One to watch... Internet surveillance
By: Staff Writer
Posted: 03/24/2012 1:00 AM | Comments: 0 (including replies)
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinio ... 72306.html
It seems governments really, really want to know what we are doing online.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews famously told critics of the government's Bill C-30 they are "either with us or with the child pornographers."
Now, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has his excuse: extremists.
He has proposed a sweeping new law that would see repeat visitors to extremist websites put behind bars -- one of several tough measures floated in the wake of the death of Islamist fanatic Mohamed Merah, who was wanted for a horrifying series of execution-style murders in the country.
"Anyone who regularly consults Internet sites which promote terror or hatred or violence will be sentenced to prison," he told a campaign rally. "Don't tell me it's not possible. What is possible for pedophiles should be possible for trainee terrorists and their supporters, too."
While Sarkozy didn't stoop to saying anyone who opposes the bill stands with the extremists, journalists and lawyers are nevertheless concerned.
"Trying to criminalize a visit -- a simple visit -- to a website, that's something that seems disproportionate," said Lucie Morillon, who runs the new media bureau of journalists' watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.
"What's especially worrying for us is how you are going to know who's looking at what site. Does this announcement mean the installation of a global Internet surveillance system in France?"
Morillon said she understood the emotional appeal of a crackdown on online radicalization in the wake of such atrocities.
Still, she said, "You have to be careful not to attack the wrong target. Once more it's the Internet that's being blamed, as if the Internet was the source of all evil."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 24, 2012 J2