“From now on, any person who habitually consults websites that advocate terrorism or that call for hate and violence will be punished,” he said in a statement. “France will not tolerate ideological indoctrination on its soil.”
I abhor hate and violence promotion on the Internet, I don’t tolerate it in the comments I get asked to post. I get them every day. Book burning never stopped good or evil ideas, neither will Internet censorship. And once censorship gets started, its subject to mission creap at the whim of politics.
However the description of “extremist” by French President Sarkozy is rather vague and nebulous. Criminal is not the same as terrorist. There are laws and courts for criminals. Use them. Just remember how the word “terrorist” in the United States has evolved to mean patriotic Constitution respecting citizen in this country! Americans have all become “persons of interest” at the airport, groping TSA agents feel up old ladies and children who would never carry a bomb. Voyeur scanning machines make us naked to government agents. The USA Government routinely trawls the Internet and people’s browsing habits. We know that. Doesn’t make it right.
The more invasive a government gets into its citizens lives the more opposition it generates in the people to their God-given sovereignty in their own private life. There’s a kind of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle at work when Government tries to monitor its citizens behavior. The more they monitor, the more people adjust their behavior to avoid it, and the less accurate the information becomes. We’ve all seen that work with micromanaging jerks in business, companies who do it are seldom productive or competitive, and their employees hate them. The more paid informants a government hires the more the paid informants make up lies about people. Every single “terrorist” arrested by the FBI in their stings has been assisted and encouraged by the FBI squads. They even provide them with parts! Yet they seemingly missed every clue about the 9/11 hijackers and ignored their own agents. Government is supposed to be at the service of the people, not in domination of it.
It would be good for Sarkozy to remember the French national slogan, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity! Remember the lessons of the French Revolution. Remember the French Resistance to the Nazi Gestapo raids. Don’t create a new Gestapo! Remember the heart felt songs of Edith Pilaf as she gave heart to the dark days of World War II.
Please Mr Sarkozy, don’t make this tragedy in France another “Problem, Reaction, Solution” scheme to censor the lovely French people on the Internet. You know better. The world is watching you.