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EU Agencies Falsely Report More Than 550 Archive.org URLs as Terrorist Content (archive.org)
519 points by jonah-archive 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 207 comments

A clever circumvention of innocent until proven guilty - make disobedience carry huge legal risk. You must obey orders (takedown 'requests'), not backed by any court. If you fail, and one turns out to be legitimate, you get punished.

Imagine if you had to stop doing business with anyone reported as a thief (but not convicted).

The ability to smear through accusation, without proof, without due process, and without the presumption of innocence has always been the province of tyrants in power and the tool of would-be tyrants trying to gain power.

Those who accuse and un-person are the villains throughout history. In the past, people were smeared as sexually loose, as belonging to the "wrong" religion, or as having the "wrong" sexual orientation. In the past, people were smeared as being of the "wrong" racial background. Always be wary of those who smear to enforce their power.

A free society is one, where people and ideas can show up, be given a chance, and stand or fall on their character and merits. Evil is recognizable in its epistemological hazards:

    - Don't ask questions.
    - Don't read or hear the heretical opinion.
    - Don't associate with the "wrong" people.
The side of good, the side of the long arc of justice, is the side of rational argument and of principles. The side of justice is the one saying, "hear me out."

It's the side of evil which uses vilification, seeks to silence, and uses fear against questions.

The really sad thing is that people will upvote/agree with you and the turn around to praise those who deplatform or otherwise silence the perceived opposition.

Heck, some things have become so heated that there can only be one right answer, ex: global warming. If you dare voice anything other than slavish obedience to this notion. If you DARE question anything about it - from the models/assumptions used to the moralizing - then you are branded an outcast and castigated.

Thought Police from 1984.

Orwell wrote plenty of non-fiction on the subject of censorship, as well. This was supposed to be a preface to the "Animal Farm", but I think it makes excellent reading on its own, and its generic points are even more salient today than they were back when it was written:


"If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion. In this country intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face, and that fact does not seem to me to have had the discussion it deserves."

"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals. ... Both publicly and privately you were warned that it was ‘not done’. What you said might possibly be true, but it was ‘inopportune’ and played into the hands of this or that reactionary interest."

"... there is now a widespread tendency to argue that one can only defend democracy by totalitarian methods. If one loves democracy, the argument runs, one must crush its enemies by no matter what means. And who are its enemies? It always appears that they are not only those who attack it openly and consciously, but those who ‘objectively’ endanger it by spreading mistaken doctrines. In other words, defending democracy involves destroying all independence of thought."

"These people don’t see that if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you. Make a habit of imprisoning Fascists without trial, and perhaps the process won’t stop at Fascists."

(Ironically, the preface itself was soft-censored in the original publication of "Animal Farm", and it took 25 more years for it to see print.)

>A free society is one, where people and ideas can show up, be given a chance, and stand or fall on their character and merits.

How do you square this with the recent surge in flat Earth and anti-vaccination beliefs? The merits of truth aren't guaranteed to win this battle.

The merits of truth aren't guaranteed to win this battle.

Winning a battle is an unfortunate metaphor for public debate or democracy in general. After all, what we want is to discuss options without violence.

Someone has to win elections, right. But that doesn't make the losing option wrong, just not as popular. There are many options that I consider wrong, or very wrong, that are "winning" right now. I accept that situation, at least while there's no need for me to adopt them. What I find scary is what stcredzero points: that many ideas "win" by despicable means.

>After all, what we want is to discuss options without violence.

One side of this debate is inherently violent. People are dying from easily preventable diseases.

>What I find scary is what stcredzero points: that many ideas "win" by despicable means.

Anti-vaccination beliefs are already winning by despicable means because those with virtuous means choose to do nothing.

But the pro-vaxx side DOES do something. Everything from debate to memes are used to either disprove or mock the anti-vaxx side.

The overall point is that we need to defend our ideas through speech and not through IG/FB censoring anti-vaxx speech.

One side of this debate is inherently violent. People are dying from easily preventable diseases.

It's dangerous to call someone having a natural biological reaction to a pathogen, "violent." That label should be reserved for people taking intentional physical action to do other people harm. Anti-vaxxers simply don't fit that category. One can argue that they are being irresponsible. Vaccines, viruses, and diseases are all tangible and physical. It's entirely reasonable to make laws and regulations around those things.

If we start saying that people having ideas is "violent," then we are creating "thoughtcrime" and opening the door to incredible levels of tyranny.

Anti-vaccination beliefs are already winning by despicable means because those with virtuous means choose to do nothing.

As far as I can tell, anti-vax beliefs are thoroughly discredited.

The anti-vaxxers are to a large extent caused by the recent rise of anti-rationalist "burn the heretics" nonsense:


Anti-vaxxers are what you get when you use death threats and not civil discourse.

Wait, am I being unclear or are the downvotes from anti-vaxxers?

The anti-vaxxers send death threats to people who correct their erroneous claims. That's how you shut down reasoned discourse -- by having fervent zealots attack anyone who contradicts them.

Obviously attacking people who disagree with you is the opposite of them having free speech. It suppresses the speech of anyone not willing to be subject to the threats and allows the erroneous information to proliferate unchallenged.

So the problem isn't that the anti-vaxxers got to speak their piece, it's that they're caught up in a subculture that suppresses dissent. Then their subculture declares that two times two equals six and anybody who tries to show otherwise is attacked, which deprives them of reasoned debate as a method for correcting misconceptions, and so the misconceptions persist.

You're getting downvoted because you're dangerously wrong. Yes some anti-vaxers send threats, but the idea that they have managed to silence the mainstream scientific opinion on vaccines is ludicrous. That information is widely available to everybody. I bet you can't find a single anti-vaxer who isn't aware of what the mainstream position on vaccine safety is. Being opposed to the orthodox position is a big part of the appeal!

Also anti-vax isn't something new. It dates back to at least the mid 90s and the original Wakefield paper. There were no cult like organisations pushing it at that time. What did exist was a mainstream media willing to push the story for many years, even long after they knew the original paper was faulty. The problem wasn't born out of fervent zealots, it was created by con artists and co-conspirators in the media who exploited liberal ideas of "free speech" and "media balance" to knowingly spread a conspiracy for their own financial gain. There was no "subculture" at the time. I'm not sure you can even really say there is one now, given that anti-vax is one of the conspiracy theories that has wide appeal across different groups (i.e. it exists across the left/liberal/conservative/right political spectrum).

You are trying to push your own ideological position (more "free speech" is good and will solve the problem) onto an issue, and it doesn't fit what actually happened at all, or what we know about how conspiracy theories spread (it's not a lack of counter-information, because conspiracy theories by definition include the fact that they are being suppressed by central authority).

The way free speech works isn't that nobody is ever wrong, it's that the debate ultimately leads to the truth.

People who don't understand science don't trust random scientists, and there is a reason for that -- anyone can put on a lab coat and say whatever they want. You have to consider the source and actually read the research and determine if it's credible. Most people don't have the training for that, and many of the others don't have the time, but that's not a problem as long as you trust someone who does. Your brother in law is a chemist and you trust his opinion; he trusts the CDC's. When your trusted chemist and your trusted nurse disagree, they get together and hash it out and if they're both being reasonable then one ultimately convinces the other.

The problem comes when you introduce a culture of attacking rather than debating people. Because you're not going to silence the CDC, but you may very well silence the brother in law, and then you create a group of people who don't trust anyone providing the true facts because everyone within their in-group is being silenced.

Which is why, despite a century of various fringe anti-vax misinformation, it's only now, in the climate of filter bubbles and deplatforming, that enough people believe it to compromise herd immunity and allow diseases like measles to stage a comeback.

Yes some anti-vaxers send threats, but the idea that they have managed to silence the mainstream scientific opinion on vaccines is ludicrous.

I don't read what he said that way at all. When one uses force instead of trying to convince, one has admitted to losing the argument.

You are trying to push your own ideological position (more "free speech" is good and will solve the problem) onto an issue, and it doesn't fit what actually happened at all

You're strawmanning here. Free speech is good and did win the argument. Your conceit is that "solving the problem" being the same as "winning the argument" is a false equivalence. Solving the problem is something else entirely.

No one in 2019 publicly defends drunk driving. It still happens. There are southern California communities of explicit white supremacists, but mainstream society shuns them. Those are examples of groups who have thoroughly lost the argument. However, "solving the problem" doesn't mean that the state and industrial complex gets to enforce their will over the populace to the point of creating "thoughtcrime."

I don't want to live in that kind of society. (Tired of having to argue? Looking for a solution which is final?)

I do think that exposing others to pathogens and damaging herd immunity is quantifiable, and we can pass laws around that. It's much preferable to legislate the tangible and physically measurable, instead of creating "thoughtcrime."

> Also anti-vax isn't something new. It dates back to at least the mid 90s

Back to the dawn of vaccines themselves, indeed.


How do you square this with the recent surge in flat Earth and anti-vaccination beliefs?

People should be free to believe what they want to believe. That's a pretty fundamental level of freedom.

The merits of truth aren't guaranteed to win this battle.

There's no guarantee of that. Once the argument is won, legislation can follow.

Another thought occurred to me, can free speech survive speech that attacks free speech? If so, there's nothing to worry about. If not, then you enter https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance where speech arguing against the freedom of speech must be banned and we agree there must be limits on speech to protect itself.

Another thought occurred to me, can free speech survive speech that attacks free speech?

Free Speech does just fine against other speech. It's administrative dirty tricks on campus, and the use of corporate force through de-platforming which creates a de facto regime of top-down censorship -- which we have to worry about in 2019. Noam Chomsky called such behavior out in the 80's in the media of the day. Such behavior fits the "propaganda model" described in Manufacturing Consent.

In 2019, it's not the government we have to worry about in terms of free speech. It's powerful corporations and the established media misinforming people and stacking the deck.

Sure, since speech that attacks free speech cannot silence it. Fists and bullets do that, not words.

Sort of like guilty by association.

Funny how exactly EU follows the path Russia has recently taken. After Russia passed the law that banned online material promoting terrorist content, suicide, drug information and harm to children, and so on, there was an avalanche of false takedown requests and misidentifications, including attempting to block Wikipedia, ban Bhagavad Gita commentary (yes, really) and many more anecdotes that sound funny unless you live there. Now Russia has progressed to banning "insulting" the government publicly, i.e. direct ban on political dissent. I wonder how long it would be until EU does the same.

I think we’re still a long way before we reach the excess of Russia regarding free speech et subordination of democratic values.

Spain banned speech critical of the government several years ago, and several people have been jailed already. At least one person has been jailed over a tweet.

Europe isn’t one big whole, parts of it are already obviously worse than others.

Please, provide a source.

When Pedro Sánchez (current Spanish Prime Minister) PhD thesis was discovered to be an alleged forgery or when allegedly used an official plane for personal matters there was plenty of content criticizing h directly.

> Spain banned speech critical of the government

Could you please provide some reference? I seriously doubt that what you said is correct.

Spain has passed a law banning the “glorification of terrorism” or “humiliating victims of terrorism”. While this is not 'speech critical of the government' the law is vaguely worded and has been broadly interpreted. More detail in this report from Amnesty International:


I don't know why you're being downvoted. While the GP comment is total BS, what you wrote is simply the facts.

There's nobody in jail for writing anything.

The report is based on facts, but it goes overboard with the conclusions.

Edit: the BS comment is by oarsinsync, so it should be GGP, sorry if that led to confusionl.

Apologies, I appear to have overstated things for sure.

That said, satire against the police force lands you in court:


And tweeting can get you a suspended sentence (which got overturned on appeal, but didn't prevent the original conviction):


I did overstate things, but "total BS" doesn't seem fair either.

First of all, I'm opposed to that law. If it was up to me, it would be annihilated from existence.

Please understand that joining a few imprecisions, innocuous in isolation, the result is totally incorrect.

'Incorrect' would have been better than 'BS' indeed, sorry. The reason for verbal escalation is we have to see this kind of "imprecision" very often and it's not funny anymore.

Oh, one more thing. Satire is a different thing than outright insult. Putting the insult in a cartoon makes no difference. The Guardian makes a good job mentioning the context, maybe because in the UK there're a libel laws.

Also in the other article correctly mention that the "rapper" was accused of death threats and asking terrorists to attack people. The guy is at large, thanks to certain terrorists haven country that happens to host EU institutions.

I live in Spain. The king is a hamster and the government in Madrid smells of elderberries.

EU is certainly not yet where Russia is. But it's walking the same road, and stepping on the same rakes on the way. How long does it take depends on how complacent EU citizens would be when they freedoms are taken away. So far the answer seems to be "quite so", but maybe when people start being fined and jailed and sites like Internet Archive start being blocked some of them would wake up?

How long? It's always quicker than you think once you're sliding down the slope.

Russia is blazing the way in demonstrating specifically how purportedly anti-extremist censorship laws can be applied in practice, though. To give one example, it has a law against "actions that are directed at fomenting hatred or enmity against, or humiliating the dignity of, a person or a group of people, on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, language, origin, religion, or membership in some social group". Civil infraction the first time around, and you can go to prison for several years for a repeat offence.

Doesn't sound so bad, does it? Well, turns out that police can be a social group. So can government employees. And members of parliament. Of course, back when they passed that law, some civil libertarians did point out the vagueness. But it went exactly as it usually does in any Western country - the politicians were pinky swearing that this is all about Nazis and radical Islamists and other nasty people like that who deserve it, and obviously it wouldn't be used for anything inappropriate; but, you see, if it's too narrow, then the bad guys can find ways around it, so it has to allow for some flexibility.

For most Westerners, the immediate reaction to this is, "it can never happen here" - not the laws, since many countries have similar, but the part where they get misused. We'd never tolerate it, the argument goes. But we are tolerating it. France also has exemplary hate speech laws - and under them, wearing a t-shirt that advocates a boycott of Israel is a hate crime, a felony even, and people are actually getting arrested, charged and convicted under it. The law in question is 15 years old now, and it's far from the only one like that in Europe - just the most abused one so far.


The European Court of Human Rights upheld a conviction in 2018 for "disparagement of religious precepts" because a woman in Austria said that Muhammad was a paedophile (which is correct, since according to the Quran, Muhammad had sex with a 9 year old whom he had married when she was 6):


Does homophobic count as free speech?

Russia banned drug information? What sort of information, like pharmacology?

Mostly information about making drugs that are frequently abused, but it's hard to say specifically what qualifies since some law bans just "propaganda" and what is "propaganda" is for any local judge to decide, and decide they do. And some bans information such as "growing plants containing narcotic drugs" - so if you are a gardener and want to know how to grow a poppy flower, woe is to you. Also if you are chemist and want to make an experiment involving acetone (it's a "drug precursor"). And so on.

Some more general information in English here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Internet_Restriction_B... but this is not the only law, there are many additional bans (Russian parliament is sometimes called "crazy printer" in Russia because it has issued so many insane laws). You can read about banning Wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blocking_Wikipedia_in_Russia

It is implied that the parent comment was talking about illegal drugs.

Interesting side fact: unlike in english, there are two completely distinct words for illegal and legal drugs in russian language. Which a lot of times makes it easier to spot russian-speaking posters, as they tend to refer to illegal drugs as just "drugs", while referring to legal ones using other more specific terms, like "pills" or something else.

Not only Russian. In Spanish "droga" y "medicamento" are different words too.

French too: "drogues" and "médicaments"

Illegal drugs, precursors (such chemicals as acetone or sulphuric acid), plants that may contain chemicals that are components of illegal drugs, information that may be considered "propagandizing" using of drugs, etc.

> unlike in english, there are two completely distinct words for illegal and legal drugs in russian language

Which two words do you mean? I can't think of any two fitting this description.

“Наркотики” for illegal drugs and “лекарства” for legal. I realize that the first one translates literally as “narcotics”, but it is used in russian language exactly like “illegal drugs” is in english.

On a side-note, until I saw your reply, I didn’t realize how bad it was. It is absolutely crazy to me that something like “acetone” would fall under this law. Thanks for posting a concise summary.

Funnily enough, English does too. "drugs" vs. "medicine" (pharmaceuticals).

> Interesting side fact: unlike in english, there are two completely distinct words for illegal and legal drugs in russian language.

German is the same: "Drogen" = illegal drugs like cannabis, "Medizin" = medicine. For Germans learning English, "drug store" may sound confusing until one learns about the various distinct meanings of the word "drug" in English.

In Greece, when I asked a waiters for directions to a drug store they all made big eyes until I said the German word which is probably derrived from the Greek αποθήκη. It was quite funny.

"Drug store" was probably the most confusing term I ran into in colloquial American English for this same reason. Just saying it sounded all kinds of wrong at first.

Politicians do not care about the ramifications of this. They only care about granting themselves power over who sees what when through the guise of combating hate speech, terrorism, child porn, etc. Posting a blog about this will change nothing.

It’s really hopeless each time one realizes how French and German politicians perceive the internet. For them the internet is not synonymous with the freedom of creativity and expression, but with the freedom to restrain and to control.

Germany is ruled by liberal conservatives for well over a decade. While there is some maliciousness and desire to expand control, I see mostly the lashing out in an attempt to retain the control the state used to have. The internet brings an unprecedented amount of freedom, and that weakens the state. Where previously you could wiretap the phone of a criminal, today you have no way to read his whatsapp. They don't know how to deal with that. Being a conservative party with a lot of old voters they try to slow the change down, but their failure to understand the internet leads to ridiculous attempts.

Just as a reminder, the ruling party, specifically our chancellor Merkel, said: "the Internet is Neuland (uncharted territory) for all of us". And that was only 6 years ago.

Was she wrong? The "modern" internet (fast, for everyone, modern sites) was only about a decade old at the time. That's a mere moment in Germany's history

Many EU countries with much younger democracies behave much more mature regarding the internet. Some silly slogan is a miserable explanation of the state of affairs.

It's the voters will that allows them to use the guise of comabting hate speech, terrorism, child porn etc. Blogging about the negative repercussions of this behaviour help inform the opinions of voters and is exactly what you should do in a democracy.

I am sorry but thanks to our love of social media being a 'platform of all' they are able to dictate what is a 'credible/trusted source'


This is a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.

A social media monopoly cannot be a "platform for all", by definition.

But that's an argument against monopolies, not against social media per se.

EU population does not feel the EU is their government, therefore they don't vote in the elections, therefore effectively leaving that government to do what it wants.

The EU is a large and diverse place, implying that there is such a thing as an "EU population" and that you can judge them as a group is not a good way to start a cohesive argument.

This is not a judgment nor an implication. It's a widely reported fact that turnout is low. So the 'the EU population' can indeed be characterized in this way.

https://www.politico.eu/interactive/voters-turnout-in-the-eu... I can't get this to work but I gather the figures are not impressive.

So do you think none of those people actually care about combating hate speech, terrorism, child porn, etc? Or do you think they just see these things as usual tools to get power - and to what end exactly?

No, there are definitely people who care about those things and those are things that should definitely be cracked down on. But human nature always prevails and the power hungry always want more power. "Won't you think of the children" is sort of a punchline for any sort of barely-masked power grab legislation that has gone through in the last few decades.

I suspect laziness is a major factor. Half assed keyword searches and threatening emails are easy to implement. A real process with reasonable review and court oversight would take a lot of work.

Not quite my circus, not quite my monkeys, but I wonder if it's possible to fight fire with fire.

Could a committed group of individuals report the most pernicious EU politicians' homepages and facebook pages as similarly banned content? Looks like the firehose has overwhelmed whatever inadequate safeguards they originally had in place.

They’ll just carve out an exception like the US financial industry did in 2006 with specific patent violations.

Congress could have addressed the core issue but instead protected their big funders.

A few weeks ago there was a case in Poland where a party that strongly supported article 11 and 13 was using copyrighted pictures and banners made by a small artist. The news was big in Poland, the party was notified, but they ignored the case, voted for art 11/13 anyway.

Those articles are immaterial (although they are a little ironic) in this case, because what you are describing was already not allowed. Thankfully a small artist doesn't need media exposure in this case, this is what courts are for.

I think this might be good idea. Now i only have to find out which politicians voted for this and where to submit/report their content.

It's very sad to see the path the EU has chosen to follow in regards to speech and the free flow of ideas.

It's a path that pre-dates the EU. We're a crowded continent with a huge amount of diversity and a long and bitter history of war. We have learned through bitter experience that, while free speech is a precious right, it is also an extremely dangerous one in the wrong circumstances. Germans in particular are acutely aware of the disastrous consequences of allowing incitement to go unchallenged.

Free speech is not unconditional in the US; there are many things that an American could say that would see them brought before the courts. European nations have simply drawn the line in a different place, for entirely understandable historical reasons.

Some of us have also learned that censorship can mean censorship of pacifist and anti-war speech: https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/censorship...

I'm sure sympathizing or trying to understand a terrorist's motives (perhaps their home country is being occupied by the US?) can fit under the terrorist content umbrella.

Edit: Let's not leave unaddressed the farcical idea that Europe prior to World War I was some bastion of free speech, and that this somehow led to the wars:




BTW the famous "fire in the crowded theater" quote was used by Holmes exactly to suppress anti-government anti-war pacifist speech: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenck_v._United_States

Judge Holmes came to regret his support of speech suppression, but a lot of people still seem to miss the point.


Censorship is a technique used by any person in power so far in history (at least as far as I know), no matter the government type.

It has little to do with the "fear of committing the same mistakes as they did years ago".

Wasn’t the problem exactly that the government had too much control over the information flow and the general narrative?

It didn't start out that way. It started with conspiracy theorists and fake news.

Do you know where that first term comes from? It's strongly related to the second.

Are you suggesting the term 'conspiracy theorist' is somehow a new thing tied to the emergence of 'fake news'?

The other way around. Fake news and the older term have the the same origins. Neither are accidental. Both are designed to short-circuit critical thinking.

Consider how logically meaningless the term "conspiracy theory" is. A great deal of US law is specifically written to address conspiracies.

They are forms of psychological warfare.


The exact same argument could be applied to pretty much any right. It certainly applies to, say, freedom of religion—religion is historically dangerous in exactly the same way as speech, and different societies restrict religion to different extents.

And yet, if you seriously brought that argument forth, I suspect people would be more disgusted than if you applied it to freedom of speech. What makes religion so much more important than speech? The main difference I can think of is that freedom of speech is primarily a more individualistic kind of right, while religion is inherently more collectivist.

> Germans in particular are acutely aware of the disastrous consequences of allowing incitement to go unchallenged

Evidently not, as that would probably mean we would not be on the road to make at least some mistakes again.

We also had hate speech laws in the 19th century...

But the real curious argument is that the state was lacking oversight and control over public content. It almost makes you angry thinking about it.

Germany had a laisser-faire approach to recent content control. That worked brilliantly. That changed and suddenly we have some really angry people wanting to change some things.

Additionally, the far right people want content control as much as everyone. I don't want to see a smug smile while they implement hate-speech laws like in Austria.

Using the german experience to justify content control is infantile.

I would argue the US draws the line in a clearly categorical way, while European countries draw it past a categorical boundary. In the US, what you say has to break an already existing criminal law or be pursuant to a criminal act for it to be criminal. For example, lying to someone about your company's financial situation is fraud, telling someone you're going to injure them is threat of battery, and falsely yelling "fire" in a crowded theater is illegal because it may lead to imminent lawless action, such as a riot or stampede which could injure people.

European countries ban those forms of speech, and also ban other forms of speech based on subjective non-criminal harm that is perceived to be a potential result of such speech. For example, denying the Holocaust could lead other people to think it didn't happen, which may cause them to view Jewish people more negatively.

The US simply doesn't engage in that kind of subjective interpretation of speech. Speech has to be a component of a criminal act, or a clear precursor to an imminently criminal act. You can't play association games like "he said this, which could lead other people to think X, which could lead people to say Y, which could lead to some form of violence", which most (all?) European legal systems seem to do.

I do understand the need for certain limited restrictions on speech in times of war and martial law, and perhaps for brief periods after wars end, but the EU hasn't had a major war in a long time. I get banning swastikas and banning Holocaust denial in the 50s. But I'm an American Jew, and I've been to Germany a bunch in the past decade. I don't care (in a legal sense) if someone denies the Holocaust, and in fact think that banning Holocaust denial greatly empowers them and their cause, not just in Germany but globally. I've seen this firsthand, many times.

I have to disagree. A lot of the time in America we tend to believe we have an absolute right to freedom of speech, but the reality is that our rights to speech are already tied to our race, sexuality, etc.

A black man mouthing off to a police officer for example would be very likely putting himself in a dangerous situation and anything the officer does would end up 'justified' in the court of law. Or you'll be arrested if you laugh at someone powerful, like what happened with the Jeff Sessions incident [1]

The great irony of our rabid belief in freedom of speech is that it simply doesn't exist in America. It's a nice platitude, but 'freedom of speech' has always been used as a tool and weapon for those in power to suppress minorities or to bolster their own voices. All you have to do is tie it to some other bogus law or rationale, and you get freedom of speech for me but not for thee.

[1] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/jeff-sessions-laugh-congressi...

I do fully agree and understand that freedom of speech by statute is not the same as freedom of speech in practice. But you at least have to start at the level of the laws. If your laws don't provide for freedom of speech, you're certainly not going to get it in practice. A legal framework for freedom of speech is not a sufficient condition for achieving it, but it is a necessary one.

And the issues you mention happen in European countries, too, just with much lower risk of being shot, and usually with different minority groups (though I'm sure black people face problems with police in European countries as well). And the Congress laughing incident is certainly ridiculous - but you'll also find many similarly ridiculous stories in Britain, for example. Don't get me wrong; I have many problems with the US, and think most European countries do a lot of things better than we do. I just think the freedom of speech laws are one thing we usually do better than they do.

In the US, you aren't going to be arrested for a tweet (unless that tweet threatens violence), regardless of your ethnicity or sexuality. This is something that does actually sometimes happen in other countries. No, that's not necessarily a huge win when you consider real, everyday situations like black men having to be far more cautious with police than other people, often risking their lives, but I think you kind of just have to tackle freedom and liberty issues as they arise. We should appreciate where our system works well and vehemently dissent where it fails.

The issues you mention are major and do definitely need to be dealt with to achieve a state of real freedom for everyone in the US. But I also think those problems aren't insurmountable, and that practical freedom of speech is an eventually attainable goal. I also think we're slowly getting better over time, even though the problems remain immense. A lot of people in the US are dedicating their lives to ensuring laws and standards are applied fairly.

It's easy to say we should just 'tackle freedom and liberty issues as they arise' if you're not the person getting shot when you express your rights to freedom of speech. You're right in that you can express yourself online, but I think that's bit of a rather sad point when minorities have to censure themselves in order to not enflame the powers that be.

And even that's not particularly true either, considering how the US has placed an uneven focus on Black Identity Extremists over the group actually causing real and daily harm to individuals. Which goes back to my point of freedom of speech not really existing in the US: It's more acceptable to be a white supremacist (and in turn, your rights to 'freedom of speech' strongly defended) and express extremely violent views under the protection of the police and government.

Which is why you see an increasingly strong reaction to any form of white supremacy.

> A lot of the time in America we tend to believe we have an absolute right to freedom of speech, but the reality is that our rights to speech are already tied to our race, sexuality, etc.

That would be illegal.

> Or you'll be arrested if you laugh at someone powerful, like what happened with the Jeff Sessions incident

That didn't happen.

> The great irony of our rabid belief in freedom of speech is that it simply doesn't exist in America.

As you can see from the very public arrest of Louise Mensch. Which totally happened in a different universe.

Didn't happen? I provided you a link to the story of someone being arrested for laughing at Jeff Sessions.

You're going to have to expand on what you mean if you're going to say something didn't happen in the face of evidence that it did.

By that logic, no-one has any rights anywhere, because you can always find some incident where the law was subverted or abused by the powerful.

But I would dearly like to hear how freedom of speech is used to suppress minorities. Note that in my own country (or the region that became my country), censorship was used to suppress the growing independence movement. A movement of a minority of the population. Perhaps if we had had free speech, they would have instead used that to suppress us... somehow?

An easy way to examine this issue is how rallies, protests etc are treated differently depending on their racial origins.

For example, when a city attempted to block the march of the Unite the Right rally, they were met with a strong resistance under their right to freedom of speech. Yet Black Lives Matter was treated with far more disdain and had a considerably stronger and disproportionate response to their activism. Freedom of Speech can be a bludgeon to allow movements filled with hatred to further their own causes, while it's conveniently ignored for minorities or said to be 'at the wrong place'.

This is why the ACLU has started to shift their position on an absolutist view of freedom of speech. Because in defending Unite the Right they directly caused harm to minority populations.

Your facts argue against your point. In your words, a city, the government itself, tried to block the "Unite the Right" rally. Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter "was treated with far more disdain"(presumably by private actors exercising their own freedom of speech - not government actors?). It sounds like there was plenty of disdain for the "Unite the Right" rally as well - I can't imagine what else would lead a city to break the law in an attempt to block it.

I'm not sure what outcome you would have wanted from the situation - the government should have further tried to supress people against BLM? Who's the minority power in your scenario again?

No, my facts argue in favor of my point. Which is that the policing apparatus in America functions to serve those that are already in power. That was the point of my comparison, because white supremacist rallies tend to be treated very well by the police with violence committed by the rally members allowed to go unchecked, while others are met with immediate violence by the state and a zealous show of force from the police. Which again, is easily proven by the fact that higher government institutions have placed a focus on dealing with Black Identity Extremists rather than White Supremacy.

And in this case the city didn't 'break the law', they were attempting to move the rally to another location (rightfully) believing that it would pose a severe security risk. Which led to the challenge by the ACLU on the grounds of the first amendment and an emergency injunction being put in place to allow the rally to occur at the original location.

Unless you honestly believe that black identity extremists are somehow more dangerous than white supremacists at this time, it's obvious that one group benefits a lot more from 'freedom of speech' than another.

> Which is that the policing apparatus in America functions to serve those that are already in power.

What makes you believe censorship laws won't also serve those in power?

> Yet Black Lives Matter was treated with far more disdain and had a considerably stronger and disproportionate response to their activism.

When was this?

There's indeed always going to be a line somewhere. What's vital though is that whatever censorship you do enact, is limited, proportional, and most importantly, accountable. Allowing rapid action to block harmless content based on false reports seems to fail those criteria.

I used to think the same. However, I see that this fear has become a technique to crush anything else that doesn't follow the same thinking. As usual, extremes are not good, no matter what, and it is in such situations that other extremes take shape.

European nations have indeed drawn the line in a different places for historical reasons, however that place is most definitely not the same for all nations. It wouldn't make sense for that to be the case as a line drawn for historical reasons must therefore depend on the countries history which is vastly different for each and every country.

I reckon on the whole people have fought more to protect free speech than to limit it, although both have indeed occurred, fascism being the main example of the latter.

It’s debatable whether the problem in Europe was too much free speech. Some would argue the problem was suppression of free speech.

> there are many things that an American could say that would see them brought before the courts.

Unless it's libel (i.e. intentional or neglectful causing of actual harm to a person) or speech connected to specific lawless action (like saying "let's whack this guy" to a contract killer) - no, there's not. Which things do you mean?

> Germans in particular are acutely aware of the disastrous consequences of allowing incitement to go unchallenged

Germans problem was not just "incitement". It was putting Hitler in charge of the government. That wasn't done by "incitement", that was done by actual German top politicians, who thought that putting a strong leader in charge and suppressing opposition (Ermächtigungsgesetz and so on) will solve their stability problems. They did it for security, to keep the tranquility and peace in the nation, so they had the troublemakers arrested and the people who can right the course of the nation assigned the power instead. Too bad those people turned out to be the Nazis.

I think the lesson from here is that no opposition voice needs to be suppressed, no group should be excluded, and nobody should be given absolute power over others. Somehow some people in EU think that the lesson if that right people just need to suppress the right things instead. After all, we have so good record in choosing who are the right people and what things they should be suppressing, don't we? We won't make any mistakes again there?

>Unless it's libel (i.e. intentional or neglectful causing of actual harm to a person) or speech connected to specific lawless action (like saying "let's whack this guy" to a contract killer) - no, there's not. Which things do you mean?

It's quite a long list.


No, it's not a long list - most of it either specific examples of lawless acts connected to speech, or matters unrelated to freedom of speech - such as that lying to a government official is a crime. It's true, but it has nothing to do with freedom of speech - the crime here is not the words being spoken but government official being deceived. Then goes discussion of IP rights - which also not violation of freedom of speech, because again the problem here not the speech itself but that the block of information conveyed by it is owned by somebody else. Concept of ownership of blocks of information may seem weird, but that question is very different from freedom of speech.

Only limitations on obscenity somehow approach free speech restrictions, but even then they are "place and manner" restrictions, not outright bans - as you might be perfectly aware, there's a lot of porn of most obscene varieties around, and it's completely legal - as long as it is not presented in specific venues in specific manner.

All these things are radically different from what EU is trying to do. They try to ban certain things completely, based on their content - not ban publication of X because it's copyrighted, or because they want to only be transmitted by cable TV and not public broadcast, or not shown in public places where kids may see it, or not being told to government officials if this can interfere with their functions. No. They want it to be banned because of its content, totally and absolutely. There's no connection to any other crime required, there's no other harm or action required - the speech content itself is a crime. That's the fundamental difference.

That's not a very long list. Several of them fall into his original categories. Incitement, fighting words and child pornography into the second, false statements into the first. (Or more like the first falls into false statements, but libel really is a central example of false statements not being protected.)

The big one he missed was obscenity, but that's somewhat understandable given the frequency with which "obscenity laws" get struck down rather than upheld.

And the others aren't categories of speech. You can't use someone else's copyrighted work, but you can convey the exact same information in your own words. Government employees et al can't say certain things, but anyone else can say the same things.

oska 14 days ago [flagged]

> it is also an extremely dangerous one in the wrong circumstances

The dangers that come from suppression of speech trump the dangers of free speech by far. And your 'historical analysis' is laughably shallow. Frankly, your comment reads like regurgitated propaganda.

> We have learned through bitter experience that, while free speech is a precious right, it is also an extremely dangerous one in the wrong circumstances. Germans in particular are acutely aware of the disastrous consequences of allowing incitement to go unchallenged.

Have they learnt the right lesson though? What's the alternate history theory here? You toss Hitler in jail after he makes an inflammatory speech to a large crowd, but before he's elected and that prevents WW2?

None of this solves the underlying issue of there being deep political problems in any country that ends up with this kind of leader getting into power. The hope of free speech supposedly being that someone will eventually put their finger on the real cause of the problems and get people on board with it, rather than an unfortunate group being scapegoated.

It always fascinating to me when Americans pretend freedom of speech will automatically solve all struggles between people having incompatible worldview while their own political landscape in recent years has become more divisive than ever... I see quite a few similarities with pre ww2 Germany. We'll how fast violence will be on the rise.

It's not that it will solve all struggles. It's that censorship doesn't solve them, either, but makes everything else worse.

And speaking of our own political landscape, last thing I want is a right wing populist government that has been handed laws to crack down on "hate speech" by my fellow progressive do-gooders. If such laws were to pass and found constitutional, I'd expect BLM and BDS to be the first targets in all red states (and Europe has ample precedent for persecuting BDS as "hate speech", so it's not like you'd have any moral high ground on calling them out on it).

> You toss Hitler in jail after he makes an inflammatory speech to a large crowd, but before he's elected and that prevents WW2?

That probably works better if you don't let him out 9 months into a 5 year sentence.

it is also an extremely dangerous one in the wrong circumstances

Such as when government is given too much power over it.

You're being disingenuous. Nazi Germany's rise to power was a composite of many different factors. You make it seem as though free speech was the sole cause of its ascendance.

"enabling" and "causing" aren't the same thing.

Not shooting in place anybody who speaks against the government can be said to "enable" a lot of bad things too. Hitler spoke against contemporary government, so if he had been shot there and then, nothing afterwards would happen. I hope you can see how fallacious such argument is.

The reality is, contemporary German government was not shy at all at suppressing freedoms. They had special exception in their Constitution to do just that when the government needs. But they were more afraid of Communists than they were of Nazis, so they gave the suppression machine to Nazis to fix the things. The conclusion from this fail should be "don't build suppression machine out of government", not "give it to Communists instead next time, maybe it'll work better".

> Germans in particular are acutely aware of the disastrous consequences of allowing incitement to go unchallenged.

I’m not sure that current hate speech laws would have been effective at countering Nazi propaganda.

The Nazis were not openly advocating their most extreme policies before the war. Even during the war, the worst atrocities were mostly kept quiet.

Absolutely. Having suffered from German imperialism, Europeans understand that the only way to preserve their freedom is to allow it to be restricted as Germany sees fit.

With article 17 (former 13) is the past imho

Why does the proposed EU legislation have a 1-hour deadline? No matter what you think of the action it's trying to take, a 1-hour deadline is preposterous for anyone and seems expressly designed to force people to set up an automated process that acts on takedown notices without prior review. But who benefits from this?

About the only thing I can think of is if some big company, think Facebook or Google, lobbied for this because they're large enough that they can actually implement it with review, whereas anyone smaller can't.

I think the idea of the 1 hour deadline is to pull it offline before others can download and repost it. The police/governments especially in Australia and New Zealand have worked out that there is simply no way to remove a file from the internet if someone else grabs it in time.

Its a fruitless effort and very dangerous when misused but thats what I assume they are trying to do anyway.

I'm in New Zealand, and finding the Christchurch shooter's manifesto was harder than you'd think.

The "it's not foolproof, so it's fruitless"-argument strikes me as missing the point. We can't prevent many things from happening (rape, thieving, excessive drug use, etc.) but that doesn't mean that efforts to contain this are useless.

It was very easy to find if you know where to look. If you know the domain for 8chan you could find it in seconds. The massive attempt to hide the video probably made it much easier to find as so many people who saw it saved it expecting it to be gone in the future.

Yes, if you look hard enough, you can find anything. But I think the idea is to make it so that the bad things don't just continue to float around where people not looking for it might see it.

Just like terrorist content (how to make bombs/attack infidels and such) still exists, and those looking for it would probably find it, but the governments are trying to make it so that innocent people that have no inclination to perform horrible acts don't run into it by "chance". And just like they did to Muslim extremists and violent ideas in that front, they are now trying to do in other areas.

I've been on the Internet my entire life and not even once I've seen something I didn't want or expect to see. It's simply not possible to force people to watch a several minutes long video or read a manifesto with dozens of pages, so I don't understand this sentiment.

Everything is easy to find if you know where to look.

It was (is) one search away on the famous bay of pirates.

And what's the chance that it gets reported before someone's downloaded it?

I'd say about none.

By the time the government can find and report it, surely other people will have found it already.

Because Christchurch.

(Which postdates the first draft of this directive. But there were similar cases before)

Can anyone with a bit more information explain why the EU might have any saying as to what a San Francisco–based nonprofit digital library can and can not host?

Disclaimer: I currently am a EU citizen.

These notices are not enforceable. See the 2017 transparency report here: https://www.europol.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/...

(Page 4, Point 3.1: Referrals)

Quote: A referral activity (meaning the reporting of terrorist and extremist online content to the concerned OSP) does not constitute an enforceable act. Thus, the decision and removal of the referred terrorist and extremist online content is taken by the concerned service provider under their own responsibility and accountability (in reference to their Terms and Conditions).

As they mentioned in passing in the blog, EU might block the site entirely within EU.

Oh, the horror.

Not for anyone outside of the EU, and not in short-term. However, I believe that it is an alarming tendency that can cause a lot of damage over a sufficiently long time period.

It's still a problem for us in the U.S, because there are always politicians in the U.S. that look at dumb things being done in Europe and say, "We should be doing that, too.", and voters who will vote for them.

In the long term, though, it could cause noticible implosion of related industries. I'm kinda imagining that this kind of regulation is going to be so clearly harmful that its removed.

Agreed. That's what I meant by long-term, I should have been more clear.

In situations with notice-and-takedown like this, I always wonder why there aren't stronger protections against abuse. Should a platform or user who had their content ordered removed in error be able to receive damages? Should the lawyers or civil servants instigating these notices be disciplined for issuing erroneous, improper, or overly broad takedown notices be disciplined or blacklisted?

I guess the same reason why police and government is allowed to lie to you, but if you lie to police or government you're a felon. Because they can. As long as people vote for such situation to continue, it continues.

That's how governments work. If you're the president and do something blatantly unconstitutional, the worst case is it gets overturned in the courts. If you're a citizen, you go to jail or worse.

Why else would you pursue a role in a system of abuse than to abuse and profit?

Hey, someone ought to start reporting EU sites as "terrorist content".

Edit: Or better yet, report major MPAA members for copyright infringement, using spoofed accounts for other major MPAA members :)

Wouldn't knowingly sending false reports be a misdemeanour, or even felony?

Then isn't sending reports without verifying their validity the same thing?

Sure. So do it anonymously. All's fair in war.

So underfunded and overworked EU agency is asked to manage reporting for poorly thought out and overly broad legislation.

Maybe this is the best outcome as it might provide a valid defense for those who choose to ignore the notices.

> So underfunded and overworked EU agency

Like engineers who have never underestimated their time commitments to a project, government agencies have never been overfunded.

How do we push back on these agencies for their obvious flawed process?

Constitutionally amend the EU, revert it to being more of an economic body than a judicial body.

We don’t push back on the process, we push back on the principle.

The point of the principle of free speech is not that all speech is beneficial but that we can’t possibly trust any agency with the power to decide what is and isn’t.

The “process” probably has no more flaws than any other process designed and implemented by mortals, it just goes to demonstrate why the whole censor-the-internet idea is wrong.

Where do you stand on falsely claiming "fire" in a crowded movie theater?

I'm old enough to remember when conservative pundits would pose similar challenges when discussing which forms of contemporary music needed to be outlawed. So where I stand is that I've learned to associate anyone offering the fire in a crowded theater argument as another advocate of the prevailing moral panic.

Well, then let's take your favorite other-example! My point is not to relitigate the "fire" standard or any individual case, but to point out that

The point of the principle of free speech is not that all speech is beneficial but that we can’t possibly trust any agency with the power to decide what is and isn’t.

those agencies already exist! So, in order to execute GP's preferences, what agencies shall be eliminated? I find that tends to focus the debate and reveal the parts that are based in reality and those that aren't.

Perhaps I should stay away from recognizable cases or be sure they aren't lightning rods, knowing that people are going to get hung up on the specific example. It's hard to do that, though.

The "fire in a crowded theater" argument was created by advocates of the prevailing moral panic, in fact. The panic in question was anti-war and anti-draft propaganda by socialist parties in the USA during WW1, and the phrase originated in a Supreme Court ruling that said that it's legal for the federal government to imprison people for speaking such horrible things.

It never ceases to amaze me how common this trope remains in defense of censorship, given that it was designed as a slippery slope.


> The "fire in a crowded theater" argument was created by advocates of the prevailing moral panic

I know.

Depends on how false false is. If someone actually believes there to be a fire that's one thing. If someone is clearly doing it with intent to cause harm to others, then that's a crime and they should be charged with such; after the fact.

I'm against installing verbal filters on everyone just in case someone might shout 'fire' in a crowded place with intent to cause harm.

If someone actually believes there to be a fire that's one thing

You don't have to wonder, there are long defined and continuously refined standards in operation. But it's irrelevant to the thread, so we don't need to detail them here.

I'm not a lawyer but am pretty sure it would fall under any number of other laws if someone was to get hurt or you caused a disruption. There doesn't need to be a separate law protecting you from someone saying something you find objectionable.

- disturbing the peace ( if nobody got hurt ) - causing bodily harm by criminal negligence - inciting to riot

Next to the fire exit

This has always struck me as a weird sort of edge case, because the hypothetical situation is pretty disconnected from all the other situations where people might seek restrictions on free speech that it doesn’t really matter which way I go.

If I say that yes, I suppose we can carve out some sort of exception for people who directly cause harm to life and limb by falsely proclaiming the existence of immediate dangers in crowded areas, then this doesn’t seem like a slippery slope — I am not forced to then admit we should also start censoring anything else outside that very narrow category.

If, on the other hand, I say that free speech should apply even to those shouting fire in a crowded theatre, am I worried that this is going to suddenly become a major danger? Are psychopathic pranksters going to start causing fatal stampedes at every opening night? No, because it’s not something that actually happens; anyone shouting fire in a crowded theatre would probably just get shushed and escorted out by ushers; at worst they’d provoke an orderly evacuation through the plentiful emergency exits that theatres tend to have nowadays.

So I guess I’ll go for the second option — refuse to carve out the exception and accept the risk of the occasional unnecessary evacuation.

There are other small and well established edge-case restrictions on free speech I am willing to accept, mind you, eg market manipulation or giving false statements to police. But I don’t see the classic fire-in-theatre one as being relevant to anything.

> This has always struck me as a weird sort of edge case,

Actually, it's not if you look at it a different way. We have Free Speech in the U.S.A., but there are many instances where it's illegal (and rightly so) to lie. You can't lie about your finances to the IRS. You can't lie in court when under oath. You can't ruin someone's reputation by lying about him (i.e., slander or libel).

And you can't lie about there being a fire in a theater.

There are other small and well established edge-case restrictions on free speech I am willing to accept, mind you, eg market manipulation or giving false statements to police. But I don’t see the classic fire-in-theatre one as being relevant to anything.

This contradicts the point you were making before, which I was responding to, where no agency is qualified to establish limits, so I guess this part of the thread is over.


refuse to carve out the exception and accept the risk of the occasional unnecessary evacuation

You're still hung up on theaters, not to mention a whole whack of cherry-picked hyper-specific scenarios. Look into the Hillsborough Disaster some time. Or here's an on-point example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Hall_disaster ...would that be no fault of anybody in the free-speech society you are advocating? Maybe pulling a fire alarm would have to be established as a form of speech first, but I bet that could be done.

> This contradicts the point you were making before

No it doesn't, you don't need an agency butting in case-by-case to have specific exclusions.

> Hillsborough Disaster

Too many people, bad management of the crowd, how is this relevant to speech at all?

> Italian Hall disaster

I think it's fair to blame the design of the building and overcrowding here. Blaming the person that yelled fire is good for vengeance but not very good for safety and accident-prevention.

You don't. The indirection designed into the EU to isolate the government from the governed is deliberate and there is no recourse.

Is this the end of websites being available 24 hours a day? Just switch off the web server every evening when leaving the office?

The CIO (!) of one of our clients seriously proposed that last year for a new big online B2C service. We were just laughing at that point, knowing the CEO will not go for that, but even the though process was scary, and made some sense.

What exactly is "terrorist content?" Do calls to arms from the American Revolution against England count? What about other revolutions of the past?

Yes, I would say that anyone calling for armed revolution would be classified as a terrorist by the government they opposed.

Governments tend not to take sides against other governments unless they want to go to war with them in some way. So you can imagine that in many cases most other governments would back the terrorist label.

This points out one of the big issues with the use of the word "terrorist" in today's world. It is a label that dominant organizations use against any group that presents a serious threat, regardless of the activities of that group.

I think the question is, does it stop being terrorist if a revolution happened in the past, but the actions are still recognized as having being terrorism? Are Jacobine writings terrorist in nature, for example? How about a scan of Pravda circa 1918, with headlines like "Long live the Red Terror!"?

Reminds me of: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/09/man-charged-...

> The charges allege that Golaszewski was found with copies of 21 Silent Techniques of Killing by Master Hei Long, The Anarchist Cookbook and The Big Book of Mischief on 23 February in Leeds. It is also alleged that he had in his possession the Improvised Munitions Handbook, Murder Inc, The Book by Jack the Rippa, and Minimanual Of The Urban Guerilla, by Carlos Marighella.

The guy is charged with possession of six books, some of these books are likely to be present at archive.org


> Pawel Golaszewski faces six counts under the Terrorism Act and has been charged with possession of a document or record "containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

Six books, six counts.


Unsure where is this heading. Does anyone think the law can stop technology?

I knew that UK was pretty bad in this regard, but I didn't realize it's that bad. You know what "possession of a document or record containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" reminds me of? "Contacts leading to suspicion of espionage" - one of the common charges under Article 58 in USSR circa 1930s, according to Solzhenitsyn.

Essentially, this is the DMCA for terrorist content. With a somewhat short time requirement driven by some recent events (New Zealand being the most prominent, but not first).

Here's a link to the current EU draft: https://www.laquadrature.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2019...

(It's a document highlighting the latest changes from committee, making it somewhat hard to read but not less interesting)

I'm not sure if it's fair to compare notices from the current program, which sends out notices without any legal force, to what this envisages. The directive sets out a process and requirements for notices, including detailed reasoning for each. It also specifically mentions avenues to protest (and sue) in cases of disagreements.

I'm no particular fan of this for both practical and philosophical reasons. If youtube had invested in some sort of oversight that prevented this kiwi neckbeard from live-streaming his massacre of innocents, the vote this week would probably have ended differently.

Maybe we should have some anonymous (preferably distributed) internet archive which is only available through tor?

This isn't a bad idea. You don't even need that much resources either - only mirror content that has been taken down from archive.org

550 in the past week, not in total!

I guess someone put a test system on a live server? Doubth they have enough employees to have some just sit there filing takedown claims manually.

From their website it seems like they perform periodical "action days" where they sit down jointly with different groups and flag content on specific platforms. Might have been one of those.

If it’s urgent enough that websites have to comply within an hour, why on earth do they wait so long to make these requests in batches?

The one hour compliance is proposed legislation, not actual law. If the requirement makes it in I expect it would be for extraordinary cases at high traffic sites, like the new zeeland terrorist livestrem on youtube.

I thought Europe got over the whole book burning thing in the 1940s.

Happened in Feb 2019 to a story on telegra.ph archived by me. It was scary first, then I asked the archive.org webmaster and I understood that it was a telegra.ph link, not because of the content. Now the archived link works OK. https://imgur.com/a/eJd4FeM

I could see a TPB-style federated proxy service emerging for archived URLs that are unduly censored.

Why does it need to be federated? Why not something p2p like IPFS or just torrents?

i may be missing an as-yet-unidentified-by-me core concept here. if a torrent has multiple listings (and perhaps multiple trackers) then isn't it being distributed via federation? how is this different from IPFS?

Interestingly, I can't get one of the linked videos[1] to load, although the other stuff seems to work fine.

[1]: https://archive.org/details/002Baqarah_201712

Blocking the EU seems to be the only viable option here, right? Am I missing any less bad options? Or would blocking the EU still leave publishers vulnerable to some abuse?

Do any web sites based in the USA have to honor these takedown notices from countries based in the EU?

There is an appellate court case pending involving Google and foreign court orders.

Depending on how is decided is the answer to your question.

Edit: no they do not need to remove content because a foreign entity asked them to https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/06/judge-rules-canada-de-in...

Given US state linked organizations like Atlantic Council, ThinkProgress, Propornot manned by ex US security services personnel are working with Facebook, Google and other social media websites to 'takedown' dissent on US involvement in Yemen, Syria, Venezuela, black activism against police brutality, general anti-war activism and socialism leaning content it seems the time to be concerned about censorship is passed.

Who can explain these SV 'relationships' with state actors? Anyone who cares about censorship should be extremely concerned about state actors flagging content. Snowden is still in Russia, Assange is virtual imprisoned and Manning is back in prison. Isn't it curious that these basic actions of whistle blowing and dissent are not able to operate freely in the west?

Is it simply as transparent as when other countries take down dissent or imprison activists its censorship and totalitarianism and when we do its 'fake news', 'Russian propaganda' or 'some reason'. It's incredible people can ignore everything and talk of free speech, censorship, and democracy as if none of the above is happening.

olliej 15 days ago [flagged]

Shocking, who would have thought

Just doin their job and slowly but safely moving towards a well off retirement...

Why is this surprising or unusual? It doesn't matter to them. Citizens aren't their customers and can't refuse to fund them. What other outcome can one rationally expect?

Reporting things falsely as a terrorist action IS a terrorist action!!!!!!

what the EU thinks is irrelevant. I wouldn't respond to a GDPR notice, a cookie notice, "terrorist content" takedowns. they are free to block my site. I'm free to never visit their 1984 land. good thing the UK is leaving them.

I can see why the UK would not be excited to remain.

Ehm, UK probably blocks more internet sites than most other EU countries. Never mind that UK libel laws are notorious; saying that homeopaths are quacks can get you in to serious problems.

The EU is a nightmare. Once the UK leaves and people see they are doing better it’s going to start a procession of other countries out the door. Too many regulations and red tape like this make doing business in the EU difficult. I am slightly annoyed every time a cookie banner blocks my view on a website. To think some person in Belgium decided that was a good idea and now everyone online has to deal with it is disturbing.

Regardless of EU membership the UK is very much not on a track to "do better" when it comes to anything freedom related.

Reminder that the European courts are currently restraining the UK from the worst of its surveillance plan, as they’ve found it to be incompatible with the Human Right to Privacy.

All signs point to the UK taking an increasingly authoritarian attitude to the net post-Brexit.

As dsfyu404ed@ points out, the UK no longer has good track-record of due process and fundamental-rights compared to the continent.

In 18th and even 19th century, Britain's unwritten constitution and notions of "English liberty" did indeed stand out -- and inspired the American to crystalise the ideas into written constitutions.

But 20th century ideologies, and the modern administrative state have "obsoleted" all that. Needless to say Britain coped with the change better than lots of pre-war countries (Germany!).

But post-war, Europeans have put in place formal human rights protections that a working imperfectly, but better than the British non-constitution. British citizens have their basic rights protected in large part because the UK now shares these formal rules with Europe.

I don't think that in the best of terms the UK not being part of the EU would be beneficial to the UK - the way Brexit is happening is definitely going to hoop them though. They are taking an antagonistic stance against all their major trading partners and to continue to do business with them they'll end up needing to follow those regulations anyways.

I am unaware of major cases of regulatory capture in the EU governance and most regulation proceeding this has been well intentioned - if the cookie banner is annoying then tell your the site to stop tracking you.

GDPR is effectively massive regulatory capture, benefitting Google and hurting small ad networks that haven't been able to effectively comply.


It’s important to realize that Brexit is a bit more complicated than the rhetoric would have you believe. First it began with a combination of simple populism/nationalism/jingoism in the form of UKIP and at the same time a section of the political class in the Tory and Labour parties. For the Tories (at least the ones who became ERG members) it’s pure self-interest. They are filthy rich and like many filthy rich businessmen they think they’d thrive in a more lenient regulatory environment. They can create that environment for themselves if the EU is out of the picture and they keep power. Labour is more Remain, but Corbin and his fellow hardliners want a Brexit because they want the UK to be Socialist/Marxist. They know that’s just not going to happen in the context of the EU.

So you had Farrah’s and others playing the usual “Hey struggling masses, all of your problems are those immigrant’s fault” game. Over time the political success of UKIP and internal strife within the Tories led David “The Chinless Pudding” Cameron to promise that he would hold a referendum on the issue of re-elected. At the time he assumed that he would win by the same narrow margin he had previously and once again would enter into a “power-sharing” deal with the Liberal Democrats. He could then blame the LibDems for blocking the referendum, defuse the Tory civil war, and shut Farage up for another election cycle.

Then he won, decisively, and the LibDems tanked. So Cameron had no excuse to not have the referendum. He assumed that people who had been openly pro-remain such as Boris Johnson would put aside their personal ambitions and support Remain, but of course that didn’t happen. So what you had was a group of highly motivated people such as Boris who used this as a means to get power, people like Farrage being populist demagogues, and the ERG playing ideologue while just looking to get even richer. Cameron quit and literally walked away humming a little tune, and the Tories went to war with themselves. In the end everyone “died” and out of the ashes rose the silent one, Theresa May, who had switched from staunch pro-Remain to equally staunch Brexiteer mode overnight.

The rest is history. In a sense at the highest levels where Brexit isn’t about gaining short-term power and settling grudges, it’s about the long-term goal of being able to capture UK regulatory bodies. “People” like Jacob Rees-Mogg see how the business class can rob the state in the US, and they want a slice of that. The EU would prevent much of it, so they want out of the EU. The details of why individual people (who bothered to vote at all) voted to Leave is a lot less interesting and has less to do with Brexit than the political reality.

I totally agree with you, except the UK are the ones with the cookie banners. At least if each country comes up with their own draconian set of internet laws, it will be easier to ignore them all since there will be less "juice" behind each version of the law.

When will the UK leave?

The latest extension offered to Brexit is until Oct 31. And another extension is likely to be offered then.

I feel like, at this point, a possibly likely option is a continued bump of leave dates until the British population gets sick of the BS and forces a stay decision in like 20 years once the old racists go away - but my money is still on UK doing a no-deal brexit because they can't decide on anything else... that will probably happen during the next european recession when the EU gets sick of wasting bureaucratic effort on supporting the UK being silly... and it looks like we're 9-18 months out from the next global recession.

The main problem with Brexit is that EU must ensure that it's bad for UK in the long run. If UK left the EU and was successful without it, it'd prove that EU is useless and other countries would follow suit.

It is a complete mess.

The MPs in office overwhelmingly oppose Brexit. They don't support anything else, but they oppose Brexit as well. But the country is fairly evenly divided. However the Conservative party hung itself out to dry on a promise to deliver Brexit, and the Conservative base very strongly wishes that Brexit had happened already. If it doesn't, it is not impossible that the Conservative party will fall apart.

The Conservative leadership's opinion is that their base consist of "swivel-eyed loons", but without that base, the Conservatives don't win elections. Also the Conservatives are in a coalition right now with the DUP, and the DUP is strongly for Brexit. (As I commented to a friend today, if the Conservative base consists of swivel-eyed loons, the DUP base consists of steel-eyed goons.)

The country as a whole is fairly evenly divided. Polls suggest that a re-do would come up Remain. But polls suggested the same thing before the referendum as well. Demographics suggest that the country as a whole will support Remain in the future. However large parts of the country are strongly Leave and that won't be changing any time soon. And no, they aren't simply stupid racists. They have some valid concerns, such as the long-term effect of EU regulations (such as GDPR and the new Copyright bill) on economic growth.

Honestly, this is a reflection of my greatest fear of the modern world - cuts to education and social services from the last generation of Regan/Thatcher-nomics has both cut western countries economies off at the ankles while simultaneously saddling us with an overwhelming majority of unquestioning individuals that are happy to go along with whatever they are told.

I don't know how the west will recover from this but if there is one thing I've come to view as a vital component of that recovery it's arts spending. We seriously need to up critical thinking skills in the general populace instead of continuing to pump out trade-schooled apprentices (that includes a bunch of us developers, many of whom are more heavily rote taught than anything else).

Our purpose in the universe is... well probably nothing, but it'd be nice if we equipped everyone to deal with life and their journey through it with as many tools as possible. It is possible to find some educational spending wasteful and desire to make it more efficient, but the people who say "we're wasting money educating all these people" those are the most dangerous of all.

You seem to be assuming that more education implies better informed voters which implies no Brexit.

But it was the best 'educated' voters who took the dire economic warnings of the cost of voting leave most seriously, which have since been proven false (e.g. no 800,000 lost jobs due to uncertainty post-vote).

So there's an easy argument to make that huge numbers of remain voters were just, as you put it, "unquestioning individuals that are happy to go along with whatever they are told" i.e. they were to vote remain or else economic disaster, didn't question it despite the obvious holes in this story, and did as they were told. Leave voters thought for themselves, concluded the risks were exaggerated and didn't do as they were told.

How are we going to punish the EU for this? The penalty for interfering with Archive.org must be so severe that even an international entity would never contemplate doing this again.

Thank Uncle Sam for the first amendment. Not that this kind of censorship won't happen in the United States but there are stronger institutional barriers to it here, so it will take longer.

But it's coming here too and not slowly. For instance five years ago 48 US Senators voted gut much of the core of the first amendment. (https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-joint-re...) After every terrorist attack we hear how the constitution is not a suicide note (and therefore the bill of rights is highly contingent). Pressure to act against (flexibly defined) hate speech is growing particularly in the young cohort of voters.

In the not distant future I expect hundreds or thousands of US officials to have the same kind of power that their EU counterparts are seeking here: to automatically switch off almost any domestic web resource if it hurts the feelings of an important constituent.

Many of us will fight it, and as in the EU, we'll lose.

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