back to article Flirty texting could land Scots in jail for 10 years

Scots face up to 10 years in jail for sending text messages or emails with sexual content. Scotland's just-published Sexual Offences Bill contains stiff penalties for any sexual messages whose intent is to humiliate the recipient. The Bill is a radical revision of sex crime law in Scotland and broadly follows last December's …


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  1. dervheid

    It must sound like a good idea...

    but it sounds like the ideal weapon for the 'bunny boiler' ex girlfriend / boyfriend /wife / husband / civil partner to use in cases of acrimonious break-ups.

    "If you leave me now, I'll show them all the smutty texts you sent. Ooooh No, off to jail you'll go!"

    Hearts in the right place, heads up arses when it comes to understanding human nature. Slight improvement to one problem, massive new one caused.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Dodgy ground

    This seems to be VERY open to interpretation, surely? As what is considered normal to one person might be considered perverted and filthy to another.

    What are we to do.... send a text first saying "Warning, I'm about to send you some smut! please don't read if easily offended!"?

    And will this law only apply to text sent internally in Scotland? or from and to as well?

    Paris- Because we ALL know about the smut on her phone!!!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Gilbert and Sullivan come to town

    In "The Mikado" the only crime punishable by death was flirting. Sounds like life north of the border is now a comic opera.

    Mines the coat with the opera glasses in the pocket.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Congrats Scotland...

    Congrats Scotland,

    you have officially managed to make a law which is so stupid that even the english government couldnt make it.

  5. Magnus

    Keep a Lawyer on retainer...

    Between this, copyright laws etc you start wondering whether you should start letting a lawyer vet all your interactions...

  6. Rich Silver badge


    "That person could be found guilty of another new offence, that of coercing a person into looking at an image of a sexual activity."

    So "Oi, mate, look at the knockers on her" could land you in the clink too???


  7. Jamie

    All hail the PC culture of the US

    I use to work for a US company and one of my colleagues while out for a smoke was talking to another colleague about a site he owns which sells sex aids. An older lady heard this conversation by eavsdropping and he got fired.

    Problem with all these things it common sense is out the window and the lunacy parties take place.

  8. Alan Wilkinson

    Being offensive is natural, not a crime

    More garbage legislation. Offending people is not a crime. Hurting or damaging them or their property is. These do-gooders need to be told where to stick their daft laws.

  9. Mike Crawshaw
    Thumb Down

    Proving Consent?

    Cue the entrance of a bunch of bitter ex's saying "He harassed me! Look! I never asked for him to send me this filthy knock-knock joke and it's humiliated me!"


    <--mine's the one with consent forms from everyone I text, just in case this spreads to England with a retrospective clause.

  10. Duncan Hothersall

    Fair enough piss-take headline

    Fair enough piss-take headline, but if you get past the tabloid level for a moment this new bill is actually pretty good. It removes the criminalisation of young people for exploring their sexualities, it removes gender-based discrimination from the law, and it is generally a pragmatic and proportionate response to social changes. Speaking as someone who loathes the SNP, they have done well here.

  11. Marvin the Martian
    Thumb Down

    What are you arguing here?

    If your "flirty" texts cannot be legally distinguished from those "clearly intended to humiliate", then frankly I'm glad not to know you.

  12. Dazed and Confused
    Paris Hilton

    Scottland outlaws making love in a semi detached house!

    > "Causing a person to see or hear an indecent communication is also an offence. It can be committed by reading "a passage in a book or magazine" or by communicating the sounds of actual or simulated sexual activity or by communicating in sign language."

    So if the neighbours can hear you, you go to jail for 10 years!


    And I thought our government were insane

    Paris, because I understand she gets noisy in hotel rooms

  13. Dave Bell

    And all those late-night TV adverts for Text-dating...

    The key point is that the person receiving the message didn't ask for it.

    There's going to be edge cases--arguments about the timing of the "stop that" message.

    And argument over just what is going to fall within the potentially illegal category. It'll be interesting if some advertising posters got caught.

    My friends in Scotland already keep their work email addresses private: "Human Resources" sometimes seems to lack a sense of humour and proportion. But I can't see this changing how I relate to friends.

  14. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    You cannot be serious.... :-)

    "The offence will be committed if someone sends an unsolicited text message to someone else which a court finds was designed to give the sender sexual gratification" ..... What offence when always successful?

    And Ms Hilton because Her Modus Operandi/Vivendi could easily be Cited for Naked Incitement.

    In the War on Drugs is the Answer always to say No Thanks, but Thanks for Asking. And so is it with every Sweet Temptation/Rabid Desire ..... for there is Always So Much More Elsewhere when you are Virtually Aware. In some Sects would that be a State of QuITe Immaculate Grace.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    I guess that means flirting and dirty talk via text, phone, msn, e-mail, letter etc is out. What next, erotic works of fiction? What about if we say things in person, is that going to soon be illegal too? If they want to go that far, how about making it illegal to wear short shirts or show cleavage and take us back to the dark ages repressing us.

    If someone is offended, they should speak up and explain and any people should communicate. There is no substitute for good communication in a relationship, of any sort. Lack of communication leads to asumptions, doubt and bad decisions.

    I'm glad I live across the border... even though it is not much better off this side.

  16. James Cleveland


    Bye bye, freedom.

  17. Shinku
    Gates Horns

    I reckon they're just not getting any...

    But seriously,

    "Causing a person to see or hear an indecent communication is also an offence. It can be committed by reading "a passage in a book or magazine" or by communicating the sounds of actual or simulated sexual activity or by communicating in sign language." ?!

    So any book that contains sexual description, any song that contains orgasm-like noises, any innocent I'm-not-sex-deprived-honest pen flicking between thumb and forefinger can be cause for arrest? Are they trying to become the deep south of Americaland? Perhaps we should all just never learn about anything sexual?

    Ok, so sexual harassment is and should be a crime, if someone's targeting someone and the feeling ain't mutual then fair enough, but under that wording, simply writing a mildly sexually suggestive book (or even your own diary, for that matter) could land you in the nick.

    Oversensitive gits.

    Oh, and Evil Bill, just to give you all nightmares after thinking about sex and seeing that picture in the same moment.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I do not understand...

    ...why these sorts of 'sexual crimes' are treated so seriously.

    Something that would have seemed romantic 50 years ago is enough to land you in gaol these days.

    We really are a nation of prudes.

    Compare to a country such as Greece, where hardcore pornography (i.e. playing cards) are frequently sold on public display at toddler height.

    Why are the British so sexually repressed as to treat anything remotely connected to sex as a Cardinal Sin?

    Paris Hilton, because she would enjoy a few flirty texts... probably...

  19. Pete
    Paris Hilton

    Timely law

    Remembering the story earlier this week about the guy sending a video of his meeting with Mrs Palm.

    Odd idea of flirting being the same thing as humiliating the recipient though - and presumably if the flirting has got that far you've got received messages as defence

    Paris because my post feels too serious for a friday.

  20. BJ
    Paris Hilton

    Did he really say...

    ..."stiff penalties"?

  21. Anonymous Coward


    Does this mean porn spammers are going to jail, or the sys admin who did not block the porn email or worse still labelled it offensive or redirected it?

  22. Rich Silver badge


    So now you can't even tell someone to fuck off without getting nicked!?

    And using a well known masturbation hand gesture to express your displeasure and contempt for someone after they run a red light and crash into your car is well out of order!

    eBay's new "positive-only" feedback policy is just the tip of the iceberg - now if someone mugs or rapes you, are you supposed to apologise for getting in your assailants way? Offer them compensation for troubling them, perhaps? Offer them a cup of tea while they get their breath back, maybe?

    What the f&$%* $£&(^%^@ #~*$%&* hell is this country coming to???

  23. John Latham

    Spam, spam, spam, spam

    "The Bill also bans the sending of images of a person or an "imaginary person" engaging in sexual activity without the receiver's permission"

  24. Al
    Black Helicopters

    More crimes on the statute books - hoorah!

    Surely there's already adequate legislation to cover the worst excesses that this new legislation is meant to prevent?

    This is just another example of lawmakers going for easy targets. Of course it's a good idea to prevent 'sex pests' (TM Daily Mail) making people's lives miserable, but this iffy legislation seems to have been cobbled together so a bunch of politicians can say they've been tough on sex offenders - while not actually making anyone any safer. No-one's going to want to risk their political career by saying 'This is daft', but who's the law going to protect who isn't already covered? One or two idiots will be cautioned for sending ill-advised texts, and maybe some drunk will end up on page 22 of The Sun for sending a text to the wrong person, but that's likely to be it.

    Black helicopter because this is all happening since Alec Salmond found out about my photoshops of him and me at it like pistons.... (i stll <3 u, Alec)

  25. Stuart
    Thumb Down

    Hadrian's Wall

    So if I send a dirty text from England to my (ex-)friend in Scotland - where would the action - hence offence been committed?

    If the sassenachs don't follow the touch jocks in legislating this south of the border does this make us a haven for text sending? Will the scots be putting up border controls to nab us if we stray too far north?

  26. James
    Thumb Down

    And yet...

    Actually raping someone gets you eight years...

  27. Anonymous Coward

    No more...

    goatse-ing ppl... or spend a spell at HMs pleasure.

    (Protective eye-wear, preferably a blindfold.)

  28. Steve Kay
    Thumb Down

    Jebus H. McCorbett --- bit harsh innit

    From Pinsent Masons LLP write up:

    "The offence will be committed if someone sends an unsolicited text message to someone else which a court finds was designed to give the sender sexual gratification..."

    That's me in chokey for "up to 10 years" for exchanging texts with a certain lady-friend, should I cross the border to the land of deep-fried Mars bars. My bestest chum is a relocated Dundonian and still has exes back home who get jiggy via the mobular phonotron, the whole lot of them will be doing porridge. Heaven only knows what will happen if you remoatse* someone via Bluetooth.

    Has American conservativism taken over the world or something?

    * = remote Goatse

  29. Huxley


    In a few years time it will be illegal to have a sense of humour! we''ll have to ask our friend's permission before telling them a joke just in case you end up in jail for 10 years! Why not ban other things that might cause offence? - reality tv shows, marmite, politicians with nothing better to do than come up with stupid laws, ugly people, dogs in handbags, irritating adverts....

  30. Eddie Edwards

    Simulated orgasm?

    "or by communicating the sounds of actual or simulated sexual activity"

    Meg Ryan's fucked then.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sticks and stones may break my bones

    "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never harm me"....It's what we tell kids to remind them they're just words and words can't do harm unless you choose to let them.

    Likewise if a person sends a text (at time t1) and the person who receives that text is offended (at time t2), you can't rewind time and undo that, the sender won't know till t2 that their message has caused offence, but can't jump in the tardis to t1 and undo this.

    This is why they put 'designed to' in the law, is shifts the burden onto the sender to try to predict whether the person will be offended or not. But apparently the person claiming to be offended, can't predict that this person will offend them and perhaps they shouldn't give out their telephone number to them.

    It also creates an attack vector, since there is medical test for 'being offended', 'claiming to be offended' will count the same, if the person wants to get back at the sender, they'll pretend to have victorian morals when it suits them.

    Another badly conceived nanny law.

  32. Steven Raith


    Has the sense of responsibility and just dealing with shit that gets thrown at you at life completely dissipated from Scotland since I left five years ago?

    Isn't this what laws regarding harrasment are supposed to control? Sexual content or not, harrasment is harrasment, so whats the use of this?

    Steven R

    Joke icon - because this *must* be what this is?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Catch a spammer!

    Do you suppose this applies to all those adverts that try to make you feel so sexually inadequate (and humiliated) you need to buy some dodgy chemical?

  34. Whitter
    Paris Hilton


    While this law, as described, could be misused extensively, it would apply to porn banners / adverts served up by non-porn ad-supported websites.

    Paris, 'cos her video would apparently get you some serious hard time.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Best not publish

    ... any erotic literature north of the border then...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Like ice dancing or gymnastics, another jury sport: determining someone's intent :-/

    I had honestly thought that they would be more sensible in Scotland, but I fear they too have been bitten by the will-something-please-think-of-the-children bug

    /Paris because this is probably the last opportunity to use it before it is deemed too explicit

  37. William Old
    Thumb Up

    It won't just land Scots in jail for 10 years...!

    ... because of the following provision:

    S.47(7) Any act of incitement by means of a message (however communicated) is to be treated as done in Scotland if the message is sent or received in Scotland.

    So you flirty Sassenachs had better behave, as well!

  38. The Rock

    Yet another erosion of the crumbling cliff of free society....

    ... in fact, more like big chunk of the cliff has just fallen off and landed in the sea.

    So can I be banged up for making the wanker signal at a mate on a bus? I'm sure that communication could be intercepted by a fellow passenger.

    I hate all this legislation based on the 'perspective of the recipient'. I honestly dont see what the big deal is about offending people. Its like offending people (a legitimate activity) is now the new racism (an illigitimate activity).

    Whats this trying to stop exactly? And why cant those activities be stopped with existing legislation?

    If its in the workplace then that will already be covered by sex discrimination et al. If its outside the work place, then surely harassment laws are in place. If someone sends another person they dont know a one off sexually explicit text message, im quite sure the harm to the recipient doesnt merit a 10 year jail sentence. I mean good god, im sure convicted paedophiles get less time than that.... and the acts they committ are arguably the worst damaging of all, including murder (at least the suffering of the victim ends at death).

    Perhaps this is one for David Davis to add to his list?

    I once wrote to my MP and asked when it was a worse crime for a person to beat me up based on that fact I was black, gay, or muslim... but not so bad if it was because I was posh, a Liverpool fan, or a goth. All I got back was nonsensical derision of my legitimate points. When did we allow idiots to start making laws based on political correctness (which by definition ISNT what is right, its what is politically least damaging to say), and not sound legal arguments, principles, and ethics? Im out of here!...

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "communicating the sounds of actual or simulated sexual activity"

    We have thin walls and neighbours.

    So how is prison food?

    Paris. Because you know theres not going to be a video set in Scotland!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever next!

    In a country where the men don't where anything under their kilts it's hard to imagine what would constitute going to far :-)

    It seems that this is another foolish idea from the powers that be. When will they learn that you can't legislate common morality? The law is a reflection of the lowest common denominator of morality, not a weapon to create a new morality.

  41. Graham Marsden

    Yes, but...

    ... Having just read through the Scottish Bill, it's a shame that this article focuses on only one small area of what is actually an eminently sensible proposed set of laws.

    Unlike the English Government's usual "sledgehammer to crack a nut" approach, the Scottish have engaged in some joined up thinking such that it's much clearer what actually would or wouldn't be an offence including, for instance, not criminalising children for "underage sex" if they are between 13 and 16 but the difference between their ages is less than two years.

    Admittedly the possible maximum of 10 years for a text seems excessive, especially since they only have a maximum of 5 years for offences such as indecent exposure or "administering a substance for sexual purposes" (ie a date rape drug) and it's 10 years for causing a child to be present during sexual activity or "communicating indecently with a young child", but hopefully this anomaly would be sorted out during debate of a Bill that the English Government could learn a lot from.

  42. Laurent_Z


    There goes my SMS based Hooker ring ....Ehhh Escort institution

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Three words...

    Oh. My. God.

    Enforcement is clearly going to be difficult and the justification for 10 years imprisonment isn't going to be easy to come by I'm sure but I am certain that some politically correct council is going to try this to make an example of some poor soul...

    Watch out Scotland!

  44. fishman
    Paris Hilton

    I'm offended

    This law is ripe for abuse.

    -Paris, since she offends almost everyone.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10yrs 4 a txt?

    R U Kdng?

    I really, really, really, really want to know what text message they've got in mind for a 10 year sentence...

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    what if the sender doesn't know it's inappropriate? For example if the recipient changes phone numbers and gives the old phone + sim to a friend or relative?

    Alternatively, what if you answer the phone using speakerphone (or just have a loud handset) for what turns out to be a personal call?

    "another new offence, that of coercing a person into looking at an image of a sexual activity" uh-huh... you can just imagine the Daily Heils' take on this: MindRape- Stop this sick filth!

    Seriously, though it does seem like it could be useful some times. I mean being able to call the police on someone loudly and graphically discussing their sex life on the bus would be a Godsend some days! Especially if you've got young kids with you. (That's discussing it on the bus, not their sex life on the bus. Which you'd hope was pretty minimal.)

  47. Mike Roantree

    images of a person or an "imaginary person" engaging in sexual activity

    How do u send images of an imaginary person doing anything?

    Or do really have a Friday head on today

  48. Chris Richards
    Paris Hilton

    how do you

    ..take a picture of an imaginary person?

    paris, because she knows more than her fair share about indecent material!

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    And there was me....

    thinking that Scots law was generally a cut above the rest of UK law in terms of sanity and pragmatism.

    This looks to be so subjective as to be unworkable, what's offensive to one person may not be to another, and anyone want to bet everything will me more offensive to the justice system than ever it would be to the individuals.

    "I put it to you members of the jury, that you would agree with me that this image of Paris naked is offensive in the extreme."

    It's funny how often we can be prudish when put like this m'lud.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Change of mind

    I was going to post on how stupid this is, but then I got far more pissed off with all the bloody Paris icon messages. Everyone, please, just quit it, it's getting really, really old. I don't want to see Paris Hilton and all the suggestive messages about her. Mr Salmond, I want all these people arrested! lol

  51. wim

    Scotland added to the list

    of countries that are to be avoided.

    It is getting hard lately to find a decent place to visit.

    I guess that is the ultimate goal of all politicians. Make sure that your population stays as much home (soundproofed of course) as possible, allow them to go to work wearing a non communication device (Ipod) and pay taxes.

    Does anybody know a nice Island for sale to start a new country ? I can understand why the guy from the Shetland island is declaring his independance. I would do the same thing.,23599,23892254-23109,00.html

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    simulated sexual activity ...

    "...or by communicating the sounds of actual or simulated sexual activity..."

    So that Harry Met Sally simulated orgasm scene might be enough to put you in the clink?

  53. Ash


    Next they'll be putting Bromide as well as Flourine in the drinking water.

    Red sashes all round, I think.

  54. rob

    the end of the telephone satelite channels then

    All it will need is one complaint and Sky will be in hot bother over the 10 minute free views and the 'chat channels'

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What if you send to the wrong number?

    So if your sending messages to someone that could be considered to be a bit "racy" and accidentally send a message to someone else and they're offended (admittedly if there a friend of yours on your phone they probably wouldn't be but you get my point) you'd do 10 years jail time? I mean it would be unsolicited, possibly for sexual gratification and may cause offence....

    How many times have you sent a message meant for one person to another?

    Bit scary really isn't it...

  56. ElFatbob

    @AC Re: Congrats Scotland

    Have to agree with you there. I've thought that, in the past, some of the laws our Scottish Parliament have passed have been quite good.

    Now it seems they have had a good look up their arse and - hey presto - pulled this one out. The Westminster infection must be catching.

  57. Claus P. Nielsen
    Thumb Up

    @ Steven Raith

    Hear Hear! - I completely agree.

    Harassment is the problem - whether it is sexual or not.

    Banning certain means of harassment whether they are actually used to harass or not is the act of morons.

    The special attention given to sexual harassment always amaze me.

    At least when you are sexually harassed you know that the person doing it sees something he/she likes in you. When you are harassed by people talking behind your back (and sometimes in front of it) about how stupid and incompetent you are, you will always have the lurking fear that maybe they are right - even when you know better.

  58. Mick Sheppard

    Piece work?

    Are our law makers on piece work? Do they get paid based on the number of laws they pass? I think it can be the only explanation for their desire to legislate explicitly (ooh err .. can I say that here ... oh damn the ooh err is going to get me in trouble) on every aspect of life.

    Getting coat because I'm going out of the door never to return.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So nobody will risk flirting...

    and nobody will get together and Scotland's falling population problem will be solved by virtue of there being no population to consider it a problem.

    I'm Kent Brockman and that was my two cents.

  60. Chris

    Harry meets Sally meets Scotland

    Does this mean that anyone watching 'When Harry me Sally' can be jailed too ?

    Actually come to think of it - Watching any of the Carry on films will land you in jail (And rightly so many would say) Leslie Phillips will be jailed just for opening his mouth !

    I'll get my dirty raincoat now...

  61. Law
    Paris Hilton

    but what about

    comments?? Does this mean I can't send the dirty-poem's I've been writing over the last 6 months for lil' miss Sarah Bee??

    Paris - because there's no Sarah Bee icon!!

  62. Anonymous Coward

    Holy Willie's Prayer

    I for one welcome the return of our old, Presbyterian prude overlords.

    Now if I send flirty filth to a quine back home, not only am I risking a spell in the clink, but the Swedish spooks will be listening to it as it traverses the wire.

    Burn 'em all.

  63. Sam


    "What the f&$%* $£&(^%^@ #~*$%&* hell is this country coming to???"

    What country would that be, then?

    (said the smug English bastard)

  64. DivisionBell


    I say old chap, I was weaned on Marmite, I'll have you know.

    Are you Australian? (No sexual offence meant.)

  65. Matt Martin

    Re: So..

    "Alternatively, what if you answer the phone using speakerphone (or just have a loud handset) "

    Now that's got to be worth 10 years right there, forget about the content of the call.

  66. alphaxion


    and how, pray tell, are they going to determine whether that specific person is actually using their email or phone to send that specific message?

    Hackers just got another extortion weapon.

    Can someone please put all of our politcal staff onto rudimentary technology awareness and understanding courses? I'll be willing to train them for a cool £100mil. :)

  67. Bruce Leyden


    Last time I checked there was actually a distinction between the letter and the spirit of the law. Seems to me the spirit of this one is perfectly sound. Mind you, judging by the Sun/Star/Mirror-style righteously indignant tone of 99% of the comments here, it looks like they have rather shot themselves in the foot with the ten year maximum sentence thing. Fuck knows what the *actual* tabloid response will be. Must remember to buy myself a copy tomorrow - it's the end of the month and I suppose I am running low on bog roll.

  68. Trevor

    excuse me?

    mobular phonotron? Can we add this to the reg's dictionary?

    what about lapular computotron? or is that going too far?

  69. Gary
    Black Helicopters

    Yet more nonsense...

    to make up for the fact that the judicial system has no idea of the concept of common sense. It seems completely incapable of dealing with serious offences so it goes after easy targets and gives complete idiots the opportunity to clog up the courts with petty 'offences'.

    Seriously it is about time us proles use the courts to go after the people who come up with these ideas and use it against them before they come knocking on our doors in the middle of the night

  70. Aaron
    Paris Hilton

    Oh this is gonna have some "interesting" cases

    Obviously this law's wording has an incredibly broad coverage, most of which would be overlooked and ignored because it simply just isnt enforceable, I cant wait for the first cases of a jilted ex getting spiteful and claiming messages sent and quite welcomed at the time were instead harassment.

    Plus if you really were going to harass someone you may as well just rape them because you will probably do less time? Now thats the bit that is crazy, sure things like this should have a penalty but it should not be more than the far more serious and damaging crimes carry.

    What about sending message's from a spoofed number? You spoof the number of someone you don't like, do it from a disposable pay as you go phone, send out a load of abuse and just watch the person you don't like get arrested. Im sure theres loads of other ways this law can and will be abused.

    Paris because I bet she has sent her fair share of naught message ;)

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    ... where I am pretty much on the border, most of the time my mobile signal comes from yon England... so I may be able to claim I was in England at the time quite reasonably, however the overlap is quite large so I can be miles inside Scotland and attached to an English cell.

    Conversely there could be pockets of innocent English texters, in England that fall foul of this because they happen to be registered to a Scottish cell.

    Unworkable crap.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is you use something like.....

    Mailwasher ( to bounce back emails to their sender ,and that email happens to be from a real but forged email address and contains porn ??.

    Hmm, this country, well Scotland, is becoming like a Police State. Maybe soon we will not need to lock up illegal immigrants because they will be the only ones outside prison ?.

    Really it is a crying shame that this country is going right down the tubes.

  73. Sabine Miehlbradt

    Quite useful actually

    Imagine some agency currently in Scotland has tapped the phone of the bad terrorist but the silly bugger does not talk about any thing terroristical.

    Since you are the agency you cannot be wrong about the terrorist so all you do is have the listening agent be offended by what the bad terrorist says to his girlfriend or mates and you can bung him in the clink for 10 years.

    Mission accomplished.

  74. Anonymous Coward

    "Communicating indecently"

    I'm sorry ,but have you never been in Scotland when it's turning out time? Better arrest the whole bloody town.

  75. J

    @ people comparing this to America

    "Has American conservativism taken over the world or something?"

    Hm... It's not hard to see where the Americans got it from, is it? After all, most of them, their culture and their morals seem to have come from those isles over there... So stop feeling smug, you Anglos! :o)

  76. Dazed and Confused

    Will they give Scotland it's own country code?

    If they are going to have laws that make it illegal to send flirty messages to someone in Scotland when the same message would be legal in England are they going to give Scotland it's own country code so we can tell whether we are breaking the law or not?

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I hope that means they can arrest anyone who has a misogynist gangsta rap ringtone. at least something good will come of it.

  78. That Guy


    Lol read this while listening to Rage against the machine, makes you really angry cuz this is a piss take do we have the freedom to do anything but comply?

  79. amanfromMars Silver badge

    NEUKlearer Enrichment...Norse Style

    "what about lapular computotron? or is that going too far?" .... By Trevor

    Posted Friday 20th June 2008 14:36 GMT

    Just far enough for the Sweet Spot, Trevor, is far enough as any further is Waste and Wasted unless and until ReCycled. The Swedes are Past Masters/Post Modern Private Pioneers at ITs Seductive Primal Art.

  80. Chris iverson

    @ All hail the PC culture of the US

    "I use to work for a US company and one of my colleagues while out for a smoke was talking to another colleague about a site he owns which sells sex aids. An older lady heard this conversation by eavsdropping and he got fired.

    Problem with all these things it common sense is out the window and the lunacy parties take place."


    But here you can argue wrongful termination and involve the business card of a lawyer and most companies will fall as to not get the bad PR

  81. Fatty Treats

    At least...

    There'll be no more shampoo ads!

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but it's for the CHILDREN!

    Normally such nanny-state laws are promoted with some variation of the above title. This effort doesn't even pretend to be for protection of only children. Apparently, it's aimed at adults (!?), who most rational people would expect to be able to use the delete key for unsolicited harassment.

    Are the peoples of the motherland actually going to allow the all-wise state to JAIL people for writing a non-threatening email? The power this gives the state to harass individuals is frightening. Thought crime! Thought crime!

    I despair for the people of Scotland, AND their children.


  83. David Simpson

    When will the madness end ?

    I've lived in Scotland for 4 years and its mildly saner than Belfast (where I'm from) but in general the whole of the UK is going mental !

    Physical violence is what law makers should be going after, drunken violence, sexual assault, hell even sober violence should be an automatic jail sentence.

    If the government want to lower prison populations (and the associated cost)

    Then all non-violent crimes should not automatically end in a jail term, get them out working instead.

    This new law may make it easier for woman to stop unwanted attention but 10 years in prison is ridiculous !! Stop the moralisic bullshit, no-one has the right to being offended by anything GROW UP !

    Why not make a law that states when a woman makes a police complaint about unwanted phone attention, they give her a crime number she gives that to her phone network and they change her number for free. easy.

    As for unwanted emails , anyone ever heard of a spam filter ? jesus when will the madness end ?

  84. R

    Read the bill

    or is that too much work. Seriously - the bill states that an 'indecent communication' takes place ONLY when the other party has not consented to receiving it and the sending party does not have a reasonable belief that they consent, AND where the message is sent for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification or humiliating, distressing or alarming the recipient.

    So, no, sorry to disappoint. The bill doesn't outlaw sex in a semi-detached house, or even in a council flat.

    And yes, you can send flirty texts to your SO where you have reasonable belief they want to receive them.

  85. Graham Marsden

    More relevant information...

    Having now had time to look through the Explanatory Notes here's some more information regarding this offence:

    The explanatory notes on the "Communicating Indecently" section say:

    * * * * *

    23. Both subsections (1) and (2) provide that the offences are committed only where the victim did not consent to the activity and the perpetrator had no reasonable belief that the victim consented.


    26. Subsection (3) provides that an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is committed only where the perpetrator’s purpose is to obtain sexual gratification, or to humiliate, distress or alarm the victim.


    28. Subsection (5) provides a test for whether an activity is sexual for the purposes of this section. This is effectively the same as the test used in section 2 – see paragraph 13 above.

    (Paragraph 13 says: [...] It provides that an activity is sexual if a reasonable person would, in all the circumstances of the case, consider it to be sexual.)

    * * * * *

    This suggests that it would require the prosecution to demonstrate that the communication was sent "to obtain sexual gratification" or "to humiliate, distress or alarm the victim".

    This is unlike the UK's "Allowable Defence" for possession of "Extreme Pornography" in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act that the image was not owned "for sexual arousal", ie a much more stringent test.

    I still think that 10 years is ridiculously excessive, but perhaps people might like to stop their knees jerking when they read an article like this and try to ascertain a few of the facts first...

  86. Anonymous Coward

    New chat up line

    I could help but notice you from across the room there, Would be so kind to fill in the legal document saying that you agree and are not offended or humiliated when i start flirting with you.

    ha what joke of law

    oh btw can someone blow up all the computers in Scotland's as i just sent an email around Scotland to all the females saying 'get your tits out'


  87. RW

    Re: I do not understand...

    "Why are the British so sexually repressed as to treat anything remotely connected to sex as a Cardinal Sin?"

    Andrea Dworkin: "All intercourse is rape."

    When asked about gay porn, she came up with some cockamamie, twisted anti-logic that claimed it objectified sex and therefore was bad too. Or something along those lines.

    Poor Andrea. Toward the end of her life, she claimed to have been drugged in Paris (no jokes please!) and subsequently date-raped. The news articles included a picture of this snaggle-toothed, wild-haired old woman that no one in their right mind would waste good rohypnol or ghb on. Must've been desperate for some more publicity.

    Truth is that she and other so-called radical feminists are/were simply man haters who hate(d) that idea that anyone, anywhere was having a good time doing the dirty with a happy partner. One has to wonder what led to this sorry state.

    Poor Andrea!

  88. Steve Evans


    ...this would already be covered by harassment laws...

    However, congrats to Scotland for making a bonkers law, without thinking about the technology involved...

    What happens if the receiver is in Scotland, and the sender in England? Or vice versa?

    What if the receiver is in Scotland, but happens to be logged onto a cell on the other side of the border in England? Or in England and happens to be logged on to a cell in Scotland?

    What about if both parties are English and are on the English side of the border, but happen to both be logged onto Scottish cells? I know the whole of the UK is pretty much run by Scots these days (second only to when James I was on the throne), but surely we need to keep their daft laws behind the little wall!

    I can see lawyers making lots of money, but bugger all convictions!

    Mines the one with the emigration papers in the pocket.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Does this mean...

    ...that El Reg comments will have to be more carefully moderated for our colleagues north of the border? After all, it's not exactly unknown to stumble across a bit of, erm, innuendo on this site is it? Such things could easily cause offence to some (while making most of us spill our tea over the keyboard).

    Oh, and this icon will definitely have to go!

  90. Anonymous Coward

    Got a Little Tool?

    Just need a little tool like this:

    And say what you wish!

    |-|3'/ j00Z $3><'/ 74r7! |\|1(3 |-|34\/'/ 717$, 9r3@ (4/\/\3L 703 4|\|D 4PPL3 4$$. (UpHpH /\/\3 |\|0\/\/ b17(|-|!


  91. yeah, right.

    sounds like...

    ... some Scottish politicians have been partaking of less whisk(e)y and more crack up there. That or the religious nutters have regained the upper hand.

  92. Anonymous Coward

    The dangers of getting textual

    I cannot help but make the observation, that those who have actually read the bill take a rather more rational view, than those have not.

    But then, we all love a good moan -- and this is any old excuse. Even if it's not Brown's Britain, but Salmond's Scotland, that is the subject of discourse.

  93. Tim


    So apparently in Scotland showing some one the scene in "When Harry met Sally" where she fakes an orgasm in the restaurant could land you in jail for 10 years. This from the land where men are men and the sheep are nervous.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About time too

    Well I'm glad about this actually, as I thought it was only us English who could think up idiotic laws. Oh wait a minute, isn't our glorious Prime Fuhrer from north of the border?

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Anything is possible

    People need to find their backbone and pay attention to the phrase they like to repeat about life; s**t happens.

    Stop trying to sue everyone!

    Government; stop trying to criminalise EVERYTHING!!

    I think what they're trying to do is make us so scared to speak, text, request a friend on a website, walk down the street, eat in our cars, drop stuff in a field, use plastic bags, fill our bins etc etc... that we will all stop moving, speaking, eating, leaving the house... little robot citizens who keep to themselves and let the government party and break all the laws in peace.

  96. Dr Patrick J R Harkin


    "So "Oi, mate, look at the knockers on her" could land you in the clink too???"

    If you do it repeatedly, that would be sex discrimination. Half your statements should be "Oi, mate, look at the knockers on him"

  97. Anonymous Coward

    when Harry met Sally aka CENSORED for your own protection.

    Tim! I was just about to say that ! Take for example film or music, you might very well come across (NOT a pun) an unwanted sexual piece, and most certainly an offensive sexual piece, but there is no way to warn people first. So this doesn't make any sense.

    It's also interesting to note that the xenophobic anti-Scottish comments are flowing freely as per. Even though it was just about a Scottish law, and has nothing to do with average Scots. Britain makes stupid laws all the time, yet because this one is Scottish, you decide to attack the Scots instead of the few idiots behind the law. I guess you've developed a bad habit of Scottish bashing since WE (Britain) got a Scottish Prime Minister. I have to say though, it doesn't make much sense because I don't seem to recall Tony Blair EVER, let alone DAILY being called out on his Englishness. Or his Englishness being blamed or otherwise referenced when he made a bad decision.

    No. England, or Britain as a whole has never introduced any stupid laws..

    When they do, I don't see them/you getting called stupid English tw*ts.

    Luckily, I (a Scot) believe in free speech, unlike the idiots who came up with this law, so you are free to say all the anti-Scottish BS you want. If you really really REALLY must, and I wouldn't report you for it. Imagine that.

  98. amanfromMars Silver badge

    The Full Monte Carlo

    "If you do it repeatedly, that would be sex discrimination. Half your statements should be "Oi, mate, look at the knockers on him""

    :-) A Whole NeuReal World for the HeteroXSSXXXXual.

    Here Beginneth the First Lessons. Amen.

    Scaramouche in Deed, Scarlet in Soul.

    Roll up, roll up for the Magical Mystery Tour in the Apple Orchard and ITs Perfumed Gardens? :-)

    HardBall Googley with Straight as an Apache Arrow Curves.

  99. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    I demand justice

    I demand restitution for every spammer who has made reference to my small penis.

  100. Susan

    You Must Be Joking

    How sad is it when we have to legislate for making flirtatious comments. If people cross the line ignore them as all they want is to see youj squirm but playful comments are always fun. How sad it is that because of some idiots who a) cannot stop making an ass out of themselves and b) idiots who dont have enoujgh sense to tell others to get lost the rest of us are penalised. What kind of place is this becoming that we have to legislate for everything oh wait, maybe they feel we have to make new laws to justify certain positions in government......... waste of money, time, space and interlligence. GET A LIFE PEOPLE !

  101. Glenn Charles

    f*** that abused me

    You should all go to jail. This article distressed me, in fact, with its playful and flirtatious conducted that could have been construed as malicious.


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