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French: Vive le Web censorship?
'The Liberty of Communication Act' angers civil rights groups, but one lawyer says it's what Europe wants anyway.
By Will Knight, ZDNet (UK)
Web users in France who want to publish online will have to register their intent with the government, if a bill being considered by France's parliament this week is passed.
The Liberty of Communication Act -- passed by the House Tuesday and being debated in the French Senate this week -- stipulates that users will have to fill out an online registration form in order to post to the Internet.
Many have suggested the added complexity to users could force French Web hosting companies to relocate. Others have damned the bill as a serious infringement to online freedom of speech and privacy that could spread across Europe. A spokesman from The European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA) said that if passed, the French government could try to get the European Union to consider enforcing similar regulations Europe-wide.
Supporters of the bill say it is intended to make people legally liable for the material they post on the Internet. Opponents say the bill goes too far in removing personal privacy. "This is a terribly conventional approach," said British Internet legal expert Nicholas Bohm of civil liberties group, Cyber Rights and Cyber Liberties. "It comes from a government's long standing fear of freedom of speech."
Bohm added: "This is an example of what happens if you don't talk to industry and don't have the required expertise to deal with these issues."
Robin Bynoe, partner with law firm Charles Russell, said that the bill, ironically, is in keeping with European directives. "The basic approach [of the EC] is that the intermediary existing [ISP] is not liable for content posted. It is the responsibility of the individual." He added however that, "those who want, will be able to circumvent French laws to post scurrilous material."
@ @ @ But that’s not all ! @ @ @
The British government has passed legislation
to authorise them to monitor the internet usage
of ‘suspected criminals’ and political activists
and they don’t have to tell you anything!
That could be you... it probably is me!
If all of this becomes European law,
what Europe does today, the USA and the
rest of the world will do tomorrow!
Take action now to preserve your liberty!
and email it to all of your friends and contacts
(or select 'Send... Link by E-mail' from the File menu)
Then email the French, British and European parliaments
to express your dismay at these proposals
which threaten to strangle the World Wide Web,
and restrict the civil liberties
of every computer user worldwide.
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