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Several European Countries Lay Groundwork For Heavier Internet Censorhip 319

Gigaom reports that more internet censorship may be on the way, as several European countries' governments do a unity rally of their own, in the wake of the last week's terror attacks in France: The interior ministers of France, Germany, Latvia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the U.K. said in a statement (PDF) that, while the internet must remain “in scrupulous observance of fundamental freedoms, a forum for free expression, in full respect of the law,” ISPs need to help “create the conditions of a swift reporting of material that aims to incite hatred and terror and the condition of its removing, where appropriate/possible.” ... It seems, to say the least, an awkward reaction to what was in part a free-speech-related attack — the left-wing Charlie Hebdo has itself frequently been accused of hate speech for its portrayal of Muslims and others. On that front, a German newspaper that reprinted blasphemous Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Mohammed in the wake of the attack was firebombed in the early hours of Sunday morning, with no injuries. Others that did the same remain under police guard.
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Several European Countries Lay Groundwork For Heavier Internet Censorhip

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  • WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2015 @04:50AM (#48791467)

    Of course, we have to take away freedom of speech in order to protect freedom of speech, don't you get it? Duh....

    • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @05:13AM (#48791527) Journal

      ... there will be no freedom of speech left

      And from TFA

      " ... while the internet must remain âoein scrupulous observance of fundamental freedoms, a forum for free expression, in full respect of the law ...

      What law?

      I don't need to get a crystal ball to know that a lot more restrictive laws will emerge - and we all know what kind of the future world we will end up with if we do not stand up for our own rights!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        We already have this in Canada on the books, and is codified in our charter of rights and freedoms. Basically it boils down to: "You can do whatever you want, as long as law or society deem it to be harmful." Generally it's worked out well, and when it's over-reached, people have rallied around getting the law changed and it's happened.

        • "You can do whatever you want, as long as law or society deem it to be harmful."

          Methinks there might be a "not" missing in the above.

          Otherwise, your Charter of Rights & Freedoms seems to boil down to "murder is okay, since law or society deems it harmful"....

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 )

        In Nazi Germany they took away freedom of speech and put people in camps a long with the jews. no we do not need that to start up aging as soon as you control speech then you control the vote and after you control the vote then you can control the army the people and so on.

      • What law?

        Whose law?

      • In respect of US law, obviously. It's not an accident that the timing here is identical to CISPA, because it is much of the same parties with the same interests.

    • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @05:14AM (#48791529)
      Ah, but we're only taking away free speech from those who would take away free speech. You know, dangerous people like political protesters who might threaten our politicians' way of life.
      • They're taking those rights away from all of us. Islamists are the excuse for that. If the general public realized that these restrictions are ultimately gonna bite all of us on the ass, they'd never be allowed to pass these laws.

        You always need an identifiable "other" to justify laws that remove rights from all of us. In th McCarthy era it was 'the communist threat'. In Nazi Germany it was "The jewish threat". (then communists, gays, Gypsies, dissidents, and by the end of the war tanks were roaming the streets shooting at any window that was flying a flag of surrender).

        The Patriot Act was supposedly to catch "Those damned (Muslim) terrorists", but then the NSA and the FBI used those laws to justify listening in on everybody . Do you really think that it's going to be any different with this new law? Do you really think that wasn't the intent of the old one? I'm almost disgusted enough to say "Yeah, go ahead -- give up your freedoms, and see what happens!" -- but the problem is that when you give up your freedoms, you give up mine too.

    • Re:WTF (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @06:31AM (#48791705)

      Of course, we have to take away freedom of speech in order to protect freedom of speech, don't you get it? Duh....

      I know this is not a popular thing to say, and judging on my previous success in this area, I will get modded down to around absolute zero, no matter whether what I have to say actually makes sense, but ...

      As I have said many times in the past - there is no such thing as perfect freedom. If one party - say, the state or society - doesn't put some limitations in place, then other parties - like the loudest bullies, for example - will do it by intimidation. This is true for freedom of speech as well, as we can see now in several forms: on one hand, the extremists try to oppress the freedom to criticise their view of the world, and on the other hand, the uproar against them tries in their own way to oppress dissent. In my view, there has to be some form of compromise that strikes a balance between the legitimate needs for all, not just a few, groups in sociaty to be able to express their views, and the need to protect other, just as legitimate interests that contribute to the stability and growht of society.

      I don't have the solution to this problem, and I don't think you have it either. But I don't think it is beyond the capabilities of rational, thinking humans to find the solution.

      • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @06:58AM (#48791767)

        You say that extreme speech needs to be controlled: Wonderful! Theres only one problem left to solve-- figuring out who makes the call of what constitutes "extreme". In the 40s and 50s it was far-left political ideology. Today, might it be the far right? Tea partiers?

        Noone denies that "free speech" brings out some nasty characters like the Westboro Baptist Church. But you really cant tread down the middle on this issue; when you start saying "we're only going to allow the reasonable folks" you have to have someone deciding who that is, which in fact ends up controlling the entire political dialogue. Inevitably you will end up with a scenario where "reasonable" is synonymous with whatever ideology is in power.

      • You're right. The limitations are there now. If you don't see them, it's only because you accept those limitations so completely that they vanish for you.
    • by qeveren ( 318805 )

      I guess they want to lock it away someplace safe to make sure no terrorism gets on it or anything. XD

    • by bigpat ( 158134 )

      Of course, we have to take away freedom of speech in order to protect freedom of speech, don't you get it? Duh....

      That has always been the difference between American and European legal traditions... in Europe free speech is protected from everyone but the government, while in the US free speech is (supposed to be) protected just from the government. Having free speech attacked by terrorists is the perfect scenario for European government propaganda.

  • Who wins or loses? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumLeaper ( 607189 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @04:53AM (#48791475) Journal
    When you censor speech in this case, all your doing is letting the terrorist win and We as a people LOSE. Do you really want to let the Terrorists win?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2015 @05:09AM (#48791513)

      The winners in this case is the ruling class.
      This has nothing to do with fighting terrorism, the laws weren't suddenly written last week, they have been planned a long time.
      Terrorism is just the scapegoat for taking more control.

      I do however admire the reasoning. "Since terrorists try to censor you with violence we are going to protect you by preemptively censor you with the threat of violence."
      That is pretty brilliant.

      • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @06:00AM (#48791637) Journal

        ... rather they are the TOOLS

        I have a feeling that the politcos have a secret pact with the terrorists, or whoever is/are behind the terrorist movement, just so that they can get a terrorist or two carrying out a really despicable terrorist act, in the middle of a major Western city, something that generates MAXIMUM IMPACT, and the sheeples be of course be scared shitless

        The scared shitless sheeples will in turn agree to sign away whatever fucking rights they have left in the exchange (no guarantee, only a promise, an empty promise) of the so-called "safety"

        That is why I do not foresee a great future for the so-called "Western Democracy" --- simply because the sheeples are too damn stupid to notice that they have been conned, again, and again !

        I am not saying that there is no terrorists, yes, there are !

        The act of using "terrorism threat" as a tool to further their goal to concentrate their power over the people, is itself as despicable as whatever the terrorists have done !!

      • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @06:14AM (#48791671)

        Most people are sheep and are far too dumb to realize what is going on.

        • by rastos1 ( 601318 )
          Most people are far too dumb to be enjoy the right to free speech. They could proliferate and exploit the main weakness of democracy: that two idiots have twice as many votes as one intelligent person.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      The State Security organizations win along with the terrorists. It is eminently plausible that they have no interest at all in preventing terrorism. An external enemy is a tried-and-true approach to extend state powers, to suppress free speech and to eventually establish a police-state and then a totalitarian regime that has some sort of fascism as its state-religion.

  • uhhh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperDre ( 982372 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @04:54AM (#48791479) Homepage
    Not that I agree with the content on those sites, but how is preventing such sites not exactly the same (in that I mean an act against freedom of speech) as what those morons did at the satirical comic office in france... If you really want freedom of speech, you'll have to allow for those hate sites, otherwise you're no better than they are..
    • Re:uhhh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jlar ( 584848 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @07:22AM (#48791823)

      But to be honest, freedom of speech is somewhat more limited in Europe than in the USA. But even between European countries there are som marked differences. Sweden is for example jailing (provocative) artists for hate speech while neighbouring Denmark has no such tradition (although Denmark does also have hate speech legislation). See for example Dan Park (

      Not that I like Dan Parks views (even though he says that the court in Sweden is misunderstanding his art pieces). But I do believe that Sweden is on a dangerous path when they prosecute artists for hate speech (who draws the line).

    • There are already limitations on freedom of speech. Speech that encourages violent acts, such as those last week, is already restricted. I don't see how "preventing such sites" is not the same thing "killing a dozen people", even as simply "an act against freedom of speech."
  • Breathing air (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @04:54AM (#48791481)
    If air could be linked in any way to terrorism, that would likely be restricted as well
  • by Beck_Neard ( 3612467 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @04:56AM (#48791487)

    Write up draconian legislation, wait for a terrorist attack to happen, and immediately unleash it on the public. The media will be all to eager to play into your hand by whipping the public up into a frenzy. Ever since 9/11 every single terrorist attack has been an excuse for tighter surveillance and censorship across the world.

    Look, it was sad that a bunch of people died over cartoons. But it changes nothing - absolutely NOTHING - about the importance of our freedoms. In fact, if anything, it highlights the importance of our freedoms, as these cartoonists died over free speech.

    Anyone who tells you that increased surveillance and censorship will be 'selective' and 'only target high-risk individuals' is either ignorant or lying, as a cursory glance at previous measures will readily reveal.

    Don't let them bait you.

    • by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @05:20AM (#48791545)
      And of course, even where legislation does target "high-risk groups", it often descends into harassment of your minority demographic du jour. Right now, that tends to mean black people and Muslims. When I was child, here in the UK, Irish people in a certain age-band were targeted by police as potential terrorists. A lot of people are happy as long as they're the us that's being protected at the cost of some other "them".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2015 @05:23AM (#48791551)

    In Swedish:

    Someone wrote on Facebook: "The religion of peace has shown its face".

    The ruling party filed criminal charges, calling it similar to race hate.

    Islamists and the Left is pretty much one and the same.

    I look forward to trying to reconcile condemning Saudi Arabia for whipping a guy who insulted the Prophet Muhammad, with jailing a guy who ironically called Islam the religion of peace. Oh wait, nobody will say anything to Saudi Arabia, because the modern left-wing IS Saudi Arabia just slightly milder.

    • Lefties are in a knot here. Because on the one hand they want freedom of religion, and on the other hand they want equality of genders. What we have fought for, and are still fighting for, for over a century. They have not yet realized they cannot have both at the same time. It is very difficult for them to chose...
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @05:27AM (#48791557)

    Makes me glad the U.S. still has the right to free speech even though we are far down the road to replacing that with the right not to be offended.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @05:35AM (#48791577)
    If you want to catch bad guys you don't want to block them from reaching resources because they'll just use proxies and the likes of tor to get them any way. And in doing so it becomes that much harder to track their activity. The better choice is to let them access what they like and monitor that activity. Use that activity to determine who they interact with, what sites they visit, what aliases they use, what search terms they plug in, what hours they operate, what IP address and location they come from. Shutting off that sort of information is self defeating.

    Yeah some terrorists are probably supersmart and security concious and would cover their tracks in any event. But most terrorists are idiots - petty criminals and the dregs of society who've fallen under the spell of the movement. These people should be rich pickings if they are allowed to do what they like and given enough rope to hang themselves.

  • by janoc ( 699997 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @05:38AM (#48791587)

    ... by censorship!

    The governments will be busy chasing Facebook and Twitter "jihadists" while the ones with kalashnikovs will be killing people in the streets. *facepalm*

    The hypocrisy of the politicians that "were Charlies" this weekend in Paris and at the same time are calling for more Internet censorship really is staggering.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This statement is a manifestation of policy developed during the Clean IT Project, in which seven out of twelve countries who signed this statement participated somewhere between 2011 and 2013. Some details here:

    And here:

    An unofficial HTML version of the outcome of the Clean

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @05:50AM (#48791607)

    They're preaching hatred in this Mosques at this moment. Here someone will say I am exaggerating or generalizing.

    I will show you statistics that cover millions of people as well as video recordings in english of sermons that encourage the killing of homosexuals, adulterers, and anyone that converts from Islam to anything else including atheism.

    I am not exaggerating. Islam has a problem. The entire religion must go through a reformation.

    That is the issue. Not trolls on the fucking internet.

  • We already have law on the book with respect to speech and hatred, and those being forbidden... It sounds to me it is only required to really enforce those law now in a speedy manner.
    • by fnj ( 64210 )

      We have proto-law in the form of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech". So long as that provision is not amended via Constitutional process, do you see any wiggle room there? Hemming and hawing doesn't count.

      As it stands, any Federal law whatsoever abridging freedom of speech in any manner is null and void on the face of it. But this in no way restricts the laws of individual states.

  • Blasphemous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2015 @07:17AM (#48791809)

    "blasphemous Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Mohammed"

    The term "blasphemous" is itself problematic: The legal concept of blasphemy no longer exists in most democraties, where religion is not above humor and criticism.

  • The European Patriot Act.
  • by loufoque ( 1400831 ) on Monday January 12, 2015 @07:38AM (#48791869)

    Yesterday, in France, more than 3 millions people gathered in Paris, and in smaller cities hundreds of thousands of people gathered as well.
    This is something that hasn't happened since the liberation in 1945.

    Everyone is gathering to proclaim freedom of speech.
    And what's the answer of the government? We're going to restrict freedom of speech...

  • that the Charlie Hebdo terrorists were under surveillance by the French interior surveillance services. They were known, identified extremists and the police failed to prevent their attack.

    What we're dealing with here is a police failure, not a surveillance failure.

    The Charlie Hebdo events are the perfect excuse for the powers-that-be and the rich fucks of this world to inch a little closer to their wet dream of a 1984-style society for the rest of us - as if those who pay attention to the erosion of indivi

  • Who gets to decide what is and is not 'hate speech', hmm? You may as well have some committee deciding for an entire planet what 'is' and 'is not' art. Oh, and of course no politician will ever use something like this to advance any agenda they might have, oh no! Keep up the good work, EU! You'll be living under Sharia Law before too long if you keep this up!

    Terrorists: 1
    European Union: 0


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