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New “Terrorist Content” Regulations: A Grim Day for Digital Rights in Europe (eff.org)
150 points by DiabloD3 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 72 comments





Silly question: so, terrorist regimes often do everything possible to censor the Internet and forms of speech that can be critical of their actions...

Would reporting news of said new regulations be considered "terrorist content", as it is identical to what terrorists do to victims?


with a filtering infrastructure in place its definitly a posibility. first it was only for copyright, not they want to filter "terrorist content". next we know, a political leader is censoring the opposition.

Who defines what "terrorist content" is? Maybe if the incumbent party is getting "terrorised" in the polls in a run-up to an election, their challengers may suddenly find themselves guilty of producing "terrorist" content? I can definitely see something like that happening.

> Maybe if the incumbent party is getting "terrorised" in the polls in a run-up to an election, their challengers may suddenly find themselves guilty of producing "terrorist" content?

... because no one who interprets laws does so with any regard to their purpose and therefore all laws which govern speech will be enforced arbitrarily and inevitably lead down the slippery slope towards maximum tyranny and censorship?

>I can definitely see something like that happening.

I can definitely see that not happening, or at least not succeeding when it's attempted, because it could happen now with hate speech laws, yet politicians haven't successfully had their opponents arrested merely by declaring their opponents' speech to be hateful.

Corrupt politicians and corruptible laws laws do exist, but outside of a totalitarian regime, obvious misuse and misinterpretation of the law (particularly where free speech and politics are concerned) tends to be challenged by the system, because people within that system have a vested interest in maintaining a balance between societal stability and personal liberty.


politicians haven't successfully had their opponents arrested merely by declaring their opponents' speech to be hateful

It happens in Europe quite frequently. Geert Wilders is a popular Dutch politician (popular with voters) and has been arrested and taken to court several times for "hate speech" (i.e. criticising immigration and Islam), being found guilty the last time albeit the court refused to punish him.

Marine Le Pen has also been arrested and taken to court for hate speech, although the court decided she was not guilty.

As for your faith in the fair application of EU law. That is nice. The EU courts are staffed by judges selected for their pro-EU ideology and reliably pro-EU judgements. The ECJ routinely throws out things put in plain English into the treaties themselves or re-interprets apparently straightforward language to mean something entirely non-obvious, always to the benefit of the EU itself.

What sort of people rise to the top of this political project? Here is a selection of quotes by the head of the European Commission, the man who really matters in the EU because only he and his directly selected employees can change the law.

"When it becomes serious, you have to lie."

"I'm ready to be insulted as being insufficiently democratic, but I want to be serious ... I am for secret, dark debates."

“If it's a Yes, we will say 'on we go', and if it's a No we will say 'we continue’" (in reference to a referendum on EU policy)

I will say, for all his faults, Juncker is at least willing to tell it like it is when it comes to the motivations and powers of himself and his comrades.


>... because no one who interprets laws does so with any regard to their purpose and therefore all laws which govern speech will be enforced arbitrarily

No one does not necessarily beget the other. But I would say that "power corrupts" is very true. If you give somebody power over who can talk, that's very tempting to misuse. So why give anyone that power? It's too powerful to be used with restraint in the long run IMO.

>I can definitely see that not happening, or at least not succeeding when it's attempted, because it could happen now with hate speech laws

Honestly if it did actually happen, what would you do about it? Would you complain in the newspaper? Online? What if your complaint was classified as "terrorist" content? I mean does it really actually HAVE to happen IRL for you to see that this type of power should not be held by politicians?


Only if it "plagiarised" other news sites on that same "terrorist content"... :)

It's silly. It's especially silly as it targets at the scale of the biggest, while leaving everyone with any budget less than Google's wondering what they're supposed to do now.


The terrorists are winning by just sitting back watching us do it all to ourselves.

The terrorist goal was never to have this happen. Terrorist(as long as we're thinking of Osama Bin Laden for example, and not say IRA) goal was to get the people in western countries to think why they are being attacked, look into it, and realize that it's happening because of attrocities commited by their own governments in middle East. Osama Bin Laden has himself admitted that the attacks on America have failed to achieve those goals, because Americans have collectively refused to ask "why" they were being attacked - it was sold as brown people hating freedom , with no deeper context to the whole issue.

I think you see the wrong receiver for the 'Osama' terrorist messages:

The message was not intended for the general western john doe. Instead, it was a message for the average unhappy muslim. The message for them was:

* The west is damaging the muslim vision of the world

* We can beat them

* So join our cause

In some more detail: The whole world is being amerified: Culturally by Hollywood, economically by the WTO and comparable organizations, military by the American army, covert actions by CIA, by the NATO, politically .

Until recently, muslim-extremist terrorism did not happen in the western world. The planes, however, hit the most powerful western country, and hit the power centers of economy (WTC), military (PENTAGON), and politics (The white house, averted). Even if the actual damage was fairly minimal for terrorism standards, the propaganda value was enormous.

Join our cause was a way to tapping into forgotten muslim community. Before 9-11, muslim immigrants in non-muslim european countries were background noise. The attacks gave a way to channel, unify and organize these people. Our own news organisations told them where they could find interesting terrorism groups like ISIS. I remember how the Brussels-attackers learned Islam from a 'for dummies' book, and didnt know much of the basics.

Nobody around Osama gave any care about what a non-muslim would think. Maybe some of them hoped we would cower, but that's about it. I don't think any of them suspected we might destabilize our own power and values, and would help and legitimize their organisations in the process. We gave them far more than they could hope for.


> it's happening because of attrocities commited by their own governments in middle East

This narrative again. Specifically which atrocities are you talking about? And where are all the Japanese, German, and Vietnamese terrorists attacking in revenge for the atrocities of WWII and Vietnam?


Of course, that narrative is a farce. But it plays on "look at how the western world is evil" and other forms of "white guilt".

No wonder Stockholm Syndrome is a western thing.

Sadists don't need a reason, they just need a "reasoning"


Obvious disclaimer that I don't agree with their logic, but that part does bear some legitimacy.

For example, read about the various Lebanese wars, and take note of the Sabra and Shatile and Qana massacres. You also have to understand that Since the US supplies almost all the arms to the IDF, the two are synonymous in their eyes.


>>Specifically which atrocities are you talking about?

I don't want you to be under an impression that I agree with this reasoning - I do not. I'm just saying that you getting patted down by TSA or EU implementing restrictions on internet speech was never the terrorist goal, not even according to themselves.


In the Islamist POV the war is still ongoing.

>get the people in western countries to think why they are being attacked, look into it, and realize that it's happening because of attrocities commited by their own governments in middle East

I get that you're paraphrasing here but that seems incredibly naive for someone who was fairly educated on foreign affairs

edit: talking about Osama being naive not GP


There is also some related supporting information lectures given by Profressor Robert Pape.

He dives into the evidence based data supporting the actions of terrorists which is in complete contradiction to popular narratives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4HnIyClHEM


[flagged]


The people pushing the agenda are the big companies profiting from all this. 100's and 100's of billions of dollars to "fight terror". More people die every year from crazy white kids with guns than brown people[0] with bombs. And yet, we aren't even having the discussion about mental health issues or gun control.

[0] I'm using this not to offend, but to show there's a racial aspect to this as well.


[flagged]


I've traveled through pretty much all of Europe and seen many of those "suburbs" you talk about.

You exaggerate the shit out of this and you have no idea what you're talking about. Stop consuming garbage right wing propaganda.


>I've traveled through pretty much all of Europe

You haven't seen shit. Criminal family clans have an estimated 200.000 family members in Germany alone. This source is leaning extremely to the left so you can't accuse me of using bad sources:

https://www.zeit.de/2018/33/clans-deutschland-kriminalitaet-...

Police have formed extra divisions for this and it's a huge problem in at least a dozen big German cities.

It's the same or worse in Paris, Marseille, Stockholm, some English cities and probably others I forgot.

Saying this problem doesn't exist only shows how uneducated and ignorant you are.


Read the article dude, because it paints the exact opposite of the picture.

Like, literally it questions that number and says that it's been an issue for the last 30 years.

Proving once again the brutish ignorance of these racist arguments.

In 2015 there were nine deadly gunshots fired in a country of 80 million people. So, please...


No, it doesn't question the number. It points out the obvious: that not all of them are criminals, which nobody said - but you implied it. Little racist yourself, eh? However, the chances for members of these families to become criminals are in fact very high and not being a criminal can also mean they just haven't been convicted.

I dare you to wear a jewish hat and go through one of those districts if you think the law will protect you - but of course people like you are all talk and no action.

Here's what very likely could happen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U82tPY7EyL8

You're indirectly defending anti-semitism and it makes me sick.

>it's been an issue for the last 30 years

So why are you arguing it then, only to admit that it's a problem one sentence later?


Because the only people who can say realistically that it's a significant problem are coddled Northern Europeans who have never been to a single unsafe place in their lives.

The Bronx at night is unsafe. Souther Buenos Aires at night is unsafe. Lima at any time of the day is unsafe. With some luck a few neighborhoods in Paris and London might not be great.

I have literally walked all over every large German urban center at night. The only problem it has is the rampant alcoholism and the visibility of the most marginalized, which by the rest of the global standards (and the standards of the same country a few decades ago) are nothing. Seriously, literally, nothing. There's hardly other places in the world that are safer than these countries.

Your cataclysmic rhetoric does not bode with reality. At all.


> In 2015 there were nine deadly gunshots fired in a country of 80 million people.

Does this number include suicides?


>I'll never understand how turning a society into a surveillance state is the better alternative to thoroughly checking who you let into a country/region and deporting people who don't follow the law and make no effort to integrate.

You can control and observe your population and make sure they don't start finding & participating in ideas that don't fit well with the established Overton Window, and then easily deploy things like cointelpro to rid of those ideas.


> emptive copyright filter for content-sharing sites, as well as the idea that news publishers should have the right to sue others for quoting news items online

I don't understand the justification for this. If you quote them to either point out the news or the errors they can turn on you if they want to and sue you.

> “removal order”, which will oblige hosting service providers to remove content within one hour of being ordered to do so.

Something tells me there is a lobbyist out there for a company which sell automated removal of "infringing" content.

> EU now wants to expand that to defining the limits of political speech too.

That seems scary, I hope EFF is exaggerating. This to me seems like very a authoritarian move. I wouldn't have expected it from EU at least.


The EU - as distinct from European countries themselves - has a pretty consistently authoritarian direction of travel. It is after all a project to massively centralise all power in an unelected bureaucracy in Brussels, removing it from the democratically elected politicians in the national governments.

You probably aren't aware of this because the EU gets consistently good press from journalists rather enamoured of the whole project, but there are reasons the UK chose to leave.


As much as I think the EU is mostly a force for good, they also have very different opinions on what free speech entails compared to say the US. Australia, where I’m from, even more so. Im unsure how we fight this.

I'm wondering why the EFF doesn't just address the elephant in the room. A large portion of the internet can blatantly and outright ignore these new EU regulations and laws.

It's likely a first shot among many chilling-effects that will have consequences opposite to those intended. Silencing debunk-able ideological debate volunteers to hand power over Machiavellian criminals.

Why do we always assume little people do things for their self benefit with no regard for their 'reasoning/explanations', but when it comes to big guys we instantly assuming their stated reasons have no ulterior motives?

The law is really blatant in it's intention; this was a move against free speech. The 'unintended consequences narrative' is so blatantly false, I'm dumbfounded how it could be seriously quoted by otherwise logical and reasonable people.


Faith (in governments) is stronger than logic.

I had never thought of it. But with the decline of religion, it seems faith is now directed at authority, mostly of the political but also the 'scientific' kind. Great point, thank you.

Yes, it's sad how common it is for people to be extremely critical of individuals or even whole institutions (e.g. Trump, Conservatives, cops, the prison system, the NRA, Google, Comcast), yet still have a strong unspoken belief that behind all that, the government and the law as a whole are Good Things made to care for them and their families.

Took me a long time to realize I was even thinking like that myself.


It's like the Gell-man amnesia effect for news, but with authority in general (it doesn't even have to be gov, it could be NGOs, news, religion, expert establishment, etc)

I havent been following this closely but the notion of "speedy shutdown of content by the ISP" sounds strikingly similar to the late [SOPA bill](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act) in the US (2011). Is this effectively similar to SOPA?

Suddenly Brexit doesn't seem to have been such a bad idea after all.

The British government’s thirst for authoriatarian control of the net is just about the strongest in a democracy; much stronger than that in the EU.

In fact, the EU is currently making the UK’s investigatory powers act less extreme, as they’ve ruled that state-surveillance of the population at that scale, is incompatible with the human right to privacy.

I’m not the biggest fan of the EU, but they are a moderating force on the UK’s repressive tendencies.


Whilst true that under Theresa May the UK government is rather keen on controlling the internet, as the EU is demonstrating there's no real difference in terms of their desire for power. The relative disinterest by the EU in surveillance is more because they associate fighting terrorism = fighting Muslims = fighting immigrants = borders = bad. Quoting Juncker again,

"Borders are the worst invention ever made by politicians."

Doesn't really get clearer than that.

The UK government is unfortunately keen on surveillance partly because people are keen on it, and it is ultimately a democracy. Opinion polls pretty consistently show that terrorism is one of the top two concerns citizens have, across the whole of Europe. The EU ignores these concerns completely; this may seem superficially beneficially democratic but as the cookie law, GDPR, copyright, hate speech, link tax laws etc show, this is not due to lack of desire for control over the internet.


Except the UK has attempted to pass similar power grabs a number of times. Sadly.

You have to ignore the May's time as Home Secretary and PM for that to be even remotely approaching a reasonable opinion.

How is this different than the censorship people lambast the Chinese for?

The internet was always the best tool for us to finally be on equal grounds with our overlords.

- When religion overpowered us, we were helpless and had to obey.

- When guns came into play, we were helpless and had to obey.

- When TV and Radio began, the narrative was controlled and we were brainwashed to obey.

The Internet is like the power of TV and radio in the hands of the people, and the power of the people is beyond guns and religion.

This is too much for those who wish to stifle the power of the people. So they have been passing small laws left and right leading to a slippery slope of laws removing our rights and freedoms (and essentially the power of the people).

Now that we have become desensitized (they proved it with the “internet world control” move known as GDPR that proved they control the internet) they wish to make the final controversial blow.

Make no mistake, this has always been a fight for control of our freedom. The internet and decentralized technologies like it as well as the many built on top of it are the only chance we have to maintain freedom as people and society.

Censorship has always been about maintaining their narrative.

Luckily we no longer have to sit back and get whipped anymore. Now we have tools like cryptography that can allow us to create systems that cannot be controlled by a single person. That said, even with the tools, if we don’t use them, then we are “tools.”


>The Internet is like the power of TV and radio in the hands of the people, and the power of the people is beyond guns and religion.

What makes people powerful is coordination.

The public space for conversation on the web are a handful of platforms - and those can easily be controlled.

The rest can still exist (personal webpages and so on), but they will remain fringe.

>Censorship has always been about maintaining their narrative.

Well, first they came for Alex Jones, but I didn't do anything, I wasn't a conspiracy nut...


It’s funny how hard they went on Alex Jones as that can pretty much summarize to us all whether they were afraid of his rhetoric or not.

They were very afraid.


People who casually read conspiracy and alternative news (e.g. not hardcore conspiracy theorists who read David Icke), might believe some crazy crap (that doesn't hurt anyone, just discredits themselves), but they are also more prone to questioning the mainstream narratives (and that is very much feared).

Not to mention that a lot of very true shit going on is indeed conspiracies -- it just doesn't involve aliens and illuminati, but established powers (e.g. the white establishment having FBI follow and discredit MLK and other civil rights activists), state agencies, rich private interests buying politicians and forming cartels, powerful elites pushing their agendas, big industries promoting their crap (e.g. big food and big tobacco buying their own "scientific research" and then promoting it in through the magazines they advertise in) and so on...


There are plenty of very harmful conspiracy nuts. Some Parents of children killed at Sandy Hook have had to go into hiding to avoid people accusing them of being part of a cover-up. Employees of Comet Pizza have been stalked and verbally attacked.

People who casually read conspiracy and alternative news (e.g. not hardcore conspiracy theorists who read David Icke), might believe some crazy crap (that doesn't hurt anyone, just discredits themselves)

Well that is simply not true.

For example, the Sandy Hook harassment brigade caused real harm, eg: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-florida-crime-sandyhook-i...


Yeah, a false story can cause such harassment, but that's not unique it conspiracy stories. An actual true fact could cause harassment as well (e.g. people attacking muslims after 9/11, because the perpetrators where muslims, and so on).

I'd say the problem lies more with people that find it acceptable to harass others, whether their actions are based on a true story or a hoax.


I feel you are stretching here. It seems everyone who ends up involved in a major internet conspiracy gets serious harassment. You can't disconnect conspiracies from the harassment they cause.

I'm glad you have conceded that it is harmful.

I agree there are many other things which are also harmful.


Rather cheap sarcasm, no? If those "many other things which are also harmful" apply equally to the opposite thing, then it's probably neither the thing nor the opposite that is the actual cause of the harm.

Someone wanting to harass someone else can do it over a true story (person X did X) just as well as over a conspiracy story (aliens made person Y did Z).

The fault lies with the harasser (who is acting badly) not with the reason why they harass.

Or maybe you think that if a story is true then it's OK to harass people over it?


People who casually read conspiracy and alternative news (e.g. not hardcore conspiracy theorists who read David Icke), might believe some crazy crap (that doesn't hurt anyone, just discredits themselves)

I think we agree that isn’t true.

Both the harasser and the person encouraging it can be at fault.

You can throw in all the strawmen you like.


Who is this "they" you speak of? Is it the normal people horrified by the harassment that he unleashed on people?

Trolling has been a problem for internet platforms since the Usenet days. The solution has always ended up being banning that individual from the place they are doing the harassing.

That's just sensible community management.


They are the people who own the country. They are the people who are invited to the Bilderberg meetings. They are those who fund think tanks. They are the people whose kids are guaranteed a seat in an Ivy league school, regardless of merit. They are also VERY unlikely to face jail time when they are accused of a crime; which is rare.

No, they are not a single entity. No they aren't perfectly coordinated. No, they aren't a single group conspiring in a smokey room.

But they are a social group. They go to the same schools, live in the same ZIP codes and vacation in similar places. They marry overwhelming among themselves. There are a few thousand families in the US with that level of power. New families reach these power levels and other families fall off, it isn't a fixed thing.

But you'll know who they are because you and I aren't invited to their clubs.


Err..

They are the people who own the country. They are the people who are invited to the Bilderberg meetings. They are those who fund think tanks. They are the people whose kids are guaranteed a seat in an Ivy league school, regardless of merit. They are also VERY unlikely to face jail time when they are accused of a crime; which is rare.

This sounds unlikely, since these are the people who are least affected by people like Jones. I'd also note that many of these people are also the ones making noises about a conspiracy against conservative voices in silicon valley.

The people who banned Jones are more like people like me. People who hate the lying, disrespect and trolling he represents.


There's a great documentary produced by an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune that gives a great insight into this. As a member of the top of the top, Johnson was able to personally interview many mega-rich children like Ivanka Trump and others, and give a direct look at what they're like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=km_JmxnzTvc

First they came for Alex Jones and I applauded because he was a jerk, then they came for me.

Speaking of bans, can private companies censor government communications, from a legal PoV?

Say company “X” runs a comms medium, and either an official office channel or an official with a private channel is contrary to the views of that entity, can that private entity legally censor government communication?


Which government came for alex jones exactly?

None. GP is conflating US companies with the government.

It could be argued that private companies censoring you violates your first amendment rights. And it probably will be decided by the supreme court in the next few years.

Free speech is a concept, not just the bare letter of the text of the bill of rights. [1]

And there are examples of private companies being forbidden from censoring or removing people.

For example, the courts ruled that a private airport was forbidden from kicking out people who were there to hand out flyers. [2]

And, do you seriously think it is ok for the private electricity company or the postal service to deny access to their network because they disagree with your politics? Is it really ok, just because "property rights"?

The first telegram network was a total monopoly, and was used as a tool by the wealthy to manipulate elections and tamper with commodities prices.

It was because of this that we got common carriage laws.

Back then, would you have defended the telegraph company banning journalists who criticized labor practices in coal mines? Why not? It's their private property after all. Those labor organizers and human rights activists should have thought about the consequences of their actions before attempting to expose child labor.

[1]: http://magaimg.net/img/5yri.png

[2]: https://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/12/26/ca-supremes-give-free-s...


> It could be argued that private companies censoring you violates your first amendment rights

No it absolutely cannot be argued that. The 1st amendment clearly applies to the government, and there is no legislation requiring the same for private companies/citizens. There would need to be a law equating corporations to government (there is not) at a federal level.


> It could be argued that private companies censoring you violates your first amendment rights.

No, it can't First Amendment rights apply only to federal government action.

Equivalent rights are interpreted as applying to State government action under the incorporation doctrine tied to the 14th Amendment.

You could possibly make an argument that the 14th Amendment applies to corporate (or LLC, but not sole proprietorship) action based on a theory that a state-chartered corporation’s actions are, ipso facto, state actions, but that's very out of line with basically all US legal precedent.


There's not much difference in a corporatist state, where a heck of a lot of the wealth is concentrated in a few private corporations and interests...

That's the same whether it's the USA or some Latin American country with 5 wealthy families enjoying politicians in their pockets.

"What's good for the country is good for General Motors"-style...


> (they proved it with the “internet world control” move known as GDPR that proved they control the internet)

GDPR is not about controlling the internet but allowing users of the internet to control their privacy even against big companies.


I'm a broken record on this point these days, but what the law is about matters less than what it does and the precedent of heavy-handed internet governance it sets.

Exactly, but it was an exercise to assert control over, also, companies and people outside of the EU jurisdiction. GDPR is an internet law - even if it’s legally only supposed to apply to the EU.

>- When guns came into play, we were helpless and had to obey.

As if before guns opposing trained swordsmen was an easy task.


Actually, IIRC from my history classes, guns were called the 'great equalizer' because all of a sudden a child could kill a full grown swordsmen with the same easy as a highly trained warrior.

The hard task is not to evade censorship. That is easy. That was always easy. You could always invent some creative method to pass information along. The hard part is to mass disseminate your information. The internet was promising in this regard but as coldtea points out, we ended up with a couple of platforms who control the whole narrative.

That is to say, we have achieved decentralised internet so to speak, and we have the web which is a means to broadcast information, but we do not yet have the decentralised web.


True. Nice parallels to Martin Niemöller's famous quote.



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