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[freehaven-dev] [Fwd: [News] British view of French Law project: Jane Wakefield L'Internet, c'est terrible]
> Internet madness from the French government
> The French are coming. Vive La France.
> Australians hate New Zealanders, Americans hate Canadians and Canadians just
> hate each other. In the wonderful world of stereotyping and football riots
> there is nothing we like better than a nation to ridicule.
> And ours lies just 26 miles across the Channel in the home of gastronomy
> (that's snails and frog legs to the xenophobic) and garlic. French farmers
> have more power than their English counterparts, French men are allowed to
> have mistresses and their food smells more than ours. Reason enough to hate
> them you may think (oh and don't forget their worst crime -- they speak
> Well not quite. Francophobes were given yet another reason to hate our
> neighbours last week as our garlic-crushing friends decided to get tough on
> the Internet. On Monday the French courts decided that French surfers should
> not be allowed to buy Nazi paraphernalia from an auction site hosted by
> Yahoo!. In what seemed to be a somewhat draconian ruling, the court gave
> Yahoo! just two months to come up with a method to make sure they couldn't.
> Now to my way of thinking if you are of a mind to buy Nazi momentos then
> lack of Web access is not going to stop you. If owning a pair of Eva Braun's
> knickers is what really turns you on, then there is no power in the world
> that is going to stop you.
> As if that wasn't bizarre enough, then things were to get decidedly stranger
> on Wednesday when it emerged that France has beaten the Brits to the title
> of "most stupid piece of Internet legislation in the world". For a while it
> looked as if the RIP (Regulation of Investigatory Powers) bill was a clear
> favourite but that was until the French hoisted the Liberty of
> Communications bill on an unsuspecting world.
> Basically the French government has decided, in its wisdom, that no-one
> should be allowed to set up a Web site without consulting them first. It is
> planning to force all potential Web publishers to fill out an online
> registration form before setting up frenchpoodles.com or
> whyweloveberetsandonions.org or whatever it is that tickles your French
> fancy. The bill is due to be debated in the French Senate this week.
> Supporters say it is just intended to make people legally liable for
> material on the Net but opponents say it suppresses civil liberties and may
> well drive companies out of France altogether.
> What has got into the French? I was under the impression that the Internet
> had been through all the attempts to gag it and had come out -- pretty much
> intact -- the other side. I thought politicians were coming round if not to
> a respect for the Net at least a grudging acceptance that it played a useful
> part in economic wellbeing and was best left alone.
> The lessons of censorship were so simply illustrated by Prohibition when
> even teetotal old ladies could not get enough of the hard stuff. The more
> you suppress something the more people will want to get their hands on it.
> And that simple fact is so apparent of the Internet that any small child
> could tell it was so. If censorship is unpalatable to the masses it is also
> incredibly hard to enforce in the physical world, let alone the cyber one.
> The Internet has always held on to its free ethos by the skin of its teeth.
> Like the kid who wore an earring to school and leant back in his chair with
> an aura of "so what?" the Internet was always going to attract the wrath of
> the Establishment.
> In the UK though the government have learned to grin and bear the Net -- in
> fact they are growing quite fond of it in some ways (although they still
> demand the right to snoop on everything that happens there). In France there
> is a far weaker Internet industry and the would-be dotcomming filles and
> garcons will be holding their heads in their hands at its government's
> misunderstanding of how to deal with the Net.
> President Chirac should take a lesson from Tony Blair and get Nettie. Go to
> IT lessons, embarrass yourself by ordering flowers for your wife (or
> mistress) but don't interfere.
> Vive L'Internet!!!
> <<Jane Wakefield L'Internet, c'est terrible.url>>
"Not all those who wander are lost." email@example.com