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Time for a muzzle (Should the government curb internet speech?)
Boston Globe ^ | February 16, 2009 | Drake Bennett

Posted on 02/16/2009 4:32:58 AM PST by rightwingintelligentsia

HERE ARE TWO stories about the Internet.

The week before last, the crippled economy coughed up a gift for picked-on college students across the country: It shut down Juicy Campus, a notorious website where campus gossips nationwide were invited to hold forth anonymously. "Just remember, keep it Juicy!" the home page had exhorted. Posters had duly obliged, and many students had found their social skills, weight, grooming habits, sexual orientation, and/or promiscuity to be the subject of gleefully vicious discussion by unseen online classmates. In a healthier economy, it's unclear if anything could have closed down Juicy Campus - university administrators and even state prosecutors were eager to take it on, but had all but conceded that they had few legal options, and the website had been rapidly expanding the number of its member campuses.

And then there is this: Last month, someone posted a map showing the names, home locations, and occupations of thousands of people who gave money to support the passage of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative outlawing gay marriage in California. A number of these Proposition 8 supporters have since reported threatening e-mails and phone calls.

(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: censorship; freespeech; internet

1 posted on 02/16/2009 4:32:59 AM PST by rightwingintelligentsia
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To: rightwingintelligentsia

change


2 posted on 02/16/2009 4:36:36 AM PST by Doogle (USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: rightwingintelligentsia
or to take information that would formerly have been filed away in obscure public records

One good reason why much of that information should not be public.

3 posted on 02/16/2009 4:44:43 AM PST by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: rightwingintelligentsia
..some legal scholars are beginning to argue that new technologies have changed the balance of power between the right to speak and the right to be left alone. At conferences, in law review articles, and, increasingly, in the courts, some lawyers are suggesting that the time has come to rethink some of the hallowed protections that the law gives speech in this country, especially if that speech is online.

And who, I wonder, will be the arbiters who get to decide? Any criticisms of Dear Leader or the actions of a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do government will be hate crimes, no doubt.

4 posted on 02/16/2009 4:45:56 AM PST by shezza (A government that gives you everything you want can take away everything you have.)
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To: rightwingintelligentsia

At least the comments to this BGlobe censorship article offer some strong defenses for the 1st & 2nd Amendments!


5 posted on 02/16/2009 4:49:51 AM PST by iopscusa (El Vaquero. (SC Lowcountry Cowboy))
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To: shezza

I notice he doesn’t think the Boston Globe needs to be censored.


6 posted on 02/16/2009 4:50:01 AM PST by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: rightwingintelligentsia

Read the comments. With the exception of a few “well, tsk, tsk, we need to do something” quotes, they tear him apart. I think even the lefty loonies know where this is going.


7 posted on 02/16/2009 4:54:40 AM PST by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: rightwingintelligentsia


8 posted on 02/16/2009 4:55:00 AM PST by pabianice
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To: rightwingintelligentsia

The First Amendment protects political speech. We shouldn’t invoke it to protect online gossip and innuendo. The problem is that because people who go online to post comments, pictures, etc. about others can do this anonymously, they can’t be held accountable the same way that they would if they were publishing these things in a newspaper or magazine. People are entitled to their good reputations. Unfortunately, technology now makes it possible to trash someone else’s reputation without any risk to oneself. This is an abuse of technology. It is one of the immoral uses to which technology can be put.

Websites should be held accountable for the content of message boards, posts, and chat rooms, especially when such content concerns private citizens as opposed to public persons, such as politicians. The law should be able to compel websites to reveal the IP addresses of posters who commit libel.
This really shouldn’t pose a risk to political speech. Since the average person can easily tell the difference between online discussions and articles about issues and anonymous online attacks against private persons, the law should be able to as well.


9 posted on 02/16/2009 4:55:26 AM PST by steadfastconservative
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To: steadfastconservative
The First Amendment protects political speech.

What's political?

10 posted on 02/16/2009 4:58:59 AM PST by glorgau
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To: steadfastconservative

The problem is that a hammer can swing at anything, and the government could care less if you, personally, are slandered. They care deeply about whether the truth is printed about Barney Frank. The first target of internet “hate speech” laws will be those that disagree with the government. I’d rather take my risks with the wild west than hire “Little Bill” to run my town. (Unforgiven reference)


11 posted on 02/16/2009 5:01:23 AM PST by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: shezza
One more step towards the brave new world:

The censorship of the Internet.

The cult of personality for Obama.

The movement to permit Obama, like Hugo Chavez, to be president for life.

The indoctrination of grammar school kids chanting praise for Obama.

The indoctrination of older kids in quasi military indoctrination camps.

The creation of compulsory youth camps with "education."

The imposition of the fairness doctrine or its equivalent local Soviets.

The extension of hate speech and hate crimes.

The practice of legislating through fear i.e. porkulus.

The practice of legislating by stealth i.e. porkulus.

The practice of governing by executive order.

The appointment of criminals and cronies to government office.

The culture which plays the race card on criticism of African-American president.

The criminalization of policy.

The establishment media which is abandoned its role to protect democracy.


12 posted on 02/16/2009 5:01:45 AM PST by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: rightwingintelligentsia
Censorship you can believe in.

You'd think they'd wait until they get the unfairness doctrine implemented and all dissenting views on the radio silenced before they started kicking around the idea of internet censorship.

13 posted on 02/16/2009 5:02:18 AM PST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (The Stimulus Package: Preamble to the Democrat's new Declaration of In Dependence)
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To: steadfastconservative

There has to be a line where a person needs to be secure in the property of their thoughts.

For example, publication of the prop 8 supporters was, in light of the violent homosexual reaction, a clear intent to endanger people FOR exercising their free speech rights.

Perhaps some things such as divorce proceedings regardless of whether there is or or not children should be automatically sealed and not on the net.


14 posted on 02/16/2009 5:03:45 AM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: rightwingintelligentsia
Wait until Porculus and Nat'l Health Care put your personal medical records online, then we'll have a lot to gossip about! LOL!

/s
15 posted on 02/16/2009 5:03:58 AM PST by Thrownatbirth (.....Iraq Invasion fan since '91.)
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To: steadfastconservative

I understand your point. However, if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.

Who decides what is appropriate?


16 posted on 02/16/2009 5:05:24 AM PST by 2111USMC
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To: nathanbedford

In short, an oligarchy disguised as another populist- socialist security blanket.


17 posted on 02/16/2009 5:07:55 AM PST by TADSLOS
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To: steadfastconservative
The First Amendment protects political speech.

No. Once again, the First Amendment restricts Congress, and does not protect (or grant) anything. "Congress Shall Make no law..." is an unqualified statement in this context. ...held accountable

Who does the accounting?

I'll be willing to discuss the complexities of abusive behavior on the Internet (maybe) when print media or other established information brokers begin providing something more than the illusion of "neutrality."

18 posted on 02/16/2009 5:10:16 AM PST by Prospero (non est ad astra mollis e terris via)
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To: TADSLOS
I see oligarchy as an intermediate step. I do not think it is a character trait of leftists to generously share power. I believe sooner or later they will begin to claw at each other, Stalin-Trotsky style.


19 posted on 02/16/2009 5:12:54 AM PST by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: shezza
And then there is this: Last month, someone posted a map showing the names, home locations, and occupations of thousands of people who gave money to support the passage of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative outlawing gay marriage in California. A number of these Proposition 8 supporters have since reported threatening e-mails and phone calls. ...... Article

And who, I wonder, will be the arbiters who get to decide? ..... shezza

Well, after your name, your address and a map to your house has been published on the Internet because you did NOT support gay marriage and some gay marriage radicals with ski masks come over at 3:00 AM and "teach you a lesson", maybe the local District Attorney would be the one to decide if deliberately publishing your name, address and a map to your house put you in danger of "Imminent lawless action".

Do you believe that posting "maps showing the names, home locations, and occupations of thousands of people who gave money to support the passage of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative outlawing gay marriage in California" on the Internet so that those people are targeted for potential physical attack is a protected First Amendment right?

20 posted on 02/16/2009 5:16:49 AM PST by Polybius
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To: glorgau; steadfastconservative
The First Amendment protects political speech. ..... steadfastconservative

What's political? ..... glorgau

See Post 20.

Examples:

PROTECTED POLITICAL SPEECH Posted on Free Republic: "I oppose gay marriage and I contributed money to Proposition 8 - - - 17 posted on Sunday, February 15, 2009 10:45:29 PM by glorgau"

NON-PROTECTED SPEECH Posted at Gay Vigilantes: "A guy with the screen-name of glorgau has posted on Free Republic that he has financially supported Proposition 8. His real name is William Brown, he lives at 5732 E. 32 Street and here are Map Quest directions to his house. Our next club meeting will be on Thursrday, February 19 at 3:00 AM. Freddie, it is your turn to bring the Vaseline to our next Club meeting."

21 posted on 02/16/2009 5:38:44 AM PST by Polybius
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To: rightwingintelligentsia

It’s obvious that our current fascist government will soon get around to prosecuting people for their views, whether they are expressed in print, on picket signs, by standing in front of abortion clinics, or on websites.


22 posted on 02/16/2009 5:39:53 AM PST by Leftism is Mentally Deranged (liberalism = serious mental deficiency)
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To: rightwingintelligentsia

Isn’t eric schmidt already doing this? Test this for yourself. Go to google news and type in anything that should return a substantial number of results: Say...Soros, Indymac, Schumer. You would think a member of the Banking Committee causing a run on the bank just prior to the election would be news.


23 posted on 02/16/2009 5:56:50 AM PST by AJMCQ (Who is Khalid al-Mansour? You mean Obama didn't get into Harvard on his grades?)
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To: shezza

Who gets to decide?

Why, the moral and intellectual superiors that the left appoints.

And since they ARE morally superior, it never enters a good little sheep leftist’s mind that they might misuse the power that is entrusted to them.


24 posted on 02/16/2009 5:59:16 AM PST by MrB (The 0bamanation: Marxism, Infanticide, Appeasement, Depression, Thuggery, and Censorship)
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To: steadfastconservative

Actually, the First Amendment only protects pornography.
Political speech may be regulated at will by the government.

Thus sayeth the current climate in America.


25 posted on 02/16/2009 6:00:20 AM PST by MrB (The 0bamanation: Marxism, Infanticide, Appeasement, Depression, Thuggery, and Censorship)
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To: Polybius
...speech-friendly scholars see the potential for abuse. Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University who has written on privacy law, points out that in countries where websites can be held liable for user-generated content the law has been used to limit political speech: In Thailand, for example, YouTube was forced to block videos critical of the king.

There is a difference between "threatening emails and phone calls," which is against the law, and outlawing political speech or opinion. These people are talking about legally enforcing the "right" not to have your feelings hurt or to be offended. Did you not follow the recent freedom-of-speech case in Canada regarding Mark Steyn? The organization suing him claimed a 99% success rate in prosecuting people who offended Muslim.

People, at least for now, have the right to offer an opinion on any subject, be it calling Susie a tramp for stealing someone else's boyfriend (e.g., the Juicy Campus gossip website mentioned in the article) or exposing the abominations of an overreaching, corrupt administration. If it's left to that corrupt administration and its minions in the legal system to decide that hurtful comments, gossip, or opposition speech are harmful to the nation ("Fairness" Doctrine), all of society will be muzzled indeed.

26 posted on 02/16/2009 6:03:15 AM PST by shezza (A government that gives you everything you want can take away everything you have.)
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To: shezza
There is a difference between "threatening emails and phone calls," which is against the law, and outlawing political speech or opinion.

See Post 21.

The case specifically mentioned in the article deals with gay activists publishing the names, addresses and map directions of people that had supported Proposition 8 against gay marriage.

"Last month, someone posted a map showing the names, home locations, and occupations of thousands of people who gave money to support the passage of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative outlawing gay marriage in California. A number of these Proposition 8 supporters have since reported threatening e-mails and phone calls."

Why do I need your name, your address and exact directions on how to drive to your house in order to exercise my First Amendment rights regarding "political speech or opinion" over the Internet?

I don't. I only need your name, your address and exact directions on how to drive to your house in order to physically intimidate you or physically attack you.

How does the following, in any way shape or form constitute "political speech or opinion"?

Posted at Gay Vigilantes: "A guy with the screen-name of shezza has posted on Free Republic that he has financially supported Proposition 8. His real name is William Brown, he lives at 5732 E. 32 Street and here are Map Quest directions to his house. Our next club meeting will be on Thursrday, February 19 at 3:00 AM. Freddie, it is your turn to bring the Vaseline to our next Club meeting."

27 posted on 02/16/2009 6:17:40 AM PST by Polybius
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To: rightwingintelligentsia

Hey Drake,

One of your colleagues in Tennessee published a list of CC permit holders and those folks think it might endanger them by targeting them for criminals. Seems like your notions cut both ways. If anything, maybe it’s print media that should be forced into a 50/50 balance. Whaddya think?

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2186657/posts


28 posted on 02/16/2009 6:20:19 AM PST by WorkingClassFilth (Actually, it all started back in Mayberry. Helen Crump was a traveler and Floyd, well, you know...)
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To: nathanbedford
I see oligarchy as an intermediate step.

I think we're already there. Too many retreads from one administration to the next to argue otherwise. We've been left with the illusion of choice to preserve public order.
29 posted on 02/16/2009 7:01:28 AM PST by CowboyJay
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To: rightwingintelligentsia

You had to see this coming from these people. Censorship is good when it is against THEIR liberal indoctrination! They are everything they claim conservatives-Republicans are: racists, elitists, sexists, intolerant, and the attempted censorship is now starting. This is at the point where our military will have to turn their guns on these people because they are attempting a totalitarian state.


30 posted on 02/16/2009 7:30:32 AM PST by bushfamfan (United States of America: July 4, 1776-November 4, 2008)
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To: Thrownatbirth
In regards to this statement, what the hell ever happened to HIPAA?

I work in the electronic patient record business and we have some pretty tight mandatory FDA guidelines on this. Including the fact that we get a full anal probing called an audit every year. By an agent of the government.

31 posted on 02/16/2009 8:43:37 AM PST by ILikeBourbon
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To: Thrownatbirth
In regards to this statement, what the hell ever happened to HIPAA?

I work in the electronic patient record business and we have some pretty tight mandatory FDA guidelines on this. Including the fact that we get a full anal probing called an audit every year. By an agent of the government.

32 posted on 02/16/2009 12:56:18 PM PST by ILikeBourbon
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To: Polybius

As long as it’s not libelous, physically threatening, or an incitement to riot, there should be no restrictions.

It’s like Scott McNealy said - “You have zero privacy anyway, Get over it.”

I’d think think that for a few hundred bucks I could track down most anyone on this board. Probably a whole lot less.


33 posted on 02/16/2009 6:21:25 PM PST by glorgau
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To: 2111USMC

I’m not suggested that the government regulate the internet. I am saying that the same libel laws that apply to the print and broadcast media should also apply to the internet. People who publish in the print and broadcast media are free to say anything they want about politics, religion, etc. But they are not free to make libelous statements about private citizens without running the risk of being sued. The same thing should apply to people who post comments, pictures, articles on the internet. They should NOT be able to hide behind anonymity while trashing someone else’s reputation. Their own identities should be made public so that the people about whom they are writing can face them in court if they so choose.

This is not about limiting anyone’s free speech because free speech has NEVER included the right to libel or slander someone else.

BTW, I know someone whose life and reputation were ruined by online slander/gossip.


34 posted on 02/18/2009 5:06:23 AM PST by steadfastconservative
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