me, or not...
King Canute is alive and well, and living in
French and German government regulations
required Google to remove certain sites from its otherwise
comprehensive index of the web. The list of removed links
comprises pro-nazi anti-Semitic sites, and also a fundamental
Christian anti-abortion site, according to a report from Harvard
University’s Berkman Centre for Internet & Society, which
has been researching Google’s practices. These removals apply to
the google.fr and google.de “local sites”, so meanwhile, the
main google site at google.com continues to carry the lot,
presumably because the US defends it’s constitution and rights
to freedom of speech rather more than us inadvertent citizens of
the creeping Eurostate.
A year ago, a French judge ordered Yahoo to
prevent French users from Nazi memorabilia, despite Yahoo's
objections that the order would be technically impossible to carry
out. The judge said Yahoo would be fined about £10k for each day
it did not comply. As
a reader of this magazine, you should be able to appreciate the
futility of this action, and understand why many are concerned
that the legal process is fundamentally out of sync with reality.
Meantime, the same cast of predictability
pompous and duplicitous politicians that presides over France and
Germany, studiously avoids being a part of any concerted effort to
deal effectively with the likes of the modern fascism being
practised Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
And in the process, exuding all the usual cant that seems to
accompany European politics when viewed from the UK perspective.
Which bothers you more? Something that is now
widely regarded history – or something that is going on as you
read this? Of course Hitler holds some unpleasant memories for
many, but there are many citizens of countries like Zimbabwe and
Iraq who are fearful of the next knock on the door. Which matter
is more pressing..?
But wait a moment - maybe Mugabe isn’t such
a bad old stick (especially as long he can write orders out for
French armaments). So
are we being spun a line by our government and news media?
Well, go on line and read the news and opinions for
yourself – while you still can – and make up your own minds,
while you still have them. Search Google for “zimbabwe mugabe
torture” and 10,500 pages are returned. I bet citizens of
Zimbabwe are not “encouraged” to surf these pages; and if he
could, I’d bet Mugabwe gets a list of Zimbabwian citizens’ net
It’s not just time to take a fresh look at
the role of the nanny state and the search process – it’s time
to take a look at the whole matter of freedom of the net as
governments continue to believe that they need to get embroiled in
what net users should and shouldn’t see, say and do. The fact
that most extreme opinion websites are the subtlety equivalent of
a burglar wearing a striped shirt and carrying a bag marked
“swag” is immaterial; the possibility that citizens might be
trusted to form their own opinions without the assistance of the
thought police, is starting to come under threat.
And it’s not just thought police patrolling
the information super highway, UK residents are becoming
increasingly aware of the creeping erosion of cherished freedoms
under the law as various “reforms” are being suggested to long
established legal procedures and traditions. There is a belief in
police circles that the system is weighted hopelessly in favour of
the guilty, so let’s remove that blindfold from the statue that
famously sits atop the Old Bailey – and give her a pair of high
powered binoculars, listening devices and why not swap that old
sword for a Heckler and Koch MP5 9mm carbine, while we are at
Ecommerce is also coming under the threat of
the Euro Canutes as the result of contradictory and dangerous
legislation, nicely summed up for you at http://www.iabuk.net/index.php3?class=news&view=168
This passage just about sums it up:-
“However, even if an intermediary follows
the guidelines, it is not guaranteed immunity from the national
courts of the EU Member States. The directive specifically
provides that Member States may, via their courts or otherwise,
require an intermediary to terminate or prevent an infringement,
notwithstanding its apparent compliance with EU law.
Inconsistencies between the rhetoric of the European Commission
and the implementing national legislation have already surfaced.
France has been criticized for not limiting the liability of
service providers in the manner intended by the Ecommerce
We Brits tend to have a prejudiced view on
the French penchant for doing its own thing in the face of
English-speaking opinion – so should this be a case of
“Vive la difference” – or “plus ça change, plus
c'est la même chose”..?
And what do you think Hitler would have done about the