Calls For Social Media To Be Censored In Spain After Politician's Assassination Is Mocked On Twitter

from the beyond-libel dept

As Mike has noted, after starting out with some of the most reasonable copyright laws around, Spain came under some serious pressure from the US to replace them with ones that make the online environment there a far less innovative and pleasant place for users. Now it seems that recent unfortunate events could push the country even further in this direction. Global Voices explains the background:

Isabel Carrasco, a member of the People's Party, was shot near her home in León, allegedly by the mother of a fellow party member who blamed Carrasco for truncating the political career of her daughter. Carrasco became famous a few years ago for occupying 13 positions in the administration and private businesses. In 2011, it was revealed that she had increased her salary by 13 percent, but this did not prevent her from justifying budget cuts in 2012, saying that "Everything little thing can't be free".
Not surprisingly, perhaps, her assassination produced mixed reactions from people:
Shortly after learning about her death, many Internet users started to leave comments on social media, especially Twitter. Although the majority expressed their condolences to the family of the victim, there were some that took advantage of the moment to openly criticize the politician, including mocking her assassination
The Global Voices post has a selection of these, with translations, if you want the details. Suffice to say that they were enough to lead to a typical over-reaction by politicians. Here, for example, is the Spanish Minister of Interior, Jorge Fenández Díaz:
We have to combat cybercrime and promote cybersecurity, and to clean up undesirable social media.
Others added their support. The health spokesperson for the PSOE [Spanish Workers' Socialist Party], José Martínez Olmos, made the following comment:
It seems to me that the moment has come to regulate social media because not everything is suitable and less so when it incites violence or denigrates people or institutions.
The Federal Union of Politics went even further in its rhetoric:
It is necessary and urgent to regulate new criminal methods that go beyond libel and slander, and criminalize the violence executed en masse through the Internet.
Of course, Spain is not the only country where there's a public debate about the limits of free speech in the online world. But at a time when new laws are already restricting what can be done on the Internet in Spain, it's worrying to hear calls for even more clampdowns.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    That One Guy (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 2:09am

    Politician to English translation:

    'How dare you peasants mock your betters! You exist to serve, not belittle us, and we'll make damn sure you remember it!'

    'It is necessary and urgent to regulate new criminal methods that go beyond libel and slander, and criminalize the violence executed en masse through the Internet.'

    Obviously someone was/is a big fan of Carreon, and shares the idea that people being 'mean' on the internet somehow qualifies as 'violence'.

    It's almost understandable in a way I suppose, when you've got people, or a group of people, for whom image and reputation is everything, where having a huge ego is seen as not only not a flaw, but something to cultivate, people mocking and pointing out the flaws you try and hide would be seen as an attack against your very self.

    Note the 'almost' in there however, because in the end that's all they are, 'mean words', and people who equate words with physical violence, and want them treated the same under the law, are doing little more than exposing just how fragile they are, funnily enough making them even more open to, and deserving of, mockery.

    Also...

    'We have to combat cybercrime and promote cybersecurity, and to clean up undesirable social media/speech.'

    Added the word they would if they thought they could get away with it. 'Undesirable' is one of those words that should get everyone's attention any time a government official mentions it, as it generally means 'Although we probably wouldn't be able to defend or justify making X illegal, we'll be treating is as though it were regardless, using other tools at our disposal to deal with it.'

     

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      DannyB (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 6:17am

      Re: Politician to English translation:

      Why stop at 'mean words'? Why not attack the root of the problem by criminalizing 'mean thoughts'?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 7:57am

      Re: Politician to English translation:

      We should all get used to calling it "correspondence" instead of "social media". That way restricting correspondence will (rightfully) sound ridiculous to those who are suspicious of new things.

       

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    Ninja (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 3:18am

    Undesirable social media? Undesirable for who? What is undesirable? I find politicians lying on the internet undesirable, we should ban politicians from using it, no?

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 3:41am

    Unable to do anything about the real world problems like people being freaking assassinated, they have refocused all of their efforts on the virtual world.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 3:44am

    I love it when a perceived problem becomes the moral outrage of the élites. I'm saddened, but not surprised this incident occurred, given some of the backstory behind it.

    But that doesn't mean that censorship is the correct answer; it may be the easiest, but it isn't the correct one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 4:06am

    These whining, cowardly weaklings...

    ...wouldn't have lasted three days on the Usenet of 1985.

    (Not that this would be an undesirable outcome...)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 4:08am

    Coming soon to the UK(TM)!

     

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    Just Another Anonymous Troll, May 28th, 2014 @ 4:08am

    So they want to ban speech they find undesirable... That's a very, very dangerous idea. After all, what happens if you support the good ol' "free speech for all, except for people I don't like", and then people find your speech undesirable?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 4:14am

    TIL Jorge Fenández Díaz is the Spanish version of David Cameron.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 4:18am

    Meanwhile in Thailand

    They censored Facebook 2 hours ago. There was an outcry and they uncensored it 45 minutes later denying any responsibility, blaming a gateway collapse.

    No other USA site was affected, and Facebook worked via VPN. Looks like they were testing logging or per-site filtering and their computers got overloaded.

    Facebook sites: THNewsWire , burntobeamillionaire2 , are our only uncensored source of news.

    burntobeamillionaire has gone, but it use to be full of pro-democracy anti-coup stuff and pictures of the CROWN PRINCE, HEIR TO THE THROWN at home in his palace with his wife and kids. burntobeamillionaire2 is still around but barely updates.

    We're in full lying propaganda mode now, posters are appearing thanking the junta for paying the farmers the money they were owed (which was being blocked by the coup Electoral Commission)... look at the 'farmers' putting up the posters:

    https://scontent-a-fra.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/t1.0-9/s403x403/10322445_746756292012815_90 34477755260752624_n.jpg

    (Not farmers, soldiers are putting up posters from 'farmers' thanking the junta for paying the government debts).

    We also had a little mini-march in Phuket from Phuket rice farmers thanking the military for paying the rice debts. There are no rice farms in Phuket. None, zero. These are office workers in the army HQ.

    Meanwhile a large protests sprung up near Democracy monument, the army has made open threats of violence if anti-coup protests continue.

    The king has endorsed the coup leader, so any deaths are sovereign deaths.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 5:19am

      Re: Meanwhile in Thailand

      They censored Facebook 2 hours ago. There was an outcry and they uncensored it 45 minutes later denying any responsibility, blaming a gateway collapse.

      No other USA site was affected, and Facebook worked via VPN. Looks like they were testing logging or per-site filtering and their computers got overloaded.


      That's one possible explanation. Another is that it was done on Facebook's side. They have an already-long history of bowing down before repressive governments, assisting in propaganda, and handing over user information. As long as it's profitable for Facebook, they'll do it, no matter what it is.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 7:41am

        Re: Re: Meanwhile in Thailand

        It was not Facebook's side, the military (NCPO) just confirmed it was them.

        "Information and Communication Technology (ICT) permanent secretary Surachai Srisarakam said he had received an order from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to temporarily deny access to Facebook,..."

        They're asking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Line and others to come in and discuss future cooperation over illegal content and illegal discussions.

        Google and Facebook both have offices and staff in Thailand, so they will hand over the data, or those staff will face arrest and detention. Civil law has been suspended here, nobody has any rights now. Your rights are whatever General Prayuth says they are.

        The new government advisory panel is made up of the backers of the coup mob from the last 6 months, so its no surprise the mob that was trying to overthrow the government was really the army.

        It's better to avoid Thailand for the next few years. I won't be stepping back on Thai soil ever.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 4:58am

    "It is necessary and urgent to regulate new criminal methods that go beyond libel and slander, and criminalize the violence executed en masse through the Internet."

    And yet these hypocrites lose no sleep when their own police are executing violence on their own people.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 5:13am

    Oh, no! We can't have "mocked" politicians now, can we? That's bad for um...democracy?

    The truth is people have always made fun of anything that exists. There just wasn't a way to know about it on a large scale. But if they want to censor people for expressing their own truthful opinions about something like this, then that makes me think that when we'll all be using devices that connect to our minds, they'll want to censor our minds, too, lest we think about something "nasty".

    Hopefully by then we'll have reform most of the world's governments to be a lot more democratic and "P2P-like" so that doesn't happen.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 6:19am

    "We have to combat cybercrime and promote cybersecurity, and to clean up undesirable social media."

    Just because they speak... that doesn't mean you have to listen...
    Something politicians seem to have no understanding of.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 9:12am

      Re:

      Its a good thing they do not hear what is said about them in clubs and bars etc., else they would try to ban social gatherings in the real world as well.

       

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    John Fenderson (profile), May 28th, 2014 @ 9:20am

    Red flag word

    It seems to me that "undesirable" is the catch-all word that is used to justify overreaching government action. Now it's undesirable" social media. Sometimes it's "undesirable" speech. In days gone by it has been "undesirable" people altogether.

    When I see the word used, I'm pretty safe assuming that something nefarious is afoot until it is demonstrated otherwise.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 1:35pm

      Re: Red flag word

      Yeah, used in that context I can see it ending in civil war - either between Spain and its factions or the European Union deciding it really doesn't want to see history repeat itself.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 10:14am

    Like a kindergarten

    Miss Hugo! Johnny wrote a mean word! Make it go awaaaaaay!
    Oh yeah and give him a timeout... (or throw him in prison).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2014 @ 1:23pm

    Seems they do have their priorities mixed up a bit. And let us punish everyone, for something one person does, that we don't like. Sounds like my workplace.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2014 @ 1:08am

    Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me... unless I'm a Spanish politician.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2014 @ 11:37am

    Fascism never dies, long live Franco. lol

     

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