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'Extreme' Web Sites Under Fire From UK Police 1154

Posted by timothy
from the and-such-small-portions dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A conference on electronic crime, taking place in London this week, has thrown up some interesting news. Britain's top hi-tech police officer has demanded a crackdown on Web sites devoted to 'abhorrent' subjects such as cannibalism and necrophilia. What happened to freedom of expression online?"
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'Extreme' Web Sites Under Fire From UK Police

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  • Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:31AM (#8386198) Homepage Journal
    What happened to freedom of expression online

    Freedom of anything is going the way of the 8-track tape.

    The terrorists seem to have won.
  • IF it's illegal... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:31AM (#8386208)
    IF (and only IF) it's illegal and/or incites to commit illegal acts, then good riddance.

    Freedom of expression is not freedom from responsibility.

    And sadly, it's clearly not freedom from stupidity either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:33AM (#8386238)
    a) There is no "Freedom of expression online" - anything online is governed by regular laws in the "Real World"

    b) There is no "Freedom of expression" law in the UK - it's not a right like in the US.

    c) Yes, perhaps cracking down on the web-sites might be stupid...
  • Obvious answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mkro (644055) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:35AM (#8386257)
    What happened to freedom of expression online?

    Somehow, I think it is connected to this whole "9/11" thing. Every authoritarian politician is looking at USA's increased fascist tendencies, thinking "If THEY can do it, we can too".

    All we (who care) can do is yell. And try to make others care (and yell).
  • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:35AM (#8386268)
    So did the guy who strangled the person decide to do it after visiting the necrophilia website or did he visit the website because he was already into necrophilia? I am not a big expert of necrophilia but somehow I don't think it is something you see a picture of and go - oh I liked to do that, let me go murder somebody.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#8386281)
    Here in the USA, we have a big fuss over seeing one female breast exposed on national TV. Meanwhile, in London there's a newspaper that makes a point of publishing a photo of a topless model on one of the first few pages.

    In parts of Europe, pro-Nazi material that we're willing to tolerate in the USA is absolutely forbiden, particularly in the places that were invaded during World War II. We can write off Nazis as political loonies, but those places feel terror when the topic is brought up since they saw it first hand.

    So, what's taboo here might be fine there, and what's taboo there might be fine here. It's one of the problems that the Internet runs into as the first truely global medium.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#8386283)
    And who decides whether something "incites [people] to commit illegal acts" or not?

    Many people argue that everything from violent video games to Harry Potter causes people/children to commit illegal acts. Where do we draw the line, exactly, if not at no censorship at all?
  • Wait wait wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#8386288)
    So, because something is illegal to do, you believe it should be illegal to discuss? There's a difference in describing how to cook a human for eating, and in encouraging someone to go kill someone to eat.
  • better hope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by musikit (716987) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#8386290)
    we better hope no one from slashdot commits a high profile murder 'cause then law enforcement will ask that all website related to Linux and anti-Microsoft ways and conspiracy theories be taken down/blocked because only a murderer would be into high technology, equal rights and the belief that only people who publish their source code have nothing to hide.
  • UK != US (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DaHat (247651) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:36AM (#8386291) Homepage
    Despite our common language, many laws are quite different between the US and UK, freedom of speech exists, just not to the same degree as we like to think it does here in the states.
  • It doesn't exist, get over it.

    In case you hadn't noticed different countries have different standards of what's considered "acceptable" behavior:

    In the US it's acceptable for the government to kill people who have be convicted of certain crimes if sentenced to death by a court.

    In France it's acceptable for a TV ad for shower gel to show a naked woman soaping her breasts.

    In Iran it's acceptable for women to be stoned to death for adultery.

    So web sites should be no different. If in the UK it's considered unacceptable to have these types of sites then it's OK for the UK to not wanted them hosted there.

    It might go against your "First Amendment" nirvana principles, but try this one out in the US to test "your rights online": start a free web site with pictures of child pornography; I think you'll find that that's considered unacceptable in the US.

    John.
  • Umm..... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Scrab (573004) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:38AM (#8386319)
    How would this even begin to be enforced? If we start cracking down here, all the websites will relocate to China, or else somewhere where we don't have jurisdiction, and nothing will change.
  • by RevDobbs (313888) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:38AM (#8386325) Homepage
    "For it [the Internet] to continue to grow as a mainstream medium for businesses, education and entertainment, it must design out the minority factors that inhabit cyberspace for their own perverse gratification," Hynds added.

    I cringed when I read that. Everyday the internet is becoming more of a corperate-controlled broadcast medium.

  • come on! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bmac (51623) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:41AM (#8386364) Journal
    There must be accountability on the web. Period.

    And not every permutation and combination of human desire *should* be expressed. Yes, we must have the freedom to express political dissent, but, for crying out loud, if there's not going to be self-restraint, then the restraint has to come from somewhere else. And, sure, I'd rather not the govt be doing this, but are you going to put your ps2 controller down to solve the problems of pedophilia and terrorism?

    STFU.

    Peace & Blessings,
    bmac
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:41AM (#8386369)
    It's the web, man. What are you going to do about it? Nuke the providers that host the content?

    Remember, these people aren't preaching their content to their masses (unlike some other annoying organizations I could name). They are pretty secluded (AFAIK) and I fail to see how this is an issue for the rest of the populace of the world. The world is not all happy butterflies and sunny summer afternoons. The world has a lot of evil, disgusting crap in it too. But, trying to stop that is an endless fight. There will always be that counterbalance of depravity and perverseness in the world. We're human! That's what being human means! Each individual human makes a choice, of which they will be. That doesn't mean that you should keep people from making those choices; if you do, we become little better than mindless automatons.

  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:41AM (#8386373)
    Yeah, because people should be free to do what they hell they like on-line, free from any kind of rules and regulations that are designed to protect our society.

    Right....
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:42AM (#8386386)
    IANALANAUC (I am not a lawyer and not a US Citizen) but isn't the concept of "Freedom Of Expression" a US law only?

    While the concept is interesting and has its good and bad points(*), I am sure it is only a legal concept in the US. The rest of the world in general gives some lip service to the idea, but does not have it codefied in laws.

    And there are many regimes around the world that do not grant such rights at all .. take China or North Korea for instance.

    So why are you suprised when some non US regime says that there should ne a crack down on websites that they object to?

    And if you think that you really have free speach in the US try having a discussion on paedophilia and see how far you get. Not that I advocate it, but the subject is so highly charged that you risk being pilloried just for mentioning it.

    *I was in in Pittsburgh one year when the KKK was given the right to march and hold a rally espousing their racist views. Is this what Freedom of Speech was meant for?

    But I will say it was entertaining .. I learnt how far a protester could throw a stone, that some Neo Nazis don;t know which hand to salute with, and that pathetic little Amps cranked up to 11 distort the sound so much that you couldn't hear what the KKK had to say in the first place.
  • Re:Human rights (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog (537054) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:43AM (#8386408)
    People will do this whether there are sites or not. You are among the same deluded crowd that thinks violent movies creates killers, that Janet Jackson's breast will create rapists, and that using Linux makes you a communist.
  • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nodwick (716348) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:44AM (#8386416)
    Um, I know citing "freedom of expression" is a knee-jerk reflex here at Slashdot, but it applies only when you're not breaking any laws while doing so. The cliche'd example would be yelling "Fire" in a crowded movie theater.

    From what I could gather from a quick Google, both necrophilia and cannibalism are illegal in the U.K. (someone correct me if I'm wrong), in which case posting web sites advertising that you're doing it would be pretty dumb. The parallel for Americans would be something like hosting child pornography on your server for public consumption -- not only would you be doing something illegal, but you'd be publicizing about it at the same time.

  • What are laws for? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Serious Simon (701084) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:45AM (#8386434)
    There may be limits to the freedom of expression, but they are, and must be, regulated by law.

    If the contents on a website are illegal, then it must be shut down. If the contents on a web site are considered extremely objectional, but if they are not illegal, then the police should simply leave it alone.

    This guy may be applauded for trying to make "the Internet a more law-abiding place" as long he remembers it's not for him to define "law-abiding".

  • Re:Duh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by BillFarber (641417) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:45AM (#8386437)
    Freedom of anything is going the way of the 8-track tape.

    Appearantly, your freedom of expression is intact given that you were able to post.

    Other than carrying a knife on an airplane, which freedoms have I lost?

  • by slartibart (669913) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:47AM (#8386475)
    Who gets to decide which subjects are "degraded"? You? The Christian Right? Suddenly sites that have anything to do with sex, drugs, or rock and roll are destroyed in the name of "decency". And then it will just continue to erode from there. It's better to allow stuff that's distasteful to almost everyone, than it is to allow the slippery slope of censorship to get a foothold.
  • Re:Obvious answer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Atzanteol (99067) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:48AM (#8386480) Homepage
    Yes. Because we all know that every nation that does bad things is probably only doing it beacuase the US probably did it first. So it's the United States' fault.

    Wow, *all* of the worlds problems *can* be blamed on the US! Nevermind that you insult the British people by basically calling them lap-dogs of the United States.

    But to keep on topic, I don't see why this is a terrible thing. To some extent I can see why 'just saying something' isn't illegal, but instigating others to break the law is dangerous. It's not like this is political speech, it's cannibalism!
  • Freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by back_pages (600753) <back_pages&cox,net> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:49AM (#8386493) Journal
    This could very easily be unpopular, but I really don't understand why "freedom of speech" needs to protect obviously dangerous elements of society. Unpopular political comments - yes. Unpopular civil rights issues - yes. Unpopular labor or global commerce issues - yes. Taboo (sexual) medical conditions - yes. Necrophilia? No. Cannibalism? No. Sites that feature these as popular topics provide no real service to anyone yet they can easily be used as tools to commit a crime. There is a recent German case where two people hooked up through a cannibalism fantasy website - now one of them is poop and the other is in jail. Nice, real nice.

    If the site serves a legitimate positive purpose then I'd give it some leeway. Whether you agree or not, there is some argument for pro-gun sites that relates to open source code. Not an extremely strong argument, mind you, but if you know that the SWAT team is using a SIG-551 and you can only muster an MAC-10, maybe you'll stay at home. I'm not even entirely convinced that all pro-gun sites should be protected (and I am generally pro-guns) but at least you can sort of say that there is some type of benefit provided by those sites.

    Necrophilia? For God's sake, this is, in my non-professional opinion, not a sexual preference but a symptom of some psychological problems. A necrophilia fan website is not far removed from giving heroin to a junkie - it's what he wants but it's not going to help him.

    I like freedom of speech. I don't think that harmful speech that serves no purpose but to facilitate violent crimes needs to be protected. If the cannibalism and necrophilia website fans disagree with me, then let them produce a website that promotes dealing with these fetishes and becoming productive members of society rather than glorify violent crimes - that I would gladly see protected by freedom of speech.

  • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog (537054) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:49AM (#8386494)
    There is a big difference between committing an illegal act and talking about it. A site with pedophilia is committing an illegal act. A site that talks about Pedophilia is not. Same goes for necrophilia. If there are pictures of people having sex with indisputably dead people (and not made up actors) then it is illegal. If they only talk about it it is not illegal.
  • by dmayle (200765) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:50AM (#8386515) Homepage Journal

    WTF? Where are you from? If you go to a building, and blow it up with a bomb, you will get your ass handed to you, both in court, and in jail. If, however, you write a book about bombs, you can go about your happy way, because there is nothing illegal about writing about an act that is illegal.

    Writing a book that urges people to blow up buildings with bombs that you explain how to make, is a third issue entirely, and is, again, illegal.

  • Just wondering. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScottGant (642590) <scott_gant@s[ ]l ... T ['bcg' in gap]> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:50AM (#8386516) Homepage
    What happened to freedom of expression online

    Freedom of anything is going the way of the 8-track tape.

    The terrorists seem to have won.


    I'm not trying to flame, but what if online freedom includes child porn? Or people being murdered while being taped and then the movies played out online? If we outlaw these isn't that a "freedom of experssion" also?

    I know, it's an extreme. But where do we draw that line? The line may be in different places for different people. Who's right? Who's wrong? Who's the one saying who's right and wrong? Why do tornados always hit moble homes? Why does the phone always ring when you're in the shower? I digress..
  • by Burb (620144) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:50AM (#8386525)
    By putting the word "abhorrent" in speech marks the poster suggests that these practices are somehow merely borderline or even acceptable. This may well be the way that aliens on the planet zzzorg behave, but I think I'm on safe ground when I say that the vast majority of humanity thinks otherwise. Even the good ol US of A.

    Honestly, when did the internet become a haven of free speech? It never did and never will do because it's an international medium. Now, I'm a UK citizen and I'm 100% happy for my national laws to be used to shut down such a site.

    What is free speech? I live in a democracy that allows me, should I so wish, to *campaign* for the legalisation for necrophilia. I can talk to anyone and everyone about it. If I can convince voters and lawmakers that it's OK, then I get my wish. If not, tough. It would remain illegal and I would have to accept the consequences of that. Free speech allows me to campaign for changes to the law, but it doesn't allow me to flaunt the laws I don't like.

  • by dave420-2 (748377) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:50AM (#8386529)
    When something expressly incites people.

    People who say things like "Harry Potter/GTA/Something incited my kid to kill our hamster" are clutching at straws - that's not the issue, and they know it. If, however, Harry Potter featured a scene where he addressed the camera and told people how to eat hamsters, why it's good fun to do so, and asked us to follow in his footsteps, that would be incitement. That's what needs addressing. It's one thing to claim something incites, but unless it expressly does, it's a matter of opinion.

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:51AM (#8386538) Journal
    The Internet is no place for people looking for 'perverse gratification', claims the police officer leading the UK's fight against e-crime.
    In what Net-less cave has this guy been living for the past 15 years anyway? The Internet is the place for perverse gratification downloaded straight into the comfort and privacy of your own home, and without the need to offend anyone else I might add. Or perhaps he meant to say "should be" instead of "is". Well, good luck cleaning up the Internet... I hope you brought a sturdy broom.

    With this statement, the man has proven himself to be eminently unfit to lead any sort of fight against e-whatever.
  • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:52AM (#8386554) Journal
    It brings up all kinds of confusing questions. If I create a site that explains in detail how to commit suicide and someone reads the site and follows through and it works, am I to be held liable by the relatives of the person? Even though you could argue that the person had suicidal tendencies (otherwise why would they be looking at suicide instructions). Could it be argued in the courts that I was the enabler?

    What is someone puts up a site about paramilitary tactics and then a group of loonies use the website as a guide and storm a school and kill a bunch of people. Is the author of the webpage responsible? What about all those sites out there that have bomb/drug/gun instructions?

    I know they'll be those people who will argue that for the "good" of everybody those type of subjects shouldn't be on the internet. The danger is that this is slippery slope.
  • by Clemence (16887) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:54AM (#8386575)
    "*I was in in Pittsburgh one year when the KKK was given the right to march and hold a rally espousing their racist views. Is this what Freedom of Speech was meant for?"

    Yes, that is PRECISELY what freedom of speech, as set out in the U.S. Constitution's first amendment was meant for.

    "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it." --Voltaire

  • by BloodSpite (751523) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:54AM (#8386579) Homepage
    I think Haiti might disagree with you.... :-)

    Or Cypress
    Or China
    Or Korea
    Or France
    Or Germany
    Or....
  • Re:Publishing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by back_pages (600753) <back_pages&cox,net> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:56AM (#8386612) Journal
    I think the difference [and stress that this is an assumption] is that a book about cannibalism could at best be a documentary. The more you try to glorify eating people, the less credible you would appear.

    While the same is true of a website, you can also have chatrooms, forums, and that sort of thing. Now your fans with a common interest can meet and communicate with each other. Your website is no longer just a documentary (of whatever quality) but has become a tool to build a community of people interested in cannibalism. Some of these people might have legitimate academic interests, but you have precious little ability to control that.

    If you know a guy named FriendA who always talks about murdering blonde girls, and you set him up with FriendB who is a blonde girl, and she gets murdered, I'm pretty sure that your knowledge of FriendA and involvement in their meeting makes you criminally liable in the US and probably any industrialized nation. A website can do this but a book cannot, and I think that's the crux of the case against these extreme sites.

  • Re:Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by p_millipede (714918) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:56AM (#8386622)
    Yeah, it's illegal in the UK, but the case that sparked this off was in Germany (I think) - where, technically, cannibalism is legal, but you get prosecuted under murder, since it was assumed that it would not be possible to get someone to be willing to be eaten.

    I think - I may be wrong on the details of the germany case, and UK law, and just about anything for that matter!
  • Come on... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by demonboylard (750714) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:56AM (#8386625)
    How on Earth is he going to police this? What about all those sites outside the UK which can still be accessed by UK residents? Just another example of a so-called leader who doesn't get what the first 'w' stands for.
  • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:57AM (#8386641)
    If only it were that simple. If that were the case then a fine (as called for by the regulations) would have sufficed. Now we have Senate hearings, a crackdown on all forms of "indecency" on TV and on the radio, and an all around panic in the entertainment industry. Someday I hope we will be free of this religous yoke that is holding us down and we can be free.
  • by md358 (587485) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:58AM (#8386655)
    The First Ammendment to the US Constitution doesn't apply internationally..

    ...or locally!

    Oh sorry, got my ammendments confused..
  • Re:Wait wait wait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Vega043 (729614) <deheiligekoe@gmail . c om> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:58AM (#8386665)
    No there is no difference between a description how to cook a human beeing for eating and in encouraging someone to go kill someone to eat. Both thing are unacceptable to most persons and in my opinion both should be outlawed.
    Publishing a human cookbook has nothing to do with freedom of speach. Freedom of speech is the right to have your own opinion about canibalism and discuss it, not practice it.
  • Re:come on! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Peyna (14792) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:59AM (#8386669) Homepage
    Restricting speech promoting pedophilia and terrorism doesn't get rid of the problems that cause pedophilia and terrorism.
  • by tcopeland (32225) * <tom@@@thomasleecopeland...com> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:00AM (#8386702) Homepage
    > a fine (as called for by the regulations)
    > would have sufficed

    The reason it's a big deal is because it wasn't a violation of the regs on an 11 PM local channel, it was the Super Bowl halftime show.

    > Someday I hope we will be free of this
    > religous yoke that is holding us down and
    > we can be free.

    Hm. Do you think that there are any decency standards that, say, an atheist would/could support?
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:00AM (#8386703) Homepage
    Yeah, because people should be free to do what they hell they like on-line, free from any kind of rules and regulations that are designed to protect our society. Right....

    Yes. It's called "freedom". It applies to all forms of communication, spoken, written, or electronic.

    Unless you can explain how my causing one computer to send bits to another computer is a credible threat to the basic rights and liberties of others, keep your laws off my computer.

    If your society needs protection from free communication, then your society deserves no protection at all - it should be destroyed and replaced as soon as possible.

  • by Lafe (595258) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:02AM (#8386718) Homepage
    I was in in Pittsburgh one year when the KKK was given the right to march and hold a rally espousing their racist views. Is this what Freedom of Speech was meant for?

    Just wanted to answer this from a US/Libertarianish point of view.

    Freedom of Expression/Speech only works if people can really say what they want to say. We do have some practical limits on speech, primarily of the sort that says "Say what you want to say, but don't actually harm anyone by saying it." Common examples of what's not ok include yelling "Fire!" in a movie house (people get hurt), libel/slander (actually damage someone with a lie), and physical threats. Some would argue that even those things shouldn't be illegal, but I think the line is drawn at a pretty appropriate place.

    With those limits defined, if we start allowing any censorship based on a political/religious/philosophical/scientific basis, then no speech is truly protected. We start down a slippery slope where someone can ban or suppress speech because it doesn't agree with whatever the current political/religious climate is. Pretty soon, you're not allowed to publish an article criticizing the government because it's tantamount to terrorism! You're not allowed to criticize the clergy because you're trying to corrupt morals! You're not allowed to criticize the police because you're inciting a riot!

    So, to preserve the freedom of speech, we have to preserve the freedom of all speech. Even speech which we find personally distasteful, immoral, or downright putrid. My personal opinion is that what the KKK has to say indicates that the whole lot of 'em are prime candidates for natural selection. And yet, to misquote Voltaire, I would fight to the death to defend their right to say it. Because in so doing, I defend my own right to say what I wish.

    And if you think that you really have free speach in the US try having a discussion on paedophilia and see how far you get. Not that I advocate it, but the subject is so highly charged that you risk being pilloried just for mentioning it.

    People have done so, and probably will again. They're likely to run up against some sort of local "obscenity" law, but if they fight it they will win. Larry Flynt was the perfect example of this when he fought to be allowed to publish his Hustler magazine. The Supreme Court came out with a ruling that even though the speech may be obscene by community standards, it is still protected speech.

    Try to publish kiddie porn, though, and they'll haul you away. Because kiddie porn is causing harm to someone. The kids! (See paragraph about practical limits above.)
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog (537054) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:04AM (#8386752)
    I believe strictly in individual responsibility. If you go out and rape somebody because somebody else told you to do it then you have a greater sickness than any censoring can prevent.
  • Re:Just wondering. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FurryFeet (562847) <joudanx@nosPaM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:05AM (#8386760)
    Abusing children is illegal. Talking about it is not.
    Murder is illegal. Filming it is not (however, the film would make excellent evidence to convict you for the murder).
    As far as freedom of speech is concerned, we do not draw the line, and the reason is simple: Nobody really has the ability to decide what's right and what's wrong for someone else. Plus, that line leads straight to a slippery slope (a real one, not the logical fallacy).
    Plus, tornados hit mobile homes because they hate them.
    And the phone rings while you're in the shower because it hates you.
    Any more questions?
  • by Yartrebo (690383) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:05AM (#8386766)
    At least in the US, you can be pro-genocide (such as KKK and neo-Nazis) and the police will keep the angry mob of counter-protesters off of your back.

    So if the KKK is considered protected speech, how much harm can a bit of talk about cannibalism cause?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:07AM (#8386794)
    It's not MY responsibility to make sure that nobody in your country reads my web page. YOU are responsible for your own actions.

    If I write a book which is perfectly legal in this country and someone manages to obtain a copy in a country it is illegal in, is it my fault? Heck no.

    The governments needs to wise up and realize that this is really a border control problem related to a truly global media. They either need to change their paradigms or get some new technology if they want to control it.
  • by mangu (126918) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:07AM (#8386795)
    If, however, Harry Potter featured a scene where he addressed the camera and told people how to eat hamsters, why it's good fun to do so, and asked us to follow in his footsteps, that would be incitement.


    Yes, indeed, we always do anything we are told, don't we. At least, marketeers and politicians *wish* we behaved like that. Let's get real, folks. If someone is in his right mind, no matter how much "incitement" he gets, he will not perform such acts as cannibalism or necrophilia. OTOH, a deranged person needs no incitement to behave in a crazy way. There may be some correlation, of course. It's only natural that a person with cannibalistic or necrophiliac tendencies watch sites with those contents, but that's very far from proving a cause-and-effect relation.

  • by j-turkey (187775) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:07AM (#8386797) Homepage
    If you want the regulations changed, fine, but enforcment of existing regulations shouldn't surprise anyone.

    Not to bring up an old argument -- but what the hell. It's not just about enforcement -- it's about the level of enforcement. It's about spending tax dollars on a "full investigation" to enforce an obselete law. I mean, do you expect sodomy laws to be upheld? In some states, any sexual position other than missionary position between a married couple is illegal. Do you really want those laws to be enforced? How about a "full investigation"? Maybe we should start a special squad in police departments across the country to investigate all rumors of blowjobs. Another, less salacious example are public intoxication laws. Last year, in Fairfax County, VA -- the local cops went into bars, and breathilyzed the patrons. Anyone who blew over the legal DUI limit was arrested for public intoxication. A bar is considered a public place, and these people were blowing over the limit -- so they were arrested on a dumb technicality. Surprised? I sure am -- even though they're enforcing existing regulations. FWIW, these arrests were eventually thrown out, not because the arrests were specifically unlawful, but because the breathilyzer (specifically, the imposed limit) is only legit for testing imparement of a driver. Point is -- sure, it's a regulation, but do you think that police departments have any business enforcing the regulation like this?

    The reason we still have bad laws on the books is because no politician wants to have their name on the bill to revoke said laws. It's the same reason we still have bule laws and other really, really dumb laws.

    How are the FCC's "decency" regulations obselete? Well, I'll just use a quickie example. The federal decency broadcast regulations don't apply to cable TV networks -- only broadcast. Is there really a big difference in what's allowed to fly on provate cable networks? No. The industry polices itself. However, no politican wants to be known as the senator that removed decency laws. The best way to repeal these laws -- stop enforcing them. Eventually, they'll be repealed

    This shuldn't surprise anyone? Frankly, I'm still surprised.

  • Re:come on! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frennzy (730093) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:10AM (#8386841) Homepage
    Cool! It was only a matter of time before someone linked necro/cannibal fantasy websites with paedophilia and Terrorism!

    The big bad terrorists are brainwashing folks via necrophilia sites! Doomed! We're all doomed!

    This whole argument is ridiculous, telling me I can't express whatever the fuck I want on my own website. This isn't child porn. This is a *fantasy* fulfillment, for people with admittedly deviant tastes.

    This issue is moot though...just because some 72 yo gramma in the UK wants someone to "crack down" on a "bad things" to "protect us" from "them", doesn't mean squat. If they want to force a webmaster's ISP to shut him down, he can be back up and running in minutes on a more business savvy and less intrusive host in another country.

    Say it with me...there is not, and has never been, any conclusive proof that *viewing* fantasy material forces someone to *act* in mimicry of said material.

    I don't see any links here, so how can you say what, exactly, anyone did or did not view? Did Ozzie make that kid kill himself? Do people really have sex with dead people after listening to The Beatles backwards?

    Knee-jerk reactionism is not the answer to life's problems, people. Bad things happen, and frequently they happen to good people. This does not mean that you or anyone else has a right to tell me how to live, within a reasonable expectation. I leave you alone, I'd appreciate the same courtesy.

    Now excuse me while I go watch an episode of the Sopranos, followed by Sex in the City. I then plan on going out and killing some people, gangland style, followed by some nice hot sex with wealthy, Urban-chic chicks.
  • Re:Just wondering. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:11AM (#8386848) Homepage Journal
    Um, the line for "child porn," at least in The States, is drawn thusly:

    You can talk about it all you like. You just can't do it. You can draw it or make 3d art of it. But you can't take real pictures.

    Basically, you can't perform sex acts with children, because there's a very good chance you'll harm them. And you can't display pictures of real children engaged in such acts because it could cause shame and further damage to the victim and it encourages others to do the same.

    Personally, I'm okay with this. I think there needs to be an outlet for people to talk about illegal things, even if they're reprehensible.

    However, this also means that if people want to ban images of necrophilia and cannibalism for the same reasons, I guess I'm okay with that as well. As long as the censorship allows you to TALK about the subject without sanction, I'd be okay with it.
  • by TnkMkr (666446) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:12AM (#8386856)
    Block Quoteth:
    "*I was in in Pittsburgh one year when the KKK was given the right to march and hold a rally espousing their racist views. Is this what Freedom of Speech was meant for?"

    Actually, yes that is exactly what freedom of speech is for. Of all the rights in America, you are not guaranteed the freedom from being offended. The freedom of speech ideal is not only to allow citizens to openly criticize the government, but also to allow all opinions on all subjects to be openly expressed. Once in the public arena these ideas often are reveled for the hogwash they are. If they are kept in the secret and not publicly debated often they gain the mystique of a secret group and counter culture that will artificially bolster their ranks.

    I say let the light of open debate and expression shine on these horrors and reveal their true nature. It makes it easier for a person to become informed and discard the bad ideas.
  • by dillon_rinker (17944) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:12AM (#8386857) Homepage
    Do you think that there are any decency standards that, say, an atheist would/could support?

    I suspect they oppose the presentation of illegal material; child pornography comes to mind. Considering that decency standards exist to protect children, I suspect that they would oppose any material they believed potentially harmful to children. It's hard to generalize about what that would be; there is no core system of beliefs and values in atheism, merely a denial of the divine.
  • by BigBadBri (595126) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:13AM (#8386874)
    You might want to draw the line there, but what if I, a Soviet leader (for example) decided that religion, being unscientific and against Marxist principles, was also no longer protected?

    See the problem yet?

  • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plugger (450839) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:15AM (#8386903) Homepage
    If you are transmitting images the production of which violated someone else's human rights, is that acceptable?

    Free communication includes the transmission of state secrets, disclosure of state security vulnerabilities etc. All societies need protection against that. By your reasoning, all societies should be destroyed and replaced as soon as possible.
  • by swb (14022) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:16AM (#8386920)
    FCC regulations was just a red herring.

    The fuss is about America's cultural inability to deal with sexuality in a constructive way. We use it to sell products, but ban its direct "consumption". We can't teach about birth control, but we don't like abortion or feeding indigent children. The list of contradictions is endless.

    The whole matter is made further confused by the fact that millions of people get cable/satellite channels like HBO and see explicit nudity and sexual behavior all the time. You can't possibly tell me that the mere techical detail between broadcast and cable/satellite warrants public outrage.

    The biggest problem, however, is that politicans love these issues -- they can be on the "right" side easily and they don't have to work/think/talk about real issues.
  • Re:Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:19AM (#8386955)
    All of which makes the UK a considerably safer place to live than somewhere like america.

    The old defense - if you are not doing anything wrong why worry about the cameras - does have a point, yes you have concerns over corrupt use of the systems. But I don't understand the side of the privacy attitude when people think they have a right not to be caught commiting a crime.
  • Re:Just wondering. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lambadomy (160559) <lambadomy.diediedie@com> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:21AM (#8386970)
    You're missing a few things.

    Liable is illegal because...
    Slander is illegal because...
    yelling fire in a crowded theater is illegal because...

    As far as freedom of speech is concerned, we do draw the line. I won't argue that the reason is simple.
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:21AM (#8386980) Homepage
    Of course, the U.N. isn't a governing body that makes enforcable laws superceding those of its member sovereign nations. It's more of a toothless tiger whose declarations hold as much water as a sieve.
  • by BenBenBen (249969) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:22AM (#8386991)
    Here in the USA, we have a big fuss over seeing one female breast exposed on national TV. Meanwhile, in London there's a newspaper that makes a point of publishing a photo of a topless model on one of the first few pages.
    The very same paper that GWB gave one of his rare interviews to, strangely.
    In parts of Europe, pro-Nazi material that we're willing to tolerate in the USA is absolutely forbiden, particularly in the places that were invaded during World War II. We can write off Nazis as political loonies, but those places feel terror when the topic is brought up since they saw it first hand.
    In Germany it's a (frequently prosecuted) criminal act to deny the holocaust took place. Regional considerations play a huge part in our lives, and the net is challenging this. Can a German deny the holocaust on a Brazilian website on a Australian server?

    On an entirely unrelated note, why is a union of 2 commited lovers, whatever their sex, a threat to "the oldest and most sacred institution in America", whereas a 2 minute drive-thru ceremony in Las Vegas isn't?

  • Re:Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Boing (111813) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:22AM (#8387000)
    Unless you can explain how my causing one computer to send bits to another computer is a credible threat to the basic rights and liberties of others, keep your laws off my computer.

    A mob boss sends an email to an underling telling him to kill someone. That good enough for you? The murder itself is not the entirety of the crime, because that kind of thinking would make powerful people immune to the consequences of any abuse of their power, as long as they didn't execute it themselves. So there's obviously something inherent to the communication that must be made illegal.

    That doesn't mean I'm in favor of any censorship that claims to prevent other illegal acts, but it's a valid example of something that counters your claim.

  • by TyrranzzX (617713) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:22AM (#8387001) Journal
    When there's a widespread problem caused by that something; a relation between it's existance and certain acts.

    For example, a pedophilia UBB. People will talk privatly about screwing kids, give eachother techniques, encouragement, images and art, etc. Even among this class of social scum, there's certain guidelines and problems (even common ones) that are discussed.

    Necrophilia and Canniblism, on the other hand, are differnet subjects entirely, but the same rules apply.

    The point here is, the goverment wants to discourage these acts because they are wrong, but in order to discourage them they must trample over civil rights and our right to screw ourselves up. They think the sick fucks who like jackin off to art (not pictures of, art) of little kids getting screwed will turn into them actually doing it. It's akin to thinking because millions of geeks jack off to porn, and because when you jack off to porn you're inherently violating the target without their permission, that geeks will rape people. Infact, most geeks use porn as an outlet for sexual tension, therefore relieving the very need for sex, and therefore, rape. All of these are preversions of sexuality, and are bad in some way or another; cannibalism is an antisocial practice as well as one that gets you to kill people(or get yourself killed by being eaten), necrophelia is a practice that gets you to go out and poison your body by screwing dead people, etc. As far as having effects on other unconsenting, this is where 2 groups of people emerge.

    There's a difference between the sick fuck who jacks off to art of kids getting screwed, and the sick fuck who goes out and does it or encourages it(financially or otherwise). One is actually hurting someone, the other isn't. In addition, the one who jacks off to art only probably knows it's a bad thing, and some of them probably hate themselves for doing it. Yes, there is some interleave (the artist may be screwing kids for inspiration), but you simply don't persecute people for doing something with themselves that has no effect or a tolerable effect on you.

    What's probably going on is someone somewhere decided they felt threatened by the very existance of non-violent necropheliacs or cannibals, and decided they wanted to get rid of it(the religious right, for example, is full of such people). To this, I say good luck. What'll happen is the hardcore people will get more hardcore, and the people who dabble here and there and know it's bad will either stop or be driven underground and you'll never catch them. Then, when your campaign has no effect on the rates or rape, cannibalism, or necrophelia, and costs billions you'll be laughed out of power.

    As for videogames, those are a perversion of reality. I play a lot of videogames, but that doesn't mean I'm violent. Again, the same system is applyable. The kids who shoot at cars to see them go by real fast and are idiots, need to be taken care of. Hell, I have fun playing GTA and singing "This is how we speed up traffic, speed up traffic, speed up traffic. This is how we speed up traffic, all day looooooooooooooooooong", but I know going out and doing the same thing in real life is wrong and moreso, I hatemyself for thinking I'd enjoy it, and feel guilty for doing it in the game. The rest of us, the overwhelming majority, don't speed up traffic with an ak47 in real life. Infact it has very little effect on our society as a whole. Now, if we were all running around with guns trying to shoot eachother like in counterstrike, that's a different story entirely. If you want a good read on them, read "On killing". It was written by a former army corperal (I think) and details how videogames and television compliment help to overcome our natural impulse not to kill eachother. That is videogames' true effect besides acting as an escape from reality.
  • Re:Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rares Marian (83629) <hshdsgdsgfdsgfdr ... ytdiytdc DOT org> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:22AM (#8387003) Homepage
    In other words, Britain is too lazy to actually put together concrete legal machinery which through the interaction of laws among themselves can reliably produce a consistent interpretation highly resistant to the whims and prejudices of whoever happens to be making decisions.

    Law is necessarily a precise science not an art to wield creatively.
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Feyr (449684) * on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:24AM (#8387029) Journal
    if you don't like it, don't look at it. enforcing your own moral limits upon others is limiting their freedom of speech

    sure cannibalism and necrophilia are things i don't particularly find attractive. but let them start by outlawing that, then another little thing, and another, and another... that's how you lose all your privacy and freedoms
  • Re:Wait wait wait (Score:4, Insightful)

    by saforrest (184929) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:24AM (#8387031) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure you extend the same liberal sensibilities to people wanting to swap information about weaknesses in airport security, the travel arrangements of heads of state etc?

    Creating a law banning the public discussion of these things on the Internet would be entirely pointless.

    We already have ways of ensuring this sort of information is not released to people wishing to do harm: we don't release it publicly.

    For those people who are privy to this information (e.g. airport employees, people coordinating state visits, etc.), there are already mechanisms to keep them from further publicising it. If they do so with obvious collaboration with the would-be evildoers, they will be considered accessories to attempted murder (or whatever crime was planned). If not, they will be fired for breach of protocol.

    One someone has decided to breach either of these rules, some vague prohibition on discussion of this matter will achieve nothing.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:26AM (#8387051)
    The reason it's a big deal is because it wasn't a violation of the regs on an 11 PM local channel, it was the Super Bowl halftime show.

    And you're point? Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't literally every person on the planet seen, and/or eaten from a feamle breast at one time in their life? A "breast" is such an arbitrary body part, you may as well be talking about exposed elbows.

    you think that there are any decency standards that, say, an atheist would/could support?


    Yeah, we have the decency not to force our personal convictions on others, not to start wars based on fairy tales. Atheists are going to have much higher decency standards, than say, a Christian, who worships a story in which women are regularly tortured and killed for disobeying their husbands, and gay people are butchered.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:27AM (#8387069)
    Please explain exactly what is wrong with cannibalism except for the sick feeling I get in my stomach thinking about it?

    Sure there's possibility of disease probably, and if the body doesn't "belong" to you there may be property rights issues but there isn't anything aprior wrong with it. Maybe if your in some religion that sees the body as somehow sacred you might think it immoral but than your religion probably condems sodomy as well. Immoral is not than same thing as "wrong" as much as any given religion would like us to believe otherwise.
  • Re:Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blane.bramble (133160) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:27AM (#8387071) Homepage
    No, it's because we prefer a more flexible system of law that means that judges interpret the law. This means (in theory if not always in practise) that laws should reflect society more accurately rather than being bound by a possibly out of date statute interpretation. Sometimes it works out better than having more rigid laws, sometimes it works out worse. Law is in no way a precise science, it is the enforcement of the (changing) will of the people.
  • by The Tyro (247333) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:28AM (#8387078)
    Here's something for your perusal: a charming little story [enquirer.com] about a man who wrote about vile acts involving children... so vile, in fact, that he was sent to prison for ten years.

    He didn't do any of the act described, he just talked about it... but it turns out to be illegal under Ohio law. Possession of child porn materials (which isn't just pictures) is against the law. A picture is worth a thousand words... but apparently enough words will get you into trouble as well (and I don't necessarily disagree). Not all speech is A-OK... no "fire!" in a crowded theatre... no talking about killing the president... and no talking about the torture/molestation/imprisonment of children.

    The individual in question sounds like a sick guy, so as a parent myself, I can't say I'm sorry to see he's off the street.
  • Re:Wait wait wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:33AM (#8387159) Homepage
    Ooooh, I get it! If something is "unacceptable to most persons", it should be outlawed! So, by that logic, in the US, Islam should probably outlawed, due to the overwhelming Christian majority, right? Hey, maybe homosexuality should be outlawed, too. Yeah, tyranny of the majority... it's a *great* idea!
  • Re:Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cozziewozzie (344246) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:36AM (#8387211)
    The 'fire in a crowded theatre' is a knee-jerk reaction by people who do not grasp the concept of freedom. If you are not free to say some things, then you not any more free than (to name another knee-jerk example) under the Taliban regime -- there people were also allowed to say SOME things, as long as they were deemed acceptable.

    No, free speech is unlimited, and only makes sense as such. Yelling fire in a theatre is a ridiculous example, because its focus is not on the idea you are expressing, but on the action you are doing, which isn't allowed - yelling in a theatre. You are also not allowed to go up to the screen and piss all over the audience, yet this never gets cited as an example against free expression. It's illegal because you are breaking an implicit contract which you agreed to when you bought the ticket, not because you are expressing a dangerous idea.

    Whisper 'fire' to your neighbour in a theatre. Or better yet, write it on a piece of paper and show it to the people behind you. See if that gets you arrested. Now whisper revolutionary poems to a policeman/soldier of an oppressive regime. See why it's different? One is the issue of free speech and the other is not. Yet people keep quoting the 'fire' example to support mind control and fight against freedom of speech.
  • Re:Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trolling4Dollars (627073) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:40AM (#8387258) Journal
    Oh yeah... like we chumps in the US have it any better. What with all the arguments over the definition of Marriage in the Gay Marriage debate. Yeah... nice "consistent interpretation highly resistant to the whims and prejudices of whoever happens to be making decisions" approach there. The current admin is using the outdated religious code that says homosexuality is wrong just to manipulate people who like to hold to outdated religious codes. Sounds like whims and predjudices to me.
  • Re:Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrMrBen (547455) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:41AM (#8387275)
    How about if you cause your computer to send bits to my computer which, when received and decoded by my computer happen to trick it into retransmitting those bits to other computers, which tricks other computers into sending out more bits, etc., etc. and there you have a credible threat to my basic right not to have you interfere with my personal property, in the form of my computer, and you're also interfering with my use of a service I've paid for, namely the Internet. Going a step further, how about if I figure out a way to brew a potent bioweapon, along the lines of the 99.99% effective Stephen King virus, using ingredients available at your local supermarket and off-the-shelf kitchen equipment? If I cause my computer to transmit the bits encoding my recipe to someone else's computer (say someone very angry, or bored), might that pose a credible thread to the basic rights and liberties of others?
  • Sadly, I feel (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bob670 (645306) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:41AM (#8387279)
    the need to repsond to this.

    "What happened to freedom of expression online?"

    Freedom of expression needs some limits, specifically when that "expression" hurts others. Things like cannabalism and necrophilia aren't just socially unacceptable, they are massively detrimental to society as a whole. Have our standards gotten so low that we tolerate anything? We won't tolerate hate speech or child pornography online, but cannablism needs a "how to" page? Come on?

    When we discuss "free expression" being limited I think of things like the Patriot Act or DMCA where people can be jailed (or greatly hassled) for discussing the wrong ideas/ideology or technologies in a public forum. The fact that we have to supress some topics based on those laws is an example of free expression being damaged. But the idea that my neighbor Fred can't pop online and find a recipe for making a pizza out of me seems not only good, but after reading some assertions here today, necessary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:41AM (#8387281)
    What about Communion in church? "This is the Body of Christ, given for you. This is the Blood of Christ, shed for you."
  • by yerfatma (666741) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:48AM (#8387378) Homepage
    Best guess is that it's one of those built-in taboos that keeps you propogating successfully. Just like human culture tends to ban incest which turns out to cause all sorts of genetic ugliness down the road (c.f., purebred dogs and English royals), eating the flesh of other humans can cause some nasty diseases. I can't remember the name, but Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel mentioned a fatal disease common among cannibals in New Guinea (Kuru?) that was a result of eating human brain tissue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:48AM (#8387385)
    "What happened to freedom of expression online?"

    but I ask "What happened to good taste?"

    Just because you CAN do a thing is not necessarily a reason why you SHOULD.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:48AM (#8387386)
    Hm. Didn't Janet Jackson force her personal convictions on her viewers?


    No, she would've forced her personal convictions on her viewers if she started spouting off about religion. As is she showed a boob. I fail to see how a boob (which more than half of the planet have a pair of) is a "personal conviction".

    not to start wars based on fairy tales

    Just the fact that almost every major war in the history of the planet has ultimately been because of religion.

    Morals exist outside of religion. Every religion is a fairy tale, and to base ones morals on a fairy tale is pure stupidity. (for example: I would never steal magic beans because I may run into an angry giant) Of course, it's accepted in our society, that basing ones' morals on "The Bible" makes sense, but basing ones' morals on "Jack and the Beanstalk" is insane. I contend that basing ones morals on ANY fairy tale, including "The Bible" is insane and has no place in civilized soceity. Religion should be left where it belongs: in the Dark Ages.
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Perl-Pusher (555592) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:49AM (#8387393)
    I believe that when you have a sick addiction the more you cater to that addiction the more your likely to act out your fantasy. Is there a high incidence of pornography purchased by rapists? Of course there is, the person feeds his desire and that desire grows. Now I'm not advocating outlawing all porn. But by eliminate access to phedophilia related images, then you take away one element that is feeding those persons sickness. I have no problem with decency standards being set by the majority. Under constitional law the first amendment can be overturned by a 2/3 vote in congress. I don't advocate that either. I do advocate limits to free speech based on standards agreed to by the people via their represenatives. If you don't agree with the standard then there is a legal recourse to change it, vote for new represenatives. That way you don't have unlimited child porn anime broadcast 24 hours daily over the airwaves for all to view just because sex sells. If we allow one person a judge, not elected to office the ability to change laws via their own whims of what they think is "right", then we take away representation and replace it with litigation.

    I may be flammed for this, but I think we have allowed judges way too much power. I believe congress has been quite unwilling to write laws that may upset some minority who's paying their bills instead of the majority. And I believe congress has not provided the proper checks and balances to the other branches of government. That's why we end up in undeclared wars because congress let's the executive branch make those desicions. That way they aren't responsible and they can complain come election time even though they are just as responsible. By not taking action, they give their tacit approval but are able to deny culpability. And the exact same is happening with the judicial branch.

  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sangreal66 (740295) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:54AM (#8387463)
    Judging from your text, I do not believe you have ever read the United States Constitution. The Constitution is not a document that describes what Americans can or can't do whatsoever. Rather, it is a document that limits the laws the government can create/enforce.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:55AM (#8387465)
    If I was to beat the crap out of you, can I be protected using the freedom of speech? By kicking your ass, I am trying to make a political statement on how I feel about your political and moral positions. Seems fair enough?

    How about this one:
    I walk into a bank and demand the tellers to fill up a bag with money. I think thats Ok since I would simply be making a statement of supporting anti-establishment.

    How about if someone blows up some buildings and kills a few thousand people because they don't like the polician views of the government. That should also be protected under freedom of speech, right?

    Under the freedom of speech, we could also protect discussions on how to commit fraud, murder, rape, hate crimes, terriorism, and vandaulism, and of course SPAM! Where is the crime in that?
  • I am curious... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Ponfyr (191266) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:55AM (#8387476)
    If a governing body supports freedom of expression does that preclude that there is no such thing as "going too far" or crossing the preverbal line of moral decency? Would race centered "hate speech" be ok? Is that simply just another point of view and an equally valid opinion just because someone gives it a voice? How about computer animations of child-sex? Is that just art?
  • Get off it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i_r_sensitive (697893) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:57AM (#8387508)
    I love you unlimited freedom clowns. Your type are part of the reason no-one has unlimited freedom. Freedoms (also known as rights) allways are attended by responsibilities, which is the part of the equation you folks allways seem to forget.

    And every society has protections from free communication, the trivial example are libel and slander laws. Apparently you can't say anything you want. In Canada, you can be prosecuted for publishing material that, for example, denies that the holocaust ever occured, or material which otherwise promotes "hate crimes." In Britain there are laws that are Draconian by comparison to the US and Canada, both countries whose legal systems borrowed heavily from the British system, even to the point of citing precedent....

    As for how causing one computer to send bits to another is a credible threat, you can't be that facile, can you? What if those bits are a collection of child pronography? I would say someone's rights and liberties were violated to create that content. Distribution of that content is continued abrogation of that person's rights. Or what about that stream of libelous and slanderous bits? Isn't that as reprehensible as the old fashioned ear to mouth or printed page varieties?

    No society has ever allowed completely free communication. While the most successful societies have been those that allow the most freedom of communication and thought, none has been so foolish as to not have some proscribed communication. Such are necessary to protect society from the misinterpretations of simpletons who aren't sophisticated enough to understand that a right is only one so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of another. The basis of libel and slander laws.

    I think it less material that the libel is transmitted electronically than the fact that it is libel.

  • Re:Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog (537054) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:58AM (#8387516)
    There is no scientific evidence that what you say is true. There is no way of proving that providing child porn to a child molestor makes them anymore likely to rape children. Either way, I am not advocating allowing child porn sites to exist. Please don't misunderstand me on that point. I am saying that talking about pedophilia is not committing a crime.
  • by SpeedyRich (754676) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:12PM (#8387703)
    Crying out loud. The British Government does not (and hasn't for the last 200 years) derive its authority from the Crown. The US Consitution *does* lay down what the rights of US citizens are courtesy of the decrees that the contributing States must accord with. I know that and I'm not a Yank (there is a God.) Additionally, the moron who declared that suspects are guilty until proven innocent is clearly one wave short of a shipwreck. D'you think that 'Murrica *really* made up its laws without any reference material? That the Senate is the bastion of the World's original democracy? Get a clue, dood.
  • Re:Wait wait wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:18PM (#8387827) Homepage
    OTOH, there is this thing called democracy...and if the majority says something should be legal or illegal, then so be it!

    Wrong. The US is a democratic republic, not a pure democracy, specifically to *avoid* tyranny of the majority.

    The fact is, if the US government attempted to outlaw Islam because the majority wanted it, the constitution wouldn't allow it. This is as it should be. Human rights are inalienable. And whether or not the majority disagrees with a particular belief should have no bearing on this. To believe otherwise is to disregard everything the US was founded on. Or did you forget that the US was founded by people who were trying to escape the exact sort of tyranny you just described?
  • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:20PM (#8387859) Homepage Journal
    That's really an interesting question.

    I think because there is no way to engage in cannibalism without harming another person, and that if a person is willing to accept that harm his competence is in question.

    An interesting parallel could be drawn with selling organs. If somebody is awaiting a kidney transplant, and wants to pay you $10,000, why shouldn't you be able to do a deal? This is in a sense a somewhat less extreme version of the same situation: person A "needs" part of person B's body, and person "B" is willing to give it to him in exchange for something (money in this case rather than sick gratification).

    I think most people recoil from this beause they recognize that in most cases "B" will not be on equal footing with "A". In the case of organ donation, it's not going to be a fellow country club member, it's going to be some desperately poor or otherwise vulnerable person. I think if organ selling were going on between social peers, then people would by in large not object.

    In the case of non-fatal cannibalism, most people would recognize that "B" is likely to be vulnerable, either economically or due to being psychologically disturbed.

    Also, cannibalism in general is a behavior most people think best not to encourage, even if there might be marginally allowable cases (hey, were you planning to do anything with that appendix?) In order to overcome the strong taboo against it, a person must to some degree have a psychological compulsion to do it. Compulsions don't respect legal and socal limitats.
  • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misterpies (632880) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:21PM (#8387876)

    OK as a lawyer please let me put an end to all the crap on this thread.

    The British and American legal systems are extremely similar to each other. Not surprising since the US legal system was inherited from the British, and the British hasn't changed much in 300 years (that's why we wear the same gowns and wigs we wore back in 1700).

    BOTH are common law systems, meaning that while the legislature makes the laws, the judges interpret them and the judge's interpretation of the law is the law (until it's appealed). As a result both have a legislative tradition of writing very detailed laws. By contrast, the continental 'Roman law' system depends upon broad legal principles, with judges filling in the gaps according to circumstance.

    BOTH have the presumption of innocence until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt. (Both ignore this presumption if you're a foreign muslim.)

    BOTH require, for guilty verdict in criminal law (and with very few exceptions), the accused to have the intention to commit a crime as well as actually performing the action. For example, if I took your new iPod, but in the honest belief that it was my new iPod, it would not be theft. The idea that it's an offence to carry a box of matches is ridiculous. It's an offence to carry a box of matches if it can be proved that you were on the way to burn down a house. A big difference.

    The only real difference is that the US has a written constitution, while the UK relies upon evolved constitutional norms. Both these systems have their strengths and their failings. Up until a couple of years ago I'd have said the UK was doing better but now the current British government appears to have decided to flush our constitution down the toilet I'm not so sure. Then again Bush, Ashcroft et al. seem to get away with ignoring large chunks of the US constitution, so maybe it makes no difference anyway.
  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:23PM (#8387918) Journal
    Oh, good. A fun post to discuss.

    Because the guy that accepted to be killed had some psychological/psychiatric probems

    What do you define as "problems"? Is it in "differing from the norm"? Do you define Heaven's Gate cult members to have problems, wanting to ride a UFO away? How about Christians, who think that there is an all-powerful Father that they're going to hang out with after they get sideswiped by a Ford Explorer? How about a number of fundamental religious types that refuse modern medical treatment? How about left-handers -- that was considered problematic behavior at one point, and left-handers were frequently forced to modify their behavior in an attempt to train them to act "properly". Did Albert Einstein have "problems" for using bizarre and uncommon ideas? Is it things that might pose a threat to you, or society at large? Is it a subconscious fear that you or a loved one might be killed and eaten, and that you are vaguely suspicious that necrophiliac material promotes necrophiliac behavior? Or, what about actual necrophilia -- in this case, both subjects were willing and interested. Should they be prevented from doing so? Perhaps you're concerned that they are being self-destructive, which is clearly irrational. What about people that pierce themselves or have their tongues surgicially forked -- isn't that behavior self-destructive? How about people that have their children circumcised -- genital mutilation -- is that acceptable, and if so, why? Is Russian roulette "problem" behavior, and if so, why is white water rafting not?

    so did the freak that was doing the cannibalism.

    You clearly intend "freak" as a perjorative, but yes, he certainly had different desires than the general population.

    A sane, modern society would :

    Oh, good. This promises controversy.

    Help the guy that got killed with his mental problems,

    By "help", you mean "bring into line with the general population, because his thoughts deviate unacceptably", right? Remember Turing -- society "helped" him to be straight. It did work to make him more in line with what's considered normal. Of course, it also forced hormone injections and behavior modification on him, and eventually drove him to sucide. Perhaps that isn't a "sane, modern society"? After all, that was a good fifty years ago that the Brits were doing this. Maybe we should look to today, where people that protest male circumcision have problems and people that advocate female circumcision have problems?

    Try to fix whatever is wrong with the cannibal's brain/social behavior, and/or handle people like that by removing them from society to prevent harm.

    What do you consider harm? Killing someone that wanted to die? Are assisted suicides harmful? Why are sports car dealers legal, when they facilitate people engaging in behavior that risks human lives? Why is Go acceptable? People waste *years* of their life on something that has minimal benefit to society versus other things they could be doing -- Go is clearly self-destructive behavior, but you have no problem with it being played? Why?

    Something cannot be considered "consentual" if it can only be consented by someone with serious psychiatric problems. There's a huge difference between most consentual acts, like sex (straight and otherwise), drinking, smoking (tobacco or otherwise) and getting killed by someone for his own pleasure.

    Ah, now we get some answers. The sort of people with problems, that need to be helped back into normalcy, are those with "serious psychiatric problems". Or do we? It seems like this is a circular definition.

    Among behavior that has been considered abnormal and in need of correction at various times:

    * Homosexuality (up to and including this century)

    * Polygamy (current US)

    * Heresy (Mideval England)

    * Left-handedness (US public schools, until sometime in the last hundred years)

    * Any
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cozziewozzie (344246) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:24PM (#8387937)
    True. My point was that it was the action that was illegal, not the idea you are expressing, which is what free speech is all about. If you express it in a more civil way, it's not illegal.

    Similarly, if you grab an old lady and scream cooking recipes at her for an hour, you'll likely get yourself arrested. Again, it's not the cooking recipes which are illegal, but the way you expressed your, ahem, affection for them. This is not an argument for censorship.

    On the other hand, if you're in a totalitarian regime, and express certain ideas in any way, shape or form, you will get arrested. Here the issue is the freedom of speech, as your ideas are considered illegal, regardless of the way you choose to express them.
  • by Asakura_Joe (734770) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:27PM (#8387987) Homepage
    I'm always amazed when people talk about freedom of speech as though there should never be limits. "Speech" can cause direct physical harm -- take well known examples in the media, such as published lists of abortion doctors, or NAMBLA instructions on the proper techniques for drugging and raping children.

    There used to be a balance to this -- nutballs could write whatever they wanted, but no one had to publish them or give them a venue. Now every freak of nature has a pulpet, with zero accountability.

    I think a lot of people just give "free speech" a blanket blessing because it's a whole lot easier than figuring out exactly where limits should be.

    -Loooeeeee says "Screw your rights. Let's talk about your responsibilites"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:33PM (#8388110)
    Thank you for pointing out the obvious point that all of the proponents of "Gay Marriage" miss... and apparently the mods miss too, since they're modding you down.

    "Marriage" already has a definition. There is no need to re-define it.

    While the argument that there may exist a need to extend the same legal protections/benefits to homosexual couples that are afforded heterosexual couples, there's no compelling need to re-define the word "marriage" itself. In fact, judging by the stuff being thrown around lately, I'd say there IS a need to tackle that issue of extension of protections/benefits - but changing language isn't the right way to go about it - changing laws is.

    "Civil Union" in one sense refers to a pair of people joined in a legally sanctioned arrangement... is not "marriage" simply the heterosexual subset thereof? Why should we attempt to re-define marriage? There's no need. Just come up with another word, perhaps "egairram" to describe the homosexual subset of civil unions.

    The danger, to my method of thinking, resides in the current clamor among the homosexual community to define marriage as a "union between lovers." This starts us down a slippery slope...

    "Can I get married to my mother/sister/brother/father/son/daughter? No? Why not? How dare you say 'it's unnatural' - isn't that the same derogatory term that used to be used in reference to homosexuality? We love each other, and you said that's what marriage is about." Now we have to throw incest out the window.

    "Can I get married to two women? Why not? We all love each other, and you said that's what marriage is about." Now bigamy goes out the window.

    "Can we five men and six ladies all get married in an eleven-way arrangement? Why not? We all love love each other, and you said that's what marriage is about."

    "What about my dog? Can I marry my dog? We love each other?" This is the only next clear 'discriminatory' line that makes any sort of logical sense - that marriage is confined to one species.

    By the time we get to this point, the word "marriage" has been, in essence, stripped of all of its current meaning and reduced to "whatever the speaker feels like saying it means." That's no way to run a language.

    The word "marriage" does not need redefinition (which, despite their noise to the contrary, is in fact what current homosexual activist groups are trying to do - but they're barking up the wrong tree). What we need to focus on instead of redefining and already well-defined term is a legal mechanism to secure the same rights afforded to a heterosexual couple for a homosexual couple. Due to certain legal benefits that go with this (e.g., tax benefits, health care benefits, power of attorney, joint ownership, etc.) it may be practical to limit such unions to a total of two members (otherwise things get horrifically complicated).

    *shrugs* But then, I guess I'm being old-fashioned and discriminatory when I say certain words have meanings and it's not a good idea to change those meanings on a whim rather than focusing on the REAL issue at hand... securing of legal benefits for those whose unions do not fall under the definition of "marriage" - not by needlessly broadening the definition of "marriage" but by instead offering a list of alternatives, of which marriage is but one option, that afford that set of legal benefits.

    --AC
  • Re:Wait wait wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stewby18 (594952) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:34PM (#8388119)

    OTOH, there is this thing called democracy...and if the majority says something should be legal or illegal, then so be it! If the majority wanted Islam outlawed, then let it be outlawed. That's not "tyranny", that's "most people want this, so that's what we get."

    He didn't say "tyranny", he say "tyranny of the majority", which is something entirely different. It also goes by "mob rule" (or "majority rule" if you are feeling friendly toward it).

    Your comments betray your lack of knowledge about our government and the way it was intended to work; all of the points you are belittling are essential components of how our government was designed. I'd recommend reading Madison's notes from the Constitutional Convention, or at the very least studying some of the problems that cropped up under the Articles of Confederation, which were a whole lot more like mob rule in many places.

    The point is that while there is a thing called democracy, there is also a thing called a republic--and that's what we have. The reason we have a republic is precisely because the drafters of the constitution recognized the serious problems with mob rule (not just in an abstract way; again, their recent history had abundant examples).

    I don't know where you get off saying the American people want Islam outlawed just because most are Christian. I don't see anything close to a majority here pushing to outlaw Islam.

    Clearly, he was exaggerating to make a point about mob rule. Consider the situation this way (call it a thought experiment if you like, but recognize that not that different from how things have worked in many places, throughout history): Another terrorist attack happens, and people get all fired up against Islam. Someone says, "let's kill them all!" People are angry, many of them agree. In fact, enough people are angry and not thinking straight that on the day after the attack 51% of the US is in favor of, say, flattening a few middle-eastern countries. Should we do it? Is it right? Mob rule says yes. A saner form of government recognizes that that's really *not* what people want in that it's not at all in their best interests, and says no.

    On one hand, it's still a somewhat exaggerated example; on the other hand it's exaclty how lynchings happen, but on a larger scale. Lynching is mob-rule justice--is that really a form of government you think the US should have?

  • Two Words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cpt_Kirks (37296) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:34PM (#8388120)
    Soylent Green.

  • by Doppleganger (66109) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:48PM (#8388340) Journal
    If I was to beat the crap out of you, can I be protected using the freedom of speech?

    If I were to write a very in-depth web page on the mechanics of kicking someone's ass, and the best ways to do it, should it not be protected under freedom of speech?

    Kicking someone's ass is a physical thing that infringes on someone else's rights. Same for bank robbing and killing people. Writing about such things, however, harms nobody.

    Do you think your post should be removed because you talked about beating people up, robbing banks, and blowing up buildings?
  • by tgibbs (83782) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:51PM (#8388381)
    "Can I get married to my mother/sister/brother/father/son/daughter? No? Why not?

    Because of the increased risk of birth defects, which imposes costs on society, and because some of those unions (e.g. parent/child) involve potentially exploitive relationships in which freedom of choice is not clear. Neither is there a body of data indicating that such relationships are likely to be stable.

    Can I get married to two women? Why not?

    This is obviously a separate issue, and a case for it would have to be made separately. One obvious objection is it depletes the supply of heterosexual mates for other men. In addition, a three-way union is likely to be less stable than a two way union simply because the stability of a two way union requires maintaining the relationship between only one pair of people, whereas a three-way union depends upon three such relationships.

    "Can we five men and six ladies all get married in an eleven-way arrangement? Why not?

    Again, it is a separate issue, and you would have to make a separate case for it. You would need to document that such relationships are likely to be reasonably stable. This seems unlikely, considering that in an 11 way union requires maintaining 55 pair-wise relationships.

    "What about my dog? Can I marry my dog? We love each other?"

    No, because (a) your dog is in a subservient relationship to you and therefore cannot be said to have free choice, and (b) your dog does not have the intellectual capacity to understand and make contracts.

    None of these, of course, have any relationship whatsoever between marriages between two people of the same sex. There is ample data to establish that such relationships can be comparably stable to heterosexual relationships, and issues of power or consanguinity do not arise.

  • Re:Duh [OT] (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tgibbs (83782) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:53PM (#8388411)
    Without taking a political position, let me just point out that the English word marriage already has a definition: "The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife".

    This has to be the silliest objection yet! Meanings of words change and evolve over time. The dictionary merely records current usage.
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by notque (636838) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @12:58PM (#8388495) Homepage Journal
    The problem with the whole "legal union" thing is that there would still be a separation in everyone's mind about "legal union" vs. "marriage". The goal here is to take away any distinction at all levels between homosexual and heterosexual commited relationships. There is no difference and anyone who thinks otherwise is simply a stick in the mud. If you were to completely remove gender from the human race and just talk about our minds, this would not be an issue.

    No. The problem is this.

    Gay's say that people in marriages get benefits they cannot.

    So, a legal union is created to thus make that arguement invalid. Okay, you can have the same benefits.

    But Gay's do not want the benefits. They want to legitimize their lifestyle in whatever way possible.

    It is a fixation that is held.
  • by Trolling4Dollars (627073) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:02PM (#8388548) Journal
    Marriage has nothing to do with procreation. While procreation is certainly important to the survival of humanity, it has no bearing on the validitiy of the love between two people.
  • by Effexor (544430) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:07PM (#8388618)
    So, you are also against marriage of people past childbearing age? What about infertile couples. Shall we ensure that they cannot marry? If I get a vasectomy is it the same as a divorce? Does a marriage licensce require a note on reproductive health from your doctor and a guarantee that you won't choose to remain childless?

    Oh, and you might be surprised to learn that procreation is actually possible without marriage (I learned that one the hard way.)

    So it does basically come down to not wanting to extend rights to faggots. For anyone that says why should they call it marriage, it doesn't matter as long as they have the same legal rights as a married couple, well, you can't have it both ways. Either the semantics does make a difference or it doesn't. If it doesn't then why make such a big deal about it yourself?

  • by notque (636838) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:10PM (#8388654) Homepage Journal

    Marriage has nothing to do with procreation. While procreation is certainly important to the survival of humanity, it has no bearing on the validitiy of the love between two people.


    Marriage does have to do with procreation.

    Love is nothing if not about procreation.

    Validity of love is an interesting term. So it is an attempt is to make love as valid as love between a man and a woman.

    That's the arguement. No need to continue on about anything else.

    Let's just talk about it, and finish it. It has NOTHING to do with marriage, and EVERYTHING to do about if the love between a Man and a Man is as VALID as the love between a man and a woman.

    If it's the same thing. If it means the same thing. If it feels the same. etc.
  • Re:Publishing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kenthorvath (225950) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:12PM (#8388678)
    Of course this is no different than a library consisting of only papers on cannibilism that people have written, and are submitted in real time for publication. Again, not illegal.
  • Re:Duh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:14PM (#8388699)
    You completely misunderstand the US constitution and US law. We have a constitution of enumerated powers for the federal govenment. Everything not enumerated is reserved to the states and the people. Most of the Bill of Rights is redundant to this doctrine. This is a bottom-up flow of sovernty, the exact opposite of the Magna Carta.
  • -5 WRONG! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:14PM (#8388702)
    Actually the US criminalsystem works the same way. If I was to go out and commit some horrible act I could not bhe prosecuted for it under the due proecess ammendment of the US constitution unless there was a specific law I coudl be charged with.

    there is no "What he did was just morally wrong" law in the US.

    Dumbass
  • by Scudsucker (17617) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:19PM (#8388766) Homepage Journal
    On an entirely unrelated note, why is a union of 2 committed lovers, whatever their sex, a threat to "the oldest and most sacred institution in America", whereas a 2 minute drive-thru ceremony in Las Vegas isn't?

    Because people are retarded luddites. 1) marriage "the sacred institution" was let out of the bag decades ago, by no-fault divorces and Hollywood two week marriages (which have been reduced to 40 some hours thanks to Britney Spears). 2) How the hell is the quality of someone else's marriage going to affect your own? 3) Marriage is mostly a religious institution, and so the government doesn't have any god damn business defining it. 4) I'm these arguments against gay marriage are the exact same ones used against inter-racial marriages 50 years ago.
  • Re:Freedom? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by g0_p (613849) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:24PM (#8388840)
    but I really don't understand why "freedom of speech" needs to protect obviously dangerous elements of society.

    Because whats obvious to some is not obvious to all and you cannot rely on the testimony of average Joe to decide what is obviously dangerous and what is not.

    To demonstrate my argument, I am altering one of the sentences in your post and requoting it..

    Homosexuality? For God's sake, this is, in my non-professional opinion, not a sexual preference but a symptom of some psychological problems.

    And a few decades back, this may have been an obvious statement to many! (If you want to argue that homosexuality is simply a sexual preference and not a danger to society, further consider the correlation between AIDS and homosexuality, so as to classify it as dangerous.. In other words, consider the incorrect , but marginally palatable argument that homosexuality leads to AIDS and it is therefore dangerous).

    Note that I am in no way trying to insinuate that 20 years from now necrophilia or paedophily will be seen as acceptable, but I am merely trying to say that censorship may, among other things, lead to wrongful persecution because the other person's point of view was stifled. Let people speak, for it helps us see the world as it is and not veiled by the opinions of the censor. If you want to prosecute a particular necrophile or paedophile fan, then first prove that their action did incite some crime or is liable to incite crime, rather than preemptively and blindly shutting their voice down because you think they are wrong.
  • Hi, Mr Strawman! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Scudsucker (17617) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:25PM (#8388857) Homepage Journal
    hope that offends you. If so, then we can take as a given that there are certain behaviors you think should NOT be broadcast during the Superbowl Half Time Show without warning viewers.

    Don't be an asshat. Bestiality is very rare and physiologically abnormal, whereas just about every boy and girl in this country spends the first 6 months of their life staring at a breast several times per day.

    Get some fucking perspective.
  • by amplt1337 (707922) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:36PM (#8388994) Journal
    You want for everyone in the world to say, Yes.. Mr Gay Person.. Your love with Chuck is just like My love with Sarah.


    That is the goal of the Gay movement. I think that is wrong. That is what I have a problem with.
    Buddy, that's pretty clueless. Rich has no idea if his love for Jane is exactly the same as Chuck's love for Betty. I have no idea if my love for Yvette is different from Bob's love for Joe. Why? Because they are all personal feelings which can't be translated across the boundary of a human skull. Besides which, I don't really care if my emotion is identical to anybody else's; it doesn't need to match other people's feelings exactly in order for it to be legitimate (and I'm saying that about straight relationships, queer relationships, polyamorous relationships, whatever kind of relationships you want).

    The goal of the gay movement is not to be convinced that its love feels just the same as any other love. It is for that love to be accepted by society in the same way as straight love is. If you really have, as you say, no problem with gay sex, then why should you have a problem admitting that gay people can love each other? Do you have to insist that no, their love is inferior to yours/impossible, because they happen to be of the same gender? There simply is no way to testify what that love "feels" like compared to any other love, because that's an individual question, but if a couple tells you they're in love, can't you just believe them and have done with it?
  • Re:Freedom? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by back_pages (600753) <back_pages&cox,net> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @01:38PM (#8389020) Journal
    Point taken.

    Homosexuality has been a controversial topic for a long time -- even though it was muted in 20th century America, it was alive and well during the classical civilizations. The same type of requoting you performed could be used for nose picking, procreating, punctuating sentences, or anything you like.

    Necrophilia and cannibalism are often textbook cases of relativism in Philosophy or Ethics 101. Aside from the moral issues, there are plenty of health issues. I'm confident there is a substantial correlation between psychological problems and these unusual practices. Even more than that, both of these activities involve dead people, and for understandable reasons modern society has pretty clear rules on what to do with dead people. A coroner is not the type of job where you get 3 days of training with the shift supervisor and a personalized name tag.

    So a person who adheres to Relativism can make any claim he likes - but the belief system isn't even self consistent. Punch a Relativist in the teeth - if he wants to file a police report, he has proven that his belief system is a fraud. Yeah, maybe necrophilia and cannibalism aren't obviously harmful, but declaring them as harmful isn't exactly controversial.

    If I post detailed instructions on how to make a powerful bomb in your kitchen, must the government wait for someone to blow up a building and kill people before my site is taken down? I don't think so. To borrow a cliche, there is a clear and present danger in posting bomb instructions on the internet. I believe the same can be said for a cannibal dating service or a necrophiliac community network. I'm not suggesting that we persecute these people personally, but rather we do not protect their right to organize and further their interests specifically because these interests are widely believed to be harmful. It's not a perfect system, but it's a hell of a lot better than letting every last idiot run rampant without bounds.

  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fenix down (206580) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:03PM (#8389347)
    This is the very reason that there was such an opposition to the Bill of Rights component of the US constitution when it first was suggested. The architects of the main body of the constitution were concerned that the Bill of Rights would be misinterpreted just as you've done.

    Thomas Jefferson and others argued that making a list of things the government especially couldn't do looked a lot like a list of things that the people could do, something which quite justifiably horrified them. Others argued that they didn't really know about any of this fancy "law" stuff but that they wanted someone to write down that they were allowed to go to church and shoot critters. And there you have the constitution.

    Jefferson was obviously dead right, of course, since he was a fucking genius, so now we have to run around euthanizing people who pratter on about how there's no right to privacy and speech doesn't mean video games for the good of the Republic.

    And we only blow up your tanks because we're all so fucking high man, really. I mean, shit, the clouds are fucking all over up here. They're cows, cows. Cows are gonna kill me. THE BISEXUALS ARE GONNA KILL ME!!!
  • by rapiddescent (572442) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:15PM (#8389498)
    This post is factually incorrect. There is no such thing as a British legal system. There is an English evolved traditional legal system and Scotland has a (superior) legal system that is derived from Roman Law (even today proceedings are in Latin). Scotland has fully adopted the EU Human Rights Act whilst England is lagging behind.

    English law DOES NOT HAVE the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise thanks to the Criminal Justice Act in the early nineties. In Scotland, you cannot incriminate yourself - so responding to a traffic offence and identifying yourself as the culprit from a speed camera photo is illegal! Very different systems. Also the Anti-Terrorism act allows citizens to be held without charge for an indefinite time. This came about to combat the irish threat in the 80's, long before bush and his oddball war for oil/power.

    Also in Scotland there are 3 verdicts - guilty, innocent and Not Proven.

    Also, your example about the box of matches does not hold true in England. The 1996 offensive weapons act makes it illegal to carry any offensive object in a public place. this would include a pocket penknife (of any size). You *will* be charged for carrying a pocket penknife in London - even if you had no intention whatsoever of using it to garot someone. If you had a box of matches in one pocket and lighter fluid in the other then you could well be charged, or at least, receive a caution.

    rd

  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnif ... s.org minus city> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:18PM (#8389521) Homepage Journal

    The only Dogma that science really has is that there are some laws or principles that can be discovered that govern the universe in a way that's the same for everybody. Every other idea in science is completely up for grabs. If you can convincingly disprove something, people stop believing it.

    Even the first bit of dogma is actually something you would be allowed to disprove in science, though then most of the whole point and goal of science would be destroyed.

    This is very unlike religion, where a little technological change like reliable and effective birth control creates decades of turmoil and upset within the ranks of the faithful and the church hierarchy.

    While I believe there is a definite need for spirituality, dogmatic religions like Christianity largely just create vast and intractable social problems that wouldn't have to exist without them.

  • Re:Wait wait wait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by myowntrueself (607117) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:20PM (#8389542)
    "specifically to *avoid* tyranny of the majority."

    So instead you get the tyrrany of the very wealthy.

    Great bargain, dude.
  • Ethical issues (Score:3, Insightful)

    by danila (69889) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:22PM (#8389567) Homepage
    Please bear in mind that cannibalism and necrophilia are not unethical. They may be immoral, disgusting and offensive to many people, but there is nothing unethical about eating or fucking a dead body. It's just a ethical as burning it, shooting the ash into space, burying it in the ground, freezing it in liquid nitrogen, hanging it on the tree, etc.

    It has been considered normal and even worthy to eat parts of the dead in many cultures. It is considered totally acceptable to engage in the acts of kissing with the dead, caressing them and talking to them. I don't see any principal difference from necrophilia or cannibalism.

    It is indeed not mainstream, but then Internet censorship is not mainstream either. And I am not suggesting a crackdown on the UK's Hi-Tech Crime Unit. BTW, doesn't it disturb you that the UK has a Hi-Tech Crime Unit? Where is the world going? The next thing you know, the UK will get itself a "Raping Innocent Children Team" or "Blatant Corruption Division"...
  • What's wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:25PM (#8389601) Homepage Journal
    A reasonable question. What this is actually about is porn. The sites under debate distribute pictures and stories of people killing and eating other people. Usually the victim is a pretty female. It's a simple sexual fantasy, though I can't explain how eating somebody could have a sexual element. The weird sexual fetishes [passiononline.co.uk] you can find on the net boggle the mind!

    As with all violent porn, the issue is whether there are people who don't get the "this is just a fantasy" bit and actually go out and murder people, for sex or for lunch. They even made a movie about it [imdb.com].

  • Ditto (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joggle (594025) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:27PM (#8389645) Homepage Journal
    The Constitution defines all of the powers of government, deliniating as clearly as possible the limits of these powers. In addition, it clearly defines certain "inaliable" rights that must not be infringed upon. It doesn't limit the freedom of the people, simply defines some very important freedoms that explicitly can not be intruded upon (at the time, several if not all of these explicit rights were continuously stepped on by the British government). The only limit explicitly placed on people by the Constitution that I'm aware of is that they can't commit treason. But even here it makes it difficult for there must be two witnesses and a difficult trial. If you look at the history of the US, this limit has been enforced very rarely.

    Fortunately for us, they also made the Constitution exceedingly difficult to change, keeping it a stable document for future generations. The only downside to it is that there is (apparently) insufficient enforcement of its provisions. The legislature knowingly and unknowingly passes unconstitutional laws all the time, requiring an expensive and tedious judicial process to repeal it, at which point they can quickly rewrite the law and put it back in action, repeating the process ad naseum. It also let a huge hole for "executive orders" which are orders by the President and can only be stopped by impeachment of the President (another difficult process) AFAIK.

  • by reallocate (142797) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:43PM (#8389826)
    If you can't publish anywhere else, you can't publish on the web. It's just another medium.

    Timothy's silly notion of "freedom of expression online" is bogus. But, it plays up to people who think the web is different. It ain't.
  • UK != US (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ReadParse (38517) <johnNO@SPAMfunnycow.com> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:47PM (#8389867) Homepage
    What happened to freedom of expression online?

    What do you think the K stands for in UK? "States"? There are freedoms similar to those of the United States all over the world, but that similarity doesn't mean squat without a constitution that expressly grants us rights that most of the rest of the world do not have.

    The European Convention on Human Rights of 1950 extended free expression to the citizenry of the signing countries, but there are many limitations to that "free" expression:

    "The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary." (bold added by RP)

    Thanks, but I prefer the US Constitution.

    RP
  • Re:Get off it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fenix down (206580) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @02:50PM (#8389909)
    cannibalism and necrophilia were sort of ILLEGAL

    No. In California necrophilia is, under "Robyn's Law", which only passed May of last year, but in most states it isn't, except as a public health violation, same as a mortuary dumping bodies in the dumpster or something, which can get you prison time of a couple years anyway, and probably will if the violation is fucking bodies. Same thing with cannibalism, though I can't find any specific laws outlawing it.

    What is illegal in the US is assisted suicide, and endangering the public health. So the German guy who ate his buddy is a murderer and a public health risk here, but if he just stuck with hacking off bits and eating them, leaving the guy still alive at the end, he would only be a public health risk, and get maybe 3 years. They might also be able to get him on practicing medicine without a liscence if they were creative.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @03:05PM (#8390085)
    And.... would you be allowed to create a website campaigning for your views? That's the whole point of this article, should people be allowed to try to advertise currently illegal activities?
  • I love this quote: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @03:13PM (#8390169) Journal
    " "For it [the Internet] to continue to grow as a mainstream medium for businesses, education and entertainment, it must design out the minority factors that inhabit cyberspace for their own perverse gratification," Hynds added."

    Exactly! That's what I've been saying for years! The internet isn't for public use, it's just a new source of advertising for businesses and the entertainment industry. Power to the... um, big business!

    Next let's burn the encyclopedia and dictionary! I bet there's definitions for cannibalism and necrophilia in there. God forbid anyone educate themselves, ain't be no learnin' on dis hur inturnet.

    Jeez, before you know it they'll be taking away the guns and putting video cameras on every street corner.... oh, wait, this is britian, isn't it?

  • by Alidar (655471) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @03:22PM (#8390249)
    The fact actually is that someone like Bill Gates has exactly the amount of control that his employees and consumers give him.

    At any point they are allowed to get another job or use other software.

    I know it isn't a popular opinion on Slashdot, but business is good. Businesses employee people and employed people can do more of the things that they want. People who run successful business should be taxed the same as everyone else; taxing them more discourages them from being more successful.
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @04:42PM (#8391207) Journal
    What's wrong with legitimising the homosexual lifestyle? Does it threaten you in some way? Are you scared of it?

    A perversion of nature? There was a time when accepting anyone of any faith other than your own was "a perversion of nature". There was a time when putting a black man in a suit rather than chains was "a perversion of nature". There was a time when educating women was "a perversion of nature". There was a time when women working was "a perversion of nature". There was a time when an interracial relationship was "a perversion of nature".

    Guess what, buddy? Nature evolves. Humanity does too, socially as well as genetically.

    As for your comments about other species, well I put it to you if other animals engage in homosexual behaviour, or are born with too many or two few appendages, all without any intervention from man then, be definition that is natural. How you can say that something that occurs naturally isn't natural is beyond me.

    Homosexuality is a fact of life. Trying to ban it isn't going to work. It might not be desirable from a "propagation of the species" point of view but it's here so laarn to live with it. You can either hate people for being gay and treat them as second class citizens for something that's none of your business or you can accept them for what they are and move on to more important matters.
  • by Alsee (515537) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:14PM (#8392311) Homepage
    Hm. I think it's difficult, though, to establish law without some moral background. Laws established in a vacuum seem to be, well, arbitrary.

    I don't think you need to appeal to God to come to the conclusion "don't intentionally or recklessly hurt people". You don't need to appeal to God to come to the conclusion that some things yeild a "common benefit", such as taxes to pay for fire/police/military protections or public works like street and highways, or currency, or legal backing for some sorts of agreements (contracts). I think ultimately all valid law traces back to one of those two foundations, but feel free to point out anything I overlooked.

    If an American-Indian and an Atheist and a Buddhist and a Christian and a Jew and a Muslim and a Pagan and a Satanist and a Shaolin monk and a Taoist don't get 90% agreement on something then it has no business being a law - at least not in a country where the Constitution forbids the Congress to pass any law favoring one religious belief over another.

    Everyone listed above (yes, including the Satanist) would agree that you should be thrown in prison for breaking into someone's home and stealing/destroying their stuff. You don't need some "devine document" to justify such a law. On the other hand almost HALF of the people listed above would object to changing the pledge of allegiance to add the phrase "under God", as was done about 30 years ago. Some do not believe there is a god, some believe in more than one god, and some believe in a sort of god were it is nonsensical to use the phrase in that manner.

    which is why a "legal partnership" or some such could be established.

    By which I assume you mean that a "legal partnership" would not actually be called a "marrige"? The only function of calling it something else is to disciminate between them. You may as well suggest an interracial partnership be a "legal partnership" rather than a "marrige".

    Whether or not these new legal partnerships would be given tax exemptions is another matter altogether.

    Right, just like tax exemptions for an interracial parnership is another matter altogether. Tax law must grant or deny exemptions without refference to skin-color or gender. Discriminating between partnerships based on genders would be just as unconstitutional as discriminating based on skin colors. Either they all get exemptions or none of them do.

    -
  • by BillyBlaze (746775) <tomfelker@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @07:04PM (#8392703)
    Now, I'm a UK citizen and I'm 100% happy for my national laws to be used to shut down such a site.

    What is free speech? I live in a democracy that allows me, should I so wish, to *campaign* for the legalisation for necrophilia. I can talk to anyone and everyone about it. ... Aren't those statements contradictory? You can talk about something, but you can't put up a website about it? What's the difference?

  • by taustin (171655) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @07:22PM (#8392842) Homepage Journal
    What is free speech? I live in a democracy that allows me, should I so wish, to *campaign* for the legalisation for necrophilia. I can talk to anyone and everyone about it.

    Can you put up a web site about it?
  • Re:Just wondering. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alsee (515537) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @01:53AM (#8395079) Homepage
    Liable is illegal because...

    because of intent to cause harm.

    Slander is illegal because...

    because of intent to cause harm.

    yelling fire in a crowded theater is illegal because...

    because of intent to cause harm, or recklessly risking causing harm. It's perfectly legal if for whatever reason you know people aren't going to react to it.

    As far as freedom of speech is concerned, we do draw the line.

    Speech itself is not a crime, it can merely be used in the course of commiting a non-speech crime. The words "I'll pay you $10,000 to kill my wife" is not a crime, but using those words with intent of actually cause harm to occur is a crime.

    -

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