A few informations for context:
- Two bloggers were fined, one French, and the American one for quoting the French.
- The fine emanated from the Commission des Sanctions (sanction committee) of the AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers), the French stock market regulator.
- It's supposed to be independent, but they are notoriously in bed with banks, with most members of the commission being former higher executives of major banks. Therefore, it's no surprise that they will do this kind of stunts in order to protect their interests.
- It's been talked about in several (right-wing) publications like Atlantico or Les Échos, where journalists have pointed out that this is one more action that proves the absence of credibility of the AMF.
That being said, I stand by my opinion that reddit-style pun threads  or random and unrelated politically biased ramblings  really shouldn't belong to HN discussions.
Maybe a better solution would have been to reply to those "bad" comments instead of creating one, but it's kind of rare to see so many free bashing in HN that you don't really want them to stay on top for too long.
When the comments are about other comments on the thread, and not about the linked story, many of us actually prefer that they're buried.
This certainly does nothing to help with the record level of discontentment the government is experiencing.
Yes, but as the news show regularly, there's nothing specifically French towards lawmakers increasing will to control what is said and done on the internet. (The UK and the US come to mind, but there are plenty of other examples elsewhere)
I'm French myself and I am frankly appalled by our government's (and the previous ones), but let's be honest, the grass isn't much greener elsewhere. (Except perhaps in Scandinavian / northern countries?)
Criticizing France in this case has nothing to do with nationalism. It's about basic rights.
I'm disheartened by how many countries disrespect their citizens' innate freedoms--even first-world countries that are supposedly democratic and.
Prosecuting and fining someone publishing an opinion is wrong. Trying to fine a blogger 8000 Euros for merely quoting another blogger is ridiculous (and wrong). Why doesn't France have an equivalent of the First Amendment?
This story reminds me of another a few weeks ago, about UK police forcing people to give up their encryption passwords on penalty of jail time. That's an unreasonable search; and even if the subject is guilty, forced self-incrimination is wrong. Why doesn't the UK have equivalents of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments?
I'm not suggesting that the US is better at respecting people's rights. Better laws don't help if the government chooses to ignore the law.
The Bill of Rights was revolutionary in the 18th century. The fact that many of those basic rights are still routinely violated in 2013---even in places like the US, the UK, and France---makes me sad. We have democracies. Why can't we do better?
You could be excused for thinking you landed on r/worldnews when reading this thread.
That said, the level of institutionalized corruption in France is pretty outrageous. If I recall correctly, the president of France receives a truck load of cash every year which can be used with zero accountability (and that's legal). Of course the French (and pretty much any democratic country) can look at our electoral system and laugh.
Except we aren't talking about the US right now, we are talking about one particularly boneheaded action by France.
Also, there's only one nation in the world called "America," so it's plenty precise. The continents are "North America" and "South America," or jointly "the Americas." Posturing aside, I don't believe that a reasonable person is likely to confuse them.
That's going way off topic, but I couldn't resist. I can't find such nation in the globe.
And the continent is called "America". There is even one country that formed by the union of several smaller ones that calls itself "United States of America" because it's located at this continent called "America".
Are you also opposed to referring to the United Mexican States/Estados Unidos Mexicanos as simply "Mexico"?
Come to think, it's a little odd that you find "America," a word found in only one nation's name, to be imprecise, but are totally fine with "United States," which is found in two current and like ten historical nations.
> And the continent is called "America". There is even one country that formed by the union of several smaller ones that calls itself "United States of America" because it's located at this continent called "America".
On further reading, the definition of a "continent" is completely arbitrary, but dividing the Americas into two continents has been standard in the English-speaking world for ages. The single-continent standard used in the Hispanic world is equally arbitrary; you don't get to claim that your arbitrary standard is objectively correct but ours is cultural imperialism.
I'll repeat what I've said elsewhere in this dicussion:
"Insane laws in one place do not make laws in another place any less insane. If we universalized your attitude towards criticism, then only those blessed to live in utopias would have the privilege of leveling complaints at other systems."
Americans do get to criticize the French government. Americans get to criticize the American government. French get to criticize the French government. French get to criticize the American government. Zimbabweans get to criticize the Portuguese government. The Portuguese get to criticize the the Swiss government.
Everybody gets to criticize any government they please, no matter what government happens to lay stake to the place that they live. It is absurd to think otherwise.
quick translation: before 2001 the President and its ministers used to receive "secret funding" that they could use for whatever they wanted. The money came from Banque de France (public money, not money from a private bank).
This has been mostly suppressed in 2001 (the amounts are now public information), except for secret services funding (for obvious reasons).
So your example is a bit inaccurate and a bit outdated. That said, we certainly have our share of nepotism and collusion.
A court they would listen to, an army, your buddy Louie with a baseball bat, ready to break their CEO's knees.
Societe Generale is in a better standing than you here. Some courts in some countries (France) using their enforcement agencies will most likely do their bidding for them.
In other words I can fine everyone millions of dollars. Look I fined you and everyone here $1B. Guess what chance I have of collecting that?
Disregard other things, deep down that is what it boils down to.
Especially when it comes to crooked banks or politicians. France is a strange country that likes to give lessons about democracy to the rest of the world, but when you look at things closer, France is closer to a monarchy than a democracy.
Everything is so centralised that information usually comes from an single source of truth, that journalist dont even bother questioning since they are all married with politicians (literally).
Entirely false, except if you mean ABSOLUTE free speech. In this case I would argue no country has one. I guess you come from the US? See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_excep...
> Especially when it comes to crooked banks or politicians.
Weren't we talking about the 1% recently where you live?
> France is closer to a monarchy than a democracy.
I like those empty statements.
Furthermore, who is upvoting your comment? It's just plain bashing with no real arguments.
Bravo. That's the most beautifully hypocritical internet comment I've seen in quite a while.
Coming from an american (I guess), i find this hilarious.
>France is closer to a monarchy than a democracy.
I can get the comparison, current constitution was made to give important powers to the president (heavily influenced by Charles de Gaulle, which wasn't the best idea).
American democracy funding looks very much like bi-partisan plutocracy, when looked from outside, so not really a model. (And honestly, why stop with the work half-done? Be honest and bring it to one party. Or is it even harder to give democracy lesson afterward?
Also I'll need to get a pickup truck.
For what it's worse, this kind of critics hurt less from a fellow french (maybe because we have endured stupid governments together?).
My comment was not my brightest, far from it (none of my comment in this thread, in fact), but seeing so much french-bashing à la reddit, was too much for me I guess.
The worse is that I read this story in a french newspaper an hour before, which was less partial than the convict's blog. Gave up posting it here because paywall + language where too much hurdle for HN, and couldn't find a better article.
Seing this article afterward and the quality of the response (up to the article's value I guess), well, my reaction was not up to my own standards.
Still, the french institution judgment was quite stupid, and we had a good laugh. The blogger's reaction to is incoming legal battle was beyond stupid. When you receive official document an incoming legal battle, you don't ignore it outright, you either deal with it or hire someone to do it, you check what you can do and what you risk. Ignoring it until you are fined is not the best way to be heard when complaining afterward.
I'll let the previous comment I made in the thread untouched. That way I'll think twice before being rude next time.
One I particularly remember (though I can't quote it exactly) is that you can (could?) be hauled into court for criticising heads of state, domestic or foreign.
Just like in most other European countries, France lets you say what you want, as long as you don't spread lies or hatred.
For instance, my understanding is that, in France, one should think twice before using the words "Mugabe" and "despot" in the same sentence. This is not a problem in the UK or the US at all.
But maybe this is also part of what made France such a very civilised, cultured and enjoyable place to live.
Can a French person say "The president is illiterate.", as Americans have often said about their president? Could they say "The idiotic president keeps on making up words."? Harsh criticism is naturally insulting.
There is, with some restrictions like in most countries:
In this case, the consequences of publicly disagreeing with the Société Générale's accounting practices are €8000.
"The AFM has no jurisdiction over me, so they won't collect. As a US citizen living in the US, I am not subject to the absurdities of French laws, or French witch hunts. All they get from me is a vow to never go to France."
Which is kind of a pity. France is beautiful, and the food is delicious. [I'm tempted to add, "It is truly unfortunate that the country is infested with the French", but ain't nobody got no sense of humor, either.]
>> Not surprising, there is no free speech in France.
I don't see this as a free speech thing. I could argue there's no free speech in X. This kind of thing happens everywhere. People with money has power.
As for former cases, we had :
- the minister for foreign affairs who was married to a political journalist on public television (Bernard Kouchner and Christine Ockrent)
- a Minister for Industry and later Finances who was married to a journalist (DSK, later infamously evicted from the IMF, and Anne Sinclair)
- a Minister for Finances who was married to an evening news presenter (Jean-Louis Borloo and Beatrice Schonberg)
These are the most notorious cases that I can recall, but there are plenty of others. It's almost always a male political leader and a female journalist.
Because a monarchy is something like a dictatorship? Absolute monarchies _could_ have similarities with a dictatorship but these almost do not exist anymore. Please dive into some background information about, for example, a constitutional monarchy like we have in the Netherlands . No way this resembles non-democracy.
If Mish were a multinational company with operations in France, it would be different. But he's not. So he can gleefully ignore it, as he is, correctly, doing.
Ignoring it would mean "never base your action on that decision". However, now he can't travel to France or any of the french territories (Martinique etc.). That's not what I'd call ignoring. It's a shitty situation: Fined for invalid reasons in a trial where you never had a chance to fight.
But the reach of Swazi or French laws is limited unless you visit Swazi or French soil. And in the case of the French libel law in question here, I'm not clear it would even preclude a visit to Paris. Do you have any citation for the proposition that a visitor would be arrested for what would be a civil tort?
BTW, if he fought it in France, he would lose. See yesterday's "due process" discussion. If it's a bad law, due process helps you not one whit.
 True: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/aug/30/aids.andrewmeld...
Every bank has a "send people nasty shit" department by the looks.
The answer is as always: "fuck off".
Telling banks and other financial institutions to fuck off was just an operating cost for the company in question. It was in the budget.
That's how I learned how the finance system worked in the UK. Assholes lobbing grenades at each other whilst the rest of the companies just get on with it.
They could collect the fine when the blogger enters france or maybe, depending on the case, the european union or an associated state.
But it wasn't "committed in France". This is getting ridiculous, not to mention extremely dangerous. A few more cases of these from the "democracies" of the world, and soon China will start demanding the same thing.
"You said something bad about China online? We're just going to fine you, or ask for your extradition and arrest."
Sure, that can happen. China can and might ask for extradition. This is however a different question from whether the USA will extradite. Extradition is usually denied in cases where the action in question was not a crime in the country that you're asking to extradite.
Think about it: A German commits a murder in the USA which is discovered only after he returns to Germany. Does your "no jurisdiction" line of reasoning still apply?
Did you miss the part where it was an American blogger? It wasn't committed in france.
(BTW, a civil judgment is not "a crime by French law.")
It is not so much about free speech: the two guys have been fined for publishing incorrect information about the financial situation of a bank. It is more about financial regulation than free speech. I'm not so familiar with american law, but I'm pretty sure you got related situations (for example concerning the handling of sensitive financial information, or insider trading, etc.)
Disregarding the question of the reality of what they've been accused of, the fine against Mish is illegal considering the right of defendants to translation and an interpretor has not been respected. This decision will be very probably striken down by any real judge that get her hands on this case.
We have laws that apply to stakeholders and insiders. As far as I know third parties are free to say or even make up anything they want, as long as it's not fraud or libel.
E.g. I'm Norwegian - Norway claims jurisdiction for certain types of crimes worldwide for Norwegian citizens (quite a few other countries do too).
Enforcability is entirely separate from jurisdiction.
These two things are totally unrelated and I never said the lather would happen.
Was this actually a crime or just a civil dispute?
In this case, the fine was pronounced by an independent administrative authority in charge of the regulation of financial markets. No judge was involved in the sentencing.
Basically, if he appeals, it will very probably be overturned by a proper judge. Another AAI in charge of the regulation of the telecommunications sector got striken badly by a decision of our Constitutionnal court (no less) which suppressed its power to pronounce sanctions, judging the protection of the rights of defence was not effective. It's going to end the same way here I would say.
8 Rue de Londres
How many time did I see "SUSPECTED Al-Quaida member and his family and some of his neighbors were killed in an explosion while a drone coincidentally flew over his house" in the news this month? I lost count.
A few points:
* French are fed up with US agencies, nothing against US judges.
* This was a civil deliberation, and will probably be nuked if said blogger make appeal.
* That regulator have no way to enforce their decision.
* Yes, this judgment is beyond ridiculous.
* Yes, the AMF should be disbanded (if they are as corrupt as they seem) or need a severe shake (in the case they are 'just' dangerously outdated).
How does this relate? Bombing someone in a foreign country is not an exercise of legal jurisdiction. It's an exercise of a country's sovereign right to exercise military power abroad.
There are two ways to interact with a country. If you're within its legal jurisdiction, you act through legal process. This is where words like "suspected" versus "guilty" have meaning. The other way is the interactions in the state of nature. This is a state of war.
That's the problem most of the copyright infringement sites have. They deal primarily in content that is produced by Americans and considered a property right in America. The U.S. wouldn't give a shit if they were just trading foreign music and movies to each other. Even then, it was e.g. the Swedes that went after Pirate Bay (based on a criminal complaint filed by the MPAA in Sweden).
> do something quite targeted at the U.S.
You realize that those are two different measuring sticks?
Also like the anti French language ignorance. The letter came in French and the recipient couldn't be arsed to spend a few mins on google translate, and some how we are supposed to have some sympathy. On top of that, he also says that he knew there was a legal thing happening, so subsequent letters in French should have got his attention.
And then he has the sheer cheek to talk about insane French law. Hello USA? The go to place for mad law?
This whole thing to me reeks of both ignorance and arrogance.
Not saying the scenario is great, but come on HN. Balance? Or are we still in Freedom Fries mode?
The US doesn't have insane libel law. Obviously France and the UK do. You can get sued for make factual statements and expect to lose in those countries. It doesn't get any crazier than that.
I received one more express letter from France, in English, telling me subsequent letters would be in French (...)
Maybe let go of some of that righteous internet rage and go for a walk.
Insane laws in one place do not make laws in another place any less insane. If we universalized your attitude towards criticism, then only those blessed to live in utopias would have the privilege of leveling complaints at other systems.
Also it's 75%, not 80%. That might not be very significant overall but it makes me doubt you really know what you're talking about.
However I think from a hacker perspective it should be interesting to see a country that tries to do things differently from what appears to be the norm in most of the western world and whether it'll succeed or fail utterly. I know that most people on HN are big on "laissez-faire" and business deregulations but it's a bit disingenuous to present it as the solution to all problems.
We value thinking out of the box for engineering, why not for politics? "Look, a new economic system in 30 lines of socialism!".
I wish people were less adamant and more level-headed when it came to politics and economy, it's hard to have a reasonable discussion on those subjects.
Look at a graph of GDP per capita for France vs. other countries (Google will happily draw one for you if you search for "gdp per capita france" - for me it shows comparisons to UK and Germany)
As it happens, it turns out that the rather substantial aggressive changes to things like working hours and tax laws over the years in France that have caused predictions of doom and gloom have had little to no noticeable impact on GDP per capita - the trajectory for France, UK, Germany and other major European countries are only very minimally differentiated based on their economic policies.
That is how France can continue this.
You are aware that there might be a tiny hint of selection bias at play there... right? ;)
All my (highly-skilled) foreigner friends do not plan to leave either.
So with your argumentation, France is probably the best country in the world.
xenophoby? Oh USA, building a wall to keep your neighbours out of your lawn, please tell me more!
Our economy? Of course American governement-sponsored 'liberalism' is a beacon for the free world, and dissidents are morons. Please have a look at this recent article by Paul Krugman: The Plot Against France.
Your high-skilled French friends? I have the luck to be put in that population. What I see around me is that we travel and work world-wide, until we start a family most of the time.
However, I know from a few of my friends, who were settling in France for personal reasons, how painful the immigration process can be, especially if you're not white/caucasian.
Having kids and retiring usually do not happen at the same time.
>a few of my friends, who were settling in France for personal reasons
So they're not French. Your first comment is definitely wrong then.
I believe they were referencing the circulaire Guéant, which comes from the previous government, wronged many skilled workers & French companies as well -- it sets a 'national preference' for hiring.
Set nr 1: French people in London
Set nr 2: Non-French people trying to settle in France
Yes, I heard French support for families with children is spectacular. That's what I meant. I just don't understand how it can continue. I lived in a few countries and the French "balance sheet" just doesn't make intuitive sense to me.
PG's scale of levels of disagreement in discourse, that's like a negative 4.
> xenophobic view on immigration.
Given this ranking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_foreign-bo... I don't think we have any advice to receive from anybody on the question of immigration. Granted there are some problems ampiflified by the economic crisis but given the rates of immigration we had to absorb in the previous decades I would say the situation is not that bad.
As an American, I disagree with American immigration policies, and also disagree with France's. Is my opinion discounted because I'm an American?
I would have said the same thing if he was French, to say France has xenophobic views on immigrations is plain wrong. And yes no direspect to you but I don't think you can rightly evaluate the situation in France by reading comments on internet or articles in the news, you have to live here and see by yourself. I would say two things: there is much more immigration than what the numbers suggest at least in my area (I live in a big town in south of france) and secondly there are a lot less problems and much more integration than what is reported in the news. And BTW, I consider myself as liberal (US meaning of the term) and I'm not bothered by immigration I even welcome it, it's good for diversity, but there is no denying that France has welcomed in the past decades a lot of immigrants so maybe in these difficult times there is a bit more friction than usual.
Living somewhere doesn't give you as much insight to a place's immigration policies as attempting to emigrate to that place.
Regardless, it's not imprudent to question the efficacy of broad social benefits while simultaneously supporting open borders.
It is equally okay to believe that your country should benefit from the diversity that can only be achieved with easy immigration laws, and be willing to accept an increase in taxes to support that objective.
It's also okay to view the other position as negative based on your views, and a person's country of origin or current residency does not affect the validity of their opinion.
Selection bias alert! You're more likely to meet people who swore to never return than those don't mind returning.
The world is awash in printed money, not just the Eurozone and not just France is taking advantage of it.
Now, inflation expectations have clearly come unanchored because the GDP deflater, the measure of inflation most relevant to this particular effect, has been stuck closer to 1% than 2% since the financial crisis and the price spread between inflation protected and normal bonds means that the people who hold most of the M1 think this is likely to continue.
These effects are both self-limiting, the desire for liquidity isn't that strong so we only saw an 11% growth in the money supply despite inflation falling by 30%. And the inflationary spiral will quickly (but painfully) stall out if the central bank doesn't keep printing money to match demand.
Which is to say that sure, there's more cash floating around, but it's not just washing around it's being stored in people's pockets. It might be liable to cause excess inflation if the ECB ever manages to convince people that it will be able to hit its targets in the future, but it's not particularly benefiting France at the moment.
 In the mainstream economics sense of a rise in the price level, not the odd Austrian school definition.
So the major barrier to what you & I enjoy as the internet for people to adopt in my opinion, are the communication barriers we all face everyday. You and I most likely are somewhat uncommon because more people are more apt to do their socializing in real life.
That said, we are seeing global communication at it's best. For instance, I'm an anarchist. But more specifically, and libertarian-socialist. One of my many hobbies is to argue with other political theory enthusiasts. More specifically, other Anarchists.
For such a small group of people, it would make more sense to band together in common ideology to become stronger (like the internet), but humans have a way with creating division where there ought not to be none IMO.
Would love you opinion on if removing this division in ourselves is possible, or if you don't believe that's universally true.
What I mean by that is that I haven't (nor do I think I will ever fully) decide(d) if that becoming stronger is to exert that influence over other ways of thinking/being or to become stronger so that me as the individual can live and move about the earth as freely as I choose understanding the danger that I may present upon myself and that upon other human beings trying to do the same or something else. So I guess whether the division in ourselves can be removed or not, It will ultimately come down to the individual or small group of people to make it so either way. And that's where I am now: working on something with a friend (maybe people more in the future) that will help explore what that means to me.
Now it sounds like the people of France decided to fine just an American blogger.
> Human blogger fined 8,000 euros by the french justice department for criticizing a bank
You missed the point where they were fining a non-French blogger that was giving straight facts and practicing his free speech.
"Human blogger fined 8,000 euros by the french assholes for criticizing a bank" is the closest to reality.
"Human blogger fined 8,000 euros by the french independent authority for criticizing a bank" is close enough to reality and politically correct.
I mean, do you believe the case would be different if the blogger was, say, Italian?
This is exactly the same as the MPAA shutting down websites and fining people all over the world. All the people here crying "they have no jurisdiction!" are really just getting a taste what their own government has been doing to people all around the world for decades.
Never mind 'Murica going around the world enforcing their laws and ideals with their armed forces.
Google just assumes that everybody can only speach one language, and is only intersted in one country, even when explicitly told otherwise.
I have no idea how that would work, but it's frustrating finding my www experience stuck in a UK/US bubble.
As for Google, does /ncr (no country redirect) still work?
This was likely the desired outcome: a chilling effect. However, there is no need to be intimidated, Mr. Shedlock can still travel freely to France without worry. There are no debtors prisons, no credit rating agencies, and assets are difficult to seize outside of a criminal conviction for violent crimes. At worst, he will receive more letters in French.
Viable efforts to decentralize, universally encrypt traffic, and support true identities alongside pseudonyms and anonymous users started too late to avoid stepping backwards on service quality while moving forward on network freedoms.
The case is a prime example that what you write is not only the jurisdiction where you write it, but also the jurisdiction where people read it. (And the jurisdiction where it stored and where it is going through as network traffic.)
I think you a word there.
It's fairly absurd to say anyone who posts anything online should follow the laws of all places where whatever they posted could be read.
But that goes both ways: if a "Nigerian prince" scams you, you will not stop just because you were originally out of his jurisdiction.
Just you wait till the transatlantic free-trade association is in place...
Money has not become king in our society, no! It has become God and the money-people are the priests of our religion! We are not so much better as the middle ages where.
This is a world wide class warfare we are living. Don't play the countries confrontation games. Don't be their pawn.
We the people should be together against the powerful ones and demand our rights everywhere, not just in our country.
We need to globalize justice, not just the economy.
<slightly demagogic and rushed rant/>
It's a web faux-pas, the equivalent of having your whole site in Flash, or trying to disable right-click for fear that someone might steal your precious, precious content.
It's not yours. He can do what he wants with it.
I copied it with the intent of putting quotes around it and adding the link to the end of it. However as is, i had to copy it into an editor and mangle it there, before posting it in chat.
That doesn't mean that it isn't very disrespectful behavior to his audience. :)
Only because one can do something doesn't mean one should.
Anyway, that blog is hosted on a 3rd party service, owned by an ad company. It's not that easy to blame him for what the service does. (Does Mish even know that blogger inserts ads there?)
I've also never seen that on another blogspot blog, so while they might've added more stuff, i don't think it's that.
yeah I feel so much happier
I say that in complete jest, but that is hilarious.