France seems to suck at the internetS

SR, the Swedish Radio, writes that France blocks websites. We’re talking about websites containing “child pornography, sites that encourage terrorism or have racist messages”.

I should probably not even discuss the child pornography, so I’ll leave that subject due to respect for my sensitive readers.

However – the reader must acknowledge the two other categories. Isn’t quite an ordeal to define what actually “encourages terrorism” as well as what should be interpreted as a “racist message”? To have this discussion it’s not even necessary to use the argument that “terrorism for one can be freedom for another” and vice versa.

Shouldn’t censorship be taken as terrorism against the internet?

“it is violence against civilians to achieve political or ideological objectives by creating fear”

a modern definition of terrorism on Wikipedia

Well okay, it might be stretching it too far. However, I would say that:

  • in a digital world, blocking access to a public computer is as violent as keeping someone out of a public park.
  • the goals are as a matter of fact rather political, or rather in political interest.
  • applying an official governmental stamp on what’s “not allowed” has the same fearful effect as making anything illegal.

Asking the general public in France to browse the internet to report illegal sites is somewhat odd too. What will your common internet user think of 4chan for example? Don’t sites like that have the same right to exist, considering the incredibly active userbase, as Wikipedia or Wikileaks?

And while we’re on the subject of how much the French jurisdiction sucks, how about the fact that they want to (and probably will) ban copyright offenders from the internet? That might cause some problems in conjunction with the European Union’s ambition and decision to make computer literacy equivalent to reading/writing. This because most errands are now made in a digital manner. So in the future, if you’re not allowed to use the internet, maybe you won’t be allowed to vote?

Update 2008-10-09 18:15

“ban copyright offenders from the internet?” link updated due to previously incorrect and non-existant link.

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