Top European Court To Consider If EU Countries Can Censor The Global Internet

from the it's-spreading... dept

Last month we wrote about the tragic and hugely problematic ruling in Canada that said a Canadian court could order global censorship of content it deems to be illegal. As lots of people pointed out, that is going to have dangerous consequences for speech around the world. If you accept that Canada can censor the global internet, what's to stop China, Iran or Russia from claiming the same rights?

And now we'll get to find out if the EU similarly believes in the ability of one country to demand global censorship online. In another case that we've been following, French data protection officials had been demanding Google censor content globally, and Google had been refusing. Now, the issue has been sent to the EU Court of Justice, the very same court who created this mess three years ago in saying that Google was subject to "right to be forgotten" claims. Google had reasonably interpreted the law to just apply in the EU (where the jurisdiction existed). But now the same court will decide if EU officials can censor globally.

One hopes that the sheer absurdity of the situation may lead the CJEU to start to recognize just how problematic its ruling was back in 2014, but somehow, that's unlikely. We'll certainly be paying attention to this case...


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 3:38am

    The question they need to ask is if any country should be allowed to censor the internet globally. If the answer is no for even one of them then the answer should be no for all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 4:54am

      Re:

      If the answer is yes they still need other countries to not laugh in their faces and effectively allow foreign powers to dictate their laws.
      And it being the internet, globally connected and all, it really only takes one country shunning these rulings to keep content online. After that, I guess outright censorship is the only way to go.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 21 Jul 2017 @ 4:15am

    Matter of time....

    The dark web will become the real internet that is used by everyone and the public internet will become a censored wasteland of fake news, social media garbage, and ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 4:20am

      Re: Matter of time....

      Good time to become the dark web google....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 11:08am

      Re: Matter of time....

      The dark web will become the real internet that is used by everyone

      Not likely in its current form. An onion service is still using the normal client/server model; it has an operator, and that operator can be sued/charged if identified--or forced to remove stories/comments. But one could imagine a decentralized Techdirt-like service where stories can't be "unpublished" and commenting happens without any involvement from the site operators (so we'd need decentralized moderation too, to block spam).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re: Matter of time....

        What you are describing sounds a lot like the old, and still extant, Usenet. Such a system has a disadvantage as far as most people are concerned, conversation can become a bit disjointed, (the threading can differ on different nodes, and it takes time for a post to wend its way to all nodes) and are usually carried out at a more leisurely pace.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Eldakka (profile), 23 Jul 2017 @ 7:25pm

      Re: Matter of time....

      The dark web will become the real internet

      What do you mean by real Internet?

      The web and search-engine indexed sites are a subset of the Internet, not 'the' Internet or the 'real' Internet.

      The Internet existed before search engines and the web. Those are just newer services that exist on top of the existing Internet and only apply to a relatively small portion.

      All the 'dark-web' is is web sites that are not indexed on the commonly available search engines and/or that do not use the standard ICANN DNS root zones. There are many sites out there that don't use any DNS at all (so you need to know the IP Address) or that use alternative root DNS systems.

      Dark Web is a news or authoritarian scare term for what is, in fact, most of the Internet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 4:37am

    I doubt the US will allow another country to censor content here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 8:00am

      Re:

      LOL cute, an AC forgets who's in the white house, and how lawsuit happy he is when it comes to his businesses.

      A sane president would try to stop this.

      An insane president would see this as an opportunity to do the same thing to stop the 'fake news media' from speaking 'fake news' about him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Parallel Construction, 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:04am

    Parallel Construction

    It's all just parallel construction guys, you will learn soon. It's a global conspiracy by the top agency the illuminati. Who do you think planned out the city of Washington??? Que, 13 streets from the white house sits which building?? Seriously learn to pay attention to what others are doing in this world. You are all sheep to the slaughter now, too late for most of you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:31am

      Re: Parallel Construction

      Might want to lay off the meth a bit there buddy. It's caused to to think the Simpsons are real.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Machin Shin, 21 Jul 2017 @ 6:16am

        Re: Re: Parallel Construction

        It is kind of sad..... but we might want to listen to him. After all, a few years ago it was guys like him saying "The government is spying on everything you do on the internet and recording all your calls"

        Then everyone would just laugh and call him a "tin foil hat man", but not really so funny now that Snowden proved him right.....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 6:56am

          Re: Re: Re: Parallel Construction

          Ok, so tell me about the DIA underground complex, is it the Illuminati or New World Order that runs the place and do they conduct tours.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2017 @ 3:04am

          Re: Re: Re: Parallel Construction

          There were also a lot of variations of preceding, independant and persistenting stories that would point to the same thing. ECHELON? Patriot Act abuse? Terrorizing whistleblowers? etc.

          Blaming the illuminati is very common and while the rest bears a curious fact, illuminati is a sign that the story is not to be taken serious on its own. That there may be collusion to work against the publics best interest is a fact of politics existing, but too much irrrationality is crazy.

          Look up John Plumbes photo and whatever specific builidings the guy may be referring to and his conspiracy becomes a lot less ominous at least.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:32am

      Re: Parallel Construction

      Its not the illuminati - its the inebriati...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIv96reVlAE

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:51am

    Canada or the EU ruling that they have jurisdiction to censor the global internet is a little bit like the AU prime minister saying their laws trump the laws of math.. It's more of an exercise in denial than anything

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 5:53am

    "can"?

    I don't think a court can rule if they can, only that they can try.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 8:01am

      Re: "can"?

      What a Canadian court rules, they can rule whatever the F they want, and other countries can just laugh at them. Same goes with any other country.

      I see this is all part of the one world government. One world order, that so many people want. Even thinking some country would try this would have been laughable not all that many years ago. Now here they are trying to do it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        crade (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 10:14am

        Re: Re: "can"?

        Sure, but it isn't the other countries they are ruling against, it's companies that have office's in their country, who are at the mercy of that country's govt. Funny thing is, the saviour here is probably going to be the good old ISDS provisions :)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Craig Welch (profile), 18 Aug 2017 @ 4:34am

          Re: Re: Re: "can"?

          "Funny thing is, the saviour here is probably going to be the good old ISDS provisions".

          On what basis do you figure a dispute could be raised under ISDS provisions?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    stderric (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 6:58am

    Can't say I can predict everything that'll appear in Google's letter to the CJEU, but I'm pretty sure it's going to start with 'Alright, you primitive screw-heads, listen up!' and end with 'Thanks, though, for sending a lot of tech jobs back to the US. That whole NSA thing was kinda hurting us for a while there.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 7:01am

    If they actually pull this off, all governments agreeing upon a set of things to censor, then their corporate masters will certainly regret the loss of huge profit centers because eventually people will stop using the censored silliness.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 21 Jul 2017 @ 8:20am

    If the ruling requires censorship, the U.S. based search engines should block any reference to the foreign court ruling on their search engines.

    What ruling? I searched Google and nothing came up. Too bad, so sad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DOlz, 21 Jul 2017 @ 11:18am

    The end result

    After all the countries censor the content they don’t like, the internet will be reduced to it’s purest form as it was meant to be … just cat videos.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 11:23am

    Top European Court To Consider If EU Countries Can Sensor +More The <s>Global</b> Internet

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 12:35pm

    For each country that insists its laws be applied globally, add that country to a list. Every country in the list gets its laws applied to all countries in the list.

    Could be a problem when two countries' laws directly contradict each other. Might be time to pull out of one of those countries altogether.

    ... Probably not really a practical idea but, hey, I like the idea of applying an entity's stupidity against it and watching the resulting implosion once it reaches critical mass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 12:57pm

    If the French don't like that Google isn't helping them censor the internet, I'm sure that China would be willing to sell them a firewall.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 21 Jul 2017 @ 2:49pm

    The 'Turnabout is Fair Play' test

    For issues like this a simple test should suffice:

    'If another country with different laws ordered one of your companies that happened to have an office there to block something that violated their laws but not yours, and do so globally, would you consider that acceptable? What if doing so was in violation of your laws, even if it was following their laws, would that still be acceptable?'

    Or the tl;dr version:

    'If you wouldn't accept other countries dictating what you were 'allowed' to see, then you have no rights to dictate to other countries what they can see.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2017 @ 2:58pm

    Maybe the us congress could pass a law no foreign
    court can censor any website based in the us or try to block a us based website outside it,s own territory.
    If this trend was carried to its logical conclusion
    the only websites that could exist would be websites that comply with the laws of iran china and russia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Châu, 22 Jul 2017 @ 2:06am

    If have responsibilty demand rights

    If I must follow laws from foreign countrys I demand right for work and live in them with no limits, no work permits, no visas and I want passports too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2017 @ 9:51am

    Cost/Benefit

    Google should respond identically to all nations/political-bodies that pass these laws...pack up and leave. Refuse to submit to the "laws," and remove all investment, taxes benefits, and employment opportunities from the offending political sphere. Aww, Google might end up almost entirely back in the U.S., having to pay taxes at rates they despise, but at some point purely U.S. taxes will become less expensive than dealing with reduced ad revenues, resulting from losses of stature as a search engine, as well as levies and/or court costs in all these other locales.

    tl;dr: As long as Google keeps putting up with this stuff, you can be sure they are making profits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MyNameHere (profile), 23 Jul 2017 @ 4:53am

      Re: Cost/Benefit

      Umm, they could only do that if they also refused all traffic from those countries as well - and Google isn't into creating the setup for new competition.

      They tried it once in China, and pretty much got hosed by Baidu and a couple of others. Google can't afford to toss away countries (especially western countries) like toilet paper.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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