Thursday, 6 June 2013

Protecting free speech will never be completely free of risk

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-to-order-internet-firms-to-block-terror-sites-and-pornography-8646545.html

"Internet and telecom companies will be ordered by the Government to block “harmful” content such as extremist material and pornography in the wake of the Woolwich terrorist attack and killing of five-year-old April Jones."

That article cites two cases. Even if there are 10 times as many cases and even if they are all proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to be people that would have been totally sane if not for access to unsavoury material via the internet, as opposed to just "nutters", you probably have fewer deaths and injuries than result from vending machine accidents.

Can we not have governments that show some degree of proportion here?

The risk to free speech must outway some of the risks from the occasional nutter, surely.

We have already seen cases where the "think of the children" use of filtering, for child abuse images (IWF & Cleanfeed), has suffered feature creep to other areas, and can so easily extend to "wrong thinking". We have already seen this act as a "foot in the door" to force ISPs to block access to other web sites via the courts.

Before you know it the Internet is censored, and we are simply arguing about the level of censorship. Once you start down this road every incremental step can be justified, and none of it actually stops people communicating if they want to.

3 comments:

  1. It probably won't make a blind bit of difference, but I've just emailed my MP about this, and the Communications Data Bill.

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  2. "Before you know it the Internet is censored, and we are simply arguing about the level of censorship. *** Once you start down this road every incremental step can be justified ***"

    That's precisely what they want!

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  3. Using the fear of terrorists and killers as a pretext to push more snooping and surveillance laws on us to remove more layers of our freedoms and privacy, we are good people, this is wrong, why should we all be punished for the actions of the few.

    -- Fearless Teeka (Using the right to free speech!)

    ReplyDelete