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ISP Fined $5000 For Hate Content

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the slippery-slope dept.

Censorship 594

eRondeau writes "In a precedent-setting ruling, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has fined a hosting company for carrying 'objectionable content'. The material in question was White Supremacist postings. From the article: 'The ruling sends a very strong message that Internet servers, if they are aware there is hate content and don't take timely action to remove it, can be held liable,' said the Ottawa lawyer who filed the complaint in February 2002. The individual posters were fined thousands as well."

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So much for free speech in Canada. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899697)

Way to go, hosers.

Re:So much for free speech in Canada. (-1, Offtopic)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899937)

Eh? Aye, hoser, I'm from da Norouest Terrtori, and raised in Calgree. I were just aboot ta go ice fishin but a coupla eskeemos beet me over da head with a shank of whale blubber and robbed me naked. I found some dead beaver to feed on but they pretty thin. I seen more meat on a hockey stick. I made a fye err outta their dung for warmin, smokin what chunks are left that wont burn. Whatever, aye. Now aint dat some pritty shit? Send help, kay?

Wait a sec... (5, Interesting)

sedyn (880034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899706)

As a Canadian, I'm pissed that this has happened. Why? Because let's take this to its logical conclusion, if a patron of a restruant, a university student, or even someone on a bus, says something out of line and the owner of a "public" place does not object, then they might be penalized for it.

What does this lead to? Censorship by citizens, censorship by the government is bad enough, but this could lead to a disaster.

Frankly, the ISP shouldn't have to do anything unless ordered to. And, if in doubt, they should have contacted the authorities (I don't know if they did or not).

Now I don't feel like hosting any form of forum in Canada, becuase I don't want to be held responsible for what some random fuckwad says.

FTA:
  "The ruling shows Canadians have no tolerance for hate," Maillet said.

I have little tolerance for censhorship as well. I pray that they challenge this ruling with the Supreme Court (assuming it hasn't already happened, which I doubt). Because I doubt this "Human Rights Tribunal" is thinking about the consequences of this ruling in a greater context.

Re:Wait a sec... (5, Insightful)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899737)

It would make it rediculously easy to shut down a forum you have a problem with. Just flood the forum with trash constantly.

Re:Wait a sec... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899772)

You must be new here?

Re:Wait a sec... (4, Funny)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899835)

Slashdot's still here, ain't it?

Re:Wait a sec... (0)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899877)

Fortunately, Slashdot is across a Great Lake from Canada.

Re:Wait a sec... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899965)

Yeah, I thought I'd forgo the geographical technicality for the sake of a dig at our beloved Slashdot. The grandparent's choice of phrase was far too convenient to resist! ;)

Re:Wait a sec... (-1, Troll)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899905)

Just flood the forum with trash constantly.

Yes, them Canadians [goatse.ca] are very good at this ;-)

Canada - we put the .ca into g*tse.ca!

Re:Wait a sec... (1)

prell (584580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899915)

What you say assumes that the group of people responsible for taking action against this type of content are frivolous, strangers to common sense, and do not take their grave task seriously.

Re:Wait a sec... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899939)

That's what some of the people on this forum do to women, tree hugging robots, ready to eat curry packets? NICE....NOT REALLY

: ( That was pretty low, and really terrible whoever wrote that...I haven't paid attention to what you guys have be posting lately...

What should I say, um:
Merry Christmas, Slashdot B*tches? You have been outsourced to India?

NO...that would be just like you guys or the 1% of silliness/immature guys that have nothing better to do on this site than post meanness about chicks here, make women quit school because of goofball stuff. Yeah, yeah it is me Vicki McPherson...no more pranks whoever this is, or please, please take me to court you know who you are, seriously, grow up...or leave me alone....

Re:Wait a sec... (2, Interesting)

incom (570967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899910)

Little surprise upon reading the article that the complainant was Richard Warman, this guy has a colorful history. He is well connected and has an axe to grind.

Re:Wait a sec... (3, Insightful)

bitt3n (941736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899938)

silencing minority viewpoints with which you do not agree: now there's an agenda many hate speakers will support.

Re:Wait a sec... (1)

wkitchen (581276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899982)

As a Canadian, I'm pissed that this has happened. Why? Because let's take this to its logical conclusion, if a patron of a restruant, a university student, or even someone on a bus, says something out of line and the owner of a "public" place does not object, then they might be penalized for it.

What does this lead to? Censorship by citizens, censorship by the government is bad enough, but this could lead to a disaster.
Exactly.

A human rights group made this happen? Just what human right has benefitted from this?

Which raises an interesting question (4, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899708)

How robust is the freedom of expression in Canada? I know that such a right in Europe is more of a matter of legislative tradition than constitutional law.*

*For example, constitutional law in the UK is based on the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, and the Parliamentary acts, none of which guarantee freedom of speech to the citizens

Re:Which raises an interesting question (5, Informative)

sedyn (880034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899731)

Freedom of expression is covered through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms [wikipedia.org] .

The only thing that is really censored is hate speech (including Holcaust denial).

From the Charter (3, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899824)

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

In other words, these rights are defined narrowly so as to allow arbitrary restrictions to the extent that they are justified in a free and democratic society.

Which leads to a number of intersting questions:

1) Can the legislature forbid, say, blasphemy or degrading another religion? What about the Danish Cartoons?

2) Is the limitation on hate speech really demonstrabl justified in a free and democratic society? If so where exactly is that line drawn?

3) Could the Parliament ban a political party on the grounds that they teach in the abstract a moral duty to the violent overthrow of the government even if no preparations are being made for said insurrection? And was the Communist Party ever so banned?

I doubt that most Americans really understand or value the extent to which we have freedom of expression in our society. The defining case and (IANAL) governing precident in this area in the US is the case of Brandenburg v. Ohio that held that saying things like "This is what we are going to do to the niggers... bury the niggers... we intend to do our part" (see footnote 1 in the majority opinion in the case) at a KKK rally could not be criminalized using criminal syndication and racketeering laws. In essence the line in the US between protected speech in this area and unprotected speech is crossed when there is an intent to cause immanent lawless action. Even threats of violence *in the abstract* are protected provided that there is not any attempt to prepare to carry them out.

I have not yet found any other country that has the same robust protection on freedom of expression as the US. And I am profoundly grateful for my citizenship in this great republic.

Re:From the Charter (2, Insightful)

takeya (825259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899917)

Nor is there another nation that still respects the rights to bear arms, speedy trials, the freedom of the press, freedom from self-incrimination, unreasonable bail and of course, total freedom of speech and opinion.

For all it's flaws, America is the only first world government that imposes the least on its citizens... for now.

Freedom of speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14900002)

Yep, Canada's partial freedom of speech and expression does not constitute real freedom of speech. It is defacto, censored speech. In order to have true freedom of speech, you must also not only allow that kind of speech that you might not like to be heard, but you must also defend the rights of those to say stuff that you don't like.

And like it or not, the reason why the USA still has it's 1st Amendment is because it also has a 2nd Amemndment. I'm sure that statement will rile up a lot of folks too, but it is the cold hard truth.

Re:Which raises an interesting question (1)

incom (570967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899863)

Many of the prosecutions for "hate speech" would not be considered that way by the majority, it's a deceptive newspeak label designed to stiffle criticism. Just like the "patriot act". That the one example you would give is holocaust denial shows you are yourself a deceptive and dishonest individual.

Re:Which raises an interesting question (5, Insightful)

Baseball_Fan (959550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899885)

The only thing that is really censored is hate speech (including Holcaust denial).

How is arguing a position the same as hate speech? If someone believes the Holcaust never happened, why can't they make that argument, show their facts, and show their logic.

What is better of the following 2 choices?

  • 1: Make it illegal to speak some idea. The idea will go underground, where nobody will dispute it. Groups will form, the idea will survive.
  • 2: All speech is protected. The idea will be spoken openly. People who disagree will come in mass numbers and disprove the idea.

What is next? Will the people who wrote The Bell Curve go to jail for expressing ideas that most people disagree with? Will Rush Limbaugh be sentanced to prision for saying he thinks a black QB is given more chances to succeed than a white one?

There is a HUGE difference between expressing an idea and motivating other people to violence. There is a difference between writing "Black people unfairly steal admissions seats at the University of Michigan Law School" on the internet, and going to the University of Michigan and giving a speech in front of a mob to incite them to violence.

What will happen, if we let those with $$ decide what is true and false, is that anything they disagree with will become off-limits for debate.

I have always said that an open forum is the death (4, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899986)

of hateful ideas.

The Nazis themselves were censored in 1925-1927, and yet during this time, their membership doubled. Clearly this censorship does nothing except remove "dangerous ideas" from the public forum and into private conversations where the public is denied a right of rebuttal.

As I understand it, holocaust denial is not a crime in the UK, nor is chanting outside the Danish Embassy "Denmark, USA, 7/7 on it's way" (though there is a movement in the UK to criminalize the latter if Blair gets his way). Yet it is in Canada? Why? What rational purpose can this serve? And how can one create a situation out of a law like that which can afford equal protection to all as required by the Constitutional Act?

Re:Which raises an interesting question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899952)

The UK guarantees freedom of expression through the European Convention of Human Rights.

(I think there was a case involving MacDonalds where this was used to uphold freedom of expression over Britain's odd libel/slander rules.)

Re:Which raises an interesting question (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899958)

Freedom* == !Freedom

Re:Which raises an interesting question (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899981)

In other words, the same good old "you can say whatever you want, as long as it's not something we don't like", same as everywhere else.

In Soviet Russia... (not a joke) (4, Funny)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14900009)

From the Soviet Constitution of 1936:

Article 12. Supreme power in the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic is exercised by the All-Russia Congress of Soviets, and in the intervals between Congresses by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee.

Article 13. In order to ensure genuine freedom of conscience for the working people, the church is separated from the State, and the school from the church: and freedom of religious and anti-religious propaganda is recognized for all citizens.

Article 14. In order to ensure genuine freedom of expression for the working people, the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic abolishes the dependence of the press on capital, and places at the disposal of the working class and the poor peasantry all the technical and material requisites for the publication of newspapers, pamphlets, books and all other printed matter, and guarantees their unhindered circulation throughout the country.

Article 15. In order to ensure genuine freedom of assembly for the working people, the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, recognizing the right of citizens of the Soviet Republic freely to hold assemblies, meetings, processions, etc., places at the disposal of the working class and the poor peasantry all buildings suitable for the holding of public gatherings, complete with furnishing, lighting and heating.

Re:Which raises an interesting question (1)

Hamster Of Death (413544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899746)

Read here,
Clicky [religioustolerance.org]

It basically follows the British example.

Re:Which raises an interesting question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899794)

Let us refer to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/ [justice.gc.ca]

Let us refer to Part 1, Section 2, "Fundamental Freedoms":
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.


One would think it would be quite robust with unambiguous wording such as that. However, apparently that is not the case.

Re:Which raises an interesting question (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899817)

Notwithstanding the bit about "unless it can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

Re:Which raises an interesting question (2, Insightful)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899925)

And to paraphrase what's been so well said, so many times...the speech most in need of protection is precisely that speech which most members of society would find the most offensive.

When will we learn?

Re:Which raises an interesting question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899795)

Actually, the European Convention on Human Rights [wikipedia.org] was ratified back in 1950. Article 10 [wikipedia.org] of the Convention protects freedom of expression. On the other hand, there are a number of loopholes:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

These restrictions are for the most part the same as the USA's, with the exception of the "protection of morals".

PS: Being familiar with Slashdot, I have to ask: you do realise Canada isn't in Europe, don't you? ;)

Hate speech laws cannot create equal protection (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899899)

I realize that Canada isn't Europe... :-) After all I am not that far from the Canadian border....

The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

But this argument of protecting against public morals is a slippery slope that has lead among other things to the riots following the Danish Cartoons being reprinted. After all, the initial rable rousers (before the riots broke out) were largely asking for the laws to protect Muslims to the same extent it protects other groups. Denmark has anti-blasphemy laws on the books, but these have not been enforced since 1938. The central argument is that these ought to be enforced in this case to protect the Muslims.

The proper response in this case, IMO, is the repeal of all hate speech laws so that nobody can claim that they are not equally protected by them. And by going down the road of criminalizing holocaust denial (as does both Canada and Austria), one does nothing but deny the public the right of rebuttal in a timely and transparent manner.

The solution to these problems is not less freedom of speech but more of it. Hate speech laws, IMO, innately cause a situation of unequal protection under the law. What about Serbian immigrants suggesting that Bosnians were never massacred? Will the Bosnians be as protected as the Jews in Canada? Of not, then what about section 15(1) in the Charter:

"Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability."

Ought any law criminalizing the denial of the holocaust ultimately afford more protection to those ethnicities (Jews, Gypsies) persecuted therein than it might to other victims of genecide? And if it is a crime to deny all matters of genecide, then what of the Jews who say that Palestinians have not been intentionally exterminated during the 1948-49 war? Ought the Palestinian immigtants not to be equally protected?

In essence my main point is that only by outlawing all speech on contraversial issues, can one provide equal protection under the law regarding hate speech laws. One cannot easily balance hate speech law and a commitment to equal protection without eventually having to retreat from areas which are the norm in many Western countries.

Re:Which raises an interesting question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899855)

Something which is easy to forget but important to remember is that America really is almost the only place on earth where things like freedom of speech are considered to be truly foundational and truly inalienable. Which is just plain funny, because America is one of the places on earth where things like freedom of speech are least valued. It's kind of ironic, America has the best foundational freedoms of any civilized nation, but does less to defend its freedoms than almost any civilized nation. This means you almost never actually remember that those foundational freedoms make a difference until something like this canadian case happens.

I know that such a right in Europe is more of a matter of legislative tradition than constitutional law.*

Actually, not exactly. There is a kind of a constitutional-ish law in Europe now, and it's called the European Court of Human Rights. Funny thing is though, I've never heard of it doing anything. Supposedly any european can appeal a court case to the European Court of Human Rights and the court has the right to overturn a local european court. But I've never heard of this happening. It seems like some things I have heard about in europe lately-- like the government of Britain forcing papers to hush up news about abuses of power, or the government of Austria or whatever arresting that historian for spreading laws about the Holocaust-- that seem like candidates for the court of human rights, but nobody seems interested in testing this.

Then... well, look at how the court of human rights charter [coe.int] is actually written:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include
freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and
ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of
broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
Hey, that sounds good, right? Except look at the next subclause:
2 The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and
responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions,
restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a
democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial
integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the
protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or
rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in
confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the
judiciary.
Heavens to betsy, what does that even mean??? That sounds like a loophole you could drive the Patriot Act through.

Re:Which raises an interesting question (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899914)

You have made my point exactly. Thank you.

The point is that the second clause is sufficiently broad as to allow nearly any arbitrary idea to be removed from public discourse by legislative act. Note that the USSR probably met this requirement in terms of freedom of expression.

Re:Which raises an interesting question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14900007)

No one should spend *one minute* in jail for what they believe.

Great Britain, the *mother* of democracy, has Hyde Park - to their credit. They are governed by *Parliament* which functions very well as a protector of rights. Far better, in my opinion, than any Bill or Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I detest the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It moves lawmaking away from the people we elect to the courts, which we don't.

Again. No one should spend one minute in jail for what they believe.

Flamebait (3, Interesting)

kermitthefrog917 (903403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899709)

So does this mean that some of the flamebait that appears on slashdot can have legal consequences?

Slashdot has a policy of not filtering its comments, they leave it up to the moderators to sort it out. But even though most off-color/hate comments are modded down, they still appear if you browse at -1. Any thoughts?

Re:Flamebait (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899715)

Well, my immediate thought is SHUT THE FUCK UP AND PICK MY COTTON NIGNOG

Lameness filter encountered. Nigger baby aborted!

Re:Flamebait (2, Funny)

SenatorOrrinHatch (741838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899722)

The holocaust was the result of incredibly bad living conditions in Europe as a result of the war. Everything else was just blowing it out of proportion.

There, now CmdrTaco will spend the rest of his life in a prison in Ontario. Seriously.

Re:Flamebait (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899758)

Banning of investigation or discussion of a historical event only makes me assume there must be something to hide. Especially if it's the only historical event censored in this way. Who wouldn't doubt the official story of 9/11 if discussion of it was banned tomorrow, to "prevent hate speech against victims and families of the victims"?

Re:Flamebait (2, Insightful)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899829)

Nope. Slashdot is in the US, which doesn't have the draconian anti-speech laws that Canada does.

Re:Flamebait (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899962)

Maybe it's just me, but the title "Re:Flamebait" on the above post seems strangely appropriate.

Re:Flamebait (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899834)

So does this mean that some of the flamebait that appears on slashdot can have legal consequences?

Does Slashdot have significant ties to Canada? Here in the United States, we're protected by, of all things, the Communications Decency Act.

Re:Flamebait (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899874)

Last i heard Slashdot was in the US. So this wouldnt directly apply to them.

Class action against Slashdot! (4, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899710)

-1 Troll just isn't enough to stop from offending me on several different levels and barely constitutes "removing" - with this precedent and Jack Thompson on our side, we'll be heroes!

first pist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899714)

fist pist

Conflict? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899717)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Wrong country. (1)

michaeltoe (651785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899736)

Although I feel like it's only a matter of time before crap like that happens here.

Re:Wrong country. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899992)

crap like that does happen here...... it just doenst get publicity.....

Shocking, but true... (2, Funny)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899752)

I know that a lot of Americans sometimes think of Canada as the 51st state, but they're a separate country with their own laws and everything. I know this is hard to believe, but the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has NO validity there. I guess it's time to invade 'em, huh? ;-)

David

Re:Shocking, but true... (2, Funny)

rehashed (948690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899859)

I find this comment to be hateful - not to mention the fact that it is inciting war against a peaceful nation.
I urge the moderators to remove this comment immediately, or I will be forced to take legal action.

Re:Shocking, but true... (4, Insightful)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899872)

I know that a lot of Americans sometimes think of Canada as the 51st state, but they're a separate country with their own laws and everything. I know this is hard to believe, but the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has NO validity there.

And this makes them immune to criticism? Canadians are always sniping at us about things like our "lax" gun laws and non-governmental health care, so we get to do the same. Or would that be more "hate speech" as far as Canadians are concerned?

Re:Shocking, but true... (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899929)

You seem to be missing the point. It's perfectly legitimate to criticize, but what the heck does it have to do with anything to quote the U.S. Constitution about a Canadian issue?

David

Re:Shocking, but true... (2, Funny)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899974)

Hey, you know what they say... we're bigger, and we're on top. If this was a prison, you'd be our bitch. (So don't mess with us, eh!) :)

Re:Shocking, but true... (1)

Beebos (564067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899996)

>> I know that a lot of Americans sometimes think of Canada as the 51st state.

I think its funny that you feel Americans think about Canada at all.

whos the boss? (4, Interesting)

zxnos (813588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899719)

honesty, who gets to define 'hate speech'? and do we really want to define such a thing? what happens when the definition broadens? and it will...

a few years back colorado made not wearing your seatbelt a secondary offense, you couldnt get pulled over for it. they recently passed a law to allow officers to pull a person over for not wearing a seatbelt. i know slippery slope is a logical fallacy, but it happens...

Re:whos the boss? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899814)

The courts "define" everything. The law defines nothing. If the court wants to decide that up means down in a particular interpretation, it can. Which is why the higher courts exist. But in the case of some issues, the definition never gets solidified and reversals of interpretation of intent happen all the time.

Keep your eye on "abortion". It's up in the air again.

Re:whos the boss? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899821)

The judge and/or the government. They get to decide. Not you. Not I.

Re:whos the boss? (1)

70Bang (805280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899838)



who's

I came with a good solution for seatbelt issues a long time ago:

People aren't required to wear a seatbelt, but insurance companies aren't required to cover anyone who isn't wearing theirs at the time of the accident. Of course, if they cause an accident, their insurance company would be on the hook for the coverage they'd have to provide to others, just like the status quo.

I figure if that's permitted|encouraged at the next time of re-enrollment, those who don't want to wear them might get a jolt (literally) on their first accident.

I worked as an EMT in my later teens and early twenties (half a lifetime ago). Yes, there are those rare times when a seatbelt wouldn't have made a difference, but you can't use this type of exception to disprove the rule.

Personally, I don't mind wearing one and when dropping the missus off at the store & waiting for her to return, even for 15-20 minutes, I don't take it off - it just feels natural, regardless of what I saw in my previous work - that's not the motivation.

If the cops were to pull you over and give you a warning, as well as to check on the infants & kids (who are climbing all over the car like it's a McDonald's PlayPlace), that's fine. A nice, big piece of red paper reminding them anyone in their vehicle who isn't strapped in might find themselves living on the streets.

Not all news tells you [directly] whether someone was wearing one when describing an accident not as an addendum to an accident, but it's still easy to tell:

Q: How can you tell someone wasn't wearing their seatbelt in an accident?
A: The TV newsfolk use the word ejected (and usually the word "dead") during the same story.


Common carrier (3, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899733)

ISPs in the US should still be protected by common carrier status. What this does is simply drive business from Canadian ISPs to US ( and elsewhere ) ISPs.

Re:Common carrier (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899822)

I don't think that common carrier status would apply here because the people fined were hosting the content rather than allowing it to pass through their network.

Anyway people have to realize that there are limits to freedom of speech and there is a good reason for that. As another poster pointed out, you won't get fined for having a racist conversation in public, but I bet that you would attract the attention of law enforcement pretty quickly if you did so with large groups of people. If you want to take these types of stances on race, religion, etc then so be it, but I wouldn't want to live in a society where people could freely try to convert others to their hateful views.

Re:Common carrier (1)

zfractal (170078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899883)

ISPs in the US should still be protected by common carrier status. What this does is simply drive business from Canadian ISPs to US ( and elsewhere ) ISPs.

Hopefully that common carrier status will remain in the US. It seems there's already an assault on it in New Jersey [aunty-spam.com] . Knowing this conflicts with section 230 of the CDA, and that federal law supercedes state laws, it might not be a big deal. However, as more and more people are becoming aware of the ability to share information through the Internet (*especially* those who actually do have something to hide) we might see further attempts at regulation.

Of course, people have been aware of this the whole time - it's only now that the cockroaches see the lights on and are saying "OMG they're saying stuff about me on teh Internets!".... and here come the lawyers [wikipedia.org] .

timely? (2, Interesting)

m4c north (816240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899738)

'The ruling sends a very strong message that Internet servers, if they are aware there is hate content and don't take timely action to remove it, can be held liable,' said the Ottawa lawyer who filed the complaint in February 2002. [emphasis mine]

Four years is timely? Maybe for a rock with a lichen problem....

4 years is pretty reasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899900)

For what it's worth, if I am recalling correctly, the average time from filing a civil suit to trial in Los Angeles (one of the busiest U.S. districts) is nine years.

An attorney I know has, in one instance, been handing an employment discrimination case for a woman that she brought in 1984. Still not over with.

So yeah, it's short compared to that. The civil system isn't very fast. (Whereas the criminal system, here in the USA at least, is constitutionally guaranteed to be.)

Rights... (5, Insightful)

BeatlesForum.com (545967) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899739)

You don't have a right NOT to be offended. People need to get over themselves and the government needs to keep its hands out of where it doesn't belong.

Re:Rights... (1)

Petey_Alchemist (711672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899768)

Can someone--from Canada, perhaps--give us some information about relevant Canadian case and common law regarding free speech? It seems that perhaps their rules are more strict than the American ones that many of us are more familiar with.

I'd like to see if this is completely unprecedented, or if we could have seen it coming...

--Petey

Re:Rights... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899805)

your right, there isn't a right not to be offended.

But in order for the HRC (Human Rights Commission) to get involved, it's not about being offended, it's about threatening harm.

I can Yell at the top of my lungs that gays are going to hell. But the second I start saying that Gay's need to be punished, it stops being protected speech.

If you read the canadian charter, and the Universal declaration of human rights, then nothing in the HRC's ruling is unsavory or a stepping stone to mass censorship.

Re:Rights... (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899890)

yeah like women's ovaries /duck

hehe

Is this "Western freedom"? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899742)

Is this the so-called "Western freedom" we hear so much about? You're free to say or write whatever you want, as long as it doesn't fall under some completely subjective definition of "hate"? Doesn't sound like freedom to me in any way.

There is a common kindergarten playground saying we should keep in mind: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

Western nations need to remember that free expression does not cause harm. Things may be said that one does not agree with; but that is no reason to punish those who expressed such opinions! Why is no punishment needed? Because nobody was ever harmed or wronged by free expression.

In fact, we have seen time and time again that free expression for all ends up being the best protection a nation can have. It is one of the best weapons against tyranny. It can battle corruption. It's a far more effective protection than any weapon could ever be.

Free Speech includes even when it's Wrong (5, Insightful)

kibbled_bits (808617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899743)

Around the world freedom of speech, though and expression is under attack. People must respect the opinions & expressions of others even when it's WRONG. I could care less what White Supremists think, but I'd rather know who the crazies are rather then having them bottle it up inside. Take Germany for example, still there is Nazi sympathizers even though it's illegal to deny the holocost, etc.

Just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's a FACT, or it's RIGHT. More times than not, it means the opposite.

What a terrible idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899744)

As a person of several colors, my reaction is - "Thanks for the sentiment, I'd prefer you defend my* freedom and let me take care of my dignity." But I don't live in Canada.

* That means everyone's!

Goodbye GNAA (0, Redundant)

qualico (731143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899745)

So how long before /. is blocked for access because it hosts objectionable content?

At the rate they keep making laws, it will be illegal to breath and criminal to fart.

My love for Canada just dropped massively (4, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899756)

Wow, I never knew Canada was so totalitarian when it came to freedom of speech. Guess if you don't tow the liberal line your wallet suffers the consequences, even though there is no reasonable expectation that your actions will cause physical harm to anyone (and if there was such a reasonable expectation, then the laws need to be a lot stronger then a mere fine).

Re:My love for Canada just dropped massively (1)

Baseball_Fan (959550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899942)

Wow, I never knew Canada was so totalitarian when it came to freedom of speech. Guess if you don't tow the liberal line your wallet suffers the consequences, even though there is no reasonable expectation that your actions will cause physical harm to anyone (and if there was such a reasonable expectation, then the laws need to be a lot stronger then a mere fine).

I agree, this is the work of liberals.

Can anyone think of an example where conservatives or libertarians wanted to take away the right of a person to speak or write? Ideas are protected as free speech on the right.

I wonder how much the politics of lobbying and money influence these decisions of what is hate speech? Will a law be passed saying "Any speech against Albino's is hateful", just because the Albino population has a strong and wealthy lobby? If I form a group, and donate $50,000 to 50 senators, can I then have them push a law through saying "Any speech against geeks is hatefull and is criminal"? Will this just break down to all groups getting lobbyists, and nobody being able to say anything?? This might sound rediculous, but if speech is regulated by law the way road construction is, we might have a society where lobbyists decide what can and can't be spoken or printed.

I don't want to troll or flame, but are the Jews 100% innocent about all world events? If groups can't argue about how extensive the holocaust was, then what is next? Will they not be able to express an opinion about the current situtation in the middle east?

It seems like a very slippery slope, lubed up for everyone to slide down. I bet the first group to chime in will be the Native Americans, who have one of the strongest lobbies. The next time you tell a joke about a Native American and whisky, you might go to jail.

Official Website (3, Interesting)

Sean0michael (923458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899775)

here is the home page [chrt-tcdp.gc.ca] of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (in English. Also available in French). It looks like they deal exclusively with discrimination cases as defined under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

I can understand discrimination, but is free speech discrimination? Does having a website calling for hate and attacks against Jews, Blacks, and Muslims, count as discrimination? I'm not sure it does. I'm all for Human Rights. But I'm not for censorship--especially when the government might find ME to be the one discriminating.

Re:Official Website (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899789)

I find the Canadian government to be discriminating. How much will they get fined? Nothing? Oh that's right. You can only discriminate the groups they've singled out. Damn special interest groups.

(I blame the legislators who created this mess, not the people it's designed to protect ;)).

Re:Official Website (1)

mr i want to go home (610257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899963)

calling for hate and attacks against Jews, Blacks, and Muslims

If that doesn't fall under anti-discrimination legislation, then I don't know WHAT does. Most countries will have laws that forbid you to discuss directing violence towards someone (conspiracy to commit...etc). When you encourage violence on people because of their race or creed for NO OTHER REASON AT ALL, then - and let me be quite frank here - you are mentally defective and need to be shown that this will not be tolerated.

It's just like school kids and bullying - it's not something that is encouraged because we're allowed the freedom of speech. It's actually not tolerated at all. But if there's some little muppet who persists in bullying after being TOLD again and again that it's not right, well then that's where punishment begins to get used.

This is not a case of saying "I don't like Jews, Blacks, or Muslims. They frighten me." I don't think anyone would consider that discrimination. But what they're actually saying is "Hey you, it's your patriotic duty to beat the shit out of Jews, Blacks, and Muslims." - which is just totally fucked up. These people should be lobotomised.

Hatred and Racism are old in Canada (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899781)

Is no secret for anyone the hatred groups in Canada, they cover themselves under the freedom of speech cloack.

Canada is something like 100 years behind China in human rights acts.

Think the last sordid attemp to level the playground for persons of different races, religions and skin colours comes from the 80!!!!!, go figure, think most people in Canada use it as toilet paper.

Check:

Canadaimmigrants.com
notcanada.com

FreeSpeech rules? (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899786)

Are canadians guaranteed that right like we are ( sort of ) down here in the USA? if not, while it sux bad, it would be well within the legal right to penalize the ISP.

The only speech that NEEDS protection is offensive (5, Insightful)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899790)

Freedom of expression is intended to protect things that offend somebody, whether it be a government or other people. If it's uncontroversial, it's in no need of defense. Canadians should be asking themselves if they're OK with having their right to express themselves in offensive terms squashed whenever some pressure group or governmental entity doesn't like it.

Love'm, hate'm love'm hate'm... (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899800)

I'm a little surprised by this. If I were a lawmaker, I would never make "hate speech" illegal. There will always be things people hate and that changes with time. Besides, everyone else is still free to "hate the haters" anyway. It's just an area that government shouldn't be involved in.

ISP shafted? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899803)

You could say that the ISP got shafted in this one and was fined for things beyond its control, but if you actually RTFA, you will find out that one of the persons charged personally for posting hate messages is also the owner of the ISP.

I don't think this case is a precendent-setting as the original post makes out.

I think it's time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899804)

Time to set up an eepsite on I2P.

Canada has shown itself to be against freedom of speech again and again.

Draw a picture of a nude child? In Canada, you are then producing child pornography.

Have the -remote- relationship of being a webhost on which hate content is posted? Get fined.

I find this apalling....

Limiting the right to speak is foolish. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899819)

The problem with limiting right to speak is that any hate goes underground, where it can't be monitored.

Another problem is that who does the limiting and who sets the limits is always political, and always somewhat arbitrary.

Mirror of the website (1)

The Hobo (783784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899843)

Hosted on archive.org [tinyurl.com] ...

(Used tinyurl cause /. ate the link)

Great...... (1)

AWhiteFlame (928642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899846)

Well, this is terrible news. This is just one step closer to tiered, content-controlled internet service. ISPs cannot (rather, should not) be held liable for their content. By holding this on the ISPs, they're going to be forced to restrict more and more of our usage. Next thing you know the RIAA and MPAA are going to start suing ISPs for ungodly amounts because warez was transferred through their bandwidth. I weap for the internet's future like this.

The People's Republic of Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899882)

The ruling shows Canadians have no tolerance for hate



Tolerance is what makes my country great.

God bless America.

Next, child porn. (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899889)

I can't wait for ISP's to be charged for posessing child porn on their usenet servers and network caches. Maybe then people would understand how stupid these laws are.

Free speach anyone? (2, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899893)

This is ridiculous. People have a fundamental right to hold and express their opinions, and no government has the authority, or even the capability say otherwise.

The Canary in the coal mine (4, Insightful)

leereyno (32197) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899901)

I think that the ruling sends a very strong message that in Canada freedom of speech is not nearly as important as making sure that no one's feelings get hurt.

Why is protecting the rights of idiot white surpremacists important? Because they are the canary in the coal mine. When the rights of the unpopular are abridged, everyone's rights are in danger.

Univeral freedom of speech helps ensure the health of society. When unpleasant ideas and beliefs are expressed, it acts as a sort of innoculation against them. When these ideas are oppressed and only shared in secret, they tend to grow like a cancer beneath the surface of society, unknown and unchecked.

When universal freedom of speech is attacked and undermined, it sets the stage for further abuses. Just look at China. Is that what the people of Canada want for their children and grandchildren? Which is worse, living in a totalitarian regime, or living in a free society where you are sometimes subjected to ideas you do not agree with and find offensive?

The only effective means of thought control is information control, but don't take my word for it. Here's a quote from someone whose mastery of propaganda and its uses is unquestioned:

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."
-- Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda, 1933-1945

Abridging the rights of the unpopular is the first dangerous step towards the kind of world Goebbels lived in. Not only that but it serves no useful purpose even in the short run. Making neo-nazi's be quiet doesn't make them go away. All it does is ensure that their activities and efforts at recruitment are that much more difficult to detect.

You would think that people would know better, but then 50% of the population is of below average intelligence.

Re:The Canary in the coal mine (1)

go_about (955661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899997)

It's not just speech that's regulated in Canada. Look at all the ridiculus legislation that keeps American and other foriegn content off of cable & satallite cable TV services. They have legislation in that area that I'm sure is the envy of totalitarian regimes. In fact, not even the Superbowl commercials are safe. The government orders Canadian commercials simulcast over the American ones. Why would a democratic, capitalist country like Canada do that? It's all to do with money of course. The big boys running the telecom monopolies don't want competition, so they squash out the smaller players with laws masquarading as "in the public interest".

Candian Law is different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899903)

Freedom of speech does not protect any statement. That fact is true no matter where you live. Promoting hate is all good and fine but once you say "Attack X for their crimes against humanity", it stops being hate and becomes a judicialy punished statement.

          By the Charter of Rights and Freedoms sec. 3, last precedent that was set (I think it was for a guy who was handing out hate fliers), "Free speech does not constitute brainwashing techniques, it does not permit one to impose views that promote a) violence b) hate c) prejudice, or deny factual events. It is the duty of the courts to protect our society from misinformation that creates these problems."

Time for FreeNet yet? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899906)

This is the very thing it was created for..

Only applies to hate by non-islamists (3, Informative)

deacon (40533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899911)

A student at the school handed in an eight-page Arabic-language essay illustrated with a burning Star of David and a machine gun. In one passage, he wrote: "Without thinking, Ahmed took his M-16 machine gun and threw the bombs and he showered the Jews, this resulted in the killing of the soldiers." The teacher to whom the paper was submitted it returned it with the comment, "God bless you, your efforts are good."

After the incident was publicized, the Ontario Ministry of Education was investigated and two teachers were suspended.

Canadian Islamic groups are now protesting the inequity of the Ministry's actions. They are demanding that the Ministry investigate hate speech at Jewish schools. And as an example of what they are concerned about, the Canadian Islamic Congress issued a press release on Friday calling for the investigation of a Kingston-area Hebrew school. The reason? A nine-year-old student at the school published a letter in the Kingston newspaper, the Whig-Standard, charging that Palestinians wished "to push the Israelis into the sea." According to the Islamic Congress, the views expressed in the child's letter are views "damaging to healthy relationships among many Canadians in our multicultural and pluralist society." Maybe you remember that famous jibe of Anatole France's about the law with majestic impartiality forbidding both the rich and poor to sleep under bridges? In the same way, the Canadian Islamic Congress seems to believe that healthy multiculturalism should treat exactly equally an Islamic school that encourages young Muslims to fantasize about murdering Jews - and a Jewish school that teaches its students to object to being murdered.

Therein lies the danger. As Jefferson so aptly wrote centuries ago, the best cure for such speech is more free speech and the clear light of day. To involve the government in such matters can only result in direct government involvement in private political debate. In Canada, if the government objects to what one says, one is simply declared illegal. One must shut up or face the full sanction of the law. No doubt this would please our liberal friends to no end, having thoroughly lost every public policy debate since around 1979. We understand that freedom of speech is painful to liberals. We know what you're going through, having had to live through the era when you controlled the public debate and no dissenting voices to liberal orthodoxy were allowed into the hallowed halls of CBS News or the New York Times.

linky:

http://newsisyphus.blogspot.com/2005/04/canada-and -hate-speech-codes.html [blogspot.com]

You can be sure that only white racists will be prosecuted. Islamic hate will be tolerated, and no fines will be assesed on Canadian web sites that advocate the killing of infidels.

Re:Only applies to hate by non-islamists (1)

HeavensBlade23 (946140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899930)

You had me up until that point where you started ranting on liberals, which made me discard everything you had said.

Hate Crime Laws are Bad (3, Insightful)

PingXao (153057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899913)

I agree with the thinking behind hate crime laws: people who are nasty curs should be smacked down hard. The problem I have is these laws elevate certain people over others. A crime against a person of religion X is worse than a crime against a person of religion Y. A crime against an immigrant from Mexico is worse than a crime against your American neighbor.

This is just wrong. Like the money laundering laws. They were meant with good intent but are now fraught with loopholes and gotchas and they hurt more innocent people than they ever help.

The problem with all this is where do you draw the line? These laws become tools to advance a prosecutor's career, rather than deterring or punishing crimes. These are the laws they hit you with when they need to "make an example" out of you.

And he striketh down the free thinkers.... (2, Interesting)

uncanny (954868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899922)

So, does "hate speech" include when some evangelical preacher decides to start bashing homosexuals and Muslims and calls for their destruction?

With so called Christians making claims like "Gays 'Responsible' For New Orleans Devastation Group Claims", and calling out for assassinations of leaders, why not label this as hate propaganda.

Supremecy is supremecy whether it is based off of race or religion. Better get to work Canada, you've got a lot of supression to do. Begrüßen Sie Kanada

cough cough (4, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899947)

I suggest you all read this [justice.gc.ca] . (hint: bookmarking the CCC makes having legal discussions a bit more sensible :-) )

Hate speech in Canada is only when it incites people to commit violence against the said group being hated.

It's legal in canada to say "I hate all $GROUP" as long as you don't say "kill $GROUP".

Tom

Canada (3, Insightful)

AngryWookiee (724702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899969)

I am a Canadian and personally think that white supremists or any other group that has a general hate for people because of relgion, skin color, etc. are scum of the earth. However, I do not think that the ISP should be held responsible for what these people did. This would be equivilent of somebody posting racist remarks on slashdot and having the owners of slashdot held liable for this.

In general though I think that Canadian laws go to far in outlawing hate speach. Could hate speach not be considred a freedom of expression? Where is the line drawn on what is considred hate speach and what is considred freedom of speech? Could the same laws that outlaw hate speech be somehowe turned against us and used against people's freedom of speech?

Freedom of Speach (5, Insightful)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899972)

Racism is wrong, and it would be very bad for the government to support it in any way, but this is an inhibition of free speech. Now, stopping someone from expressing racist thoughts may not be all that bad in and of itself, but neither is unwarranted wiretaps of terrorists. If the government can prevent "hate" speech, it can prevent anything being said that is contrary to its values.

Timley is in the eye of the beholder! (1)

britneysimpson (960285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899984)

This in my opinon sets a bad standard for any local prosecutor to start timing content on servers. What happens if soemone never gets teh email to take it down? Or they upload content say they sent an email and come after you for big fines? There needs to be s set time and set way to conteact innocent bloggers and ISP"s and other sites the allow poeple to post freely on there sites.
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