Tuesday, February 14, 2006

FALLOUT from the Danish cartoons

Until the message board, which will be located at cultureforall.com is up and running, I am going to write my thoughts, worries, and opinions, on various issues right here on this blog. My concern right now is that the famed Danish cartoons are going to cause a shift in the way that the internet is coded, and the laws are drafted. We already know that Google and other search engines have kow towed to the Chinese government. (though I actually got that link through Google, haha) We already know that Google and other search engines censor sites that deny the existence of the Holocaust from Europeans. The very code of the internet is constantly being changed to reflect the concerns of governments and individuals. And so...what will happen in light of the Danish cartoons? What will be censored? Geoffrey Stone chronicled what has happened during so-called "critical periods" in our history. We are in a critical period right now. Between the Patriot Act, the outside forces of the cartoons, and IP law, free speech is under attack. Some of the attacks will happen very subtly, as shown in the links being removed from Google. We may not know what is happening...but make no mistake about it...eternal vigilance is necessary. England recently had a vote on hate crime legislation (right before the blow up over the Danish cartoons), and the legislation was defeated by one vote. The bill probably would have passed had it been before the Commons right after the blow up re: the Danish toons. We are living in a day and age when our words are going to be subtly and not so subtly censored. Even assuming governments do not censor speech, self censorship is more rampant now than ever before. NY Press was recently honest when they said they did not republish the cartoons in question out of a very real fear for their own lives. (the entire editorial board quit in response) I will not go on about my opinion re: the toons. That is for another day. But the fall out from this massive story will have an enormous impact on media law. I predict that Google and other sites will censor religious speech from their search engines, at the bequest of governments. I also predict that URLs themselves will be blocked, and more hate crime legislation will be passed. Indeed, the future of the law is very much in flux. Report censorship when you see it. Contact EFF when you get a take-down notice. And contact me if you have any sort of miscellaneous questions or concerns.


3rdAmendment said...

Speaking of censorship, here's a disturbing little story out of Austria. Seems like a controversial historian has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for denying that the Holocaust happened. In fact, he got off light--he could have gotten 10 years.

I certainly don't agree with his claim, but really this is unacceptable. He was not violent, he did not incite others to be violent, and he threatened no one. He just made some stupid speeches

He has since recanted, and said: "people 'should have a right to be wrong.'"


Red Tulips said...

Oh I meant to post this on my blog. Thanks for mentioning it!