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The Internet Censorship

UK Teachers Say Censor The Internet 463

Marlow the Irelander writes "The BBC is reporting that in response to a YouTube video of a schoolboy breaking his teacher's window (yes, this is a video), NASUWT, one of the teaching unions in the UK, is calling for legislation to control the internet. Could Britain, rather than the US, be the main front of the battle against censorship in 2007?" From the article: "Unfortunately, any yob or vandal can now have their 15 minutes of fame, aided and abetted by readily accessible technology and irresponsible internet sites which enable such behaviour to be glorified. [The general secretary of the union] said the union supported a zero tolerance approach in schools to pupils who used technology to abuse and undermine teachers, and called for more rigorous legislative control of internet sites which gave them license."
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UK Teachers Say Censor The Internet

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  • by pcsmith811 ( 886216 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @10:48PM (#17453580) Homepage
    Video has been removed...
  • by SpectreHiro ( 961765 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:04PM (#17453708) Homepage
    I won't try and 'justify' wanting to see it - I mean, come on, it's a kid doing something really stupid. I'm just going to want to see that, especially when presented as something that might be censored.

    A damn shame... I wanted to see it too. Nothing like broken windows and stupid kids to liven up a boring Wednesday night. As a consolation prize, here's another kid doing something stupid.

    The fabled christmas tree jump... [youtube.com]
  • by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:19PM (#17453818)
    The article also points out that there were other perpetrators along with this boy, and thanks to the video they were disciplined. This twit may be technically immune, but the yahoos who accompanied him got a good ass whoopin'.
  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:34PM (#17453936)
    Maybe if teachers were more educators than prison wardens, kids would love them instead of hating them.

    and maybe if the yob who through a brick through a plate glass window didn't behave like he needed a warden more than a teacher he would be easier to love and to easier to teach.

  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @12:08AM (#17454172) Journal
    Just so we're clear, their logic is that the internet is a catalyst for youth vandalism?

    Sadly a common theme. It reminds me of when a guy [wikipedia.org] with a breathplay fetish was convicted of murdering someone, at which point there was a campaign to ban the porn sites he looked at (sites such as Necrobabes [wikipedia.org]). The Government was unable to do this - because the sites are entirely legal and the US presumably wasn't willing to listen - so it has now responded by saying that anyone who possesses "extreme" porn will now go to prison for three years [backlash-uk.org.uk].

    So if this follows a similar pattern, after realising they can't regulate the Internet, it'll instead be a criminal offence for UK citizens to view or possess images of schoolkids breaking windows.
  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @12:43AM (#17454480)
    You realize, of course, that the U.S. has gun control laws similiar to most European countries, and the image of the armed American is more a quaint stereotype than reality? The Second Amendment has largely been gutted - with Americans being allowed to own a .22 hunting rifle or a shot gun, occasionally a small pistal - but the kind of infantry style weapons that could actually be used for revolution (like in Iraq with their ubiquitous AK-47s), are strictly illegal.

    The only people who could really overthrow their government are the Swiss, and since they have been at peace most of the last 400 years, have no standing military and a police force smaller than most U.S. cities, and one of the highest standards of living in the world, they don't really need to do that, now do they?
  • by Juda_ben_Maci ( 83638 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @12:45AM (#17454500)
    You're right about Britain not having a First Amendment. The question "Could Britain, rather than the US, be the main front of the battle against censorship in 2007?" suggests that the author has a very American centric worldview. In Europe in general free speech is much more limited. Yes they are more open in some areas; a couple of notable examples being tolerance of drugs and public portrayal of sex such as in advertising and on TV. However, in many other areas, note ably in political speech, they are much more extreme then the states and the root of it is related to the lack of a fundamental Free Speech right in their laws. A lot of people in the states dislike NPR or Fox TV, Rush or Air America but the fact is we have multiple loudly and publicly divergent views. In much of Europe the official view is presented by government tied organizations, or, as in France the people who run the government, major enterprises, and the media come over whelming from one school, give each other jobs as they move in and out of government and squelch opposing views. As much as I dislike the ultra naturalist Le Pen the deriding of all his supports as racists is a perfect example. His success was driven by the lack of an mainstream outlet in France for issues that concern a large portion of the population but rather then take them seriously the two, supposedly opposing major parties, joined together to ensure he would be kept from achieving any political win. Neither party moved to adopt, or co-opt any of his bases of support; instead they used their control of the government and media to push the issues under the rug. In the US by contrast Perot's Reform party had a few minor wins but has since been co-opted by both the parties, the Democrats taking the protectionist stance and the Republicans adopting the immigration concerns.

    A much scarier trend is what is happening in Britain related to slander laws. In Britain there is no protection given to journalist and authors when they write about public figures. This means subjects of authors and journalists can, and do, successfully sue as a means of suppressing criticism. In the States it is very difficult for a public figure to win a slander suit against an author because you need to prove what was written was wrong, the author new it was wrong, the author had intentional malice in what they wrote and that harm was done. In Britain the prosecution need only show that what was published was wrong and that harm was done; there is no need for the author to have been aware of the mistake or to have had malice in their actions.

    As a result of these laws publications in Britain are much more reluctant to write hard-hitting articles about individuals. Even more disturbing, a number of US authors have been sued, with some success, because there books were sold in Britain and now US publishers have said they will hesitate in publishing books that could be target of these suits, even in the US, because of the cost of limiting the publications distribution to North America.
  • by TobascoKid ( 82629 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @08:12AM (#17456542) Homepage
    While it's not what responsible for kids turning into little shits (I actually think kids have always tended to be little shits, the current crop might be worse than usual but I think a lot of the anxiety around today's youth is because their shitiness is better reported), I do think the "Ban It!" culture that has developed in the UK is making things worse, because the more stuff you ban, the greater likelyhood of somebody breaking the ban, and once someone breaks one ban, breaking other bans becomes easier, and for some people that means breaking bans/rules/laws becomes a normal way of life. And not just with kids - I think adults are getting worse too.

    I don't understand why certain parts of society (and the media in particular) have become so afraid of personal freedom. Look at the reaction to the easing up of licencing laws - according to the media, the "world was going to end". That didn't happen, but any chance to bash the new laws is front page news, but any news that lends support to the new laws is a single paragraph, buried somewhere deep inside. The smoking ban is being wildly praised - but I bet that there will be some serious issues afterwards (such as having large numbers of drunk people hanging around outside pubs), that will just result in more calls for more things to be banned.
  • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @10:28AM (#17457586)
    The kid posted the video just before he and his family moved to Canada, out of the reach of British law

    If he moves between countries, he is either a tourist or an immigrant. Vandalism is criminal behaviour, and can be used to obatin an arrest warrant. In Canada, some employments require you to pass a criminal record check in order to ensure that you will not cause problems with the large quantity of customer data (a criminal record might not disqualify you, depending on the severity.) However, an outstanding arrest warrant for vandalism could be considered risky as the person may be a risk of flight, or may feel confident in performing other crimes.

    Alternativly, take the civil route. When a default judgement is applies in the UK, there's most likely some paperwork that allows enforcement of such a judgement in Canada - meaning that any collection agency can assign the maximum interest rate and start harassing the family.

    There's plenty of quirks with international law, especially when minors are involved. You'd best contact your lawyer if you want more information, but a change in country does not guarentee invulnerability from prosecution.

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry