Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bloggers as terrorists

This was an interesting piece on Prison Planet

The article refers to a meeting of EU ministers who were meeting in an effort to make the internet a more hostile place for terrorists.

This was reported by the BBC here. If you read this piece it all seems perfectly reasonable except for the bit where "Home Secretary John Reid said they would seek to crack down on people using the web to share information on explosives or spread propaganda."

If you read that piece without thinking it too seems entirely reasonable but if you think about it more carefully the first part does not make much sense (fastening the stable door after the horse has bolted comes to mind) and the second part is downright worrying.

Stopping people from sharing information about explosives would seem to be sensible but is probably going to prove to be a bit impractical given that the information could be hosted anywhere in the world in any language. Typing how to build a bomb into google produced 11,700,000 sites with quotation marks around it reduced this to 25,500. I also tried explosives bomb and got 6,530,000 sites. And that was just in english! And all of this before one considers more traditional forms of information such as books.

As for the spreading of propaganda I thought it would be useful to get some definitions. came up with the following :

1.information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
2.the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.
3.the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.

Wikipedia came up with the following :

Propaganda is a specific type of message presentation directly aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviour of people, rather than impartially providing information. An appeal to one's emotions is, perhaps, the more obvious propaganda method, but there are varied other more subtle and insidious forms. On the other hand, a most common characteristic of propaganda is volume (in the sense of a large amount). Individually propaganda functions as self-deception. Culturally it works within religions, politics, and economic entities like those which both favour and oppose globalization. Commercially it works within the (mass) market in the free market societies.

Quite where that leaves all the Liberal Democrat websites and bloggers I do not know let alone all those of other parties or of none.

To quote "The only remaining outlet for the groundswell of dissent in opposition to the Neo-Fascist takeover of the west is the Internet, and it keeps these jack-booted bastards awake at night to think you can sit in front of your computer and broadcast your outrage to the four corners of the earth on a whim."


Jock Coats said...

Maybe it's about time we all joined up to the Electronic Frontier Foundation?

Tony Ferguson said...

their guide for bloggers can be found here