Keep your Égalité and Fraternité but shove your Liberté!
THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT has apparently decided that it doesn’t much like being democratic, and that it would rather like to censor the Internet instead.
Not content with simply limiting itself to blocking despicable child sex abuse, a move three major ISPs in the US also agreed to today, the French government feels it necessary to go a radical step further and decide for its citizens whether or not they can view content it considers inappropriately racist and or linked to terrorism.
In fact, worse still is that any site is now game for a French blockade, as Sarkozy’s government is inviting people to send in huge long lists of sites which offend their delicate sensibilities. The French government, which will purportedly be able to receive complaints from Internet users in real time, will be able to add sites to a so called “black list”, which it will then force national ISPs to block.
The move, announced by France’s Interior Minister, Michel Alliot-Marie, is France’s way of showing it is indeed taking a strong stand against cyber-criminality, but it seems that the line between ‘strong’ and ‘authoritarian’ is a little fuzzy on this one.
Alliot-Marie, only caring to justify the block on child sex abuse sites, noted “Other democracies have done it. France could wait no longer”. She added that all of France’s Internet Service Providers had agreed to comply with the new regulations which go into effect as of September.
The minister vehemently denied that the French government was turning itself into “a Big Brother of the Internet” and promised that the “fundamental liberty that is Internet access” would continue to thrive. As long as people only see the sites the government allows them to see, of course.
By Sylvie Barak
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Source: The Inquirer