Collaboration

Internet censorship becomes an explosive topic

Internet censorship. I've addressed this topic before, but recent news stirs the controversial pot once again. See the story by Ars Technica: "EU considers ban on using Internet to distribute bomb-making instructions."

Here's the lowdown:

EU security commissioner Franco Frattini outlined a new set of anti-terror proposals, including plans for a Europol explosives database, airplane passenger list databases, and legislation that would criminalize publication of bomb-making instructions on the Internet.

Few details are available to provide insight into the specifics of the proposed program, but it will clearly involve criminalizing dissemination of some information that could potentially be used for terrorist activity.

My initial reaction was that this plan wasn't bad at all. I mean, who wants to read another news headline about teenagers who blew apart their teachers and classmates because they were disturbed and had easy access to destructive information on the Internet? Not me.

However, the news article points out that innocent sites could be jeapardized:

If legislation banning publication of bomb-making instructions is too broad and doesn't include appropriate exceptions, it could theoretically put chemistry sites at risk. We have seen in the past that Internet censorship laws — even ones that stem from good intentions — often have unanticipated negative consequences.

For more information, check out this article by Reuters: "Experts doubt plan to block bomb recipes on Web."

What are your thoughts? Let's hear your best argument for and/or against the removal of bomb-making instructions from the Net.

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About

Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.

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