France Responds To Paris Attacks By Rushing Through Internet Censorship Law

from the always-good-to-legislating-while-freaking-out,-huh? dept

The attacks in Paris were a horrible and tragic event — and you can understand why people are angry and scared about it. But, as always, when politicians are angry and scared following a high-profile tragedy, they tend to legislate in dangerous ways. It appears that France is no exception. It has pushed through some kneejerk legislation that includes a plan to censor the internet. Specifically the Minister of the Interior will be given the power to block any website that is deemed to be “promoting terrorism or inciting terrorist acts.” Of course, this seems ridiculous on many levels.

First, there are the basic concerns about free speech. Yes, I know this is France and it doesn’t value free speech in the same way as the US, but it’s still rather distressing just how quickly and easily the French government seems willing to adopt censorship measures. Second, what good does this actually do? If ISIS sympathizers are expressing their views publicly, doesn’t that make it easier to track them and to find out what they’re doing and saying? Isn’t that what law enforcement should want? Focusing on censorship rather than tracking simply drives those conversations and efforts underground where they can still be used to influence people, but where it’s much harder for government and law enforcement ot keep track of what’s being said. It also only confirms to ISIS supporters that what they’re saying must be so important and valuable if the government won’t even let them say it. It’s difficult to see how it does any good, and instead it opens up the possibility of widespread government censorship and the abuse of such a power.

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Comments on “France Responds To Paris Attacks By Rushing Through Internet Censorship Law”

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41 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“French MPs also voted in favour of an amendment allowing the Minister of the Interior to block any website “the promoting terrorism or inciting terrorist acts”, hence extending the measures included in the 2014 antiterrorist law which already gave that power to the police.”

You’re upset about *this*, Masnick? You are truly the slime of the earth.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

… unless you support an authoritarian state …

Define “authoritarian” state. USSR, Nazi Germany, WWII Imperial Japan, East Germany (a la Stasi), Franco’s fascist Spain, Mussolini’s Italy, or 21st century USA?

I could go on. Lots of Australians consider their gov’t authoritarian. The British certainly do. Then there’s Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma/Myanmar, lots of African and east European or Asian (former USSR) that fit. I haven’t even touched south or central America yet.

The times, they are a changin’. That word’s about lost all meaning in this century.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Devil's Advocate

So, I detest censorship as much as the next guy, but I can actually see a small bit of value in this concept, *if* it is used as intended, to squash “public” sites for recruitment and/or glorifying terrorist actions. It would reduce the number of kids/teens/young adults that are exposed to their crap, some of whom seem bound and determined to join in on it. I’d be willing to bet that many, probably the majority, of those naive souls do not go digging much to see that sort of material, so if it is not actively available, I could see it reducing the number of fools that will recruit themselves to the “cause”.

On the other hand, I have no doubt that this legislation will quickly be applied to things that have nothing to do with terrorism, thereby perverting the intent completely.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Devil's Advocate

I could see it reducing the number of fools that will recruit themselves to the “cause”.

Go look up the history of the Spanish civil war, and the foreign brigades fighting on both sides. That occurred in the days of printed and hand distributed leaflets being the main means of propaganda and recruitment for political extremists.

Chris Brand says:

Re: Devil's Advocate

I was thinking that same thing – this is focussed on preventing more people from being influenced and signing up, and could have some effect on that. BUT if the stuff that’s being posted is bad enough to warrant being taken down, wouldn’t it be more effective to go and arrest the people posting it ? I guess you’d want to take it down afterwards, but that seems like a much more narrowly-focussed law (“takedown of web pages posted by people charged with inciting terrorism” or something similar, perhaps)

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Devil's Advocate

… but I can actually see a small bit of value in this concept, *if* it is used as intended, to squash “public” sites for recruitment and/or glorifying terrorist actions. It would reduce the number of kids/teens/young adults that are exposed to their crap …

Funny, but that’s what I expect parents to do for their children. You know, educate them on things that are stupid and destructive? As in, don’t go there, there’s only death there, who needs that crap?

I blame their parents for having failed their children’s education! Lazy sluggards.

Anonymous Coward says:

Did any of these guys have even anything to do with the internet? Do they even have anything remotely resembling evidence that these guys were radicalized by stuff they found online?

Or is this just yet another case of politicians cashing in on tragedy to ram through unrelated laws that they couldn’t get through otherwise?

Anonymous Coward says:

If ISIS sympathizers are expressing their views publicly, doesn’t that make it easier to track them and to find out what they’re doing and saying?

This perspective just doesn’t seem to worry a lot of people in EU countries. After all, many of them have no problem with hate-speech laws, which to someone in the US just seems like a great way to drive neo-nazis and their ilk underground, rather than letting them feel comfortable revealing themselves openly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Let’s see, call for a ban on encryption … after an attack in which attackers used UNENCRYPTED text messages to communicate; call for censorship of the entire internet because a malicious loon convinced his OWN FAMILY MEMBERS to commit violence….

I’m surprised they didn’t just ban Judaism, because after all, the terrorists were NOT JEWS!

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s so predictable how politicians react to acts of terror–behaving exactly the way the terrorists want them to.

Ivan Pavlov’s giggling his head off. Such suckers. Easy money. I am amazed at its staying power. 9/11, then pretty much nothing really except for incremental boosts/reminders, and the whole civilized world shakes in their boots continually. Good job, for so little invested.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Binge time

I swear, our human-rights oriented western governments are like a bunch of binge drunks …

Human rights and individual freedoms are so last century. Please, try to keep up. We’re bingeing on fascism and tyranny so far this century. It’s what’s fashionable today, don’t you know? Think Nazi Brownshirts, Einsatzgruppen and stormtroopers, bullets in the backs of heads (Beria and Butcher of Lyon), burning down the Reichstag, mass graves, yada, yada.

It’ll be fun! ๐Ÿ˜›

GEMont (profile) says:

The Fear Train. Right on schedule.

Ah! It would appear the little “shot over the bow” by the Five Eyes has indeed worked its coercive magic and turned the Froggies into good little non-english, dues-paying minions, willing to do whatever the Five Eyes demands to prevent future “terrorist” attacks.

I suppose Five Eyes wants to test the reaction to stage one of the End of the Web, in a country nobody gives a shit about, to see how the wind blows.

Methinks its gonna be an interesting and memorable winter.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: The Fear Train. Right on schedule.

Ah! It would appear the little “shot over the bow” by the Five Eyes has indeed worked its coercive magic and turned the Froggies into good little non-english, dues-paying minions, willing to do whatever the Five Eyes demands to prevent future “terrorist” attacks.

Methinks you’ve forgotten a bit of history you shouldn’t have.

Napoleonic law: guilty until proven innocent. Also, France used to own Syria. Now they want it back. DeGaulle: go piss up a rope NATO! France was also very communist during USSR days (easily bought by the KGB folding money). Personally, I think that both the US and Britain went way overboard in their hatred of communists. France wasn’t alone in not hating them. Both Italy and Greece agreed with them.

They don’t play nicely with the other children. They also couldn’t give a flying !#$ if we don’t like it.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Fear Train. Right on schedule.

No, I did not forget or neglect the origins and history of France. None of that matters. France has been giving the finger to the Five Eyes desires for years, and none of the Anti-France Hollywood PR moves have really put a dent in France’s disdain for the West.

Not the point at all though.

Five Eyes simply wants France to know that the future holds more of the same if they do not play ball according to the Five Eyes mandate of co-operative world control. Five Eyes cares not for loyalty and trust from its minions. It wants control only.

While the French population has mainly said “fuck you terrorists”, and taken to the streets to party hardy in plain sight, the French Government will be meeting with 5-I reps over the next few months, secretly, to iron out some basic changes in French International Policy and pay their dues, probably in the form of wet-work and espionage on its neighbors, for future “protection” against similar “terrorist events”, and by giving their full support for the future “Trade Deals” that will make the internet government friendly.

The Five Eyes doesn’t allow non-english, non-white nations into the inner circle, but it does have a shitload of minion nations that do its dirty work for it, in return for protection from; shall we say, “strife”. 5-Is is after all designed along the same lines as standard fascism – master-slave structure.

While the French Government may not give a shit if the US is unhappy, its members do care a whole lot for their own personal safety, and the French Assault was literally an example of how the 5-Is can penetrate and assassinate anywhere they pleased.

While it is altogether possible that the French – an old nation with much real pride – will take this as an act of war and begin a program of systematic elimination of ISIS world wide, just to spite the Five Eyes once again – which is my hope – I think it more likely that you will be seeing a definite improvement in French-American relations and co-operation, over the next few months. ๐Ÿ™‚

tqk (profile) says:

Focusing on censorship rather than tracking simply drives those conversations and efforts underground where they can still be used to influence people, but where it’s much harder for government and law enforcement ot keep track of what’s being said.

Ah, c’mon. Everybody knows they get their best Intel these days from Facebook & Twitter. Stupid terrorists.

France, like China, doesn’t have a 1st amendment. They’re both old world and prize stability and peaceful control over individual freedom. Who’s right? That’s yet to be determined, but they’re both a lot older than us.

Aside, “enforcement ot keep”? Fat fingers R us.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: ?????????????

Just a typo alert, assuming TD cares to want to fix it:

Focusing on censorship rather than tracking simply drives those conversations and efforts underground where they can still be used to influence people, but where it’s much harder for government and law enforcement ot keep track of what’s being said.

Sorry for making your head spin. ๐Ÿ˜›

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Move Along, Nothing To See.

Real conspirators are men of few words. They are usually concerned that someone might change sides, or get drunk in a bar and talk to a prostitute, so they tend to restrict important information to the narrowest possible extent. They don’t need cryptography– they get by with simple word codes On Dec 7, 1941, “Climb Mount Nikita” means attack Pearl Harbor, and report success with “Tora, Tora, Tora.” That kind of thing. You can’t detect them by electronic surveillance because there’s nothing to detect.

Now, as to the internet sites, what the Islamic radicals do is to attract young men who have grievances, and get them to talk about their grievances, and separate out the ones who still have grievances after letting off steam, and who are disposed to accept that their personal grievances have political explanations, and invite them to dinner for further talk. The young men gradually get drawn in deeper and deeper, they start living in the section-leader’s attic or something like that, and only at the last stages are they propositioned for illegal action. The conditions in the attic are naturally sufficiently uncomfortable that if a young man has the chance to move into a girl’s apartment, that is obviously a material improvement. The second stage of recruitment is to get the young men living together in the most intimate degree, like Marine recruits in barracks. I very much doubt you can recruit a young man for much of anything while he is still eating at McDonald’s. So government censorship is going to work out in practice to forbidding people to complain that they have lousy jobs, or that their parents don’t understand them, or that girls look at them disdainfully, or that kind of thing.

There is an American military expression: “Ya found a home in the Army.” This expression is usually employed derisively, tauntingly, but it expresses an inner truth.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Move Along, Nothing To See.

Agreed 100% on the methodology of Real Conspirators.

Mass Surveillance of the public has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with spying on, capturing or eliminating terrorists.

Comradery and Fellowship are indeed strong incentives to those who are outcast and despondent, and “belonging to something larger than yourself” still seems to be a thing that “the lost” find attractive, but for the creation of the real self-destructive suicide “soldiers”, a simple contractual agreement to make the fool’s family rich after the act is done, works far better than the best recruitment and indoctrination process ever devised.

A young, idealistic and immature son or daughter, who can lift their whole family out of poverty through a single, easily accomplished, solitary action, against a popularly reviled national enemy, will know that he or she will never be forgotten, whether their family approves of the action or not.

It is instant and lasting fame of the sort that those living in poverty could otherwise never dream of having.

By paying off the families of the these child martyrs, as contracted, other impoverished children are attracted to the “cause”.

Very little, if any, recruitment or indoctrination is required.

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