July 20, 2011
In Scotland, the police apparently have nothing better to do than monitor Facebook and other social networks in an effort to ferret out mean people making nasty and snide comments.
Michael Baily, an intemperate 20 year old Celtic fan, posted a racist comment about El Hadji Diouf, a Senegalese footballer, on Facebook.
“He was caught after a police task force began reviewing internet sites after March’s so-called Old Firm shame game,” reports the BBC. “At Glasgow Sheriff Court, sentence on Bailey was deferred for reports.”
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Sentence? That’s right. The Scottish kid will be punished by the state for making admittedly insensitive and stupid comments. It is now a crime in Scotland to say mean things. Scots can go to prison or be sentenced to do “community service” – slave labor for the state – for making comments that are uttered every single hour of every single day in pubs and on the streets of Scotland and everywhere else.
In addition to scouring the internet for bigots, the Scottish police are jailing football fans for singing God Save The Queen or crossing themselves. The worst “offenders” could face five years in prison, according to the Daily Record. A community safety minister told the newspaper it is criminal to sing God Save The Queen or Rule Britannia in or near sports grounds or in pubs.
The effort specifically targets “keyboard warriors” who use the internet to “spread hate,” in other words post racist or insensitive comments.
As early as 2001, the EU moved to ban racist speech on the internet. In 2009, the Canadian Human Rights Council declared a law banning so-called hate speech on the internet unconstitutional. China is notorious for its internet censorship and India recently passed regulations banning speech the government considers “disparaging,” “harassing,” “blasphemous” or “hateful.” In 2009, Australia proposed establishing an internet filter to censor political speech.
The United Nations has long pushed to ban speech over the internet it finds unacceptable.
In May, former president Clinton proposed censoring internet speech. “It would be a legitimate thing to do,” Clinton said in an interview that aired on CNBC. Clinton suggested the government should set-up an agency that monitors all media speech for supposed factual errors.
“That is, it would be like, I don’t know, National Public Radio or BBC or something like that, except it would have to be really independent and they would not express opinions, and their mandate would be narrowly confined to identifying relevant factual errors” he said. “And also, they would also have to have citations so that they could be checked in case they made a mistake. Somebody needs to be doing it, and maybe it’s a worthy expenditure of taxpayer money.”
In 2010, we exposed a plan by Cass Sunstein, head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, to ban speech on the internet the government disagrees with. Sunstein proposed the creation of an internet “Fairness Doctrine” similar to the one that was used for years to limit and eliminate free speech on the radio.
Bill Clinton’s proposal to censor the internet. RT talked with Aaron Swartz, who was arrested this week for internet activism.