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French President Proposes Jail For Terrorist Website Visitors

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the if-it-quacks-like-a-terrorist dept.

Censorship 402

howardd21 writes "French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is only a month away from an election, argued that it is time to treat those who browse extremist websites the same way as those who consume child pornography. 'Anyone who regularly consults Internet sites which promote terror or hatred or violence will be sentenced to prison,' he told a campaign rally in Strasbourg, in eastern France. 'Don't tell me it's not possible. What is possible for pedophiles should be possible for trainee terrorists and their supporters, too.' Is this a good move for security, or just another step towards a totalitarian society that prohibits free expression?"

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402 comments

Do you have to ask? (5, Funny)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450277)

So do you jail the intelligence agents who monitor said sites?

Re:Do you have to ask? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450383)

Naturally, no.

Special exemptions for "special citizens".

Like how Congress passes a law, but conveniently exempts themselves from it's application to themselves.

How about terrorism AND kiddie porn! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450423)

Try French Goa Tse [goatse.fr] . Better than kiddie porn, it's old man porn and TERRORISTIC!

Re:Do you have to ask? (5, Insightful)

second_coming (2014346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450385)

Obviously not, in much the same way that enforcement agencies monitoring any other illegal content wouldn't be.

Police and civilian IT forensic staff have to witness all kinds of completely illegal images/content on a daily basis and there is no question of any wrongdoing on their part.

But then you knew that anyway.

Re:Do you have to ask? (0)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450547)

Yeah, just like the Saudis, and the Iranian government, and the Chinese firewall guys, North Korea's Dear Leader, and the Justice Department's IPR task force get special unrestricted Internetz, while the people make do with what they are allowed.

Re:Do you have to ask? (3, Insightful)

second_coming (2014346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450599)

There is censorship and monitoring everywhere, don't fool yourself. Some countries are just more blatent about it.

Attacking the soul of France... (5, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450279)

The French should remind themselves that their motto is Liberté, égalité, fraternité, and that all three bits are important.

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (0, Flamebait)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450331)

"Liberté, égalité, fraternité". Yeah, right. France has been one of the most outrageous violators of it's own principles for a long time now whenever it comes to Muslims.

Re:France is being colonized (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450429)

but it is also true that France is currently being colonized by Muslims. Not only Muslims reproduce more but they also demand French people to adapt to Muslim costumes.

Re:France is being colonized (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450633)

"they also demand French people to adapt to Muslim costumes."

Aha! I think I finally understand why they banned head scarves, then.

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450823)

France has been rabidly secular for the last century, and right back to the Napoleonic Code. It may be that Muslims are feeling the heat of that secularism at the moment, but it was applied to Roman Catholics at one point too and applies to other religions also. I don't see that the rules were designed to single one religion out but to prevent any of them from exerting undue influence on the state. As such I see no issue with what France is doing at all in that regard.

I think on a social level however that a lot of the recent flareups are less about religion and more due to poverty and social inequity. Youths who happen to be muslim engage in criminal activity, the police crack down in a heavy handed way and a things turn into a riot with religion as the excuse.

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (3, Informative)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450831)

I'm guessing you are referring to the banning of burkas in France, which is not so much a restriction of the rights of a Muslim than it is an end to the positive discrimination of Muslims -- it was already illegal for everyone to walk around masked.

We had the same thing in Belgium, where pupils have never been allowed to wear hats, caps, etc. in class. So to treat everyone equally, neither can Muslims. Which then, according to them, infringes on their right of religious freedom. Which is ridiculous, of course.

If you were referring to anything else, ignore my comment.

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450859)

Why limit your comment to just Muslims? The French are some of the most outrageous hypocrites, period.

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (3, Funny)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450471)

The French should remind themselves that their motto is Liberté, égalité, fraternité, and that all three bits are important.

Yes, but some bits are more important than others.

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450491)

In an unfortunate twist, the sorts of reactions that our favorite diminutive head of state proposes are exactly the sort of thing that seems like an attractive tactical move; but makes a unbelieveably dreadful strategic one against your assorted religious nutjobs and fundamentalist reactionaries...

It is certainly true that some people Simply Aren't Interested in ye olde western enlightenment values, no matter how good a job you do of actually upholding them. Those you pretty much have to put up with, with the proviso that if they cross the line, you'll have to kill them.

For everybody else, though, the lousier and more hypocritical your execution of your supposed ideals, the worse you look, and the better the chap down the road who has shit ideals, but is at least real sincere about them, starts to look.

If your sales pitch ends up being "Welcome to the Free World(tm): We offer the finest in postmodern cynicism and brutality cloaked in the noblest sounding invocations of highflown principle than money can buy. Please look directly into the retinal scanner and have an nice day." You can't very well expect to stem fundamentalist recruitment very effectively...

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450695)

For everybody else, though, the lousier and more hypocritical your execution of your supposed ideals, the worse you look, and the better the chap down the road who has shit ideals, but is at least real sincere about them, starts to look.

I'm convinced that that is 90% of Ron Paul's appeal. Or Santorum, for that matter.

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450503)

Some of us still do. Unforunately we are surrounded, and governed, by idiots...

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450673)

Pretty much. I'll be curious to see how that plays out. As others said, this is nothing but a transparent attempt to curry favor with the far-right. They are a minority, but a consistent minority. There's some electoral value in getting on a part of their plank. The real test will be the actual election: will Sarkozy be elected because of it, and will he remember this pledge?

To some extent, I feel the same way about this idea as I feel about a lot of campaign rhetoric in the US. Most of it is nothing but basic pandering to extremist and unpatriotic viewpoints. If we'd take every politician at their election year worth, we'd have been in WW3 for the last 15 years or so.

It is not the french which should be reminded (2)

aepervius (535155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450693)

It is the french POLITIC which should be reminded. The same way the US guys often sigh at the US political being in the pocket of corporation, we have similar problem here around.

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (5, Insightful)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450749)

The French should remind themselves that their motto is Liberté, égalité, fraternité, and that all three bits are important.

I beg to disagree. I live only a few miles from France, in a possibly worse country (Italy). the three words of the motto are sometimes in contradiction of each other, because one of the best tenets of liberty,and relevant to the topic, is that i must be allowed to hate your guts, which means "middle finger to fraternitè", but that I must not be allowed to limit YOUR liberty to hate MY guts.
individuals will mostly prefer liberty over fraternity; the politicians will always prefer fraternity over liberty, because it will give them the means, and the moral justification to meddle in everybody's life and make themselves relevant. this case is no different, and there's no politico like a french one.

Re:Attacking the soul of France... (4, Insightful)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450803)

'The French' are perfectly aware of their motto. This inflammatory statement is nothing more than Sarko playing to the far right trying to take votes away from Marie Le Pen as he knows he can't win with the left.

bring it on. (-1, Flamebait)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450297)

Bring it on, Sarkozi.

Jihaad against scum like you has been going on since day one, and your puny laws won't change anything.

Re:bring it on. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450361)

the world would be a much nicer place without islam. no wonder everyone hates muslims.

Re:bring it on. (0, Flamebait)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450407)

It would also be a much nicer place without sarkozy. No wonder everyone hates france.

And for this, slashdot will be classified as a terrorist website only so that sarkozy can nab me whenever I have the bad misfortune to somehow end up in his nation of wine soaked douchebags.

Re:bring it on. (4, Insightful)

Clsid (564627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450523)

Just because you and a bunch of English/American people hate France doesn't mean everybody hates France. The guy who carried the attacks was pretty much targeting the Western world in any case, and in the case of Sarkozy, he's very afraid of losing the elections since the leftist candidate is going to win so he has started making crazy and racist comments.

Re:bring it on. (3, Insightful)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450857)

Everyone hates France?
Maybe in America, but who cares about what America thinks of an EU country?

The problem here is Sarkozy not France in its entirety.

Re:bring it on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450861)

Well, just don't end up in France. More wine for us.

Re:bring it on. (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450397)

this is the kind of warped perspective that makes no sense to me

so much venom for the west

what do you think of guys who hold the hair of eight year old girls and execute them?

i'm not supporting this ridiculous visit-a-website,go-to-jail law. it's stupid

i'm taking a stand against the warped perspective that: the west does something you dislike, so you support something far worse

you do realize it's possible to be disgusted by BOTH islamic radicalization and censorial overreach, right?

Re:bring it on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450541)

Eight year old girl executed? Where?? [citation needed]

you do realize it's possible to be disgusted by BOTH islamic radicalization and censorial overreach, right?

Yeah, and I'm disgusted by those who make up horrible atrocities to further their own political agenda.

Re:bring it on. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450737)

"The fourth victim was Myriam Monsonego, seven, daughter of the head teacher, who was reportedly grabbed by the hair and shot in the head."

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17428860 [bbc.co.uk]

Is that good enough for you? Cunt.

Re:bring it on. (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450739)

the toulouse gunman did this a few days ago, outside the jewish school

cited in numerous news sites

so this was just made up in order to justify censorship?

are you a paranoid schizophrenic?

Re:bring it on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450807)

Are you serious? One minute on Google will find multiple cases of children "executed" by organized militant groups. Check out Amnesty International or other human rights sites. Islam Watch, a site run by former Muslims, is another good source. Just because your head is seven miles up your ass doesn't change the reality of it all.

Re:bring it on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450453)

Looks like Slashdot will now qualify as a terrorist web site, all French readers had better turn yourselves in now. Give me your mod points, you won't need them where you're going.

Terrorist content detected (3, Funny)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450513)

Now all of you who have read this post, give yourselves up at the nearest police, s'il vous plais.

Is It One of Those Laws Where Everyone is Guilty? (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450303)

I can't find any details on the specifics of the proposal so I can't help but wonder if this is one of those things where everyone is guilty and now the government can arrest and detain whoever they want? So a scenario is a terrorist uses Yahoo Mail or Twitter to send messages, the French catch it and shut it down. Years later, I'm using twitter or yahoo! Now, if they arrest me or confiscate my laptop, they have the choice to hold me on the grounds that I was visiting terrorist websites. If they are forced to say which websites, they might just cross reference my browsing history base URLs with their database and pick the least well-known site (maybe Reddit or Slashdot even?) that they claim to have detected terrorist activity on? Ideally (for the government), I'm sure they would get away without even ever naming the sites on national security grounds or something.

The politicians justify this by thinking they're good people and these laws where anyone could be arrested will not be abused. The people justify this because it happens infrequently enough that they can dismiss cases as outliers. But once a jerk is elected and these laws still exist, people start to notice because they'll use them against anyone -- even political enemies.

"I don't like this guy. Go arrest him and make sure to get his computer. We don't have anything on him but we will."

Re:Is It One of Those Laws Where Everyone is Guilt (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450351)

Presidential elections are just one month from now. He just wants to glean some votes from the far-right voters

Re:Is It One of Those Laws Where Everyone is Guilt (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450477)

But wouldn't far-right voters be affected by this law? Or are non-muslim right-wing extremists excluded?

Re:Is It One of Those Laws Where Everyone is Guilt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450863)

But wouldn't far-right voters be affected by this law? Or are non-muslim right-wing extremists excluded?

I think it's clear by now that far-right voters never contemplate that they might be subject to the laws they advocate. The laws are to stop the "bad" people, after all.

Re:Is It One of Those Laws Where Everyone is Guilt (3, Informative)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450903)

doesn't matter. If elections are in just one month, he doesn't need to get this law passed, he doesn't even need to actually flesh out the details of the law, he's just making noise.

And he (probably rightly) assumes that his target audience assumes that muslim and terrorist are synonyms and their favorite websites would not be counted.

Thoughtcrime does not Entail Death... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450305)

Thoughtcrime _is_ death.

Gas the muslims (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450317)

Gas the muslims. Until that group of barbarians is finally exterminated there is no chance of peace in the Middle East nor in the European countries where they are trying to set up mini-Sharia territories in-between rioting and committing crimes.

FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450341)

This is wrong on so many levels, but let me address just one, identifying terrorists. If you don't make it illegal, but rather just identify who the frequent consumers are would this not generate a list of people you may want to have a talk with. You can then rule out the folks who visit for innocuous reasons and focus on those folks who are bent in the direction of terrorism.

Hey Sarkozy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450345)

Meet my friend, 4chan. 4chan, Sarkozy.

This certainly won't get abused at all.
How long before the entire French government, including Sarkozy, is jailed under their own law for looking at terrorist websites?

What's the definition of an extremist? (2)

sepiroth (598780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450357)

That the one who does not go with the rest. Should be bust all slashdotters too? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremist [wikipedia.org]

Re:What's the definition of an extremist? (0)

Crayon Kid (700279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450797)

Whoa, there. Careful with this line of thought. I mean, what's next, arguing that if one who owns reading material about bombs is not necessarily a terrorist, then one who owns naked kiddy pics is not necessarily a pedophile? Or that the ownership of said material, in itself, without acting on it, is not enough for punishment? Come on, think of the children, please. It's obvious that people who read about terrorist topics intend to commit it, just like it's been proven without a doubt that the degenerates who own naked kiddy pics will invariably go out and molest little children. I don't have the exact figures or a study at hand right now, but come on, it makes perfect sense, it's like doubting the sky is blue.

Publicity whore... (4, Insightful)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450377)

...the summary said so, he's only about a month away from the elections. That's just an easy way to get people to remember your name.
What he proposed isn't going to happen of course.

Re:Publicity whore... (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450557)

What he proposed isn't going to happen of course.

Of course. And the summary is also wrong in its conclusion: "Is this a good move for security, or just another step towards a totalitarian society that prohibits free expression?"

It's just a step toward all websites using https so that nobody will have a fucking clue what you're looking at anymore. Often these sites have perfectly legit (should we say 'reasonable'?) sections and it's going to be harder and harder to determine which parts the users actually went to.

Re:Publicity whore... (1)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450755)

Yes, of course, because this will never go through the constitutional council which has already killed a number of laws proposed by Sarkozy's party. (Almost) Everybody knows it but on the other hand, presidential elections are next month so this might just gain him a few votes. There is nothing more than that, he is loosing in the polls and is desperate to strengthen his position before election day.

Re:Publicity whore... (2)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450949)

https doesn't prevent anyone from finding out that you made an https request to a particular IP address, and it was preceded by a dns request for a "terrorist" web site that resolves to that IP address. It just keeps them from finding out exactly what you were looking at on that server.

Re:Publicity whore... (1)

Clsid (564627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450623)

He's aiming to secure the vote of the extreme right since he's in a bad shape for elections. Even the French Communist Party ranks rose from 7% to 15%, so the left in the form of the Front Gauche is poised to sweep the idiot out of power. This latest comment from him is just but a continuation of his crazy remarks that shows his desperation. The other infamous one is the "there are too many foreigners in France", especially ironic when his father immigrated to France himself from Turkey.

He did gain some points for handling the gunman crisis well, but not so much to overcome either Hollande or Melanchon on a second round of voting.

Re:Publicity whore... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450715)

...the summary said so, he's only about a month away from the elections. That's just an easy way to get people to remember your name.

Sarkozy is the president of France.

Like him or not, I think people already know his name.

billions propose jail time for corepirate nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450393)

what's good for the sheep.....

Shades of Martin Niemoller (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450405)

First they came for those looking for child pornography...
Then they came for those looking for bomb recipies...
Then they came for those looking to write a documentary on terrorist/extremist web-sites. /s/ anonymous documentary writer

Violence or Violence? (5, Insightful)

Mr_Blank (172031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450411)

Anyone who regularly consults Internet sites which promote terror or hatred or violence will be sentenced to prison

Such a law would be a joy for military recruiters. Click the links below to be put onto a French terrorist watch list!
Army [army.mil] , Air Force [af.mil] , Navy [navy.mil] , Marines! [marines.mil]
Army [defense.gouv.fr] , Air Force [defense.gouv.fr] , Navy, Marines! [defense.gouv.fr]

I suppose the French President meant violence he does not agree with should be prosecuted. That makes more sense.

By definition (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450613)

I suppose the French President meant violence he does not agree with should be prosecuted

Government is the organization holding the unique "right" to employ violence (meaning coercion or threat thereof) as a business model. That is the ONLY 100% objective definition of government.

Therefore, what you said is more than just true: it's nothing less than the core foundation of all government.

Of course, violence should be punished, because it represents a violation of self-ownership. No rational human being would disagree with that. But some human beings, like myself, take it a step further. I don't differentiate between violence coming from within government and violence coming from outside government. Violence is an attack on human rights, and no amount of voting, "representation", or "executive mandate" can change human nature.

Better idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450415)

Disconnect France from the Internet. Close all roads. Declare it a no-fly-zone. Remove all international rails.

Losing liberty because of tolerance (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450459)

It would be even easier to just recognize that importing large numbers of foreigners who don't share your country's values, and who have a history of having a minority who advocate making open war on your society, was a huge mistake for the Western nations. You could correct that by revoking visas in the hundreds of thousands and sending them back home. But no, you cannot do that. That would be "hateful" even though it would be an even greater violation of the human dignity of those people, to say nothing of your citizens, to subject them to a police state because you don't want to accept the fact that there is a constant, indefatigable minority who not only cannot integrate but are violently opposed to Western values. When I say "violently" I mean in the sense of willing to actually use real force, not the sort of pissant, isolated incidents associated with native conservative Christians and Jews once in a blue moon.

Re:Losing liberty because of tolerance (3, Insightful)

Clsid (564627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450685)

So in that sense we should also forbid the free flow of capital, natural resources, telecommunications and just live in our own separate tribes. Then war can make things better when said tribes have an issue because whoever loses gets assimilated or becomes slave labor. Yeah, it definitely is a better system.

Dangers are Relative (2)

NReitzel (77941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450483)

Permitting terrorism and hatred are awful things. They lead, directly or not, to real dangers to society and to humanity at large.

However, consider the danger posed by a government given the power to say, "There are things you must not know." Not official secrets, which have some justification, but thoughts of people who think our governmental system is unfair - which is what Islamist thought is all about. How about thoughts about which God is the "right" God? Thoughts about what constitutes Evil or Good?

Governments have been in the business of thought control ever since Socrates, and probably a long time before that.

Whatever danger access to terrorist web sites constitutes to society, giving a government the ability to decide which thoughts you should think and which thoughts are criminal acts is a far greater hazard to humanity than any nut case with a bomb can ever be.

I have visited terrorist websites (5, Interesting)

Teppy (105859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450517)

Including Inspire magazine (Al Qaeda's English-language publication), the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups, and sites sympathetic to the Oklahoma city bombing.

I want to understand what motivates these people; I want to think about what sort of public policy creates the most freedom, prosperity, safety; I want to understand the enemy and figure out why they're the enemy in the first place.

So I guess I'd be put in jail for this if I lived in France. Is Sarkozy saying that only politicians are able to reason about such things? Hell of a job they've done so far.

Re:I have visited terrorist websites (-1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450919)

1. Why? Why do you want to understand these people? I'm serious. Why deliberately fill your head with hatred and evil and seek to know what motivates these people? Can you? Is it possible? To what end?

2. No you wouldn't be put in jail. Read it again.

3. Rant mode.

Screw all this pompous "blah blah blah I'll defend to the death your right to say anything, even if I disagree with it, etc.". I understand the good and mighty intentions behind it, but look at what it's done. This has been promoted to ridiculous extremes in the past few decades, and the result has been an absolution of personal moral accountability. People no longer feel they have to take responsibility for their actions; instead, they can do and say and be and behave however they want, no matter how offensive or stupid or wrong, and not have to worry about the consequences.

Screw it. Time to say there are absolutes, and some things are wrong, and should be censored. Maybe this wouldn't be necessary in an ideal world, but society has declined too far.

Sigh...what a pessimistic way to go into the weekend.

How could this fail? (2)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450525)

Look it's obvious that this is the right strategy against terrorism. When the people who regularly visit extremist websites go to jail for it, they will contemplate about the thought crimes they've committed and get a new life as democratic and well-adapted citizens. What else could happen?

Not enough time to pass (5, Informative)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450527)

This is a law-project tailored specifically to address the crazy killer that shot 7 people recently in France.

The presidential election is less than 1 month away and no more laws would be discussed or voted in the mean time. So this law would never pass.

The killer was under scrutiny since his return from Afghanistan. Since he hasn't done anything in France, he could be arrested and jailed. They weren't able to detect any suspicious behavior like planning to plant a bomb which is the most common terrorist act in Europe. We have very few gun-related deaths compared to the US, so such a killing spree is very unusual. This is the most obvious reason his planning went undetected.

The point of this stupid law is to give an excuse for the Police to arrest and jail anyone with a slight hint of suspect behavior, before they might be planning to commit actual crime.

As usual, this is stupid and inefficient.

Reactive society (1)

Atomus (2500840) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450533)

This is what happens when you live in a reactive society. All it does is give the authorities an excuse expand their power and the illusion that you'll somehow feel safer

Well ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450559)

Is this a good move for security, or just another step towards a totalitarian society that prohibits free expression?

Sadly, from the point of the totalitarian society, this is not an "either or" question.

Unfortunately, this proposal sounds a little like thought crime to me. You've not done anything illegal, but by looking at it, you're now a criminal.

If I read a copy of the "Anarchists Cookbook", am I now a terrorist? Once you start outlawing certain kinds of thought and expression, you can definitely be on a slippery slope ... what next, books by Che Guevara? He was a revolutionary. What about Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience"? Ghandi maybe?

Not to say that I'm defending the guy whose killing spree triggered this, but at a certain point, you can't criminalize thoughts and ideas unless they're directly inciting harm and violence.

But, how many of us still have that uncle (or father) who still makes really crass jokes we all cringe about? Do we start outlawing that?

This seems like it might cause more alienation between France and its Muslim population than actually helping anything.

A weapon against terrorists (-1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450593)

Anybody who watches islamist snuff videos and regularly consumes islamist propaganda is likely to be a threat, and belongs in jail (or should be deported).

I'm generally supportive. If the security services need additional levers to pull, in order to put terrorist sympathisers behind bars, then I'm generally supportive. As long as there is proper oversight of the use of these powers to ensure they're not abused, then I don't see the harm.

I would also be generally supportive of ways of identifying disaffected or impossible-to-integrate elements of the muslim community, and move them on to some place where they aren't as unhappy. If they hate us dirty white kuffars so badly, why keep them around?

Re:A weapon against terrorists (2)

AlecC (512609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450711)

A general rule of powers given to government is that if they can be abused. See anti-terror laws used to spy on people alleged to be cheating the school placement system, and jaywalkers who happen to do it in a defence establishment. And I can see so many ways this can be abused to persecute the merely curious.

Re:A weapon against terrorists (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450849)

So shouldn't we try to fix the system, instead of stopping possibly-useful laws from being put on the books because of a perceived threat of abuse? Just asking.

Banned URL List (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450595)

Can someone post a comprehensive list of URLs we're not supposed to follow (Anarchist's cookbook, WikiLeaks, and all the rest)? So we can avoid them, of course.

In other news (1)

nashv (1479253) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450605)

"Anyone visiting websites for emo teens will be fined for self-inflicted depression that taxes the entire public health care system."

What bullshit thoughts does Sarkozy have in his brain now?

Potentially both (2)

accessbob (962147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450617)

Cutting access to terrorists should certainly reduce their influence and access to new members.

But who decides who is actually a terrorist? In the UK in the 80's our Prime Minister (Margaret Thatcher) used to refer to Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. Th Chinese Communist Party call anyone who stands up to their rule "terrorists", as does Assad in Syria today.

So I understand the reasoning but fear the consequences.

It won't be long.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450643)

... Before peaceful protest websites are declared terrorist websites, and all protest participants jailed as terrorists.

Obvious Response (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450651)

France has repeatedly harbored those who my country considers to be terrorists. Time to imprison Sarkozy in Gitmo!

it is an election year (2)

aepervius (535155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450663)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_presidential_election,_2012 [wikipedia.org]

In a few weeks the presidential election will start. What do you think Sarkozy is doing ? he is batting for a renewal of his job. He has to show he is doing something and as usual it is individual liberty which take a shot in the knee.

Whereas it is true that there are some legal precedent (downloading child pornography is punished by law, and as far as i can tell, even in the US, and nazi apologist or race hatred incitations is punishable by law), it would be difficult on the technological side (most of those site are on foreign soil).

Unconstitutional (2)

ianare (1132971) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450677)

Sarkozy is just pandering to the extreme right in an election year.

This law would not be applicable given the French constitution, and in fact would also violate EU law. Any law which limits free expression must have a very specific target, and simply saying "terrorism" or "hate speech" is way too vast.

Child pornography is illegal because it can be easily and precisely defined, but what would define terrorist or hateful speech ? And what is the difference between genuine political speech and hate speech ? It's all very subjective. It would also lead to some interesting consequences, like that Mein Kampf would be legal to sell in print but not viewable on the Internet.

Article (in French) [lemonde.fr]

Brings a new worry... (5, Interesting)

AlecC (512609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450679)

...to rickrolling - or call it terrortrolling. Just set up a few fake links for your gullible frenemies, and get them the dawn knock on the door.

Slippery slope (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450723)

"...it is time to treat those who browse extremist websites the same way as those who consume child pornography."

Read: It is time to slip a little further down the slope.

This attitude is similar to:
- It's time to attack consumers of alcohol like other drug users.
- It's time to ramp up penalties on copyright infringers.
- It's time to extend public exposure laws to ban shorts, short skirts, and short-sleeved t-shirts.

Can we not just expand law simply because some time has passed! Indeed, can we consider retracting or abolishing some laws.

Precrime (1)

jean-guy69 (445459) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450733)

This is the latest of so many instances. Every time there is some news that has a strong echo, he creates some new oppressive law to please the far-rights voters..
This law reminds me of the precrime from Minority Report.. At least in the US FBI entraps the suspect before jailing him.
What's next in "Le pays des Droits de l'Homme" ? Jailing someone because a "Total Information Awareness"-like program consider him a terrorist-wanabee ? (he read the wrong book and regularly shops in ethnic grocery stores)

Old Song for Modern Times (0)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450743)

Sarkozy's joined the National Front
He always was a little runt
He's got his hand in the air
With the other cunts.

--
BMO

He is a bit late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450747)

about 26 years... this talk is so 1984

Makes sense (1)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450757)

Don't tell me it's not possible. What is possible for pedophiles should be possible for trainee terrorists and their supporters, too.

He's exactly right.

Which is why only production of pedophilia should be illegal, and why it should no more be censored than such terroristic revolutionary documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers. Or even Mein Kampf or the Bible.

Government repression of free expression, on the other hand...now that's something that should be considered treasonous.

b&

Offended (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450773)

it is time to treat those who browse extremist websites the same way as those who consume child pornography

Don't equate me with a terrorist just because I like to download some child porn, put some lettuce in the printer, and make myself a BL(cp)T.

-

I wonder what Voltaire would have to say to this.. (1)

XavierGr (1641057) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450775)

Voltaire where are you? To witness the raping of your ideas and the decay of your motherland...

First they came.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450787)

First they came for those who were curious to look at child pornography, but I didn't speak up because I am not a pedophile and find child abuse offensive.
Then they came for those sympathized with extremists and considered terrorism as a possible tactic, but I didn't speak up because I do not condone murder.
Then they came for those who spoke of protest and revolution against the upper class, but I didn't speak up because I believe in working within the system.
And so it went on. So that when they finally came for me, there was no one left to speak up for me.

The loss of civil rights and freedom always starts with the offensive and unpopular. But once it starts with them, it never stops with them. Unless someone stops it... unless we stop it before it gets to them.

Crazy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450789)

It's fucking madness! Shit like this makes me want to join the "terrorists"!

Minority Report (2)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450817)

Welcome to the age of Minority Report, France: Now you, too, can be convicted of a crime you haven't yet committed, but that we suspect you'll commit! What's next, France? Jailing someone who researches how a nuclear bomb works? How about jailing someone who watches Breaking Bad [wikipedia.org] because they obviously are planning on becoming a producer and dealer in methamphetamine? Whoops, little 5 year old Johnny at the supermarket with his mother almost walked out the door with a candy bar in his hand, better send him off to Juvenile Hall, he's on his way to becoming a hardened criminal!

Seriously, Sarkosy? Are you seriously going to plunge head-first down this slippery slope? Are you really that stupid?

I hate you all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450843)

And you should do the same.

Now please go to prison.

Are they serious? (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450877)

Seriously, how on earth do you define a Terrorist? Isn't that almost as difficult as defining a 'bad person' - let's jail all 'bad people' and all people who frequent 'bad people' sites - sorry, but there is too much subjectivity required to determine who is a 'terrorist' that it can not work effectively for the purpose it purports to be for.

Really? I'm just baffled how anyone of any authority could think this is they way we need to head....

I think the world is pretty fscked up, and the shear size of our societies and apparent incompatibilities between them mean they are dysfunctional by virtue - but this is not the solution. I'm not saying I can devise a good solution, but I can recognise that this is not one.

Stupid... (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450889)

Jailing someone for familiarising themselves with a subject is wrong...

Guides on how to commit acts of terrorism could be perceived as interesting, and are useful reading for someone working on the other side of the fence looking to prevent, deter or even just detect such acts... In fact this is a common problem, those looking to prevent a given activity simply don't understand how those who want to carry out such activities think... Wether it's hacking, burgling, terrorism, piracy etc, and you end up with wholly ineffective measures that look really fancy but are easily circumvented by those who are serious about doing it, while providing significant disruption for innocent civilians.
There seems to be a generally flawed mindset out there that concentrates on big fancy front gates, while totally forgetting about the rotten wooden door at the back.

Personally i think the more people understand about how terrorists think, the greater the chance of their activities being discovered and stopped. Imagine you live next door to someone who keeps bringing bags of fertiliser into their house, are they a keen gardened or can fertiliser be used to make bombs? Have you seen any evidence of well cultivated plants in their back garden? Can you smell canabis coming from their roof space? Or can you smell other chemicals you've read about in the jolly roger's cookbook?

Child porn is entirely different, most people simply won't want to look at it, even if they should stumble across it accidentally.

Boo fucking hoo France... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450937)

liberty...remember??? hard to win...easy to give up
once you lose it... generations of descendants will curse you and die to get it back...
enough said

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450941)

Anyone who pirates copyrighted materials SHOULD go to jail.

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