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Censorship Your Rights Online

EU Anti-Hate Laws On The Web 589

Posted by timothy
from the they-must-hate-speech dept.
coupco writes "The European Union's Council of Europe passes a measure that would make hate speech on the web illegal, and subject to banning and filtering. A story on Wired News explains the How and Why."
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EU Anti-Hate Laws On The Web

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  • by ekrout (139379) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:23PM (#4633075) Journal
    Per recently enacted anti-hate laws, this page must therefore be removed immediately!
  • Just curious... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tuxracer (622175) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:23PM (#4633076)
    Who gets to decide what is considered "Hate Speech"?
    • This guy [somethingawful.com] might be illegal.
    • my Big Brother does. Duh.
    • by jejones (115979) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:47PM (#4633200) Journal
      Who gets to decide what is considered "Hate Speech"?

      Isn't that Minitru's job?
    • by Ivan Raikov (521143) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @04:30PM (#4633392) Homepage
      Who gets to decide what is considered "Hate Speech"?

      Why, the Ministry of Truth, of course. Only an enemy of the state would ask such a question...
    • by HanzoSan (251665) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @08:01PM (#4634478) Homepage Journal
      It sounds good, but when you realize you cannot outlaw ignorance without being ignorant yourself it fails.

      The way to control hate is to contain it, and simply make it known that its wrong, fight information with information, fight ignorance with intelligence.

      Make a law to track every hate site, make a law to monitor the hosts, make laws to allow hosts of hate sites to be monitored by anti terrorist units, but thats all you can do, monitor hate.

      They deserve freedom of speech, i also believe we shouldnt stop file sharing, but monitoring is fine.

      Hate is wrong, but you cant stop it by censoring it and you can get more intelligence info from monitor and containment to stop any attacks they try to make before they happen.
  • by Pyromage (19360) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:26PM (#4633096) Homepage
    Aside from the fact that this is an affront to free speech (Which I'm sure everyone else here will cover just fine), did anyone notice that they allow you to promote hatred against people based on sexual orientation or gender?

    The quote nicely omits these. Now, provisions for that may be elsewhere in the amendment, but it belongs in that sentance; seperating it is poor writing.

    Is the EU is telling its citizens who they can hate?

    There's something very wrong here.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Is the EU is telling its citizens who they can hate?

      Exactly, they should hate everyone equally.
    • by GigsVT (208848) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:37PM (#4633144) Journal
      Hate laws are inherently that way.

      Maybe I hate people that have red hair or something... and I start a group of people that also hate people with red hair, and we make sure that none of those kind of people can work for any member of my group that owns a business, etc...

      It's all or nothing. Once you butt into private industry, private speech, and start mandating tolerance, it's all over.

      Hate "crimes" are inherently though crimes. They punish you additionally for what you think, rather than only based on what you do. Soon we will be able to harness the rotational energy from Orwell's grave to solve all world energy problems.
      • by Soko (17987) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:54PM (#4633232) Homepage
        Hate "crimes" are inherently though crimes. They punish you additionally for what you think, rather than only based on what you do. Soon we will be able to harness the rotational energy from Orwell's grave to solve all world energy problems.

        I tend to think of Hate laws as anti-propoganda laws. Here in Canada we have anti-hate laws, and they seem to work well. The haterd isn't illegal, it's the spreading of your, umm, "theory" by lies and deciet that you are held accountable for. IOW, you can type "I don't think the Holocaust happened." and it will likley not get you in legal hot water, but "The Holocaust didn't happen and the Jews..." likley would, since you are deliberately trying to mislead someone into hating another ethnic group based on falsehoods.

        Hatred spreads the same way our friends in Redmond try to discredit thier compeditors - by trying to teach everyone that others are bad through FUD. If we try to make the teaching of hatred carry some legal repercussions, the falsehoods will soon end, as well as the hatred and discrimination that come from spreading those falsehoods. This is an attepmt to "cut off the air supply" of discrimination at it's source.

        Hey, say whatever the hell you want - it's a free country. I only ask 2 things - make sure I know it's only your opinion (unless you have iron clad, set in stone hard proof to back up your statements) and don't lie to me just to further your point. I hope this is the essence of the laws they try to enact, not the "thought police" like you suspect.
        • by GigsVT (208848) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @04:13PM (#4633318) Journal
          The haterd isn't illegal, it's the spreading of your, umm, "theory" by lies and deciet that you are held accountable for. IOW, you can type "I don't think the Holocaust happened."

          But so what if someone thinks the halocaust didn't happen? So what even if they present it as fact? Most (if not all) of the history books used in school have many outright lies and inaccuracies that reflect the bias of the publisher.

          The government of all countries have outright lied to the people many times, and been caught and even admitted the lie years later. If all deceptive propaganda were banned, only the government would be able to use said propaganda. Is that the way you want it to be?

          You also seem to be confusing propaganda with deceptive propaganda. Propaganda takes many forms [turnerlearning.com], not all of it involves deception. Propaganda is used every day by governments, companies, groups, and individuals.

          So lets say that these hate laws are carefully crafted to end deceptive propaganda... That won't end what most consider "hate speech" by a long shot.

          Suppose I put up a web site that says "Almost half [ncianet.org] the young nigger men in Washington DC are criminals." That is a fact, not a lie or even an opinion. It would still be considered by most as "hate speech", because of the connotations of the words I use.

          I don't see any reasonable way to have any hate speech legislation at all, without repugnant repercussions to liberty.
          • I certainly understand your trepidations about impementing hate laws, since I feel them as well.

            Suppose I put up a web site that says "Almost half [ncianet.org] the young nigger men in Washington DC are criminals." That is a fact, not a lie or even an opinion. It would still be considered by most as "hate speech", because of the connotations of the words I use.

            Well, it would depend on the context you're quoting that. If your web-site says "Niggers are criminals. Here's proof", you're deliberately distorting the data since you don't acknowledge all of the data - like the social/economic conditions of those ~%50. If your web-site says "There's a study that found that ~%50 of "young nigger men" are criminals in Washington D.C., and here's why I think that is", that can be contrued in a entirely different matter - you're likely to only offend those with very little tolerance themselves. IOW, you're discussing your opinion and interpretation of that data, and not representing it as fact. There is a difference - one's a lie, the others an argument.

            I don't see any reasonable way to have any hate speech legislation at all, without repugnant repercussions to liberty.

            Giving liberty to intentionaly harm your fellow man means you will eventually have no liberty yourself. Hate speech, as I have described it, is an attempt to do just that - justify harm to and the discrimination of humans based on their outward appearance. There has to be a balance, not just a free-for-all.

            Soko
            • by aminorex (141494) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @09:07PM (#4634773) Homepage Journal
              > Giving liberty to intentionaly harm your fellow
              > man means you will eventually have no liberty
              > yourself. Hate speech, as I have described it, is
              > an attempt to do just that - justify harm to and
              > the discrimination of humans

              Hate speech, as the EU describes it, includes
              any views which are disapproved by the prosectutor
              as topics of public discourse.

              Sucn laws have already been used to persecute
              historians to the point where even those who
              endeavor to correct errors in the historical
              record of the Nazi extermination campaigns must
              use weasel words and misrepresentation to
              demonstrate proper reverence for the Shoah.
              Putting a few good historians in prison or
              penury is a great way to stifle any truths which
              are inconvenient to the holocaust industry,
              and its principal beneficiaries, the 21st century
              fascists in the middle east.

        • by PjotrP (593817) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @05:02PM (#4633592)
          Free speech has never been "complete" in Europe (well at least not in Holland anyway). There is Free Speech but there are other laws that conflict with this law. For example when somebody tells lies about somebody else which affect that person's life in a substantial way. Or when free speech is used to build communities that inflict damage to a person or groups of people.

          This legal system realises that there is a link between what people say and what they do. Just think about advertising. advertising exists purely on this principle that what one person says can affect what another person does. With this principle in mind lets have an example which might at least bring this problem between free speech and illegality of certain actions to its breaking point.

          Imagine a rich man who sympathises with the goals of al qaida and its terrorist activities. Imagine that guy being able to buy commercial time at lets say the superbowl break (isn't that a nice spot for a commercial?). In that commercial he would say that a mere 3 thousand dead New Yorkers are nothing compared to the 1.5 million iraqi's that already dead because of the import restrictions the US (and the UN) put around Iraq. He would call on american citizens who are disappointed by their government to start their own terrorist cells or find ways to disrupt the american way of life as much as possible.

          Another step further would be to imagine the commercial also actually containing technical information on the making of bombs or anthrax-like letters.

          The mere fact that there are such things as "top secret" government files and that the publicising and spreading is illegal means that the US also has its limits on FREE SPEECH. In a country that beliefs in real FREE SPEECH there could be no such laws about information. Granted, the EU has always been taking a path that is less free speech than the US but saying that the US is not even ON the same slipperly slope is simple not true.

          Imo the main reason for the lesser respect for free speech in Europe is because of world war II. There were very many europeans so badly scarred and hurt by the war that just somebody saying the holocaust didn't happen hurts these people to the core. I think many people after the war felt that the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that died on the beaches of Normandy (many of them American) and the millions of Russians and Jews that died during the second world war deserved more respect than to have people denying there ever was a war. Sure 60 years later its easier to let those nazi's tell us that the holocaust never happened but when it was just a couple of years after the war i can imagine that they made laws to ban such "free speech".

          • Before we all go off the deep end on the EU for these laws lets remember what got them there in the first place.

            Follwing WWII West Germany (it wasn't technicaly this yet, but lets call a duck a duck shall we?) and the German court system ammended the Constitution of Germany, making the National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) illegel and unconstitutional.

            This was mostly just a show of good faith, as no one in their right mind would profess themselves as a Nazi in allied occupied Germany.

            In recent years, however, neo-Nazi parties have been gaining force in Germany, particularly in former East Germany. The German Government has been unable to crack down on these groups because of the assumed political bias against the East that prevades the state. That is -- the East Germans belive that the Westerners dislike them, and thus any move against a pro-nazi East German party would be reguarded as an expression of that East-West bias, and not a hardline stand against Naizism.

            Consequently Germany has explored some back channels with the EU to provided these anti-hate speach laws. These laws will allow Germany to act against these Nazistic hate groups without drawing fire from the entering eastern states for political persecution.

            The German people have a deep and abiding guilt complex over the crimes their nation committed in the 1930s and 1940s. I have seen few reactions in my world travels as contemptuous and self depreciatating as those the Germans have against any vestige of the Nazi era. While I do not support censorship in general, I think that the German nation has a lot of healing to do. Perhaps in the future these laws can be relaxed, but for now they are important and must remain.
            • by zogger (617870) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @07:55PM (#4634440) Homepage Journal
              --the funny part of these "laws" is the selective blinders they use. The national socialist party killed x-millions of people, granted. this is data, not opinion, it happened. Hmm, the communist party of the soviet union killed at LEAST x million times 2 people, mostly their own citizens. Data, it happened. Is it "illegal and promoting hate speech" to buy/sell hammer and sickle flags in germany now? Are pro-communist websites tolerated? Is a communist party allowed to operate and run candidates?

              See? Pure hypocrisy and triple speak. There's an agenda here, should be easy to see and pick up on.

              Right now nations around the world are bending over backwards to enrich and justify the existence of the mainland chinese communist party, who rule in every feudal sense of the word-a technofuedalism but still feudal-over 1.5 billion people, and have murdered at least 50 million if not more than 100 million of their own citizens-and it's NOT past history-they are still there, same communist party. Unapproved religion? too bad, re education camp or a bullet to the head. Some fatcat needs a kidney, pop, some prisoner provides it. Have one too many kids? No problem, they'll strangle or drownd them on the spot after birth. real nice guys they are... but that's OK, we can get cheap gadgets from them...

              Does germany or the rest of the europaen union classify communist china as just as e-vile as the national socialist party of germany was? No? Why not, don't those millions murdered count the same?

              More plutocratic triple speak hypocrisy.

              The US government can have an official spokesgoon stand up and claim "they had no prior knowledge of al queda threats against US buildings or using airplanes as weapons and etc". Well, that's a total lie, literally dozens of "official" cops and bureaucrats knew full well about it, fbi agents reporting it got told to shut up, etc.

              Governments lie, they demonize whom they wish to demonize, create a class of "less than humans" so they can go kill them and steal from them. It can be an official government, or a 'government" of assorted people united in whatever particular whacky stupid "cause" they come up with-that part doesn't matter, it just "happens" and the default is always this "hate" is almost universally based on fabrications for the most part, and they grant themselves selective memory all the time. They only remember what is "convenient" for them..

              In the US, it's close, REAL close now to being "hate speech" to point this out, give it some time, you'll see it happen, you'll be a "terrorist" if you say out loud the government lies or exaggerates, it will be construed as hate speech, ie, "illegal", and when governments do it, it's called "policy" and is legitimate. It's all over now, welcome to the NWO. It's incrementalism, not all the way here yet, but close. EU's hate speech rulings are part of the puzzle, that's all, just one more slow chipping away. Big push for biometrics now, soon they'll say you were actually "thinking bad thoughts" and that will be a crime, no audible speech or publishing necessary. Just watch it happen, then you'll see why starting down that "hate speech" road is such a bad idea.
              • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Saturday November 09, 2002 @09:03PM (#4634764) Homepage
                In the US, it's close, REAL close now to being "hate speech" to point this out

                Heard of the Patriot act? Saying something like 'I think saddam hussein is cool' in public is likely to end with you being thrown in camp x-ray with no genuine right to trial (GWB has stated that nobody will ever be allowed out of there *even if they are found innocent*).
              • However, Nazism promotes hate towards other human beings; communism does not. When one promotes Nazism, one automatically promotes "hate speech" because the hatred for Jewish/homosexual/disabled people is an inherent aspect of Nazism. Communism, on the other hand, does not promote hatred; it promotes the change of an economic system. Besides, Soviet Russia wasn't communist anyway; it's "Stalinist". Just because a group did evil acts in the name of an ideology, doesn't automatically make it "hate speech"; however when hatred is a fundamental part of an ideology, it is hate speech.
                • However, Nazism promotes hate towards other human beings; communism does not.

                  Nazi ideology does not promote the hatred of Jews, homosexuals, cripples and others, it promotes the virtues of the pure aryan. The holocaust was merely the cleansing of the aryan state of lesser peoples. I'm not defending it, mind you, but at least get it right.

                  Official communist party propaganda always couches party actions in terms of the enemies of the people or the worker, but why are the enemies of the people always able to fit into particular ethnic and political categories? Tibetans and Muslims in present-day China, Ukranians, Jews, Central Asians in the Soviet Union have ALL been victims of massive resettlement, forced indoctrination, ethnic-majority colonization and outright murder.

                  How do you justify the prima faciae evidence of massive racial and ethnic annihilation by communist governments?

                  Besides, Soviet Russia wasn't communist anyway; it's "Stalinist".

                  Even that tidy little bit of revisionism doesn't cut it. Every iteration of communism has been associated with widespread killing, much of which has been merely ethnic cleansing re-branded as "defending the people's state". Trying to defend communism by claiming that all the major implementations of it don't meet your college radical's textbook definition of communism is both disingenuous and naive.
        • The problem isn't so much with people saying that the Holocaust didn't happen, the problem is that there is a lot of lies surrounding the Holocaust, and laws like this inhibit people who want to know the truth - don't we owe it to those who died to separate fact from myth?

          I advise reading the book "The Holocaust Industry" (written by a Jew), which details much of the seedier side of the Holocaust, including people who claim to have been in concentration camps - but who were later proven to have spent the war in Switzerland, of misdirection of funds intended for Holocaust victims.

          One good example is that this law makes it illegal to suggest that less than 6,000,000 Jews were murdered, might it have been 5,999,999? Oops, you just broke the law.

          There are many who think that the number was actually lower than 6 Million based on census information and other data at the time. Now, some would have you believe that even thinking that less than 6 million Jews might have died during WWII is disrespectful to the memory of those that died, but how much more disrespectful is it to censor the truth, to misuse funds intended for the families of the real victims, or to pretend that you suffered when you didn't?

      • It's all or nothing. Once you butt into private industry, private speech, and start mandating tolerance, it's all over.

        Typical binary thinking by someone who doesn't have to have his philosophies tested in the real world.

        The fact is, laws that "mandate tolerance," such as civil rights legislation, have done much to remove the artificial barriers that kept Blacks and other minorities from succeeding in the workplace.

        We here in the US might gripe about the dissolution of "free speech." Our European friends may gently remind us that it's a luxury to debate philosophy when they have some pretty hard evidence that the "hate speech" websites help violent government dissidents to organize.

        The US recently arrested a citizen who was making a website for Al-Qaeda. Is this occassion for the melodramatic libertarians to trot out the "1984" FUD again? Or is it possible that this person may have some valuable information? Don't forget, it's (at the very least) selfish to tell others how to run their life when you can't even get your own together.

        • First off, are you really Scott Hall?

          I hear Minnesota is going to need a new Governor soon if so. :)

          Typical binary thinking by someone who doesn't have to have his philosophies tested in the real world.

          I'd love to have them tested. When I hire someone, I should be able to choose whether to hire them or not based on my own criteria, even if I don't hire them for some irrelevant and petty reason like the brand of shoes they wear or the color of their skin. Goes both ways too... I don't want anyone to feel pressured to hire me for some irrelevant reason.

          laws that "mandate tolerance," ... have done much to remove the artificial barriers

          They have also caused much resentment and helped internalize the ideas that minorities need help, in fact, that they really are inferior, and cannot succeed on merit alone. This is in addition to the loss of freedom that employers face, and that's even assuming the laws work in the first place, which is questionable.

          "hate speech" websites help violent government dissidents to organize.

          Well, we have this little thing called "freedom of association". We are free to gather and even talk about how we hate the government and oppose it. So long as we don't act in criminal ways, we have committed no crime. At least it was that way before everyone became willing to trade freedoms for the illusion of security.

          The US recently arrested a citizen who was making a website for Al-Qaeda.

          In the absence of other information, yes, I would say he was wrongly arrested. Of course, nothing is stopping the government from keeping an eye on this person in constitutional ways, and if they happen to uncover deeper ties that implicate him in terrorist activies, then by all means arrest the person.

          Even if a million people had died on Sep. 11, I wouldn't feel much differently. There is nothing that is worth giving up basic freedoms for.
      • Hate "crimes" are inherently though crimes. They punish you additionally for what you think, rather than only based on what you do

        So? Most crimes take into account the mental state of the perpetrator. E.g., consider in most jurisdictions the difference between first degree murder, second degree murder, and manslaughter. Would you say that first degree murder is a thought crime?

        • Not quite. First and second degree murder is premeditated, meaning it was planned out ahead of time. Manslaughter is not. The main difference being whether or not the perpetrator considered the consequences of his actions, not why he was committing the crime.

          Hate crimes make a distinction on why the crime was committed rather than on how. The analogy to first degree murder would be having separate penalties for different motives. It's like saying somebody should be punished more severely because he killed for money instead of love. In most crimes, except in the case of mitigating circumstances, what matters is what actions were taken, not why they were taken.
        • Hate "crimes" are inherently though crimes. They punish you additionally for what you think, rather than only based on what you do

          So? Most crimes take into account the mental state of the perpetrator. E.g., consider in most jurisdictions the difference between first degree murder, second degree murder, and manslaughter. Would you say that first degree murder is a thought crime?
          Degrees of murder/manslaughter only serve to ascertain level of planning the crime. It doens't matter weather you hated the victim or not... you could have been hired... or trade murders... or any number of "motivations." What matters is that you knew ahead of time what you were going to do and (here's the important part) you did it.

          You can't go to jail for thinking or saying anything without commiting some sort of "act"... at least not yet.
      • "They punish you additionally for what you think, rather than only based on what you do."

        That's true, but in fact it is true for a great many other crimes as well. If I kill my husband because he always comes home drunk and calls me a slut, and one day I crack and kill him, that's judged a lesser crime than if I kill him because I like watching people die.

        Personally, if someone commits GBH because "He was a Paki and I don't like Pakis" that doesn't strike me as morally worse than because "He failed to give me all his money when I asked" but that's just me, I guess.

        The fact is, we consider states of mind to have moral value, and although we aren't suggesting criminalising states of mind, we can still say that the moral value of a (criminal) action is in some part based on the moral value of the (supposedly) causal (but non-criminal) state of mind. I think the 'slipper slope' argument does not hold here. The latter is not an inevitable forunner of the former.

        I think there are more worrying things currently under discussion in the UK, where people deemed likely to commit crimes by dint of a severe mental illness are to be locked up in 'secure hospitals' for 'care'. That _does_ seem to be rather close to criminalising a state of mind, albeit it rather odd state of mind.
      • "Being miserable and treating other people like dirt is every New Yorker's God given right."

        And for all of you who might be trying to decide whether or not this is satire, it's not. Sometimes we must let the worst things pass to let the best things live.
    • > Is the EU is telling its citizens who they can hate?

      The 9th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is brilliant on this topic:

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      Jefferson refused to put his name to the Constitution until it had his 10 Amendments. One of them, the 9th, was to prevent the Government from explicitly listing the things you're allowed to do -- then using that as a way to restrict what you *can* do.

      The language in the EU's law:

      "based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion"

      The people who wrote up the current legislation in Europe (and many US politicians, for that matter) fail to understand the lesson here:
      It's useless trying make laws via ad-hoc enumeration.
    • Is the EU is telling its citizens who they can hate?
      Sure. There's no protection for child molesters either.
  • by ekrout (139379) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:28PM (#4633101) Journal
    If you hate everyone you get punished by the EU.
    If you love everyone you get STDs.
    Where's the happy medium?!
  • "What if the statement resides outside of the European Union? Who gets to censor it, huh?"
  • Censorship (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wkitchen (581276) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:31PM (#4633119)
    Even though racial, sexual, national, religious, and other kinds of bigotry disgust me, I still think that censorship is a bigger threat than the speech it's supposed to protect us from. The same freedom of speech that lets the KKK spread it's evil ideas lets the rest of us oppose them.
  • by Bowie J. Poag (16898) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:33PM (#4633127) Homepage


    While I wish hate groups would dry up and piss off as much as the next guy, enacting a law like this is probably a bad move... As it leaves the definition of "hate speech" wide open, to be dictated by people in a position of power, rather than leaving it up to individual ISPs. Its a slippery slope, kids. Before you know it, anyone who has anything even remotely objectionable to say, right or wrong, will end up having a government-issue sock shoved in his mouth.

    Fuck that.

    Cheers,
    • Well, you are right that this is not good legislative practice, but I disagree on the slippery slope side. In general the "slippery slope" is considered a logical fallacy, and for good reason. There is no such thing as absolutely unfettered free speech in any functioning society, and not every society that restricts free speech ends up like Iraq or North Korea. Even in the US we have restrictions - it's just that in my opinion, our restrictions are well developed in years (centuries) of jurisprudence. Things like slander, libel, fraud are all forms of illegal speech, shouting "fire" in a crowded theater and other forms of speech that serve not for the purpose of argument or discourse but to cause immediate, direct harmful results to people (i.e. they are legally considered "action" rather than "speech") and so on and so forth.


      Leaving it up to ISPs is nice, but the only reason any ISP would ever restrict anything is fear of civil or criminal lawsuits and preserving bandwidth. They don't give a rat's ass about social responsibility for its own sake. And there are things that SHOULDN'T be legal to publish on the web or anywhere (for example, hit lists of abortion providers that encourage murder and provide names and addresses to assist in the commission of a crime).


      If Europe wants to make "hate speech" illegal, they should make clear what the exact standards are and how they still allow for reasonable debate and discussion of all issues. If the public feels those standards are appropriate for all forums of discussion, then they are within their rights to ban European servers and ISPs from carrying material in violation of their laws. Democracy is tyranny by the majority. I don't like it either, which is why I don't consider myself a democrat (little D).

      • Well?
        They "provide names and addresses to assist in the commission of a crime".
        • Yes, of course that's the same thing. When you put words along the lines of "Hit List" or "Top Ten Most Wanted Baby Killers" and have blood spattered images and check marks next to deceased doctors, don't you think the _context_ is a bit different? In the same way, yelling "Fire!" when you are alone in a forest is the same verbal intonation you might make in a crowded theater, yet one is an illegal act due to the context. Context is sometimes more important than content when it comes to first amendment jurisprudence, as it should be, since the same words can mean different things and result in VERY different consequences depending on when, how and where they are used.
  • CoE != EU (Score:5, Informative)

    by jas79 (196511) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:34PM (#4633133)
    The article talks about the council of europe and not about the european union. They aren't the same.
    The EU has less members than the Council of Europe and got more policitcal influence.

  • Catch 22 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by freeweed (309734) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:35PM (#4633139)
    You just have to love laws like this. It's impossible to even question them - any website which argues against them is just further hate literature. After all, who wouldn't want this type of speech banned, unless they were going to be doing it themselves?

    Sometimes, at the end of the day, I still think that at least the US has it sort of right - free speech is free speech. No ifs, ands, or buts. (I realize in practice that this isn't always the case).
  • Blame the left (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ArchieBunker (132337)
    See what happens when things move too far to the left? Now you can't call anyone in europe a nigger/honky/kike etc etc. I wonder if you are still allowed to buy Tupac's "for my niggaz" cd.

    • Re:Blame the left (Score:3, Informative)

      by Diabolical (2110)
      Yeah... except that most european countries took a swing to the right over the last couple of years. So i'm afraid your theory doesn't quite add up...
      • Re:Blame the left (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BlueGecko (109058)
        Guys, when you get extreme, there really is no difference. What is the difference between Fascism and Communism, as they have been implemented implemented? I would argue squat. In both cases, you have a lot of privileges located in the hands of the few. In both cases, the government runs industry. In both cases, you have massive militaries. In both cases, you have totalitarian regimes that control every aspect of life. In both you ultimately have dictators or very minute oligarchies, and in both you have an object for the mass populace to hate (Jews for fascists, bourgeoisie and aristocrats for communists). You want the best example of how close these two ideologies are, study China. They very clearly made the transition from Communism to Fascism awhile ago (if you really want to try to distinguish between the two) when they started trading freely with the rest of the world and devloping an actual economy, but that shouldn't be possible if the two ideologies are diametrically opposed.

        It's easiest if you view politics as a circle: at the top, you have Communism and Fascism and other totalitarian regimes. As you move clockwise from that point, you move gradually to Feudalism, eventually to pure Capitalism. If you move counterclockwise, you go through pure Socialism to the Welfare State. In other words, going downwards in either direction increases the number of choices allotted to the individual as opposed to the state. As you progress further down from Welfare and from Capitalism, you eventually come down to the bottom and hit anarchy. I'm not saying that you need to ride the circle around to switch sides; I'd argue that, despite all of the flaws of the USA, we generally speaking alternate between the two sides of the middle, obviously without passing through either the top or the bottom as a result of each election. But I think this shows the positions of the parties much better.

        So don't tell me that extreme right always yields to a military totalitarian state and going far left yields bliss. It doesn't. The two in their extreme forms are effectively the same. Our different perceptions of the two is merely proof that a rose, sadly, would not smell as sweet by any other name.
  • First amendment. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by red5 (51324) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .5derig.> on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:39PM (#4633153) Homepage Journal
    they'll also be able to block websites from the U.S.A., despite the First Amendment.

    Of course they will be able. Why should the first amendment carry any weight outside the US. Are americans really that arrogant as to assume the US constitution applies to every country in the world?
    • Actually, while I think they're stupid for banning stuff like that, that's fine.

      If they want to block US web content, so be it, so long as THEY do it. Don't make US ISPs or websites censor themselves to fit your stupid censorship.
    • by dfenstrate (202098)
      Of course they will be able. Why should the first amendment carry any weight outside the US. Are americans really that arrogant as to assume the US constitution applies to every country in the world?
      Well, ideally, parts of it should, yeah. Not that the US has any authority to enforce it across borders.
      The first ten amendments to the United States constitution list inalienable, human rights bestowed upon us by our creator. Whatever creator you pick, the idea is that the first ten amendments- protecting free speech, right to keep and bear arms, no quartering soldiers in one's home, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, due process of law, etc- apply to all humans. Including silly Europeans.


      That being said, it is not, nor should it be, the business of the United States Government to go around protecting the rights of people in other lands- hell, we barely do it here it often seems.


      But, as an inalienable human right, the first amendment should apply to everyone in the world. Repealing the first amendment would mean nothing, as the right still exists. Should any of the first ten amendments to the constitution be repealed, though, it would mean it was time for a new government, nothing else.


      Even Thomas Jefferson, ... wrote to Madison that a bill of rights was "what the people are entitled to against every government on earth."

      • by g4dget (579145)
        the idea is that the first ten amendments- protecting free speech, right to keep and bear arms, no quartering soldiers in one's home, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, due process of law, etc- apply to all humans.

        No, they don't. Those are merely the laws of the United States, not some universal truths. Nobody else is bound by them, and other societies certainly have the right to organize themselves differently.

        One might add here that the US has been found guilty of numerous human rights violations. Many people outside the US feel that the Constitution does not go far enough in protecting the rights of the individuals while, at the same time, creating conditions that place the safety and well-being of citizens at risk.

      • by Halo1 (136547)
        The first ten amendments to the United States constitution list inalienable, human rights bestowed upon us by our creator

        That is your (and probably a lot of other people's) view, but that is not a fact. That you state it as a fact probably bothers a lot of non-US people quite a bit more than the actual contents of those amendments (and it's probably also that attitude that the original poster refers to).

        There is also a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but it's by the United Nations. It's the result of a consensus that was reached among pretty every country in the world, as opposed to the amendments you refer to (those were the result of a conseus among the Founding Fathers and probably the people of the USA).

        I think it's all a matter of culture. Personally, this directive (at least the idea behind it) doesn't bother me that much (though I don't think it's technically feasible in an effective, sound and completely accurate way). It's after all a more or less logical extension of the anti-hatespeech laws we already have). The idea behind it has (imho) nothing to do with control or going to a totalitarian superstate or so. It's all about culture and history...

        The US has been occupied for a long time and the Founding Fathers did not want to risk that the people would ever again be oppressed by the government, so they made the carrying of guns a fundamental right (at least, that's the way I understand things).

        In Europe, people didn't want such horrible things as the holocaust to happen ever again, so to help prevent that they banned all sorts of hate speech, since that was what the Nazi's used to rally the people against the rest. This wasn't about curbing the rights of the people regarding what they could say, but to try to stop speech that promotes the limitation of freedom of other people (YMMV of course, but that's the intention).

        Neither is a real solution to the "problem" they want to prevent, but nevertheless a lot of people hold on to them because their symbolic significance is quite big. Just like getting rid of that (the fourth?) amendment would be interpreted as "Ok, now they're coming for us because they want to take away our rights to carry weapons", stopping the crussade against hate-speech in Europe would pretty much signify "Well, the holocaust wasn't that bad after all, who cares if a couple of people start again with spreading such crap and other hate speech".

    • by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @05:56PM (#4633850)
      "Are americans really that arrogant as to assume the US constitution applies to every country in the world?"

      Hrm...
      Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech
      Nothing in there saying that Congress can do that if they happen to be meeting inside the EU at the time.

      I know what you meant. Did you?

      You were assuming that the US Constitution, like so many others, is written from the angle of "giving rights to the people" (a flawed concept if there ever was one) instead of restricting the rights of the government.

      A little over 200 years ago, a group of people finally realized that "granting popular rights" is just as much an oxymoron as "military intelligence." But even now, centuries later, so few people have figured out that fundamental truth. Instead, they just sit around making laws that do things like "restricting the right to free speech" as if such a thing were possible.

      Don't mince words: This European law punishes the exercise of their peoples' right. Period.
  • by joebeone (620917) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:40PM (#4633157) Homepage
    With the newly proposed Office of Global Internet Freedom [wired.com], we may actually end up spending taxpayer dollars to subvert any kind of filtering that the EU enacts on US hate sites (which are roughly 63% of all hate sites on the Internet according to the EU).
  • Well, I hate the EU Anti-Hate Laws
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As I read this, it occurs to me that Europeans might simply have a different concept of freedom than Americans do. In this case, they would rather be free from hate speech, as opposed to being free from censorship. Likewise, they would rather be free from millions of accidental shootings each year than be free to own firearms.
    • And during the 40's, many Eurpoean countries wanted to be free from democracy - imagine, free from having to make those horrible choices about how to live your life! Free from having to think for yourself!

      I'd like to be free from Britney Spears, but I don't think it's justifiable to shoot her at her next concert to achieve this.

      Ok, ok, that came off a lot more flaming than I'd intended ;)

    • That's merely comfort. Freedom is about what you can do (legally), not what can or can't be done to you.

      I think you've drastically overstated the rate of accidents involving firearms, but either way the idea of a society remaining free under a government that cannot be overthrown is sheer fantasy.


  • If the European Union's Council of Europe hates hate sites, should they ban themselves?

    Lets just ban everyone!
  • --this will sure knock the world wide web on it's assets:

    Specifically, the amendment bans "any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as pretext for any of these factors."

    --I can think of several large US sites off the top of my head that advocate genocide against muslims on a daily basis, just for one of many examples. There's lots more, just those stand out from their knee-jerk vileness. I got no use for the opposite either,insane ranting mad jihaders can byte my shorts. I don't like either of them, but they can have "their say", I say. That's their privelege and right far as I am concerned, I believe in "born with" rights for every human being, no matter what country they are in, and freedom of speech is a big one of those rights.

    I promise to keep railing against the UN, globalism and goons in general, with am emphasis on US goons, as I live here. I don't know if they-the EU- class that as "hate speech" or not, I don't discriminate based on religion,color or whatnot. If you are a totalitarian goose stepping goon, whether you wear robes or a western suit or some "uniform" or jeans and sneakers, well, you can officially "get stuffed". You suck, bigtime. "You" is anyone who fits that description

    --wonder how they will block sites, the europeans? Will this lead to at least three big nets now, the basic world wide net, an europaen-union net and the fascist goon mainland chinese net? What are they gonna do, cut the cables under the ocean?

    No idea really, pretty weird concept, but governments mostly exist to perpetuate their own bureaucracy and their cash benefactors and patrons, so I guess they will keep restricitng it as far as they can with advanced tech. Big shame so many geeks will work for them and take the blood money.
  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Quaoar (614366)
    Does this ban hating Europeans, or just hating in general?
  • Hate speech made me a better person. Thanks to all the fools who use racial slurs I know where I stand. All I had to do was listen to good reasons for hating blacks and good reasons for loving blacks and came to my own conclusion.

    So word to all tha brotha's :)
  • Newsflash: US plans to ban negative thoughts
  • Does that mean a website in Europe can't link to Google [google.com], since that search engine will have links to hate speech? And what about linking to other web sites that link to Google?
  • by FTL (112112) <slashdot@n[ ].fraser.name ['eil' in gap]> on Saturday November 09, 2002 @04:15PM (#4633328) Homepage
    Europe is a LOT more touchy about neo-nazism the the US. The US can afford to let groups like the KKK shout all it wants; it doesn't have a recent history of the KKK taking over and murdering millions.

    This is one case where there isn't an overall right or wrong. This law would be wrong in the US. The US is (suposed to be) all about individuals and free speech. In Europe, this law is right. Europe is (suposed to be) all about society and community.

    As the article states, this law is nothing new, it basically just restates existing laws and adds the word 'Internet' to the text.

  • A major point most posters here are missing is that hate speech in any other place besides the internet is already illegal in most if not all EU countries. Why should the internet be different ?

    I say go ahead. Free speech is great, I love it and would do anything to protect it. Hate speech on the other hand is usually striving to accomplish goals that are directly opposed to free speech. That is where free speech ends in my book. I am just no sure how practical this will be to implement though. It will probably be done on a site to site basis decided by courts, so it might not work really well.

  • The whole content delivery mechanism is in need of an overhaul.
    Search for a topic - get hate? porn? Search for porn, get.. ? Search for hate, get.. ?

    Content should be tagged for what it is. That would facilitate powerful searching, plus filtering at the individual or country level - not that filtering at the country level is a good thing, but we all have the ability to write our leaders and tell them what we think.

    If you think about it, filtering is a lot like having a base "search query" which you can only further narrow in scope.

    You should be able to _only_ see what you want to see, and not be constantly bombarded with crap you don't want to see.

    This would also help to lower the information overload many people feel.

    I'm sure this is not a new idea - just one I thought of and wanted to share online.
  • There happy? Sue me, put me in jail, like the criminal that I am.

    If hate is a crime, then a criminal, I am.
  • by tdell (36889) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @04:42PM (#4633469)
    In late 2001 the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen passed such a law to block hate sites, but among the four enumerated sites for which blocking was mandated for ISP's, was Rotten [rotten.com] --which is not a hate site at all. The other three sites were in fact hate sites. It is only a matter of time before this law is twisted to block sites considered unpleasant.

    Reference, in german - http://www.heise.de/newsticker/data/hod-15.10.01-0 00/ [heise.de]

  • I can hate whom ever i want, and tell the world, and i will continue to do so.

    But you dont have to listen.. thats YOUR right.

    It may be stupid to hate, and immoral, but we have the right, as living human beings.

    You cant legislate 'love and peace', no matter how hard you try.

  • by t0qer (230538) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @04:50PM (#4633522) Homepage Journal
    "Dammit toqer, look at all those nips driving up the road, they're going to take over!" my uncle vince said to me one day as we stood outside the family fruit stand.

    "You know, I hear they eat cats and dogs!"

    This is but a small sample of what I heard from the men in my family. Every derogetory racial slur you could imagine. Funny thing is, despite only being 4th gen american, the older men in the family were always trying to get people to drop the idea that we were "dago wop Guinni Italians" for the cowboy white bread image they were trying to portray..

    It would have worked too, if my parents wouldnt have been such fuckups.

    Around 12 or so, the problems with my parents escalated to the point where I had to spend as little time as possible around them. The other white kids didn't really want to hang out with the kid from a broken family (divorced)

    My first mexican friend manny and his family helped me get through a lot of stuff, even though they lived in an apartment, and dad was dead, his mom was so supportive of letting him be who he wanted, something my parents never even considered.

    My second education into non-white culture was with my surrogate japanese family. When my mom kicked me out at 16, my japanese friends and their family would let me take showers at their house, feed me, give me clean clothes to wear. I gained culinary insight with sushi, and learned eating raw fish with a sake bomb could be quite tasty..

    Doesn't really have a lot to do with the article does it? I read the topic was on EU adopting anti hate laws for the web, well ok here's my insight into the article.

    I think everyone has a right to their opinion, no matter how wrong it is. Despite all the bad opinions I learned early on, later in life I learned the truth about people for myself. I don't need parliment acting as the thought police for me.

    It's human nature to question everything.. No matter how a person is brought up, eventually they'll find their own truth.
  • I guess there TV show will never see the day in Europe :)
  • Is Paved With "Good" Intentions.

  • Abomination. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Millennium (2451) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @05:01PM (#4633587) Homepage
    When are people ever going to learn that free speech must be absolute and sacrosanct, no matter how reprehensible the beliefs being espoused?

    All viewpoints have something to offer, and none is totally correct; as humans, we are incapable of perceiving absolute Truth. That truth lies somewhere between the viewpoints, and by censoring any viewpoint -any viewpoint- we permanently cripple our ability to get closer to that Truth, whatever it may be.

    Thoughts do not go away sinply because we forbid people to speak of them. The only valid way to stop hate has always been, and will always be, education, not legislation.
  • The council of Europe (COE) is NOT a European Union institution. The EU does have a "council" (a legislative body made of government representatives from the 15 member countries), but the COE is a totally different thing : it is a 44 states organization that comprises much more many countries in western and eastern Europe, as well as observers from all over the world, and that has an assembly made of representative from the countries parliement. Its role is mainly to monitor peace and human rights all over Europe.
  • by thasmudyan (460603) <udo.schroeter@gmail. c o m> on Saturday November 09, 2002 @05:34PM (#4633742) Homepage
    Europeans generally have a large problem with hate speech. That is, not only the governments but the small people also. (And this applies also to myself.) They think it should not be allowed to make public your hate towards a specific (ethnic) group. Because allowing that would look like this is a generally accepted fact about that group (instead of being viewed as your opinion). Additionally people tend to think that you're EVIL if you hate publicly. Of course, (almost) everyone hates privately, but that's another matter.
    People tend to say that hate speech is not tolerated in Europe because of the hideous past of most the countries (especially Germany). While that may be a factor, there are also a lot of other reasons:
    Europe is culturally very mixed and (unlike American immigrants) minority people tend to identify themselves very strongly with their original country for at least 3 generations until assimilation kicks in. This makes the situation a bit volatile and public, tolerated hate speech would definetely result in civil unrest.
    Europe also has much more population density than the States. So if hate agitators would like to create some kind of disturbance, they affect much more people.
    Publicly tolerated hate in Europe would be counterproductive and possibly dangerous in my opinion. Of course this raises the whole issue of censorship but understand that for an average European this issue doesn't feel like censorship at all. Somewhere in there is a fine line that seperates between political/philosophical opinion and hate speech. And so far authorities have not blurred that line, yet...
  • Europe vs. America (Score:3, Informative)

    by theolein (316044) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @11:01PM (#4635116) Journal
    Disregarding the fact that, a.) Most European countries have laws against incitement of racial, ethnic or religious hatred already, and, b.) the Council of Europe has nothing to do with the EU, I think there is another problem that lies somewhat deeper here: It seems that everytime some article appears here on slashdot about some difference or disagreement between the US and Europe, all the petty hatreds based on a lack of knowledge about the other place come to the fore. Just take a look at the numbers of postings about how evil or "unconstitutional" we Europeans are. One sees this sort of thing from the other side every time some article about the death sentence or the American military's possible action against Iraq.

    I worked for the US Airforce many years ago in Berlin and a lot of Americans that I've met here in Europe have some strange idea's about Europe being socialist or some other strange thing (stereotypes like the French being especially anti-american because the French politicians actually have differing opinions to those of whatever American president is currently in power or the Germans still being Nazis). Likewise many Europeans don't know all that much about the US. A lot of Europeans think in terms of stereotypes just as Americans do.

    I personally support this (although it already applies here in Switzerland) because I come originally from a country, South Africa, that had hatred as a state policy, and condoning it is like turning a blind eye. A large proportion of Europeans are of middle eastern or north african descent and I don't think anyone in Euope wants a repetition of the holocaust. Too many people died here.

    I likewise point out that in the US you had enforced integration in schools (bussing) in the 70's and 80's, so you can see that this isn't some uniquely European idea.

    Sadly, however, I think that as the years go by Europe and the US will drift further and further apart and perhaps become enemies someday.
  • by yzquxnet (133355) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @11:39PM (#4635261) Homepage
    'Specifically, the amendment bans "any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as pretext for any of these factors." '

    Damn, and I have a huge list of blond jokes that I want to put on the web.

  • by Graabein (96715) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @11:55PM (#4635323) Homepage Journal
    People, please read the article.

    This is a convention that has to be ratified by the legislature of each country, not a law. It is not a treaty and it does not bind the members of the Council in any way. Quite a few European countries will most certainly not ratify it as is for the same reasons as why it wouldn't be accepted in the US.

    Please also note that this was cooked up by the Council of Europe, a body with absolutely no real power at all, not the EU Council (which does hold real power).

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