Whether you categorize speech suppression by ostensibly private entities as censorship or not, it’s clear that between government and the private entities that control the internet, the ability to speak out is being steadily constricted. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:
Libertarians – me included – have wrestled long and hard with this one: Is it censorship when private entities do it?
No – not in a legal sense. Because these private entities do not have the power to forbid publication, per se.
But they do have the power to suppress (and even to punish) publication when the entities at issue effectively control the means of publication – and so it amounts to the same thing as censorship.
It may even be worse, since one can always get around governmentcensorship (see, for example, the underground Samizdat press in Tsarist Russia or, later, the anti-communist press in East Germany and Poland).
But how does one “get around” private control of the all-encompassing Internet and related “social media platforms”?
There is no alternative Internet – nor is one (given present technology/infrastructure) even conceivable, regardless of one’s financial ability.
When in Europe, just shut up. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Europeans concerned about borders, language and culture may soon find themselves in the hot seat after Dutch politician and European Parliament member Marcel de Graaff issued a dire warning over the “definition of hate speech” which will criminalize speech opposing mass migration, as first reported by Joe Schaeffer of LibertyNation.
In a press conference, de Graaff raised the alarm over an international conference in Marrakech, Morocco on Dec. 11 and 12 where the U.N. Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is to be signed. Though the pact is said to be non-binding, it is meant to establish the groundwork for an Orwellian campaign to cement mass migration as a human right legally above any and all criticism.
“One basic element of this new agreement is the extension of the definition of hate speech,” de Graaff says. “The agreement wants to criminalize migration speech. Criticism of migration will become a criminal offense. Media outlets that give room to criticism of migration can be shut down.” –LibertyNation
Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner posted a transcript of a November 20 speech from Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, entitled: “Words Matter: Role and Responsibility of the media in shaping public perceptions about migrants and refugees and promoting inclusive societies.”
Gilmour calls “hate crimes against migrants” an “especially unpleasant manifestation of what I see as an almost global backlash against human rights.”
Gilmour explains how his office will help states “to distinguish free speech from hate speech” that, of course, has no right to exist. He points out that media reporting that is not sufficiently pro-migration cannot be tolerated. “It is clear to us all that many media outlets are deliberately failing to promote the concept of common humanity,” Gilmour says, again defining mass migration as a basic human right. “Words obviously do matter: dehumanising racist rhetoric frequently leads to hatred, tensions, violence and conflict. It requires a greater effort from the international community to confront those in the media who seek to stir up hatred.” –LibertyNation
The EU is set to criminalize speech that criticizes migration. “The criticism of migration will be a criminal offense.” “Media outlets that give room for criticism of migration,can be shut down.“ Insane & this is what people want to bring here? BTW censoring is the start of it pic.twitter.com/eiFoqrhIkZ
Has Europe supplanted its free speech traditions with Islam’s Sharia blashphemy law? From Soeren Kern at gatestoneinstitute.org:
The European Court of Human Rights — which has jurisdiction over 47 European countries, and whose rulings are legally binding on all 28 member states of the European Union — has effectively legitimized an Islamic blasphemy code in the interests of “preserving religious peace” in Europe.
The ruling effectively establishes a dangerous legal precedent, one that authorizes European states to curtail the right to free speech if such speech is deemed to be offensive to Muslims and thus pose a threat to religious peace.
“In other words, my right to speak freely is less important than protecting the religious feelings of others.” – Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that criticism of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, constitutes incitement to hatred and therefore is not protected free speech. Pictured: A courtroom of the ECHR in Strasbourg, France. (Image source: Adrian Grycuk/Wikimedia Commons)
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that criticism of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, constitutes incitement to hatred and therefore is not protected free speech.
Governments that promise to do everything for you inevitably turn out to be governments that do everything to you. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:
The sun always shines brightest in the northern hemisphere during summer’s dog days. Here in America, from sea to shining sea, the nation burns hot. But, all the while, cold dark clouds have descended over the land of the free.
For example, Senator Mark Warner – an absolute goober – is currently running interference for the Democrats on a proposal to silence political criticism. Yet for Warner, and his cohorts, all political criticism is not created equal. Criticism of President Trump is allowed and encouraged. Criticism of Washington insiders, like Warner, is what they want to prohibit.
The guise of Warner’s would-be regulation is to prevent the bugaboo of Russian spread disinformation. Hence, Warner wants to destroy free speech to save it. Zero Hedge, via Martin Armstrong, offers the particulars…
“The Democrats want full disclosure regarding any online political speech. They even want the Federal Trade Commission to have unbelievable power and require all companies’ algorithms to be audited by the feds as if they even have qualified staff to conduct such audits.
“On top of that, they have proposed tech platforms above a certain size must turn over internal data and processes to ‘independent public interest researchers’ so they can identify potential ‘public health/addiction effects, anticompetitive behavior, radicalization,’ scams, ‘user propagated misinformation,’ and harassment—data that could be used to ‘inform actions by regulators or Congress.”’
Free speech, under this proposal, would only be free if it’s considered acceptable by ‘public interest researchers.’ In other words, free speech wouldn’t be free. It would be unfree.
Remember, it’s free speech that grants us the right, without fear of fine or imprisonment, to say President Trump’s an orange faced blowhard with whacky hair. Similarly, because of free speech, we can say Hillary Clinton’s a political loser with the flare-up durability of ring worm jock itch. Would ‘public interest researchers’ find this speech to be unacceptable?
What’s more, a vast segment of the population seems to have wet their pants with glee over Warner’s war on free speech. They no longer have the sense or sensibility to hear or consider opinions that differ from what’s deemed progressively acceptable.
From now on, it looks like the ACLU will sort of kind of defend free speech, as long as that speech doesn’t piss off the wrong people. From Robby Soave at reason.com:
The American Civil Liberties Union will weigh its interest in protecting the First Amendment against its other commitments to social justice, racial equality, and women’s rights, given the possibility that offensive speech might undermine ACLU goals.
“Our defense of speech may have a greater or lesser harmful impact on the equality and justice work to which we are also committed,” wrote ACLU staffers in a confidential memoobtained by former board member Wendy Kaminer.
It’s hard to see this as anything other than a cowardly retreat from a full-throated defense of the First Amendment. Moving forward, when deciding whether to take a free speech case, the organization will consider “factors such as the (present and historical) context of the proposed speech; the potential effect on marginalized communities; the extent to which the speech may assist in advancing the goals of white supremacists or others whose views are contrary to our values; and the structural and power inequalities in the community in which the speech will occur.”
The memo’s authors assert that this does not amount to a formal change in policy, and is merely intended as guidelines that will assist ACLU affiliates in deciding which cases to take.
Kaminer, though, sees the memo as yet more evidence that the ACLU “has already lost its zeal for vigorously defending the speech it hates.” As she writes in The Wall Street Journal:
The speech-case guidelines reflect a demotion of free speech in the ACLU’s hierarchy of values. Their vague references to the “serious harm” to “marginalized” people occasioned by speech can easily include the presumed psychological effects of racist or otherwise hateful speech, which is constitutionally protected but contrary to ACLU values. Faced with perceived conflicts between freedom of speech and “progress toward equality,” the ACLU is likely to choose equality. If the Supreme Court adopted the ACLU’s balancing test, it would greatly expand government power to restrict speech.
If the government can track where you are without a warrant, it will obviously violate your right to privacy, but it could also impinge on a variety of other rights. From Jameel Jaffer and Alexander Abdo at theguardian.com:
Carpenter v United States has rightly prompted concerns over surveillance. But it could also have drastic implications for personal freedom in the digital age
On Wednesday, the supreme court will consider whether the government must obtain a warrant before accessing the rich trove of data that cellphone providers collect about cellphone users’ movements. Among scholars and campaigners, there is broad agreement that the case could yield the most consequential privacy ruling in a generation.
Less appreciated is the significance of the case for rights protected by the first amendment. The parties’ briefs make little mention of the first amendment, instead framing the dispute – for understandable reasons – as one about the right to privacy. Yet the court’s resolution of the case is likely to have far-reaching implications for the freedoms of speech, press and association.
The case, Carpenter v United States, arises out of the government’s prosecution of Timothy Carpenter for a series of armed robberies carried out in south-eastern Michigan and north-western Ohio several years ago. In the course of its investigation of the crimes, the government ordered Carpenter’s cellphone provider to turn over data it had collected relating to Carpenter’s movements. In response, the provider produced 186 pages listing every call that Carpenter had made over a 127-day period, as well as coordinates indicating where Carpenter had been at the beginning and end of each of those calls.
Importantly, it turned over these records even though the government had not obtained a warrant based on probable cause. Carpenter asked the court to suppress the government’s evidence under the fourth amendment, which protects the right to privacy.
Unlike many websites, Straight Line Logic does not solicit donations. If you're going to lay out your hard-earned money, you should get something in exchange. If you like the site and want to support it, buy The Golden Pinnacle or The Gordian Knot, either as a book or download. The links are on the right-hand side of the page, in the Blogroll section. You'll be supporting the site, and getting a great book and hours of enjoyable reading.