Canadians Consider Web Content Block
A neo-Nazi activist’s call for violence of a Canadian lawyer on his Blogspot blog and his Website prompted that lawyer and others to request Canadian regulators to authorize ISPs to block Internet content.
Bill White, a White supremacist based in Virginia, posted the address of Jewish attorney Richard Warman on his blog and called for Canadians to “take violent action” against him. White accused Warman of organizing a government conspiratorial attack on an anti-Semitic political activist.
White admits that during a radio interview he was confronted with the possibility that someone might kill Warman. White responded, “I hope they do. He deserves to be killed.”
Google was notified of the White’s posting on his blog, Dossier Noir, and promptly removed it, citing violation of their terms of service. White claims first that he set up a second Blogspot blog, Dosier Noir, and that “hackers” subsequently restored the original after infiltrating Google’s system the next day.
On his Website, White calls for the violent overthrow of the Canadian government and media, and the extermination and expatriation of “Jewry,” calling those of the Jewish race “soulless” and “demons.”
Warman, with the help of telecommunications consultant Mark Goldberg, appealed to Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to authorize Canadian carriers to block the websites containing illegal material.
“I have never seen a more compelling case to put before the CRTC,” writes Goldberg. “Frankly, if the CRTC denies our request, they are washing their hands of the powers granted to them by Parliament.”
The situation brings in some difficult questions for observers. Goldberg said this was the first time the CRTC has been asked to consider a petition of this sort. The first issue commentators bring up is freedom of speech, which even in the U.S. where protections are strong, a basic Civics course warns that incendiary speech is not always covered. White’s call for the execution of a specific person and all associated with their race most like counts as particularly incendiary.
Others are concerned for the impact government regulation, specifically the powers granted to ISPs to control content, would have on the Net Neutrality movement. Not all believe that this particular case extends that far, but others fear the slippery slope of set precedents.
But Goldberg follows up with his rebuttal:
“There is no slippery slope to consider in assessing this request. There is no need to debate what constitutes free speech in this case. A call to murder an individual is what we are talking about.”