European Parliament Just Voted To Ban Porn, But Refrains From Extending Scope To Internet Following Protests, And Hides Who Voted For It
2013 03 16

From: falkvinge.net



The European Parliament has just voted in favor of the much-discussed blanket ban on all forms of pornography. But first, it decided to strike out the much-discussed extension of “media” into the internet, effectively limiting the ban to advertising and some undefined print media. It also struck out the original criminalization of any dissent against the report and the turning of ISPs into thought police. However, Parliament’s decision to filter out its constituents’ protests on the matter and decision to hide how the representatives voted on the report is a loud and clear warning signal.

(UPDATE: It would seem that the most correct interpretation of the decision is that the parliament decided to not ban pornography, despite voting in favor of a bill that called for enforcement on exactly such a ban. These things are not always clear-cut, to say the least, even for us who work with it daily. See the followup article.)

While this is an “initiative report”, which means it is not the final vote in the legislative process, it is still part of the legislative process. Some people have used the term “non-binding” to describe the report. I would disagree that such recklessness can be excused at any point in the legislative process with the somewhat strange argument that things aren’t finalized; if this lax attitude to quality and workmanship existed elsewhere in society, our cars would be falling apart and our food would be poisonous.

The original report banned sexual text messaging between consenting adults.

The report refers to an earlier report calling for a blanket ban on pornography in advertising, which it refers to as “the media”. But this new report redefines media to include the Internet to an unclarified degree (in point 14) – which can be as broad as making it illegal to send text messages with sexual content over the Internet between married couples.

That is a clear and intolerable violation of the most basic freedoms of speech and expression.

Fortunately, the entire point 14 – which expanded “the media” onto the internet – was deleted in the vote.

The European Parliament responded by deleting the explaining language, but not the legislative effect in bill.

To accommodate the storm of protests that ensued when this was first discovered, the report was amended to remove the explanation of what it did, but not the effect. Specifically, this part was taken out:

17. Calls on the EU and its Member States to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism

Do you see what this does? It removes the explanation, but not the referenced report, so it just hides the clarification.

The European Parliament responded by shutting off constituents’ protests.

But the next step was even worse. Some Members of European Parliament (MEPs) had complained to the Parliament’s IT staff about citizens protesting, so protests against this particular report were classified as spam. Meanwhile, hundreds of mails protesting agricultural subsidies kept coming in to the MEPs’ inboxes, so the spam filter was very specifically targeted. (Later tests confirmed that a test had been added that targeted the words “gender stereotypes”, which are in the title of the report).

When some MEPs can use Parliament’s technical infrastructure and staff to prevent the constitutents of Europe to contact their representatives — other representatives than the ones complaining, all representatives, nota bene — then the respect for democracy is on its death bed.

The original report made ISPs into thought police.

The report also called for ISPs to enforce the ban, as originally written (but this point was defeated on the floor). We have seen theses attacks on the messenger immunity under the flag of “self-regulation” from many incumbent interests. But it is not “self-”, because ISPs will be doing it to their customers, and it is not “regulation”, because they don’t get a say on the rules. It is “policing”. We have an institution in society to perform that function and that is indeed the Police. Private interests should never be tasked with law enforcement, and for very good reasons.

Read the rest of the article here



Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

Illegal Aliens Cleared For U.S. Military Service
2014 10 18
The Pentagon announced a new policy allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to enlist in the armed forces, Thursday. USA Today reports that the new recruitment policies will focus on people with "high-demand skills" like foreign language acumen and health care training: "For the first time, the program — known as Military Accessions in the National Interest, or MAVNI — will ...
Bronze Age Sundial-Moondial Discovered in Russia
2014 10 16
A strange slab of rock discovered in Russia more than 20 years ago appears to be a combination sundial and moondial from the Bronze Age, a new study finds. The slab is marked with round divots arranged in a circle, and an astronomical analysis suggests that these markings coincide with heavenly events, including sunrises and moonrises. The sundial might be "evidence of ...
Humans may only survive 68 days on Mars
2014 10 15
Space enthusiasts planning a move to Mars may have to wait to relocate: conditions on the Red Planet are such that humans would likely begin dying within 68 days, a new study says. Oxygen levels would start to deplete after about two months and scientists said new technologies are required before humans can permanently settle on Mars, according to the study ...
Tom Sunic’s letter to the US Ambassador to Hungary
2014 10 14
October 11, 2014 Mr. André Goodfriend Chargé d’Affaires Embassy of the United States of America Szabadság tér 12 H-1054 Budapest Dear Mr. Goodfriend, As an American citizen I would hereby like to express my concern over the recent decision by the Hungarian government to ban the National Policy Institute (NPI) conference which had been scheduled to take place in Budapest from October 3 to October 5, 2014. ...
"Vampire grave" found in Bulgaria
2014 10 14
A "vampire grave" containing a skeleton with a stake driven through its chest has been unearthed by a man known as "Bulgaria’s Indiana Jones". Professor Nikolai Ovcharov – a crusading archaeologist who has dedicated his life to unearthing mysteries of ancient civilisations – said that he had made the discovery while excavating the ruins of Perperikon, an ancient Thracian city ...
More News »