Wednesday, May 16, 2007

You Will Be Assimilated

I reported last week on the combined efforts of Finnish State Prosecutor Mika Illman and Ombudsman for Minorities Mikko Puumalainen to crack down on “racism” and other dangerous speech on the internet.

The Finnish blogger Vasarahammer has sent us another report on the issue:

Mika Illman’s recent statements about moderators in internet forums have caused a lot wider concern even in the liberal blogs. Most of the comments are against his views.

Blogger Kari Haakana contacted Mika Illman and asked him three questions. The translations are mine:

    1. Mika IllmanWhen you talked about moderating discussion forums, did you mean moderating beforehand or afterwards? Is the basic idea to mandate that forum administrators check all messages before they are published or after they have been published?

The issue is about removing already published messages from the public view. When a message with clearly illegal content is posted (e.g. a statement containing serious racism), it would be removed. Some forum administrators already have this kind of moderator (according to my understanding). Hiring an adequate number of moderators would become mandatory, as it already is mandatory for a network publication to have an editor, who is responsible for controlling the journalistic work.

    2. Would the legislation you suggest also concern discussions maintained by private individuals that can be found in blogs and other private web pages?

The Parliament has stated that the site administrator’s criminal liability may come under scrutiny, if he, for example, allows his site to become a forum for publishing messages with criminal content. In principle this applies to all, because every one of us is bound to make sure that our activities follow the law. It may be that for practical reasons it is only possible to target the legislation for commercial operators only.

But in principle a private party has a duty to follow the law, so - if I had all the cards - I would expand the legislation to private individuals as well.

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    3. How does your suggestion take IRC and instant messages into account?

The principle is the same. The administrator would have a duty to monitor the discussion and in due time to take action against clearly illegal material. This is no stronger obligation than the one TV or radio broadcaster has in the case of live broadcast.

Of course, I understand that it is not easy to monitor this type of media. However, this is no basis for leaving discussion completely without monitoring. The boundary between legal and illegal activity is the same both in the internet and elsewhere.

State Prosecutor Mika Illman is a government official who is clearly engaged in political activity here. He has published a Doctor’s dissertation concerning the subject of freedom of speech. It is quite evident that he and Ombudsman for Minorities Mikko Puumalainen are acting together in their crusade against free speech in the internet.

If Mika Illman is successful, everything you do or say in the net will be monitored by your internet operator. This will basically eliminate any privacy that you have when using the internet.

Update: See Fausta’s take on the issue. She reports that the problem is not restricted to Europe; internet radio here in the USA is under threat of censorship.


Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

My god, these tyrants need to go. What kind of idiots have western white people become to support politicians like this? No wonder leftists support gun control, because the most fitting use of firearms is the overthrow of governments like this one.

The stupidity of the masses is what leads people to support strong dictators, absent other choices.

Vasarahammer said...

Please note that Mr. Illman is not a politician. He's a government official.

This illustrates perfectly what Fjordman has said about big government countries like the ones in Scandinavia.

The State has an independent will of its own. It is no longer controlled either by the politicians or the people.

Finland is coming way behind countries like Sweden and Norway, in which these things have already happened. I expect the results to be the same though.

Unknown said...

Here some supplementing news from the old continent:

French Government Decree on data retention - another Big Brother act.

L'Etat veut-il tuer Internet en France? -- Does the French State want to kill the Internet in France?
the French newspaper le Mond asks , April 21.

The French Government, during this election period, is preparing a decree for the application of the law on the confidence in the numerical economy (LCEN) of 21 June 2004, which requires webmasters, hosting companies, fixed and mobile telephony operators and Internet service providers to retain all information and on Internet users and telephone subscribers and to deliver it to the police or the State at a simple request.
It apparently imposes the identification of anyone in France who has made any modification in a blog, a chat room or on the web and the systematic recording of anything put, modified or erased online which is practically impossible from the technical as well as economical point of view
The costs involved by this process would also be extremely high. During a meeting organised by the Ministries of Domestic Affairs and Finance on 8 March 2007, professionals have estimated their costs in human resources and storing capacity could reach up to several millions euro per year.

The sanction for non-compliance or passivity would also be very high, the French Internet ISPs and websites facing fines of up to 375 000 euros and their managers one-year imprisonment and up to a 75 000 euros fine, besides the closing down of their business and the interdiction to practice any commercial activity.
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It is not better in Germany.

On Wednesday (April 18), the German Cabinet passed the German Justice Ministry's draft to reform telecommunications monitoring and other covert investigations. The German government is implementing this highly controversial legislation in order to adopt the regulations handed down from Brussels on the retention of connection and location data; yesterday, numerous media associations once again voiced their strict opposition to this new legislation, which they fear will undermine the freedom of the press and the protection of whistleblowers. Germany's Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries called the current version of this reform "reasonable and constitutional."
Basically, the government's bill goes much farther than the proposal from the Justice Ministry in granting security authorities access to telecommunications data that providers must archive. For instance, traffic data would now not only be accessible for criminal prosecution, but also in order to "prevent considerable dangers" and "fulfill the legal duties" of all security police.
More about it (in english) here,
and here;

Stasi 2.0 - Germany moving towards surveillance state.

spackle said...

This is one scary guy. It never ceases to blow my mind that that a rational human being can make decisions (that should be obvious to all) that are this wrong, excuse me, evil. It just re-enforces my theory that most people of the hard left are mentally ill. And I mean that in all earnest.

John Sobieski said...

So if I say Muslims are assholes, I am committing a crime in the EU. Can I say the EU governments are assholes?

It is really hard to understand why saying rude things about people who well deserve it is a crime. I think I need to go back and read 1984 again. This sounds familiar.

Unknown said...

What can one not say in Finland?What happens if ones says something illegal?Are these laws ever enforced?How are they enforced?What percentage of Fins support these laws?

Jeff said...

On the USA's Fairness Doctrine:

First of all, it doesn't look like it has a ghost of a chance of passing.

Second, assuming it took the form the Fairness Doctrine took previously, it wouldn't apply to the Internet, but only to over-the-air broadcast (traditional radio and TV). There's a separate threat right now against Internet radio, but that's a copyright issue, and not a censorship/content issue.

Third, if the new Fairness Doctrine were to be applied to the Internet, it would get nuked pretty quickly by the Supreme Court. The Court ruling which legitimated the original Fairness Doctrine was based entirely on the argument regarding scarcity: not everyone can get a radio or TV station. Without that scarcity, the Fairness Doctrine is just a prior restraint of speech by government based on content, which is about as close as you can get to a slam-dunk First Amendment violation.

It might even get nuked by the Court if it sticks to its previous form; there was some activity in this regard even before the FCC rescinded the Fairness Doctrine in 1987.

Captain USpace said...

This Dictator wannabe is nuts, he must be insane...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
don't criticize religion

none should ever reform
just let them get worse