Thursday, August 24, 2006

CRTC - Hard cases make bad law...

The stories today about an attempt to get the CRTC to block access to certain anti-Semitic websites in the USA that apparently go so far as to call for killing a certain pro-active Canadian lawyer named Richard Warman give pause for concern - indeed revulsion.

We are disgusted by people who advocate such garbage. But advocating such hate and assassination is very likely illegal in the USA where these wannabe Nazi(s) in question reside.

Surely, we should look to American authorities and American ISPs to solve this problem before the CRTC makes a potentially unwarranted and unwise decision that could set a dangerous precedent in terms of censorship and extraterritoriality.

Jack Kapica deals with this in his MSM blog, and quotes me on this.

It’s always good to remember, as T.S. Elliot wrote:
The last temptation is the greatest treason,
To do the right thing for the wrong reason.


  1. The trouble, comrade Jew, is this:

    First, advocating assassination is not illegal. How many Jews advocated the assassination of Saddam Hussein prior to the Iraq war? How many advocate the assassination of Hamas leaders?

    Second, there is no death threat against Richard Warman. He just made it up.

    This case has nothing to do with "death threats". It has to do with resistance to Jewish-Canadian tyranny.

    And no, the US authorities are not going to take any legal action against me. Don't you think Warman tried that route first?

  2. I am glad I am not the only one who, when reading about this case, thought of China. I wrote about this issue on my own BLOG, and found it frustrating how the presumption was in various emails that I received that suggested that I supported hate speech or death threats simply because I opposed the proposed "solution".

    I hope that there will be enough people able to get past the emotions brought up by these cases to ensure that rational decisions are made that won't hurt us in the long term.

    Before we go down the path of breaking the end-to-end principle of the Internet by allowing there to be "smarts" on anything that is not an endpoint, we should consider the consequences. As horrible as people believe this situation is, all the innovation and social benefit we receive from the Internet is derived from that end-to-end principal.

    In my specific case I also knew Richard Warman personally in the past. We were both friends in the past when we were both active in the Green Party (He ran at one point under that banner), and we both lived in the same Coop until I moved out a few years ago. Until I personally read the actual text of the alleged death threats I won't be certain that they exist, given Richard Warman has falsely claimed unlawful speech in the past.

    Some of what Mr. Warman is seeking to have removed from the Internet (valid if done by dealing with the person who is the source, not if done by breaking end-to-end) may in fact be unlawful speech, but that does not automatically suggest that everything he says is unlawful really is.

    Is the death threat being considered real only because of the dislike of the source? Have the people who are worried for Mr. Warman's live actually read the death threat? Are they aware that death threats are unfortunately fairly common against public figured on the Internet (I read about possible death threats against FLOSS personalities all the time).

    I remember a music panel at Sound Bytes/Sound Rights (Toronto, Feb 11, 2005) where a musician made a "joke" about it being too bad he wasn't a suicide bomber that could have taken out Michael Geist. While many in the audience were offended by this musician, I don't think anyone took this death threat very seriously. As much as some old-economy copyright holders may (sometimes quite strongly) dislike the balanced views on Copyright that Mr. Geist presents, I don't think any of them would actually get that extreme.