anche in italiano
The ghost is still around
in Italy and in Europe
A distressing statement by
European commissioner Frattini
leads to a devastating form of censorship:
the prohibition of words or concepts.
The way is open for punishing
who dares to think too much.
A statement by ALCEI September 11, 2007
We are concerned but unfortunately not surprised by EU Commissioner Frattinis proposal to impose selective censorship on words used on the internet. «I do intend» said Mr. Frattini to Reuters on September 10, 2007 «to carry out a clear exploring exercise with the private sector ... on how it may be possible to use technology to prevent people from using or searching dangerous words like bomb, kill, genocide or terrorism».
Mr. Frattinis suggestion is unacceptable, extremely dangerous and a serious threat against free speech. The internet-teaches-how-to-make bombs nonsense has been around since the nets early years. Along with copyright infringements and misrepresented child protection urges as ALCEI denounced over ten years ago. The internet-bomb issue has always been one of the excuses to invoke censorship and repression.
It is obvious and largely proven by facts that filtering or prohibiting words or concepts is totally useless against criminals, while it turns into a weapon to kill freedom of information and expression. Preventing all citizens from discussing controversial topics doesnt reduce violence, murder or terrorism.
Commissioner Frattinis position is not the only example. It is just one of many waves of a progressive and continuous process of violating civil liberties with the excuse of vaguely identified ethical principles. As is proven, for instance, by the serious concerns raised by the Italian Ministry of Communications request to ISPs with a total lack of legal grounds to block access to a German-hosted website whose contents were, indeed, awful and unacceptable but that should be fought with the weapons of culture and criticism and not with a furious and fanatic repression that turns the monsters into victims.
We can hope, maybe, that these uncooth statements will be corrected by some dose of common sense in European and Italian authorities. But the sheer fact that they are publicly announced is a worrying symptom.
Once again, the warnings that ALCEI has been issuing for thirteen years are proven to be true. The situation, over time, is getting worse. That plans for censorship and repression are now so bluntly revealed shows that there is a real state of emergency for civil liberties in Italy and in Europe.