Nov 22 2008

Internet Censorship in the EU

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 17:19

I am a big fan of free speech, and I really dislike censorship, especially at state level. I feel this way about both the Internet and the traditional media.

I think that freedom of speech in relation to the Internet is quite good in Ireland at the moment. Everybody here can legally view any websites that they want. At least I am not aware of any blocking of illegal sites. As far as I know, it is even legal to view child pornography in Ireland! (However, it is illegal to intentionally store it, and that is what people get charged with in court. Yes, this does create a great technical argument!)

Unfortunately, many other EU states do impose blocks on certain sites in order to censor them. For example, I think that most EU states have bans on web sites relating to, or glorifying, Nazism. Of course it is fairly easy for me to have this view in Ireland, since we never experienced the atrocities that most of the EU experienced within the last 100 years.

I have two main problems with Internet censorship:

  • It is often technically infeasible or pointless
  • It often creates a huge artificial interest in the censored subject

TechCrunch has an article called German Politician Blocks Local Wikipedia which demonstrates both of these points perfectly!

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