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Censorship The Internet

French President Proposes Jail For Terrorist Website Visitors 402

howardd21 writes "French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is only a month away from an election, argued that it is time to treat those who browse extremist websites the same way as those who consume child pornography. 'Anyone who regularly consults Internet sites which promote terror or hatred or violence will be sentenced to prison,' he told a campaign rally in Strasbourg, in eastern France. 'Don't tell me it's not possible. What is possible for pedophiles should be possible for trainee terrorists and their supporters, too.' Is this a good move for security, or just another step towards a totalitarian society that prohibits free expression?"
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French President Proposes Jail For Terrorist Website Visitors

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday March 23, 2012 @09:51AM (#39450491) Journal
    In an unfortunate twist, the sorts of reactions that our favorite diminutive head of state proposes are exactly the sort of thing that seems like an attractive tactical move; but makes a unbelieveably dreadful strategic one against your assorted religious nutjobs and fundamentalist reactionaries...

    It is certainly true that some people Simply Aren't Interested in ye olde western enlightenment values, no matter how good a job you do of actually upholding them. Those you pretty much have to put up with, with the proviso that if they cross the line, you'll have to kill them.

    For everybody else, though, the lousier and more hypocritical your execution of your supposed ideals, the worse you look, and the better the chap down the road who has shit ideals, but is at least real sincere about them, starts to look.

    If your sales pitch ends up being "Welcome to the Free World(tm): We offer the finest in postmodern cynicism and brutality cloaked in the noblest sounding invocations of highflown principle than money can buy. Please look directly into the retinal scanner and have an nice day." You can't very well expect to stem fundamentalist recruitment very effectively...
  • by Teppy ( 105859 ) on Friday March 23, 2012 @09:52AM (#39450517) Homepage
    Including Inspire magazine (Al Qaeda's English-language publication), the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups, and sites sympathetic to the Oklahoma city bombing.

    I want to understand what motivates these people; I want to think about what sort of public policy creates the most freedom, prosperity, safety; I want to understand the enemy and figure out why they're the enemy in the first place.

    So I guess I'd be put in jail for this if I lived in France. Is Sarkozy saying that only politicians are able to reason about such things? Hell of a job they've done so far.
  • by AlecC ( 512609 ) <> on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:03AM (#39450679) rickrolling - or call it terrortrolling. Just set up a few fake links for your gullible frenemies, and get them the dawn knock on the door.

  • Stupid... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) < ... NBSDom minus bsd> on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:22AM (#39450889) Homepage

    Jailing someone for familiarising themselves with a subject is wrong...

    Guides on how to commit acts of terrorism could be perceived as interesting, and are useful reading for someone working on the other side of the fence looking to prevent, deter or even just detect such acts... In fact this is a common problem, those looking to prevent a given activity simply don't understand how those who want to carry out such activities think... Wether it's hacking, burgling, terrorism, piracy etc, and you end up with wholly ineffective measures that look really fancy but are easily circumvented by those who are serious about doing it, while providing significant disruption for innocent civilians.
    There seems to be a generally flawed mindset out there that concentrates on big fancy front gates, while totally forgetting about the rotten wooden door at the back.

    Personally i think the more people understand about how terrorists think, the greater the chance of their activities being discovered and stopped. Imagine you live next door to someone who keeps bringing bags of fertiliser into their house, are they a keen gardened or can fertiliser be used to make bombs? Have you seen any evidence of well cultivated plants in their back garden? Can you smell canabis coming from their roof space? Or can you smell other chemicals you've read about in the jolly roger's cookbook?

    Child porn is entirely different, most people simply won't want to look at it, even if they should stumble across it accidentally.

  • by afeeney ( 719690 ) on Friday March 23, 2012 @10:47AM (#39451219)
    Why? Why do you want to understand these people? I'm serious. Why deliberately fill your head with hatred and evil and seek to know what motivates these people? Can you? Is it possible? To what end?

    Not the original poster, but there are a lot of valid reasons to view hate sites. (Leaving aside the intellectual freedom issues, etc.)

    1. Simple intellectual curiosity into the motivations of terrorists, militant racists, etc..

    2. In order to better evaluate the positions that politicians take in fighting terrorism or hate crimes. If I don't know what drives them, how can I evaluate how people want to stop them? How can I best vote and contribute as a citizen?

    3. The same morbid curiosity that drives people to read real crime novels/watch movies about serial killers. It's not necessarily a "good" reason but it's a valid one.

    4. Professional interest from mental health/cognitive professionals.

    5. A friend/family member's concern about somebody who seems to be increasingly sympathetic to terrorists, militant racists, etc. I can't counter the white supremacist's/terrorist's/ethnic cleanser arguments if I don't know what they're arguing.

    6. The desire of moderate Christians/Jews/Hindus/Muslims to argue against religiously-motivated terrorism by their co-religionists in general. Most of them do.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:16AM (#39451575)

    If you think nation states cannot trade, communicate freely and all of that without going to war or having ethnically "diverse" societies, you are sadly mistaken. The reason diversity is a problem is that without common, shared values and culture you have a limited shared social fabric for how to form a government, regulate public and private dealings and host of other things which bind society together.

    Shared ethnicity is very important and ethnicity transcends race. It's possible for a black and white man to have the same ethnicity; it's possible to have two blacks and two whites each be of different ethnicities. What matters most is having the mostly ethnically homogenous society you can while not tying ethnicity to race. At least in America, we've done a good job of separating race and ethnicity. You frequently now see whites and blacks treat each other as fellow citizens while both being suspicious of illegal immigrants as they're not from the same larger group as we are.

  • by jpapon ( 1877296 ) on Friday March 23, 2012 @12:02PM (#39452267) Journal
    Parent's logic is that it is okay because you force EVERYONE to show their face -- not just the Muslims. Thus it is not religious discrimination, since nobody is being discriminated against; everyone is treated the same way.

    Of course the obvious counter is that only the Muslim's WANT to show their faces, so, even if the law applies to everyone, it only actually affects one group.

    The counter to this is that this is always the case with laws; they generally affect only those who would break them.

    Anyways, as for your anecdote, what if my religion said I should walk around naked? Would it be religious discrimination for the laws saying one can't go to school naked to also apply to me? If it is reasonable to enforce conformity to one societal standard with respect to attire (don't be naked) than it seems like it is also reasonable to enforce another (don't cover your face).

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus