDEO: Have you seen this jet ski blunder at a Malmö hotel opening?
Gallery
People-watching: June 10th
National
Swedish airports launch cheeky safe sex toilet campaign
Gallery
IN PICTURES: June summer snaps
Politics
Rainbow flag compared to swastika by 'sorry' Swedish councillor
Sponsored Article
Why expat women are choosing Swedish natural birth control
National
Animal group barking over this colourful Swedish pooch
Society
Would you pay to go dwarf-tossing?
Gallery
Östergötland: Pilgrimage to the heart of historic Sweden
Lifestyle
In need of some summer loving? Here's how to date in Sweden
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: Nine questions every expat should ask
Sponsored Article
The millionaire teacher who leads by tough love
Sponsored Article
How to change the world: Malmö to Mogadishu
Sponsored Article
'No one tells expats about unemployment benefits'
Sponsored Article
What it's like to be a student in Malmö
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,221
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se