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Censorship Your Rights Online

Where Are You Publishing? 266

Posted by timothy
from the from-au-to-zw dept.
AndrewRUK writes "A reporter for The Guardian is being prosecuted in Zimbabwe for a report that appeared on the newspaper's website, the newspaper writes in this report. If the case is successful, it would allow Zimbabwe's courts to apply the country's draconian media laws to any online publisher, putting reporters and editors at risk of arrest if they go to Zimbabwe, or any country with extradition treaties with Zimbabwe. Once again, we see a case which raises the question of which courts have jurisdiction over online publishing. Is a UK newspaper, with webservers in the UK, and a site accessable to anyone on the net, publishing only in the UK, or is it publishing everywhere where there's net access?" An issue that just doesn't seem to go away ...
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Where Are You Publishing?

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  • Sklyarov (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AntiNorm (155641) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @07:19PM (#3709292)
    putting reporters and editors at risk of arrest if they go to Zimbabwe

    Sounds almost like the Dmitry Sklyarov case...
    • Re:Sklyarov (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nuggz (69912)
      Except the product Sklyarov wrote was sold in the US. If the article was in a newspaper or magazine sold in Zimbabwe then it would be more similar.

      They are different in specifics, however they are similiar that people are doing things completely legal and appropriate, being subject to stupid laws of faraway countries.

      Best advice is to not go where they have sufficiently stupid laws.
      • Re:Sklyarov (Score:2, Insightful)

        by evilquaker (35963)
        Best advice is to not go where they have sufficiently stupid laws.

        Good idea... got any suggestions as to where that might be?

      • Re:Sklyarov (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DarkZero (516460) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @10:09PM (#3709704)
        Best advice is to not go where they have sufficiently stupid laws.

        Would you mind giving us an example of this place where they do not have sufficiently stupid laws? Does it happen to have a breathable atmosphere? I'd like to visit there some time.
      • So you mean that Sklyarov was selling the product in the usa when he was arrested?
        No, it was elcomsoft. Sklyarov was doing a speech and got arrested for that.
        I see similarity in that. (abscence of) freedom of speech.
        What you're talking about is the second case brought after the release of Sklyarov .
    • The issue that everyone manages to miss here is that the Guardian and the journalist in question do not have staying out of jail as their primary concern. The real issue is getting rid of Mugabwe and it is worth risking two years in jail to do that.

      Mugabwe is currently isolated internationally. He is within a whisker of being kicked out of the Comonwealth. He has been given a public dressing down by Tutu and Mandela. Everyone knows that the recent election was stolen by fraud. Meanwhile Mugabwe is bankrupting the country by financing military expeditions in the Congo whose principal objective is to allow the military to enrich themselves through plunder.

      In these circumstances the risk of extradition to Zimbabwe to stand trial for what you write in Slashdot is none too great. What is really going on here is a trial of strength. The problem with sending people to jail for criticism is that it tends not to work in the long run, as the dictators of eastern europe found out. Mugabwe can send critics to jail but in doing so he loses the thin veneer of democratic legitimacy on which his power ultimately rests.

      The Skylarof case was completely insignificant on the scale of global politics. The issue in Zimbabwe is democracy or dictatorship.

      • I think it's you who are missing the point here. "Free speech" means the right to write or say anything, anything at all, with no exceptions. Even if what you write can be compiled into binary code that has been declared illegal. Free speech is free, independent of any interpretation.
        • "Free speech" means the right to write or say anything, anything at all, with no exceptions. Even if what you write can be compiled into binary code that has been declared illegal. Free speech is free, independent of any interpretation.

          Freedom of speech is a protector of human rights, it is not the only human right. Mugabwe's crimes go way beyond stopping journalists from speaking. He has murdered political opponents, looted the country's finance and is directly responsible for the famine caused by his confiscations of farmland.

          The overblown comparisons to the situation in the US with respect to code are utterly facile. The 'code is speech' issue was merely a legal tactic in the crypto wars. I don't accept that people have the right to write malicious code or viruses. I do believe that they have the right to engage in political activity without being spied upon by the Louis Freehs, Hoovers and John Ashcrofts of the world.

          Many of us who were fighting that battle were doing so because we knew what an utter failure Freeh had been in his job. He spent the first five years in office trying to get crypto controls and his attacks on the administration after were largely revenge for being thwarted. In the meantime they failled to make use of the inteligence that was available to them.

          • What you are saying is that censorship is OK, as long as the government does not behave as a dictatorship in other respects. What I say is that, once people let censorship start, a dictatorship is just a matter of time.

            It's perfectly legal to write about illegal things, it's perfectly legal to write "malicious" code and viruses, it's perfectly legal to own guns or a penis. But it's illegal to perform crimes, to release viruses in the internet, to murder or rape people.

            For me, censorship is like any drug. You *must* say "no" the first time, no matter how your friends assure you it's harmless, because you never know what the final consequences will be.
            • What you are saying is that censorship is OK, as long as the government does not behave as a dictatorship in other respects.

              What I am saying is that censorship is bad, a government actually murdering its opponents is a heck of a lot worse.

              What you are trying to say is that you are the big enchilada, the guy who gets it and that anyone who deviates from the hard line you propose is a supporter of dictators.

              I have been in a lot of movements with folk such as yourself. A complete liability, spend their time trying to build their own position by idiotic posturing and the movement is merely a vehicle for self promotion.

    • Sounds almost like the Dmitry Sklyarov case...

      And the solution is just as easy. Don't travel to countries with draconian press laws that it forces upon internet publishers in other countries. At least not until your country bombs that other countries ass into rethinking its laws.

  • by vegetablespork (575101) <vegetablespork@gmail.com> on Saturday June 15, 2002 @07:20PM (#3709298) Homepage
    to travel to a country where they enforce their unjust laws against people who 'broke' them in a country where their actions weren't illegal . . . uh, never mind.
  • by Mike the Mac Geek (182790) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @07:24PM (#3709315) Journal
    Zimbabwe prosecutes people outside of it's borders for breaking internal laws.

    Sounds a lot like the US and the Skylarov case huh?

    Or DeCSS? Or any of the forthcoming lawsuits?

    We are no better. I hate to say it, but it's true.
  • by colmore (56499) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @07:28PM (#3709324) Journal
    simple:

    the material is available in print in England and on English computers; it is therefore the fault of Zimbabwe's ISPs for connecting to the offending servers.

    if nations want to censor the internet, they should do it themselves. it would be funny to watch them realize the futility of attempting to stop information.
    • if nations want to censor the internet, they should do it themselves. it would be funny to watch them realize the futility of attempting to stop information.


      Even though this specific case is based on more general problems your statement still fits.

      I am borderline on what some countries want to block. For example; personally I think that laws forbidding people to buy Nazi merchandise in France is wrong (I fully understand their issue which makes it even harder for me) but someone needs to make an effort to keep the French people from buying that merchandise. The only people that should be making that effort is the government who made the law.

      Don't allow routing to the offending server, ask that mailing packages be marked if offending import laws, censor if you must! Just don't hold the rest of us responsible.

      If anyone should be put on the town square and chastised it should be the inept Internet professionals that work in Zimbabwe. Maybe they need to add another law to their books: allow DNS entries for or route to an offending host and face up (to whatever punishment they love).

      Rights to free speech don't exist everywhere and neither does governmental control of thought and speech.

      If you break a law in another country then it is them who punishes you. If you break a law of let's say Sealand then no other nation has a right to punish you - that in fact could be seen as a challenge to a nations soverignty.

      When are the sane people going to wisen up to the Internet? Have they all gone into hiding since '95?
    • the material is available in print in England and on English computers; it is therefore the fault of Zimbabwe's ISPs for connecting to the offending servers.
      If a book is banned somewhere according to a law the prevent publishing it, someone who imports the book will be liable for breaking the law, right?

      So, therefore, since it was the top-level ISP(that is, the one with the line out of the country) who imported it into the country, it should be liable.

      The only recourse, then, is for all ISP to shut down (or at least, sever their outside connections).

  • by Knife_Edge (582068) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @07:28PM (#3709326)
    How many countries do you suppose have or will honor an extradition treaty with a country whose strongman president Robert Mugabe (and all of his staff) is currently banned [bbc.co.uk] from traveling in the United States (and also the European Union if I remember correctly)? Especially in a ridiculous case like this... The EU and the US have also invoked trade sanctions against this country. Clearly, everyone has great respect for it and its 'laws.'
    • Somehow I doubt it'd be all that difficult for the US or NATO or the EU to put together a rescue operation if anyone does get jailed, too. Zimbabwe's military isn't exactly well-trained...
      • Somehow I doubt it'd be all that difficult for the US or NATO or the EU to put together a rescue operation if anyone does get jailed, too. Zimbabwe's military isn't exactly well-trained...

        This is about the most simple minded view i have ever seen in relation to armed intervention into another country's sovereign territory.

        Those things are not comonly done not because of military inability but because of political constraints (and good old common sense).

        - Say that a nation would actually arbitrarily spring their nationals from jails in sovereign nations through the use of armed interventions into the territory of said sovereign nations.
        - Other nations could not trust that nation - after all, in practice they were arbitrarily attacking other nations (an armed attack into another nation is still an armed attack, even if you call it a "rescue operation")
        - No trust impacts into: business deals; military cooperation; intelligence cooperation; diplomatic cooperation
        - This in turn impacts into: economy (for example, no licences to dril oil for companies from that nation); security (think no foreign cooperation/intel on the war on terror); international agreements (nobody would side with that nation, it would be excluded from even participating in agreements which would be beneficial to it)

        An this is just scrapping the surface...
        • If it's such a "simple minded view", then why did the US Congress write a bill legalizing an invasion of the Netherlands in case the proposed International Court tries to hold American citizens for war crimes?

          Sounds like you haven't been keeping up with current events...
          • If it's such a "simple minded view", then why did the US Congress write a bill legalizing an invasion of the Netherlands in case the proposed International Court tries to hold American citizens for war crimes?

            Actually, considering the persons who wrote the bill (Tom DeLay, among others), that only reinforces the case that it's a simple-minded view. I don't like the World Court either, because it's lacking such principles as trial-by-jury and habeas corpus. But giving the President carte blanche never strikes me as a good idea.

            • I never said it was a good idea. I just used that to show that my point about the US rescuing citizens held by Zimbabwe wasn't as far-fetched as the poster suggested it to be.
          • If it's such a "simple minded view", then why did the US Congress write a bill legalizing an invasion of the Netherlands...

            Good god man, have you any idea what would happen if the US tried to invade Western Europe as a hostile force? Are some people really that blind there? I know that most aren't, thank heavens.

            I suggest you think long and hard about what a 'simple-minded view' might be. Invading the Netherlands certainly fits into that category - just become someone holds a high office, it doesn't follow that they cannot be terminally dumb.

            Cheers,
            Ian

            • I'm not saying that it's a good idea (heck, I think it's an awful idea). I'm just saying that I wasn't being simple minded when I suggested that the US might undertake an extraction mission to rescue people imprisioned in Zimbabwe, especially considering they're willing to do it to Western Europe!
  • by mccalli (323026) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @07:29PM (#3709329) Homepage
    For those who might not realise it, I should point out that there is an overtly political agenda to this, rather than a straightforward judicial one.

    Specifically, Zimbabwe's President Mugabe is virulantly anti-British. Following the recent 'elections', fixed according to all international observers, Mugabe has expelled any BBC reporters and most other British journalists.

    This is because of the UK press' reporting of the 'War Veterans' issue, where Mugabe encourages members of his old revolutionary guard to simply take white farmers' land, usually by violence, quite often by killing the farmer in question.

    Mugabe claims that this policy is Britain's fault, and that the farmers should look to Britain for compensation - indeed that they should leave Zimbabwe and go to Britain.

    Now, the political rights and wrongs of these are outside the scope of this discussion. However, I think it important that people see this move for what it is - another anti-British move by the Mugabe regime, rather than a carefully thought out and well-constructed legal case.

    Cheers,
    Ian

    • Isn't that exactly the point? International application of local laws brings anyone face to face with even the extremest political agendas of all countries involved.
    • "White farmers"? Someone who owns 20,000+ acres is a landlord, not a farmer. Looks like this court case isn't the only thing with a political agenda...

      Disinterested readers might like to consider the reasons for Mr Mugabe's "anti-British" sentiments. Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, was a British colony. You know, one of those places where the Imperial masters stole everything that wasn't nailed down? And how do you imagnine the "white farmers" got their land in the first place? They stole it from Mr Mugabe grandfathers, did they not?

  • by swb (14022) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @07:30PM (#3709332)
    Considering that Robert Mugabe is -- despite the stiff competition continent-wide -- the leading klepto-autocrat in Africa, is it any surprise? He's willing to steal elections and kill the only productive segment of his economy in the blantantly dishonest name of "land reform."

    Why should it be at all surprising that he's willing to go after journalists who expose his regime? I suppose it is surprising to starry-eyed marxists who still buy into the collective bullshit of African anti-colonial revolution.

    All the more shameful is Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and the rest of the putatively democratic ANC's refusal to speak out against Mugabe and his thugs.

    Maybe now that western journalists are actually starting to get a firsthand taste of Mugabe-style government they'll wipe the haze from their eyes and start doing the kind of reporting that might help bring an end to the politically correct refusal to believe that an African govenrment can do no wrong, especially if it involves whitey getting his.
    • by Goonie (8651) <robert.merkel@TI ... ra.org minus cat> on Saturday June 15, 2002 @07:59PM (#3709405) Homepage
      All the more shameful is Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and the rest of the putatively democratic ANC's refusal to speak out against Mugabe and his thugs.

      Yeah, it's pretty disappointing, but to be fair it's a lot easier to say those kinds of things when you don't have to live next door to them. The Australian government is, for instance, mealy-mouthed about Indonesia's corruption and thuggery, mainly because there are certain things we need from Indonesia (like not letting drug and people smugglers through, and shutting down Al-Queda cells there) and if we don't kiss their arse occasionally they are petulant enough to stop doing those things to spite us. Similar things probably apply WRT Zimbabwe and SA. They did have the courtesy to go along (once beaten round the head by the UK, NZ, and to a lesser extent Australia) with the suspension of Zimbabwe from the British Commonwealth (which says to the world that they now regard Zimbabwe as undemocratic).

      Of course there's the issue that some in the ANC, whatever the leadership knows, probably have a sneaking sympathy for people sticking it to rich white landowners.

      • I find it hard to believe that the majority of the white farmers are a bunch of martini-sipping aristocrats that sit around all day while black workers toil in the field. I bet you their quality of life is typically middle class at best.
        • Middle class by American standards maybe, but still very, very rich by the standards of the country. And, to be fair, their ancestors forcibly took land off the original inhabitants. So it's not unreasonable for the native inhabitants to want a chance to own some of their land again.

          However, using mob violence to transfer land from largely white landowners who at least paid their workforce and ran the land reasonably efficiently, to a bunch of party cronies whose only skills are violence and sucking up, isn't going to help the welfare of the Zimbabwean people one iota.

          But, frankly, that's all pretty irrelevant compared to the other big issue facing Zimbabwe. It's estimated that 25% of the adult population is HIV-positive. The ability to treat them will be pretty minimal, so they will likely die painful, extended deaths within a decade or so. And before you go on about malaria and other diseases, they kill young children and the elderly. AIDS largely kills adults in the prime of their life, thus ripping the guts out of their society. Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

    • In fairness, I've seen both Mandela and Tutu speak up against Mugabe in interviews. I'm not sure what else they can do considering neither is currently in governement.

      Thabo Mbeki, on the other hand, is the current president of South Africa and he has no excuse. This and his bizarre statements about AIDS make one wonder if there's any hope of good government in Africa in this century.

    • kill the only productive segment of his economy in the blantantly dishonest name of "land reform."


      I hope to g0d you don't mean white people. I don't doubt they are productive citizens to say they are the only is kind of harsh isn't it. Of course I won't name call until you can respond.

      As far as Mandela and Tutu there are a few issues. First: They are peaceful enough people but they realize that the white's don't belong in Africa. Although they don't want violence or anything harsh they still believe that Africa is a continent for Africans - not Englishmen or Frenchmen. And it shouldn't be - the only thing whites have brought to Africa is racism and their own forms of control over the lands true owners.

      While there is bloodshed over rival groups, tribes and governments that is life; a consequence of the pecking order of people(s).

      To quote a book:

      [speaking about Khomeini's and Iran's style of revolution and it's spread around the world specifically Africa, China and other areas of Asia] have gained sufficent favor with South Africa's ANC that Nelson Mandela, in a 1992 visit to Teheran, told the Iranians that Africa must be reshaped along the lines of the Iranian revolution.[1] (Ironically, when South African leader Bishop Desmond Tutu gave a speech to a Palestinian crowd in 1989 lauding Palestinian interests, he failed to realize that the Arabic banners carried by his listeners read, "On Saturday We Will Kill the Jews, on Sunday We Will Kill the Christians!")[2]

      The Lucifer Principle, Howard Bloom pg. 226,227 Atlantic Monthly Press
      [1]Danziger, Himelfarb, and Weisenberg: "Schwarz 'Optimistic' on South Africa's Prospects."
      [2]Robert R. McMillan, "Do You Have a Stamp of Israel in Your Passport?" Cucus Current, May 1992, 28


      Colonizers left Africa and it's people with nice constitutions that we all would assume would make everything nice and dandy. The problem is that the place wasn't in any better shape when they left. (thus the reason for interests in Iran's style of revolution, they were fighing to nationalize oil-their one source of money)

      Democracy is nice but you can't just force two rival gangs together and most importantly you can't expect your colonial times to be forgotten about.

      Britian seems to be just a reason for him to mobilize the masses into acting, can't blame someone for doing what is part of human nature.

      Before saying "hey! he's evil he kills white people!" think about why, think about why it's important to have an enemy. Sometimes that enemy could be your best friend.

      Is it ok? No. But it happens and Africa is right now just one place where it is happening more often than we weaklings would like.

      I suppose it is surprising to starry-eyed marxists who still buy into the collective bullshit of African anti-colonial revolution.


      It's not bull shit buddy. You know little about how one set of people get over on another. If it's Islam, Judaism, Mao Red Guards, "Manifest Destiny", Christianity, Tutsis vs Hutus, Maxists, and all the other memes that drive a society there is bloodshed, there is a reason for it and it certainly not bull-shit.

      If the enemy is fake or real it drives the people. Would you have bought the idea that Native Americans are heathens and need to be killed so your soul could be saved? (btw just in case it's not true - we had other things in mind)
      • Although they don't want violence or anything harsh they still believe that Africa is a continent for Africans - not Englishmen or Frenchmen. And it shouldn't be - the only thing whites have brought to Africa is racism and their own forms of control over the lands true owners.

        Oh, please.

        If somebody had written "Europe is a continent for Europeans - not Africans or South Asians... And it shouldn't be - the only thing coloreds have brought to Europe is crime and welfare dependency" you'd go from 0 to self-righteous in half a second.

        Peddle your hypocritical racist twaddle somewhere else.

      • the only thing whites have brought to Africa is racism and their own forms of control over the lands true owners.

        So you don't believe that cars, telephones, mass-produced books, vaccines, television, movies, cheap clothing (i.e. mass-produced clothing such as denim jeans), or computers are things? Don't get me wrong, I don't approve of one group attacking another and subjugating it, but you're going a bit overboard in the other direction, don't you think?

        • So you don't believe that cars, telephones, mass-produced books, vaccines, television, movies, cheap clothing (i.e. mass-produced clothing such as denim jeans), or computers are things? Don't get me wrong, I don't approve of one group attacking another and subjugating it, but you're going a bit overboard in the other direction, don't you think?

          I love how everyone has attacked just this one portion of my statement.

          It's almost like that Life of Brian portion where they are listing all the Good Things that Rome has brought them (of course they did, but then they burned their Temple down later!)

          Africa would still be there with out cars, telephones, mass-produced books, vaccines, television, movies, cheap clothing (i.e. mass-produced clothing such as denim jeans), or computers.

          Ever seen "The Gods Must Be Crazy?" or that Duck Tales episode where they let the Tibetians have a bottle cap and they go nuts because everyone needed one?

          Democracy, we have it great! Capitalisim, we have it great! Cars, telephones, mass-produced books, vaccines, television, movies, cheap clothing (i.e. mass-produced clothing such as denim jeans), and computers, we have them, great!

          Problem is that you think that the "third world" needs the insane things you have. No Tibetian needs a new Mac with the flat screen, DVD-RW+, and all that bull shit.

          Being that most people there are still poor and dying from starvation I wouldn't say they brought much.

          WE HAVE JEANS ALL ARE SAVED!
          • Being that most people there are still poor and dying from starvation I wouldn't say they brought much.

            Care to back up the claim that greater than 50% of africans are dying of starvation with some references?

            Problem is that you think that the "third world" needs the insane things you have.

            No, but the third world seems to want them. There are groups who have decided that they really don't want modern technology. Take the amish. It's possible to do, it just isn't done in Africa, so to say that they're unnecessary isn't really relevant. They're wanted and to some degree fought over. If nothing else that at least shows that "most" Africans disagree with you about the value of these things.

            As for the current problems, what do you want? What has been done by other people cannot how be simply undone. Do you want us to go in, take over the governments of poorly run African countries, and make them protectorates of the US until they get their act together?

            It's all well and good to say that the europeans were at fault (neglecting how much of the corrupt government is government by native people), but that's in the past. We live in the present. So what is it that you want?

      • >And it shouldn't be - the only thing whites have >brought to Africa is racism and their own forms >of control over the lands true owners.

        Hmm, isn't this an example of a racist statement?

        Being "white" or "black" is just skin pigmentation. To say that having "white" pigments causes one to bring racism to Africa is completely non sequitor.

        And to divide up continents simply based on skin pigmentation is even more ludicrous! What intrinsically about the land mass of Africa would cause you to come to the logical conclusion that only people with darker pigmentation should be there?

        Brian Ellenberger
  • Okay, then (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TrumpetPower! (190615)

    The new measures come on top of recently passed security laws, which state that journalists can be prosecuted for criticising Mr Mugabe and his government.

    Robert Mugabe, dictator-in-chief of Zimbabwe, is a pusillanimous pipsqueak. His male member is dwarfed in comparison to his cockroach-sized brain. The stench of his breath makes granite crumble. His moral integrity is challenged only by that of a Microsoft lawyer. He rapes newborns with curling irons.

    His government is composed entirely of weak-willed wusses, totally incapable of thinking for themselves. This, combined with Mr. Mugabe's stunning intellectual shortcomings, clearly explains the entire fiasco.

    Need I continue?

    b&

    • by Servo5678 (468237) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @08:28PM (#3709472)
      Dear TrumpetPower!,

      You are cordially invited to visit the nation of Zimbabwe on behalf of our glorious government for an all expenses paid vacation. Please contact us immediately to arrange your travel (Oh, and come alone. It's less complicated that way).

      Sincerely,
      Zimbabwe Secret Police

    • by Prof. Pi (199260)
      His male member is dwarfed in comparison to his cockroach-sized brain. The stench of his breath makes granite crumble. His moral integrity is challenged only by that of a Microsoft lawyer. He rapes newborns with curling irons.


      That is simply uncalled for!


      I mean really. A Microsoft lawyer???

    • by Kz (4332)
      what surprises (and saddens) me is that such a non-content hate-driven commentary is at score:4 (insightful)

      can i ask where is the 'Insight'?

      i have no love for Zimbabwe government, and really think their actions are a shame to all humanity, but this kind of comments only make things worse.
  • The way this problem will ultimately be solved is by routing around it. Zimbabwe and other states of its ilk will find themselves cut off from the internet as customers demand that ISPs not route packets to jurisdictions that may prosecute based on their contents. We already do this for spam. It won't take many convictions before tyrant-blocking black hole lists start to appear and ISPs start marketing them as a feature.

    Eventually (but don't hold your breath waiting) these repressive regimes will either bow to internal economic pressure or so impoverish themselves as to lose the means of maintaining their power.
  • Website Licenses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @08:05PM (#3709421) Journal
    It is this sort of thing that leads to the sort of Web site licenses seen here:

    http://www.radiofreenation.com/rfn_news_titlepage. html [radiofreenation.com]

    Which, among other things, says :

    3.17 You warrant that your access to this site is not a violation of local laws and regulations in force at the location where you are accessing these Web Sites, and You agree to hold harmless these Web Sites, CyberKnowledge, and CyberKnowledge Staff and/or Authorized Agents for any actions by you that may be a violation of such local laws and regulations.

    3.18 You warrant that your access to these Web Sites is not a violation of local laws and regulations of the Country, province, state, county, city, town, or any other type of government jurisdiction of which you are a citizen and/or whose laws you are subject to; and You agree to hold harmless these Web Sites, CyberKnowledge, and CyberKnowledge Staff and/or Authorized Agents for any actions by you that may be a violation of such local laws and regulations.

    [...]

    4.15 You warrant that your contribution to these Web Sites is not a violation of local laws and regulations of the Country, province, state, county, city, town, or any other type of government jurisdiction of which you are a citizen and/or whose laws you are subject to; and You agree to hold harmless these Web Sites, CyberKnowledge, and CyberKnowledge Staff and/or Authorized Agents for any actions by you that may be a violation of such local laws and regulations, including obscenity laws as judged by local community standards, promotion of and/or access to child pornography, incitement to illegal acts and/or other crimes not specifically mentioned.

    4.16 You warrant that your contribution to this site is not a violation of local laws and regulations in force at the location where you are accessing these Web Sites, and You agree to hold harmless these Web Sites, CyberKnowledge, and CyberKnowledge Staff and/or Authorized Agents for any actions by you that may be a violation of such local laws and regulations, including obscenity laws as judged by local community standards, promotion of and/or access to child pornography, incitement to illegal acts and/or any other crimes not specifically mentioned.

  • ...Robert Mugabe hangs out?

    You know, murder, rape, and dispossess all the white farmers Robert Mugabe.

    And people are surprised by this?!
  • by istartedi (132515) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @08:24PM (#3709462) Journal

    From now on, perhaps I should put a disclaimer on all my stuff that says:

    The following article contains U.S. bits. Be sure to check with your local government(s) before importing the remaining bits. By agreeing to do this, you are assuming liability for compliance with local laws. This agreement also applies to the bits in this agreement, so if you already read the agreement and it is not in compliance with local law, you are SOL not me.

    In all seriousness, this could work because the Zimbabwe ISPs would have to check to make sure that the bits were legal for import before importing them, since I can always disclaim that the bits are not intended for export. Faced with such a daunting task, their ISPs would soon shut down.

    This seems only fair, since nobody forced them to start an ISP in Zimbabwe anyway.

  • Ummmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Admin (304403) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @08:25PM (#3709463)
    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you are probably at risk if you go to Zimbabwe, no matter who or what you are.
  • When someone makes information from a certain locale, the "publisher" is bound by the laws of that locale.

    When someone accesses information they are bound by the laws set in the locale from which they are viewing the data.

    This is no different than a US publication (local newspaper, for example) being sent to someone in China. The publisher of the US newspaper is bound by US (and State, County, City) law. The person who reads the newspaper in China is bound by Chinese laws.

    The fact that the delivery medium is virtually instant shouldn't matter.

    Of course all of this is worthless when you're dealing with an unrational, unlogical, totalitarian, arguably evil government.
  • by Verizon Guy (585358) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @08:40PM (#3709495) Homepage
    This Public Announcement alerts American citizens to the situation in Zimbabwe following that country's March 2002 presidential election. This Public Announcement supersedes the one issued for Zimbabwe on April 2, 2002, and will expire on August 1, 2002.

    U.S. citizens in Zimbabwe should be aware of continuing conditions that could adversely affect their personal security. The political, social, economic, and security situation in Zimbabwe remains fluid. There continue to be incidents of land seizures, police roadblocks, political violence and intimidation in urban, and especially rural areas. The possibility of mass demonstrations cannot be discounted. Growing food shortages and increasing numbers of internally displaced persons have added to social and economic tensions. The Government of Zimbabwe has enacted the Public Order and Security Act, which makes it an offense to "undermine the authority of the President" or "engender hostility" towards him. This includes speaking negatively of the President in public. The bill also bars individuals from speaking negatively of the police and carrying weapons of any kind. The Government has also enacted the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which, among other things, deals with the abuse of journalistic privilege. Journalists, including Americans, have been detained on charges stemming from this Act.

    American citizens should avoid public demonstrations or large gatherings and refrain from taking pictures or videos of political events of any kind. Americans should also monitor the local and international media for developments that may affect their safety. Additionally, American citizens should exercise caution when traveling anywhere in Zimbabwe, should travel with reputable tour operators and are urged to register with the U.S. Embassy, located at 172 Herbert Chitepo Ave., in the capital, Harare, telephone (263)4-250-593/4.

    For additional information on travel to Zimbabwe, please consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet for Zimbabwe, as well as the World Wide Caution Public Announcement, available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.
    ----
    Department of State travel information and publications are available at Internet address: http://travel.state.gov. U.S. travelers may hear recorded information by calling the Department of State in Washington, D.C. at 202-647-5225 from their touchtone telephone, or receive information by automated telefax by dialing 202-647-3000 from their fax machine.

    -----

    I tried to highlight the important parts. Point is, Zimbabwe isn't exactly a haven for personal freedoms.
  • Extradition (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joe Decker (3806) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @08:42PM (#3709498) Homepage
    IIRC, usually extradition only applies for crimes that are recognized as such by both countries. Clearly that would be rarely true in the case of these particular laws.
    • It's a bit more stringent than that. If I recall correctly, many countries will not extradite persons wanted for murder to the US because they disapprove of the penalties that the US would impose on them.
      (Killing them is considered by many to be uncivilized.)

      Personally, it depends on the case. Prisons tend to reduce one to sub-human. They've been designed with that purpose in mind. So perhaps after keeping somebody in prison for a long time it isn't wise to let them back out. Perhaps what is needed is some of (re-)civilizing process?

  • by billstewart (78916) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @08:47PM (#3709512) Journal
    This case is yet another symptom of an endemic and accelerating problem of governments' inability to deal with rapid, widespread open communications. Governments' authority and jurisdiction has traditionally been related to geography, and social values, which depend on communications patterns, have also generally cohered around geography - most people only communicate with people "near" them, and they mostly stay put most of the time, though there are major exceptions (emigration, large-scale wars, Vikings, colonizers, and more peaceful traders, Gypsies), but usually there's a strong correlation between governments, societies, and markets, and the kinds of laws governments can enforce are limited by the values of those societies. As communications get out of control, questions of jurisdiction get muddled and the traditional legal structures fail. The internet appears to be at least as disruptive as the cloth and shipping trade in medieval Europe - will it become a purely independent jurisdiction (ala John Perry Barlow's Declaration, or the evolution of commerce law), or some hybrid strongly or loosely subject to local control, and how will we resolve the demands of some people to make the laws equal to the most restrictive laws anywhere and of other people to make them equal to the least restrictive?

    Controlling public access to information is a much more resource-effective means of social control than direct military/police action, so it's especially serious for people like Mugabe, but it's a serious problem for governments everywhere. They have enough trouble dealing with effective postal systems and telegraphs, which can often communicate faster than censorship can react, but pre-Internet broadcast media such as traditional newspaper publishing and radio/tv cost enough that most broadcast news is local or at least controllable

    • Newspapers cost enough and carry enough local news that most people read local papers, which can be censored or bullied, and occasional issues of wide-market papers like the NY or London Times or South China Morning Post can have their local distributions squelched for a day if needed
    • Local radio and TV stations have been government-regulated in most jurisdictions, either as government-owned monopolies or at least licensed in ways that control content
    • Short-wave broadcasting had largely been restricted by treaties, and mostly out-competed by television.
    • The growth of satellite television in the last decade or so is a serious threat to government opinion control, but at least it's run by a few big corporations that tend to push hierarchical homogenized values and ignore local issues outside their owners' main markets, so it's a slower-moving threat that it could be - the real impact is often on cultural and economic values rather than directly rocking the boat.
    But the Internet is just there - once you've got it, you've got access to everything and tools for finding the things you want, and language differences may fragment it somewhat, but not only does much of the world speak English, Chinese, Spanish, or French, but the expatriates that you most wish would stay away and leave you alone now have a much easier time reaching your subjects, speak your local languages, and care about your local issues.

    Even in more liberal countries that don't have vicious totalitarian-wannabee governments, the Internet is still disruptive to the cultural status-quo and sometimes to the government. Back during one of the Internet-rumormongering flaps (I forget if it was a Matt Drudge thing or a Who Shot Down TWA Flight 800 or some conspiracy thing), somebody asked Esther Dyson about the Internet encouraging this sort of thing, and she said that yes, it did, but that television was better for propaganda. We've seen a lot of resistance to Internet openness focused on cultural-value conflicts like pornography. In some places like the US, the issue might really *be* concern about pornography (e.g. Ashcroft covering up naked statues), but it's being used by other governments as an excuse to grab control of the Internet distribution before it totally gets out of hand - the Great Firewall of China and similar efforts are doomed in the long run, but it's about the only thing they can do if they want to keep any control over the information their people see.

  • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @08:55PM (#3709529)
    I've been saying this for many years but nobody really seems to listen...

    Governments of the world need to wake up and realize that cyberspace (I hate that word) is just as real as the USA, Britain, Australia or any other country on the face of the planet.

    What's needed are some "cyberspace treaties" that would work in much the same way as the various treaties that cover issues such as copyright, trademarks, patents, etc.

    These treaties need only lay down the basic framework of laws needed to restrict users actions and preserve their rights while in "cyberspace."

    If a country's right to connect to the Net was conditional on signing to such an treaty then we'd have a method of producing and enforcing consistent laws related to the Net and its (ab)use.

    Stomping on spam would be a great start -- imagine if there were a set of basic anti-spamming laws to which all Net-connected countries had to agree to be bound (under threat of excommunication). When you got a spam from Korea -- you report the offense and if the Korean authorities were found to not be enforcing the law, they'd be in jeopardy of having the entire country disconnected.

    Other important issues such as kiddy porn, defamation, etc could also be covered by such a treaty -- making it far easier to track down and arrest or extradite offenders.

    Hey... the RIAA and MPAA seem to have been able to unofficially create just such a global network of enforcement -- so why can't the world's authorities and legislators watch and learn.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm very much opposed to the introduction of bureaucracy and regulation in respect to Internet use. However, I'm also a realist and I acknowledge that there are some areas (kiddy-porn, spamming, etc) where we simply have to do something because not to act is to endorse the action of those who choose to spoil the Net for everyone.
  • If you're an opressive regime and don't want your citizens reading UK rags, filter them. It's Zimbabwe's problem, not the UK's.

    Possession is 9/10th's of the law anyway, so where the server resides governs.

  • everybody does it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g4dget (579145) on Saturday June 15, 2002 @09:23PM (#3709594)
    The US tries hard to impose its draconian laws in areas like computer security, child pornography, and copyrights on other countries. The US assists police in foreign countries with raids on their citizens, detains visitors to the US (viz the Adobe case), and seizes assets. And the UK (libel) and Germany (Nazi hate speech) are trying to do the same thing.

    Given what restrictions powerful nations like the US, the UK, and Germany are trying to impose on speech in other countries, they really don't have any reason to complain when other countries try to do this as well. What they can do and should do is criticize is Mugabe, his regime, and his policies, independent of how those policies spill over into the Interne.

  • "A reporter for The Guardian is being prosecuted in Zimbabwe for a report that appeared on the newspaper's website"

    Surely this is not the first time a tinhorn dictator has prosecuted someone for criticism of his government published outside his jurisdiction. How does the fact that it appeared on the Web make this case different?

    "...or any country with extradition treaties with Zimbabwe."

    Do you seriously believe that any halfway democratic government would honor such a request?
  • I hear he is migrating the country's 3 servers to Linux from Windows 3.1.
  • by snakecoder (235259)
    Interestingly enough, the story from the gaurdian turned out to be false. In some way I'm laughing because wouldn't it be nice if newspapers were held accountible for the truth. Anyway, I don't think speech should be a criminal case. Nobody should ever go to jail because they got the facts wrong. Liability via a lawsuit on the other hand ...
  • It's completely obvious to me that a web site is publishing world-wide. Imagine you print a zine, and when people call you up, you send them a copy. You are then publishing your zine in all those countries that you sent it to. This is exactly what a website does. If you still don't get it: imagine the zine writer sits in the Netherlands, where pictures of nude children sunbathing are legal. He sends his nudist zine to the US. Is he breaking US law or not?
    • imagine the zine writer sits in the Netherlands, where pictures of nude children sunbathing are legal.

      They're legal in the US, too.
    • So you have a terms of use for your site, just like many major sites do. Say "you may only access the content of site if doing so is legal in your area" and you're covered - if someone accesses it illegally, that's their fault and not yours - they broke your terms of use (heck, you could prolly sue them, hehe).
  • Of course I'll just post this /. article + discussion for those interested.

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/01/04/1258 25 5&mode=nested&tid=95

    "The Washington Post's Tech site is running an interesting piece on geolocation technology and its increased use on the net. The article explains the technology as being able to locate an Internet user in the world, at least to their mother country, and then grant access based on their location. They note how television broadcasters are interested in this kind of technology to prohibit the loss of distribution rights to things like the Olympics."

    Seems to me that we will soon be seeing this used for ip address block 'blocking' in countries who want to enforce their virtual 'borders'.

  • Given than *everything* "The Onion" publishes is trumped up false, or just downright humerous, the fact that China (see previous article on slashdot) mistook a story from the Onion as real might mean that the staff of the The Onion could be looking at serious time if they every go to Zimbabwe. :)

    GJC
  • Black Africans are unable to constitute good government.

    This is the real story here.

    There simply does not exist any tradition of large-scale benevolent leadership in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    The current leadership in Ex-Rhodesia is incredibly corrupt. The people themselves are mostly illiterate and lacking in any civic virtue as we recognize it in modern Western democracies.

    Are my comments flamebait? Definitely. Are they also entirely accurate? Sadly, yes.
  • by Rogerborg (306625)

    As an aside, it would perhaps be more accurate to call the Guardian an English and Welsh (rather than a UK) publication. I mention this because there have been a few cases recently of English papers being gagged and prevented from disclosing details on certain released criminals. The idiocy of this is highlighted in the last line of this Guardian [guardian.co.uk] article; publishing in England would be illegal, but take one step over the open Scottish border, and it becomes legal.

    In that respect, the English courts appear to have little idea how to deal with the complexities of international jurisdiction. It's going to be very interesting when a Scottish newpaper finally does nail its colours to the mast and defy one of these English bans.

  • If you've kept track of the news for the last couple of years (the elections) or decades you know that Zimbabwe is really screwing itself.

    Robert Mugabe is holding onto power using teen gangs to beat up opponents, blaming rural white farmers for his country's ills, bloating up the civil service with jobs for cronies, etc.

    Believe me, freedom of the press is just one misery in big heap as far as Zimbabwe is concerned.

    It was good and just that they threw off the shackles of colonial imperialism. But now they're finding out that home-grown rulers can be just as bad as their former governments, probably worse than Ian Smith ever was.

    It's too bad that there hasn't been more of an international outcry at the abuses in Zimbabwe. I guess things will just have to degrade to the point where enough of the citizens start to get a clue that they have the power to change things, but only if they're willing to risk some more of their blood. Change will have to come from within and will cost dearly.

    • It's too bad that there hasn't been more of an international outcry at the abuses in Zimbabwe.

      EU boycotted them after the elections if I recall correctly. The UN has sort of waffled on them, but there are several countries that have criticised them. I'd like to hear the UN make more noise, but I wouldn't say the world is ignoring this.

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