Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

British Men Jailed For Online Hate Crimes

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the don'tcha-just-hate-online-crime dept.

Censorship 778

chrb writes "Two British men have become the first to be jailed for inciting racial hatred online. The men believed that material they published on web servers based in the United States did not fall under the jurisdiction of UK law and was protected under the First Amendment. This argument was rejected by the British trial judge. After being found guilty, the men fled to Los Angeles, where they attempted to claim political asylum, again arguing that they were being persecuted by the British government for speech that was protected under the First Amendment. The asylum bid was rejected and the two were deported back to the UK after spending over a year in a US jail."

cancel ×

778 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Testicles. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28661935)

That is all.

Bollocks (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662019)

Surely 'bollocks' is more appropriate in this case?

Hoden. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662191)

Das ist alles.

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28661943)

first

Re:first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662339)

We need a " -1 Fail" mod.

God forbid they meet Annonymous (2, Insightful)

Aphonia (1315785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28661951)

It's an internet hate machine, you know. [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNO6G4ApJQY [youtube.com] ]

Re:God forbid they meet Annonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662239)

They've never met me!

Re:God forbid they meet Annonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662459)

I see what you did there...

yeah (-1, Troll)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28661955)

stupid Caucasians!

whats the crime in hate crime? (5, Insightful)

biscon (942763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662009)

is it the act of hating someone due to their racial background or sexual orientation which is illegal? or just running your mouth about it?. if its the former its thought crime and if its the latter its censorship. I don't believe in hate crime, not because I am a racist or a homofob its just that laws like that tend to be abused. Besides I like living in a free society where the government doesn't get to decide what I can legally think.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (5, Interesting)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662185)

"Hate crime" is a blanket term for laws that regulate speech with the intent of suppressing racism. More recently this has expanded to include homophobia. How those laws are viewed largely depends on whether the viewer feels more strongly about bigotry or censorship; whether you see a greater evil in suppression of speech or unreasoning hatred.

I'd call censorship the greater evil, but despite that I'm ambivalent about this particular case. On the one hand, I do not think such a law ought to exist at all, on the other hand, I just can't muster any outrage at a neo-Nazi getting jailed. I suspect that it's cases like this that allow such laws to remain in effect - try to oppose the law on principle and you'll find yourself in the position of having to defend the bigots, something that even those most committed to free speech find repellent.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662299)

I disagree, the legal standard is fairly high as to when the police can intervene. It leaves more than enough room for exercising ones first amendment rights. There's all kinds of things that one can say which are protected, even though they are definitely noxious at best.

The hate crimes legislation comes into play, at least in the US, when it crosses from just expression to incitement of violence or represents a threat to other people's safety. This isn't really that fine of a line, I'm not aware of cases going forward where it wasn't terribly obvious that it had crossed the line sometime previously.

That being said, that's in the US, the various EU states are much more aggressive about it than we are, to the point, where you really can't seriously suggest that there is a real freedom of speech in many parts of the EU.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (5, Insightful)

StopKoolaidPoliticsT (1010439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662359)

Hate crime laws don't suppress racism... they might suppress public expression of racism, but people will still hate privately, likely using the hate crime laws themselves as a valid excuse to promote hate to others. "Look at James Byrd, they gave two of the three white guys that dragged him to death the death penalty and the other life, while the three black guys that did the same thing to Ken Tillery got 15, 20 and 70 years..." It's hard to enforce the law equally when the purpose of the law is to setup specific protected classes and that will result in more division.

IMO, it's much better to get people to express themselves publicly since it gives them an avenue to vent while simultaneously allowing you to deflate their arguments before they can spread the hate.

I live in NY... and you'll hear lots of people saying they were proud to vote for a black man for President, but those same people moved when blacks started encroaching on their white neighborhoods, send their kids to mostly white private schools, etc. While they publicly talk a good game, they still don't want to be around "those kind of people" privately. That undertone of racism is allowed to go unchallenged though, largely because as long as the racism isn't overtly public, it "isn't" really racism. I'd argue refusing to let your kids go to school with someone of a different color isn't much different from beating someone else up for being a different color. The same hate exists, just expressed differently... Sure, one is a violent crime which deserves a penalty in its own right, but the other goes completely unpunished and undiscussed.

Ultimately, if we want racism (and sexism, homophobia, etc) to end, we need to stop drawing lines to divide people into different camps and giving special treatment to "the right groups." Anything short of equal treatment breeds a hate itself.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662481)

So violent crime is meaningless compared to not liking someone?

I move that you are utterly bonkers. A supporter of thought crime, even.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662405)

I suspect that it's cases like this that allow such laws to remain in effect - try to oppose the law on principle and you'll find yourself in the position of having to defend the bigots, something that even those most committed to free speech find repellent.

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all." - H L Mencken

Get over that conflict. Defend the scoundrels, because when it comes time to defend your own rights, there won't be a shit ton of precedent built up against them.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (4, Insightful)

bitt3n (941736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662451)

whether you see a greater evil in suppression of speech or unreasoning hatred.

I think the case can be made that suppression of speech is a potent means of perpetuating unreasoning hatred. One is unlikely to change a person's mind by preventing him from speaking it.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662487)

try to oppose the law on principle and you'll find yourself in the position of having to defend the bigots, something that even those most committed to free speech find repellent.

If you're not willing to protect offensive speech then you're not committed to free speech. Offensive speech is the only speech that needs defending. That means protecting neo-Nazis, Larry Flynt, and NAMBLA, no matter how much what they say personally offends you.

That having been said, what these guys did was dumb. Here in the U.S., I have the First Amendment to protect me. These guys had no such protections, and they knew it. And though their servers were in the United States, their assess were under the jurisdiction of a British judge.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662205)

I don't believe in hate crime, not because I am a racist or a homofob its just that laws like that tend to be abused.

I don't believe in hate speech crime, not because I am a racist or a homophobe but because I believe in the right of individuals to think and to say whatever the fuck they want without somebody shutting their mouth by force or putting them in jail for it. Laws prohibiting hate speech don't have to be abused to be wrong, they are also wrong when functioning as intended. If you disagree with racists or homophobes feel free to say so, but don't use the force of government to shut them up because you are replacing one evil with a greater one. And besides, is there an easier thing to argue against and to ridicule than the irrational and primitive nonsense that such people tend to say. Why would you even need such laws is beyond me. I am only sorry that the US government is not willing to step up and protect people from other countries, however odious their beliefs might be, who are persecuted at home for no greater crime than speaking their mind and who seek refuge here.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (1, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662371)

That's a rather dangerous position to have. The traditional example is yelling fire in a crowded theater.

It's somewhat like saying that during the 20s and 30s when the Klan was at the height of its power that it's OK to repeat Klan talking points, just don't be the one that's actually throwing the bombs. A bit extreme yes, but ultimately a lot of these sorts of things would never happen without a large number of people egging it on, looking the other way and backing the view that it's normal and therefore OK. The DC holocaust museum murderer and the man that killed several police officers in PA both were responding to claims which were known to be false about the Presidents position on gun control as well as racism.

The first amendment has never been absolute, there's always been prohibitions on things such as threats, libel and slander allowing for an extra penalty for the extra damage that hate speech does when it crosses the line is perfectly reasonable. A significant amount of bigotry finds its way onto places like Fox News, there is no need for more rights considering how far one can go already without being harassed by law enforcement.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662225)

I don't believe in hate crime...

Well, most people do. And these days, that's all you need to throw someone in jail forever: The consent of the people.

It's easy to get that consent as well. You just need to own a few newspapers and get a few people to cry on television. Gets 'em every time.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (2, Insightful)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662235)

But the government loves you, and wants you to be happy. Why do you hate the government? Maybe you should go through a program to rehabilitate you. If you hate the government and it's policies then you obviously hate other races and such.

[/sarcasm]

Therein lies the problem. This is exactly why thought-crime is such a dangerous notion.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662249)

Originally, illegal hate speech was about incitement. The logic was that if hateful words were used to incite others to do illegal things (beat-up homosexuals, burn churches, whatever, ...), then that speech should be banned. Otherwise figureheads and leaders could claim they had "no part" in violence or atrocities, since they "merely" promoted them or orchestrated them.

However, as far too often happens, the law has been broadened and broadened in steps. Now it appears that hateful speech itself is illegal, regardless of whether it advocates any particular illegal activity... indeed regardless of whether it induces any illegal activity even incidentally. Now the legal burden has shifted to a more nebulous "causing emotional harm" or somesuch.

(Note that this is about hate speech in particular. "Hate crime", I think, should be reserved for things which are criminal in and of themselves (assault, etc.); where the "hate" is added on to define the intent and targeting of the criminal action--which is relevant in the sense that a crime committed for hateful purposes is likely to be more willful and unlikely to be accidental or incidental.)

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (2, Insightful)

Cederic (9623) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662251)

Count this one as censorship. They were found guilty of 'inciting racial hatred'.

That doesn't mean it's illegal to hate someone because of their racial heritage (i.e. thoughtcrime) it's illegal to incite such hatred in others.

Still right on the edge of suppression of free speech, and without knowing exactly what these guys printed/posted I'm not sure whether this is something I need to be concerned about or not.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662253)

It's the latter. And yes you're right it is censorship. But censorship that a richly multicultural society has decided that is necessary to function.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (1, Insightful)

quickbrownfox (900989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662323)

Of course, there's that old saw about how the right to free speech doesn't mean you can yell "fire" in a crowded theater. And I think you can get in trouble for making death threats, as well. I don't think a lot of people would argue that the First Amendment should provide a blanket protection for anything anyone wants to say. I need to read the article, but what these guys were doing was really dangerous or inflammatory.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662329)

is it the act of hating someone due to their racial background or sexual orientation which is illegal? or just running your mouth about it?.
if its the former its thought crime and if its the latter its censorship.

I don't believe in hate crime, not because I am a racist or a homofob its just that laws like that tend to be abused.
Besides I like living in a free society where the government doesn't get to decide what I can legally think.

Amen.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (1, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662333)

is it the act of hating someone due to their racial background or sexual orientation which is illegal? or just running your mouth about it?. if its the former its thought crime and if its the latter its censorship.[...] Besides I like living in a free society where the government doesn't get to decide what I can legally think.

You can think what you like, and hate who you like, if it makes you happy. I have no problem with that. But when you start inciting others to take action based upon your hatred, then we have a problem. Maybe I think you deserve to die because you don't capitalise your sentences properly, so I post "evidence" that you are a child rapist on the internet. Your house gets fire-bombed, and your kids die. How are you liking your free society now?

Ever heard of WW2? (0, Troll)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662335)

The holocaust is not a crime to you? Most would call that a hate crime but obviously you disagree. You think spreading hate is perfectly fine because you are a white rich boy who has an extremely large army to keep him safe from hate.

You do NOT live in a free society. The many people locked up in cuba on your behalf proof that. You just life in a society that leaves you free. Not exactly the same thing.

Hate crimes exist in europe because in europe we have seen far to closely what happens if hatred is left unchecked.

Mind you, the americans think the KKK has a right to exist. In europe it is forbidden to be a member of a nazi group. Neither method seems to work in keeping people from being killed because of what race/sex/orientation they are.

But this is the UK and if the UK people want a system where racists can be locked up for spreading hatred then you that is their freedom.

The brits and most of europe choose different.

And you can THINK what you want. it is spreading what you think that is restricted.

Re:whats the crime in hate crime? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662433)

There may be libel and slander involved. There may be uttering of death threats. There may be conspiracy charges. The term "hate crime" is likely a blanket term.

Being offended. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662025)

It should be something that adults can deal with.

And one way to deal with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662193)

is beat the shit out of the shithead who said it.

This is bad for two reasons

1) It infringes on the government monopoly on violence
2) It disturbs the lives of people not involved

If you disagree, pop over here, we'll get a couple of large sticks and argue it out.

Thought crime (3, Interesting)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662027)

This is old news in Finland. We have had at least 4 convictions on dubious basis within one year. "Insulting" muslims and negroes seems to be verboten while insulting christians and white males is ok. 1984.

Re:Thought crime (4, Interesting)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662341)

This is old news in Finland. We have had at least 4 convictions on dubious basis within one year. "Insulting" muslims and negroes seems to be verboten while insulting christians and white males is ok. 1984.

As a fellow Finn I must say that I have not heard of such dubious convictions, and would be interested in seeing some proof of such. I would also like to point out that those who insult "muslims and negroes" in this country are overwhelmingly white Christian males. If there were widespread racism on the part of the non-white non-Christian population toward the ethnic majority, I can assure you that the yellow press would be all over it. It would be too lucrative for them to downplay it. So far, there has been no word of such, so I have a hard time stomaching your allegation that "insulting christians and white males is ok."

Also worthy of note is that insulting Muslims, Christians, Blacks or Whites is perfectly allowed and legal in this country, as long as you don't insult them for being Muslims, Christians, Blacks or Whites.

Have you ever noticed.... (2, Funny)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662031)

Have you ever noticed how hate mongers usually look like douchebags?

Re:Have you ever noticed.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662097)

Why don't you spend a few nights in jail and then post your photo. I doubt you'll be on the cover of GQ.

Because good looking guys get sex (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662351)

and sex really mellows you out. So I heard. Not that I would know.

We've heard this before (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662035)

"Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value." - Dean Steacy, Canadian Human Rights Commission investigator

Re:We've heard this before (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662265)

The whole "Canada doesn't value American concepts" thing can have its advantages, however. For example, if you commit a capital crime in one of the United States, flee to Canada. They won't extradite you until that state promises that you won't fry. [canada.com]

Re:We've heard this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662477)

The whole "Canada doesn't value American concepts" thing can have its advantages, however. For example, if you commit a capital crime in one of the United States, flee to Canada. They won't extradite you until that state promises that you won't fry. [canada.com]

So if these wack-jobs had burned down a black church full of kids in Alabama and then fled to Canada, they wouldn't be extradited? My, my.....I'll bet Canadians go to bed every night with a hard-on over how much more progressive they are than Americans.

There is no guarantee of Free speech in the UK (4, Informative)

number6x (626555) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662039)

There is no guarantee of Free speech in the UK

It is simply a fact.

The vast majority of countries do not allow simple basic freedoms. Even the freedom for stupid people to say stupid things.

What do they hope to accomplish? (3, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662043)

I never understand what people like this hope to accomplish. Inciting racial hatred... really, it's like internet trolling - it just gets people flustered and angry, and they do it for 'teh lulz'. It's pathetic. Nothing changes; nobody is going to be swayed by their infantile invective, they aren't ever going to have the people they dislike evicted from their country. Even if they did, would it really make their life any better?

The common thread amongst racists that I've found is that they invariably want someone to blame for the state of their own lives, and they choose someone who is obviously different from them, because it's easy. These guys aren't smart, capable people; they're losers. It takes people with amazing charisma and a climate of social discontent to legitimise racially prejudicial attitudes - insulting cartoons shoved under a synagogue door don't make the grade.

Should they be imprisoned? Maybe. But I think we'd accomplish just as much by ignoring them and their malcontent existance, as one would an internet troll.

Re:What do they hope to accomplish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662081)

Butthurt much?

Visit West Belfast or South Armagh and find out. (4, Interesting)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662157)

Inciting sectarian hatred is not pointless there. It matters deeply and gets people killed. As it does in those large parts of the world still riven by ethnic, sectarian, and tribal divisions.

The USA is one of the few countries that can AFFORD freedom of speech.

Re:Visit West Belfast or South Armagh and find out (2, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662365)

That is true... but this is the UK we're talking about, not a tribal society.

West Belfast and South Armagh ARE the UK. (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662493)

Check the map. Northern Ireland is very much part of the UK. And they ARE a tribal, or at least strongly sectarian, society that was until very recently was torn apart by terrorism.

assumption (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662397)

You're making the assumption that overt hate speech actually increases violence, and that suppressing hate speech reduces violence. I don't think there's much evidence for that. Quite to the contrary, I think talking (or screaming) these things out openly helps.

(Of course, since many European nations have outlawed hate speech, I wonder when people start suing Christian churches, given how much Christianity preaches hate and discrimination.)

Re:What do they hope to accomplish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662367)

Bigotry is pathetic and wrong, but I think what the bigots are trying to accomplish with hate speech is pretty clear. They believe their targeted group(s) are to blame for some kind of societal ill. Given that perspective, censuring, sanctioning or expelling the target group would make life better for everyone else. Since the bigots have already de-humanized the targets of their hate any ill that befalls those people doesn't matter.

Sadly, I'd also have to say that spouting vitriolic hate has historically been effective in promoting change towards more institutionalized hate, or in maintaining existing discrimination within a system. Just look at every instance of state-sponsored or culturally accepted hate. A steady stream of propaganda does work.

Re:What do they hope to accomplish? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662443)

The common thread amongst racists that I've found is that they invariably want someone to blame for the state of their own lives, and they choose someone who is obviously different from them, because it's easy. These guys aren't smart, capable people; they're losers. It takes people with amazing charisma and a climate of social discontent to legitimise racially prejudicial attitudes - insulting cartoons shoved under a synagogue door don't make the grade.

Right, and that's why we in the US have such a hard time with it. We're bound by the first amendment to allow a lot of that crap to be said, and lacking a way of separating it out without violating the rights of people to properly debate the issue we're stuck with it that way.

The problem though is that when bigots like Bill O'reilly or Rush Limbaugh stoke the flames, eventually somebody out there can and will take them up on it. It's already happened at least 2 times in recent memory. The DC Holocaust museum shooter and the man in PA that shot and killed several police officers a couple months back. They were both white supremecists, they both believed that the President was coming for their guns, despite all the evidence to the contrary and they both murdered innocent people as a result of delusional beliefs.

A "your rights online" story about rights online. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662055)

Color me impressed! This makes, what, three stories out of a thousand in this section?

(I kid because I love. Well, perhaps more accurately, I kid because I'm pleasantly surprised.)

Point of Origin? (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662057)

Here we go again! If the materials were published in the US just how can an English court have jurisdiction? Are they claiming that because English addresses received the materials that English laws are in play? Or is this another treaty driven action in an American court? And England is a hoot compared to France. France really does want to reach out and control the world.

Re:Point of Origin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662213)

They have jurisdiction because the British court ruled that the publishing took place at the time the items were uploaded to the web server. As that took place in the U.K. then the items were published in the U.K.

Re:Point of Origin? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662217)

Or perhaps the court argument was that if British citizens publish illegal material that is accessible in the UK, it doesn't actually matter where the material is *held*. They wrote it, and published it *to* the server from the UK after all.

The same way it works in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662219)

Where a UK website was accused in a (texas?) court, didn't turn up and was convicted in absentia.

Re:Point of Origin? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662243)

"If the materials were published in the US just how can an English court have jurisdiction?"

The server was in the US, but the server is an inanimate object incapable of criminal intent, so it is not automatically relevant. The people with criminal intent were permanently in the UK at the time of the offences and the material was about the UK and ethnic minorities in the UK, targeted largely at an audience in the UK.

IANAL, but it seems that courts largely adopt an attitude of "looking through" any technology and focusing on the people involved.

Re:Point of Origin? (2, Insightful)

Cederic (9623) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662273)

They were published from the UK to servers in the US.

The leaflets/pamphlets weren't exactly being handed out in LA either...

It's not as though US citizens were extradited to the UK despite having committed no US crimes or committed crimes while in the territories of the UK. Shame for Gary McKimmon that the US authorities aren't similarly restrained.

Re:Point of Origin? (4, Informative)

Quothz (683368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662307)

Here we go again! If the materials were published in the US just how can an English court have jurisdiction?

That would be due to the British Nationality Act of 1948, which asserts British criminal jurisdiction over British citizens for crimes committed overseas. The US has a similar law, as do many nations.

Re:Point of Origin? (4, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662325)

The summary is somewhat misleading.

The convicted parties were handing out leaflets in the UK, which drew complaints due to their racist content. The content of the leaflets was stored on a US server, but "published" (printed really) in the UK. Both defendants lived in the UK, but sought asylum in the US after they were charged.

Jurisdiction is not the problem here - in every country I know of, storing "illegal material" outside the local borders does not constitute a legal defence. If we were talking about weapons or drugs, then storing internationally (say in a safe haven where they're legal) while distributing locally (where they're illegal) would still get you charged.

The question is whether the material should be illegal in the first place. That has nothing to do with jurisdiction and everything to do with civil liberties.

Re:Point of Origin? (1)

Fzz (153115) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662407)

If the materials were published in the US just how can an English court have jurisdiction? Are they claiming that because English addresses received the materials that English laws are in play?

I think the reasoning was probably that they were in England when they published for a British audience. The act of publishing was done from England (a server itself isn't capable of independent action, at least not in the eyes of the law).

If they'd flown to the US, written the materials there, published them from there, then returned home, I think they would probably have not have been able to be convicted, even if the intended audience was British.

But I'm not a lawyer, so don't take this as legal advice.

Apparently Free Speech rights do not cover Hate (4, Insightful)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662083)

Speech. At one time it did, but now there are limits to free speech. Both in the UK and USA now.

I guess that means we can send the KKK and Nazi groups in the USA to jail then for distributing hate speech materials. Also track down the "Anonymous" group for hate speech against Scientologists, etc.

Re:Apparently Free Speech rights do not cover Hate (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662245)

At one time it did, but now there are limits to free speech. Both in the UK and USA now.

While the USA is getting there, it's still easily the best, any laws on the books probably will be struck down before the Supreme Court (although having that as my last line of defense does not reassure me).

Most countries with "Freedom of Speech" have so many exceptions to the rule that it's worthless, see Germany. Popular speech doesn't have to be protected but that's all they seem to try to protect. That is pretty ironic as the terrible parts of their history was not due to Freedom of Speech, but slavish adherence to the state, which is still ingrained in the national attitude.

It's ironic that the Founding Fathers were considered "liberals" in their day (look up the term classical liberal) but both sides of the political spectrum would love to censor speech at any opportunity, just for different reasons.

Re:Apparently Free Speech rights do not cover Hate (1)

patro (104336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662247)

Also track down the "Anonymous" group for hate speech against Scientologists, etc.

Well, how about tracking down scientologists for hate speech against "Anonymous" then?

Re:Apparently Free Speech rights do not cover Hate (1)

erebus24 (632942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662269)

Thankfully Scientology isn't recognised as a religion in the U.K. so doesn't fall under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Sadly we've never had proper freedom of speech in the U.K., the only rights we do have is our implementation of the the European Convention of Human Rights under the name the Human Act. This act has several exceptions, notably those on religious and racial hatred free speech.

Re:Apparently Free Speech rights do not cover Hate (0, Flamebait)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662345)

This act has several exceptions, notably those on religious and racial hatred free speech when directed against muslims

Fixed that for you.

Re:Apparently Free Speech rights do not cover Hate (1)

erebus24 (632942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662425)

Weird, all this time I thought Muslim was a name give to a follower of Islam. Never realised it was a race of people, what country do they come from? Musimina? Idiot.

Re:Apparently Free Speech rights do not cover Hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662319)

Hate speech isn't the problem. It's perfectly ok to say you hate blacks, jews, whites, whatever. Your public reputation might not survive the beating it'll take if you engage in that sort of behavior, but the government won't stop you.

Example: Fred Phelps and his ilk have made a name for themselves on their "God hates fags" slogan, and the law protects them.

The difference is they aren't telling people to assault or kill homosexuals, nor are they doing it themselves. That's what will get you in trouble.

I'm allowed to own a gun, but if I use it in a robbery it becomes armed robbery.

Assault with a deadly weapon becomes aggravated assault.

Similarly, a crime targeted specifically towards blacks/hispanics/asians/whatever becomes a "hate crime". (I don't like "hate crime" as a term because it implies that hating somebody is a thought crime. "Race crime" is probably a better term.)

It's the heightened sense of intent behind the crime that gets you the bonus points, but in the end you still have to commit an actual crime. Simply saying you disagree with what Martin Luther King Jr. fought for isn't going to get you prosecuted.

Not in the US anyway.

The UK does not have free speech. (5, Insightful)

Bartab (233395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662085)

If you can't say something other people don't want to hear, you do not have free speech.

Re:The UK does not have free speech. (2, Insightful)

pem (1013437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662113)

By your definition, no country has free speech.

Let's try a little experiment.

You wear an earpiece and I'll tell you what to say. We'll go all Sash Baron Cohen in Detroit. Then you can get a first-hand taste of exactly what saying things other people don't want to hear can lead to.

Re:The UK does not have free speech. (2, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662169)

You wear an earpiece and I'll tell you what to say. We'll go all Sash Baron Cohen in Detroit. Then you can get a first-hand taste of exactly what saying things other people don't want to hear can lead to.

This is where your 2nd Amendment rights kick in.

Re:The UK does not have free speech. (1)

He who knows (1376995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662283)

If you cant protest about issues that are important without a license then you have no free protests. http://www.repeal-socpa.info/ [repeal-socpa.info]

The US has limits on it too. Thankfully. (4, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662471)

"Freedom of speech" in the US doesn't mean you can say whatever you want either. If you endanger other people by what you say (e.g. shout "fire" in a crowded theatre, incite others to murder, violence) there are consequences. If you slander someone there are consequences. If you lie under oath there are consequences.

Freedom of speech isn't a right that overrides all other laws, not should it be.

I'm amazed not only that this story was posted to /. but also that so many apparently have sympathy for these losers.

Re:The UK does not have free speech. (1)

bitt3n (941736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662475)

If you can't say something other people don't want to hear, you do not have free speech.

I argue this whenever I read limericks at a poetry jam, but they still throw their coffee cups at me.

In reply to this calamity... (2, Funny)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662093)

I HATE ARTICLES LIKE THIS!

!thoughtcrime (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662105)

Publishing words that incite hatred is not "thoughtcrime". Words are not thoughts. You can think whatever hatred or whatever else you want. But speech is an action, a real act in the world that affects other people. Not all acts, not all speech or expressions, particularly in public, are protected. You do not have the right to speak in a way that harms people. And currently, as always in history, published hate speech forms links in the critical path from protected hateful thoughts to non-protected violent acts that physically harm people. Those links are on the action side of the thought/action boundary.

You can't tell someone that you're going to kill them and expect to get away with it. You likewise can't threaten everyone who's a member of a group, racial or otherwise, and expect to get away with it. You can think about genocide, but the moment you do something, including organizing or inciting others to carry it out, you've crossed the line. And that's when we have governments to protect us from you, not you from the consequences of your speech.

Re:!thoughtcrime (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662309)

I don't buy it. Maybe, just maybe if an actual crime is committed and you can link the motives of the perpetrators to speech someone else made I can see an argument for criminalizing that speech. Of course, we have conspiracy laws for that. Criminalizing speech that hasn't caused yet anyone to harm anyone is just chilling. You're essentially arguing that we should prosecute precrime. Frankly, it's much worse than the speech they are trying to stop.

Re:!thoughtcrime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662413)

Publishing words that incite hatred is not "thoughtcrime". Words are not thoughts. You can think whatever hatred or whatever else you want. But speech is an action, a real act in the world that affects other people. Not all acts, not all speech or expressions, particularly in public, are protected. You do not have the right to speak in a way that harms people. And currently, as always in history, published hate speech forms links in the critical path from protected hateful thoughts to non-protected violent acts that physically harm people. Those links are on the action side of the thought/action boundary.

How do you decide whether speech is harmful? Which magical all-knowing magistrate do you trust which this authority? And remember that this magistrate, by deciding what speech others may utter, will also decide what speech you may listen to. Are you really such a child that you cannot decide this for yourself?

Appropriate:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6379618149058958603 [google.com]

Re:!thoughtcrime (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662445)

>You likewise can't threaten everyone who's a member of a group, racial or otherwise, and expect to get away with it.

of course you can in the UK: you just have to be a muslim to do it.

Heck, you can incite crowds to murder those that 'offend' your own caveman beliefs and get very lucrative jobs in the british govt.

Seriously, live in the UK and see how 'tolerant' we are of certain behaviour from certain groups and not from others.

People notice this and it fuels their hatred at the hypocrisy.

Re:!thoughtcrime (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662455)

You can't tell someone that you're going to kill them and expect to get away with it.

I guess you never went to public school.

There is no such thing as "jurisdiction" any more. (5, Insightful)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662121)

Israelis arrest (and indeed assassinate) enemies of Israel anywhere they like. Ditto the USA. A California couple publishes porn on the Internet in California, and is tried and convicted in Tennessee, which they have never visited. You can do something in a foreign country that's totally legal there, and your own government will still prosecute you for it -- as these guys did. It's only a matter of time before the USA starts prosecuting American citizens for smoking dope and visiting prostitutes in Amsterdam.

The fact is, if you publish it on the web, you're liable for it worldwide, regardless of where you are or where the server is. Better get used to it.

Re:There is no such thing as "jurisdiction" any mo (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662311)

Israelis arrest (and indeed assassinate) enemies of Israel anywhere they like. Ditto the USA.

But you're still walking and breathing.

Can you read? (-1, Troll)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662375)

They commited the crime in the UK, then fled AFTERWARDS to the US.

So you entire rant, which does have a point, becomes silly because it has nothing to do with the facts in this case.

And the above practice is pretty good else places like the netherlands would be flooded with american asylum seekers convicted for smoking pot.

We got enough of them from the rest of the continent thank you very much. Americans are only welcome for a short stay to spend what little money you got left and then bugger OFF! We don't need both french and american drugs tourists. A small country cannot stand so much arrogance.

Re:There is no such thing as "jurisdiction" any mo (2, Interesting)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662391)

What they did, they did in the UK. They then fled and attempted to request asylum, which was denied. One of two things happened after that, both legal. Either their priflege of being in the US was revoked and they were deported, or the UK voiced their claim on them and they were extradited per US/UK agreements.
 
Just because they put their works on a server in the US does not change the fact they were created in the UK. They UK can use this to say the crime occurred in their jurisdiction. They did what they did in the UK and it is illegal there.

Passport question for the UK folks . . . (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662135)

. . . don't convicted criminals have their passports confiscated, while awaiting sentencing?

I just find it bizarre, that they can just hop on a plane to LA.

This would be a great Monty Python sketch with Eric Idle, as the bloke checking the passports on exiting the country:

"Ah, going to Los Angles, super, super! Business? No, holiday? Ah, spit, which one is it?"

"We are convicted criminals leaving the country, to apply for asylum in the United States."

"Ok, off you go then!"

Re:Passport question for the UK folks . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662289)

Depending on the seriousness of the crime you can have your passport confiscated immediately upon arrest, after being charged(i.e. before trial) or any time up to sentencing / imprisonment.
Even if you're charged with something serious like murder you will only be asked to surrender your passport if you're considered a flight risk and even then you may be given a week or two to do so.

Re:Passport question for the UK folks . . . (1)

liquidsunshine (1312821) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662357)

Maybe they just flew The Crimson Permanent Assurance building across the pond. =)

Pfff (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662421)

An american recently kidnapped a dutch kid in a custody case. The was an alert out (copied for the american missing child system) that is supposed to make all airports and such look out for the kid across europe. Didn't work.

Borders are leaky as hell where board guards are asked to look at old tech passports and sort out of ten of thousand of passengers those appearing on a list with thousands of others. Exactly how is this supposed to work? It is like expecting a cop to watch 3-4 highways at once and pick out all stolen cars that have been reported.

No Asylum? (3, Insightful)

Bellegante (1519683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662139)

No free speech in the UK, I get that (though I strongly disagree with it!), but why not offer asylum? Don't we believe in the right to free speech ourselves? Isn't this a perfect example of a situation in which we should, when someone comes to us who is being prosecuted for a crime that we do not consider to be a crime?

Re:No Asylum? (4, Funny)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662171)

they didnt speak Spanish well enough to stay here...

Re:No Asylum? (3, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662277)

But the U.S doesn't have perfect freedom of speech either. See "Fire", crowded theatres, passim.

Re:No Asylum? (1)

liquidsunshine (1312821) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662337)

I completely agree, but I'd be willing to guess that the reasoning has to do with treaties and/or our relationship with Britain. Offering asylum would imply that we think they are a "bad" nation with unjust laws (which they seem to be), and would hurt our relationship with them. Basically, world governments are a bunch of middle schoolers.

Re:No Asylum? (2, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662483)

On top of that, how eager do you think the U.S. is to provide asylum for people who, apparently knowingly and willingly, break a law - then when they can no longer stand the heat, think they can simply get away with it by relocating to a country with more lax laws?

"Really? Rape is illegal here? How quaint. Well then, see ya! *books flight to Somethin'stan and requests asylum*"

Re:No Asylum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662447)

Because not even the USA would act in such a way to piss off one of their few remaining allies, even if they don't view the UK so much as a partner as a patsy.

Not for accused fugitives from your closest ally. (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662463)

Giving asylum has profound diplomatic consequences. It says to the other country that their human rights record and criminal justice system sucks. That's not something the USA really wants to say to the UK... not if the USA wants any more intelligence or other assistance.

Re:No Asylum? (1)

bagorange (1531625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662479)

Can I start a business in the United States selling alcohol to those aged from 18-20 and then flee to Britain when I'm arrested?

that works so well (3, Funny)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662315)

Great going, Britain! As Yugoslavia has shown us, trying to suppress racial hatred through government oppression works really well!

Brits are evil (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662321)

Those faggots can go shove it. Down with the British! Down with the Queen!

Authoritarians demand "purity" of thought (2, Insightful)

davide marney (231845) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662385)

There are many forms of authoritarianism. It is a belief system that is surprisingly "cross-platform"; you'll find examples in all kinds of communities, secular and religious, left-wing and right-wing, liberal and conservative.

What they have in common is a mis-trust in the governed. The governed must be repressed, and cannot be allowed to have free choice. There can be no tolerance for meaningful opposition, for that would "weaken" the community, resulting in "instability", i.e., loss of control by the governing class. It is a forced form of allegiance.

All truly free societies are built on the power of persuasion.

ideas have consequences (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662427)

the internet can be a great way to incite violence. You cannot live in freedom if some creep is using the internet to incite violence against you. I think these laws are reasonable.

Distinctions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662435)

Hate crime occurs when harm comes to the person or group that one is prejudiced against. The law does not tell you what you can think, or what you can say, only that you cannot harm anyone else by your words or actions. Many of the posts here confuse this and unreasonably lash out against the government telling you what you can think or say, when it reality, reasonable people can distinguish between stupid harmless comments and real crime. I know, because I'm gay, and i can say firsthand that there is a distinct, discernable line that you cannot cross. I don't care what you think about me, I don't care what you say to your friends, but it starts to become and issue when your words affect other people's interpretations of me, or even worse, make me feel threatened.

Again, the law is there to protect people. In this case, posting something on the internet, in my opinion, does not deserve the punishment these men received. If they had come up to people of another race in person on the street and said these things, the determining factor about whether or not they commited a crime is the same as any kind of harassment.

they hate me, too, and I don't care (2, Informative)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28662467)

Their web site is called heretical.com [heretical.com] . They apparently hate me, too.

But their writing is so discombobulated that I'd be much more concerned about the threat to my life and liberty from a government that thinks it needs to throw people in jail over this drivel than about these two nuts or their readers.

GNAA (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28662473)

The Gay Nigger Association of America [www.gnaa.us] will be furious!

And believe me, you don't want to have those guys on your ass!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?