George Monbiot has a scary article in the Guardian detailing the latest stage in Britain's slow transformation into a police state. The government over there is in the middle of passing a "serious organised crime and police bill", and while much attention has focused on its clause barring racial incitement (obviously a tool of organised crime), another part seems to have passed almost entirely without comment:
Section 121 of the bill prohibits people from "pursuing a course of conduct which involves harassment of two or more persons" in order "to persuade any person ... not to do something that he is entitled or required to do, or to do something that he is not under any obligation to do". Harassment, the bill explains, can involve "conduct on at least one occasion", "in relation to two or more persons". In other words, you need only approach someone once to be considered to be harassing them, as long as you have also approached someone else in the same manner.
This effectively outlaws a whole swathe of political and commercial activity which is presently entirely legal. Monbiot focuses on its ability to be used against protestors handing out leaflets, but you will notice that the law is entirely blind as to content or context - so anyone handing out flyers for any purpose whatsoever (say, selling pizza - unless there's a legal obligation to buy it, of course) will be a criminal and liable for a fine and a jail term. As will anyone engaged in distributing junk mail, telemarketing, or canvassing for votes during an election.
In fact, as they are based precisely on attempting to persuade people to do things they are not obliged to do, this law will effectively outlaw the entire sales, marketing, and lobbying industries. Of course, the government assures people that the law will not be used against "legitimate protestors" - but it said exactly the same thing when passing the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act and the 2000 Terrorism Act, both of which have subsequently been used to suppress protests. But I think we can be fairly certain that the law will not be used against any of the examples I have given above. Instead, it will be used in a partial and inconsistent fashion, as yet another weapon of those with power against those without. And trying to persuade people that it should be applied consistently or not at all will technically be a crime.