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Censorship United Kingdom The Internet Your Rights Online

Cameron Says People Radicalized By Free Speech; UK ISPs Agree To Censor Button 316

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Techdirt: A few years ago, we mocked then Senator Joe Lieberman's request that internet companies put "report this content as terrorist content" buttons on various types of online content. The plan went nowhere, because it's a really bad idea, prone to massive abuse. Yet, over in the UK, some apparently think it's such a grand idea that they're actually moving forward with it. This isn't a huge surprise — the current UK government has been going on for quite some time about banning "extremist" content, and just recently ramped up such efforts. And now it appears that a bunch of big UK broadband access providers have agreed to play along: The UK's major Internet service providers – BT, Virgin, Sky and Talk Talk – have this week committed to host a public reporting button for terrorist material online, similar to the reporting button which allows the public to report child sexual exploitation. They have also agreed to ensure that terrorist and extremist material is captured by their filters to prevent children and young people coming across radicalising material.
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Cameron Says People Radicalized By Free Speech; UK ISPs Agree To Censor Button

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  • by Colin Castro ( 2881349 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @03:45PM (#48387743)
    A lot of people are going to complain about the freedom of speech or expression, but that's a pretty American thing. Most countries have limited freedoms of speech, the UK included. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org] I wish more countries had absolutely protected speech, but somehow things that are "offensive" to any ONE person are vilified. I'm sure a lot of people would have wanted to censor MLK Jr. and others, it's not just terrorists and nazi's that use freedom from opression to get their points heard. It seems a lot of people forget that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Let's not take the UK as an example, though. The UK is pretty bad compared to most of Europe. It's closer to Russia in this regard.
      People are literally sent to prison for racist tweets [theguardian.com] there.

    • by bulled ( 956533 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @04:25PM (#48388103)
      It isn't forgotten, rather the whole point of the supression. With this new tool, the UK government can classify any speech it doesn't like as terrorist or extremist material.
    • by Fwipp ( 1473271 )

      The US government values free speech so much, it was found guilty of conspiracy in the assassination of MLK Jr.

    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      Freedom of speech cannot easily be overrated.

      But there is also something called freedom of information, that one is part of the Dutch legal system and I cherish it.

      Not that I in any manner want to say The Netherlands has a perfect record on either, like Adolf Hitler's work Mein Kampf is still forbidden...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Livius ( 318358 )

      Britain has struggled - successfully - for freedom of speech for hundreds of years before the US existed.

      They do not, however, make a religion out of it, and don't live in a theocracy anyway.

  • by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @03:46PM (#48387753) Homepage Journal

    Make this such an onerous burden that the ISPs are forced to either withdraw their support, or just censor everything that is flagged without checking it. To do this, report everything that is remotely political as "extremist" and "radicalizing". When the politicians themselves are the targets of their bad law, they just might take a hint.

    • by cp.tar ( 871488 ) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Friday November 14, 2014 @03:53PM (#48387841) Journal

      This is actually quite a good idea. Though without a troll army, you won't be doing much.

      Still, I guess a browser add-on could be made that would automatically report any page you visit that contains certain keywords (politicians' names, hint hint) as extremist and radicalizing. Reporting shouldn't be a hassle, after all.

      • Though without a troll army, you won't be doing much.

        Good thing we have one!

        I mean, I know Anonymous isn't my personal army, but I hope it'll go after this just the same.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 14, 2014 @04:16PM (#48388023)

      Make this such an onerous burden that the ISPs are forced to either withdraw their support, or just censor everything that is flagged without checking it. To do this, report everything that is remotely political as "extremist" and "radicalizing". When the politicians themselves are the targets of their bad law, they just might take a hint.

      There is this story online which claims that efforts to introduce wheel clamps were defeated by a mass movement of the French people who injected superglue into the lock of every single wheel clamp they came across. Eventually the whole wheel clamp introduction became more trouble than it was worth.

    • You're missing the (unstated) part that anything a "legitimate" politician says will be immune to this. Because, you know, they're legitimate. Just ask 'em.

      Do you really think a politician would enact a law restricting what THEY do? Law is for little people.

    • Or you get arrested for terrorist activity.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @03:46PM (#48387759) Journal
    Has there ever been a censorship campaign without some allegedly noble objective? I certainly can't remember anyone standing up and saying "Yeah, it's forbidden because we are basically evil like that." There is always a threat to the children, social order, national security, etc.

    Nice work, Airstrip One.
    • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

      Why don't we try making children resistant to radicalization by teaching them what to look out for [wikipedia.org], the same way we teach them not to talk to strangers or what to do in case of a nuclear explosion [wikipedia.org]?

  • Can we get a button for lying, scumbag, politicians (sorry to be redundant)?
    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Yes. It's the same button as the "extremists" button.
      The "child abuse" button is also appropriate, considering these people affect your childrens' future freedom.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Friday November 14, 2014 @04:04PM (#48387939)
      Yes it's called a ballot. You tick the box every few years and you get a lying, scumbag politician.
    • Use the same one. Report every single Conservative Party web site (including candidate web sites in the run up to the next election) as inappropriate content. If enough people do it then some are bound to accidentally slip in to the censor list...
    • As soon as I read the Summary, the first thing I thought (and hoped) would happen would be that all the crazy crap politicians would say would get flagged as extremist :D
  • by duck_rifted ( 3480715 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @03:49PM (#48387805)
    Here we are on a site where strangers can rate what we say, potentially burying it where others won't get the chance to read it, and we're complaining that governments are vaguely coming around to the same idea? Aww, come on now, haven't we gotten this pattern yet? Legislators are always going to be years behind everybody else in leveraging tech, and will always try to apply it on a broader scale. Do I need to start listing all the sites that have user moderation, post or content scoring, or "report" buttons?

    Obviously, because there are so many websites that make it work, there are ways to make it work. Whether it will be abused by consumers (including trolls, shills, marketers, etc etc) to the point of uselessness depends entirely upon the implementation. Whether it will be abused by politicians to control the ideas we're exposed to ultimately depends upon the same thing it always has: whether we keep talking to each other.

    The concept we have all gotten used to by now is that we have the right to speak, but not a right to be heard. Again, the fact that you're here means that you've already accepted that. People just don't trust governments to do the same, and site owners may not want the government doing it for them. Obviously there are other options, so it's just a matter of making the right tools.

    Have you ever used a "webrep" browser plugin? Personally, I think it would be refreshing and useful to have one that works.
    • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @04:01PM (#48387911)

      Here we are on a site where strangers can rate what we say, potentially burying it where others won't get the chance to read it, and we're complaining that governments are vaguely coming around to the same idea?

      Yes, but if we don't like the type of moderation on Slashdot, we're free to go to another site. With the government, we're not free to do that (at least, not if they have their way).

      This system, if implemented, will just drive radicalized speech underground and out of the public eye. It's not going to solve anything, except increase the number of people who want to rebel against the government, and make them better at hiding their trails.

    • Here we are on a site where strangers can rate what we say, potentially burying it where others won't get the chance to read it, and we're complaining that governments are vaguely coming around to the same idea?

      I was just going to move my cursor over to the little flag in the lower right corner of your comment when the irony hit me. No, actually, it hit me as soon as I read the summary. "Report" is not "censorship", unless the "report" button automatically removes something. Moderation here is closer to censorship because that can automatically lower a comment's rating below the limit the reader has set.

      What was actually chilling in TFA was this comment:

      Also, the comparison to child porn is a common one, but wro

    • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @05:34PM (#48388543) Journal

      Here we are on a site where strangers can rate what we say, potentially burying it where others won't get the chance to read it, and we're complaining that governments are vaguely coming around to the same idea?

      Usually, buried comments are garbage, but you're always able to change your comment threshold. Not so if a site you want to see is on your ISP's blocked list.

    • But you can already find them. Just read at -1.* And Slashdot users aren't even banned from the site for shitty karma; they still have their free speech.

      Obviously, because there are so many websites that make it work

      For instance this one, I dare say.

      *And before you complain about the quality going down, you can't have it both ways.

    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      There are posts getting deleted due to down modding? Weird considering the ones that are rated -1 and still here. At that all I see is a rating system with posts rated on a scale of -1 to +5, I read them all, or at least skim them. If others want to self censor and miss some good posts by AC which is rated at 0, well that's their choice and whether people should have the right of self censorship, why not, there's only so much time.

  • ooo (Score:2, Funny)

    Lets see... who's the most responsible for bombing the largest number of innocent civilians in Britain?
    Parliament of course.
    So get clicking folks. We need to stop the government from spreading it's propaganda and continuing it's 300 year terror campaign.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Lets see... who's the most responsible for bombing the largest number of innocent civilians in Britain?
      Parliament of course.
      So get clicking folks. We need to stop the government from spreading it's propaganda and continuing it's 300 year terror campaign.

      I thought that was the Luftwaffe?

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @03:50PM (#48387811)
    The real problem to solve is why children and young people feel the need to become radicalized. Censoring websites will not prevent children and young people from becoming radicalized, indeed, it may even have unintentional consequences.
  • by DumbSwede ( 521261 ) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Friday November 14, 2014 @03:55PM (#48387859) Homepage Journal

    I literally get sick to my stomach every time I see these kinds of proposals. I know us turning into a police state is not the goal of radical Islam, but having us live in fear is and which this will promulgate as a constant reminder.

    We use to want to defeat authoritarian regimes by being a beacon of freedom that their citizens aspired to – thus defeating them without having to have boots on the ground. It worked well against the Soviet Union and given enough time will work against radical Islam, that is if we don’t turn into something their people don’t admire and aspire to be.

    Just quit playing their game, seriously, leave things alone to sort themselves out. I’m not completely isolationist, groups like ISIS certainly deserve a thumping. I’m not blind that some intervention is called for in extreme cases.

    How about we get to UN to quit backsliding on basic freedoms, instead of worrying about the sensitivities of religions? How about to be full fledged member of the UN your people have to have freedom of speech and religion? Political systems and economic systems are up to whoever is in charge, but quit letting theocracies to get a pass on human rights. Do this and within a generation religious radicalism will be a thing of the past.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @03:57PM (#48387879) Homepage
    It is a clear attempt to warn the terrorists that we will be warning the government about their terrorist threats.

    You know - things like objecting to government regulation, complaining about government spying, making a request for public information, suing the government, that kind of thing.

  • Bigots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @04:00PM (#48387891)

    Shouldn't there also be `Racist' and `Sexist' "public reporting buttons" as well?

    Did I actually just type that?

    Holy shit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Holy shit.

      Great, now we need blasphemy and profanity buttons too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sexist? No, only misogynist content will be reportable. Anti-male content is allowed.

  • Yep! We don't want our kids watching porn! It'll warp them into sex fiends!
    We're puttin' in a filter!
    No porn for you little Bobby!
    Hey little Bobby! How the hell'd you get your hands on porn?

    Yep! We don't want our kids watching or reading anything to do with terrorism! It'll turn them into head-chopping raghead terrorists!
    We're puttin' in a filter.
    No terrorism for you little Bobby!
    Hey little Bobby! How the hell'd you get your hands on that terrorist manifesto? And why do you have three wives?

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @04:11PM (#48387985) Homepage
    the last few major "acts of terrorism" in britain have been by a gent named Pavlo, a Ukranian man with a distinctive axe to grind against Muslims. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]. the 2007 glasgow attack was stretched as a "terror ramming attack" of all things, and in 2008 an individual with a history of mental problems who had 'recently converted to islam' attempted to bomb a cafe.

    When governments pass antiterrorism laws, its amusing to see their concern for children or the welfare of the youth as Terrorism in the strategic sense does not serve to undermine the citizenry but their government. Events like disclosing sensitive government information related to, in the case of the states, the wholesale slaughter of a crew of journalists by a helicopter team and an ensuing coverup for example are acts of terrorism as they directly challenge and discredit the government as an agent acting genuinely in the best interests of its citizenry. Lastly, it remains to be said that Terrorists arent a toggle switch. In most cases these individuals have been pushed to desparation over many years until theyre left determined with nothing to lose. For example, the secret drone strike that killed a man or womans family may be met with a seemingly random and disproportionate retaliation 12 years later as theyve joined a support group of terrorists equally affected by these strikes and ignored by their respective governments.

    Britain and most western governments hate terrorism because it is an effective means of wearing down psychologically and emotionally one or more governments political policies in a means that cannot be bargained away or ignored. it inspires political churn in the state, distrust and apathy in the citizenry, and ultimately a further push from policies such as dominionism. It can also be argued that miring large nations in protracted, endless war is both an effective catharsis for an exploited people as well as deterrent against future distatesful foreign policy in the resultant return of wounded troops whom while perfectly alive, serve as a tangible reminder of the govenments complete lack of prudence and judgement again and again.
  • would introduce laws that stifle free speech and privacy. The goal of the terrorists is to disrupt our way of life so any that politicians that enact laws where free speech and privacy is removed in the name of fighting terrorism is in fact helping the terrorists spread terror and dictatorship.

    • The terrorists hate us for our freedom and our democracy. Or so I've been told time and again. So, I guess our politicians came to the conclusion, all we have to do to be no longer a target for terrorism is to eliminate it ourselves.

      Makes sense, doesn't it?

  • While we seem to be advancing technologically at an exponential rate, it seems culturally we're advancing at a snail's pace. I wonder how long it'll be before this divide is so vast it swallows us whole. It's like little kids with a gun; they know what it is and what it does, yet invariably someone ends up getting shot. What I can't figure out is if our misuse of technology is out of ignorance or malice.
  • Is it time to have a Cameron meme with 1984 on it?

  • I would like to hear what Jenson Button has to say - is he going to retire after this season?

  • The reason why there are so many radical islamists in the middle east is that their governments gave them way too much freedom of speech... or something like that.

    If you really needed any more proof that British beef might have some effect on your sanity...

  • That was the last straw for UK on my part.

    I'm a peaceful citizen, the closest thing I'll ever get to battle with someone is when my neighbors dog takes a dump on my lawn.

    But I am seriously tired of the ongoing acceptance of total censorship everywhere, and since I'm pretty much independent and a free spirit, I can move basically anywhere in the world I want to go. UK has long been on my list since it's not that easy to get a Green Card in the U.S. But it's fairly populated, speaks English natively...an
  • by horza ( 87255 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @05:35PM (#48388553) Homepage

    Remember when BT got lambasted as they intercepted all their user's web page requests using Phorm to be able to track users and insert their own ads into web pages? There was a big backlash with everybody saying a web page should be allowed to travel from a web server to a web browser unmolested. It's no surprise they will jump at an excuse to be able to intercept all their users web pages and manipulate the content before it arrives at the web browser. Sets a great precedent for them.

    It would be interesting to see transcripts of Cameron's speech as it's hard to believe he is as idiotic as he has been made out to be. His quote that we must "deal with the Internet" doesn't mean anything as radical as a report button on web pages. Though his quote "We must not allow the internet to be an ungoverned space" is bound to make him a hate figure globally online. I've no idea how his PR man let that slip past. "Just because you are online does not mean you are immune from the law" would have been much better.

    Phillip.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @05:57PM (#48388667)

    ...when the old Soviet era jokes start fitting the western world. Want some samples? These are original jokes that were told in or about the Soviet Union. All I really did was to switch names and places (and translate those that had no English translation yet).

    Don't think.
    If you think, don't speak.
    If you think and speak, don't write.
    If you think, speak and write, don't sign.
    If you think, speak, write and sign, don't be surprised.
    (this one is actually more funny in Russian because it's far more terse and laconic)

    Every morning a man would come up to the newspaper stand, and buy a copy of USA Today, look at the front page and then toss it angrily into the nearby bin. The newspaper-seller was intrigued. "Excuse me," he said to the man, "Every morning you buy a copy of USA Today from me and chuck it in the bin without even unfolding it. What do you buy it for?" "I'm only interested in the front page,' replied the man. "I'm looking out for an obituary." - "But you don't get obituaries on the front page!" - "I assure you, this one will be on the front page.

    A man was arrested for an assassination attempt on the president. "You didn't really want to kill the president, right?", asks the judge, "You're an ex-marine sniper with hundreds of confirmed victories, and missed from just 300 yards?" "Well, to be honest, it was my intention to kill him, but the people around me distracted me". "Oh, they tried to dissuade you and protect the president with their life?" "Not quite, they kept nudging me, yelling 'shoot, dammit, shoot!'"

    We are the most progressive country in the world. Yesterday we already had it better than we'll have it tomorrow!

    This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “Is it possible to make ends meet on salary alone?”
    We’re answering: “We don't know, we never tried.”

    This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “We are told that the economic upturn is already seen at the horizon.” Then, what is a horizon?”
    We’re answering: “Horizon is an imaginary line which moves away each time you approach it.”

    This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “What to do if a man you don't know takes a seat at your table in a pub and starts to sigh?”
    We’re answering: “Immediately demand to stop the defeatist propaganda.”

    This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “Is it possible to export our system to Switzerland?”
    We’re answering: “It's possible, but why? Did Switzerland really do something wrong to you?”

    This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “Why some people say that Afghans love the Americans and hate the Russians?”
    We’re answering: “Because Americans helped Afghanistan to get rid of the Russians, but the Russians didn't."

    This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “What is the easiest way to explain the meaning of the word ‘democracy’?”
    We’re answering: “Judging from our foreign policy, by means of weapons."

    This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “What is the duration of the workday in America?”
    We’re answering: “Of course, it's an eight-hour workday: from eight am to eight pm.”

    This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “What is an exchange of opinions?”
    We’re answering: “When you walk into your boss's office with your opinion and walk out with his.”

    This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “Can a son of a middle manager become a CEO?”
    We’re answering: “No, because every CEO also has a son.”

    This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “Is it true that there are two kinds of people serving as senators, as congressmen and as members of the Supreme Court?”
    We’re answering: “Yes, it is a true. One kind is those not capable of anything at all, and

  • by prefec2 ( 875483 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @06:25PM (#48388829)

    He almost lost the Scotland gamble. And of course there will be a second Referendum in a couple of years which will end in a divorce. He leads the UK out of the EU sinking the British finance sector. He also wants to cancel the European human rights treaty. And he censors the internet and spies on everyone.

    He mostly acts like a child. He is angry or has tears in his eyes. And then he lies to the British and then the EU is the cause of all problems according to Cameron. He is an upper class classisist with a big ego and no intellect. And I am very sorry for the UK, but he will ruin it for most of them.

  • *Ahem* Fuck you, David Cameron! We kicked your ass off this continent once over this issue and we'll do it again! And also Avatar was nothing both soft core furry porn! So there!
  • by Gonoff ( 88518 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @07:08PM (#48389071)

    I can think of various things that should be itemised as nasty. I am all for letting crazies speak but I would like them and everyone else to know how many people think they are dodgy,

    "What type of things" you might ask "would I want to identify as hateful?"
    You could start with our most hate filled politics. We have little as far right as you guys but there ae simple acronyms for some of the worst - ECDL, BNP, UKIP and the like. Their right to say things should not be restricted but everyone going to their sites should receive a reminder whenever they go to their web sites that these people are to be examined very carefully as some of them are completely nuts and even the mildest of them may well be the bunch of "fruitcases" that they were described as!

    If there was a "Really Crazy" button that we could report groups from those to Home Secretaries who want to mess us up, that would be really useful...

  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @09:07PM (#48389453)

    "Sorry Bill, too much terrorist, aristocrat-killing propaganda in your plays. Lock him in the tower, mates."

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Friday November 14, 2014 @09:53PM (#48389595)

    Might as well piss on their graves.

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