May Calls For Free Speech Controls on the Internet In Response To London Attacks

Theresa_MayWe have previously discussed how politicians often attack free speech and other rights to show that they are “tough” on terror after attacks.  Prime Minister Theresa May however may have set a record.  May did not hesitate in immediately blaming the Internet and calling for government regulation of free speech to combat attacks like the one in London.  Of course, if these terrorists were connected to ISIS (or inspired by ISIS), their extremism was not caused by free speech on the Internet.  Indeed, the Internet often allows security to track extremists on the web.

May wants new rules for cyberspace would “deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online” and impose new controls over such speech.  Governments have long sought to regulate the Internet, which remains the single greatest invention for free speech since the emergence of the printing press.  Government naturally gravitate toward more and more control over communications.  China has taken the lead in curtailing free speech on the Internet but Western nations often run into free speech principles when officials demand control over the web.  Thus, governments often wait for an attack to try to get people to surrender their free speech willingly.  There is nothing like fear to get a free people to give up part of their freedom.

The only thing missing was May saying “England Prevails”:

 

England of course has been a free fall for free speech.  We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here).  Even the Home Secretary has been accused of hate speech for criticizing immigrant workers.

The combination of the increasing English criminalization of speech with new Internet controls could be a deadly combination for free speech.  It is alarming how many citizens will dismiss free speech principles when told that less freedom will make them more safe. It is the ancient Siren’s Call of all governments.  May is only the latest government official to blame free speech – an easy target for governments who long for greater control over communications.  However, the United Kingdom shows that it is easy to surrender rights but it is very hard to regain those rights.  Citizens should tell May that her job is to make Britain safe while preserving the freedoms that define Britain.

52 thoughts on “May Calls For Free Speech Controls on the Internet In Response To London Attacks

  1. This song is appropriate for May’s England:

    The eastern world it is explodin’, violence flarin’, bullets loadin’

    You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’

    You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’?

    And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’

    But you tell me over and over and over again my friend

    Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

    Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?

    Can’t you feel the fears that I’m feeling today?

    If the button is pushed, there’s no running away

    There’ll be none to save with the world in a grave

    Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy

    And you tell me over and over and over again, my friend

    Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

    Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’

    I’m sittin’ here just contemplatin’

    I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation

    Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation

    And marches alone can’t bring integration

    When human respect is disintegratin’

    This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

    And you tell me over and over and over again my friend

    Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

    Think of all the hate there is in Red China

    Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama

    Ah, you may leave here for four days in space

    But when you return it’s the same old place

    The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace

    You can bury your dead but don’t leave a trace

    Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace

    And tell me over and over and over and over again my friend

    You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

    No, no

    You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

    Barry McGuire – Eve of Destruction

  2. We had so me dork ex professor who became our President and he declared that America had to Make The World Safe For Democracy. Woodrow Wilson.
    We never have. We never will. There are parts of the world where Democracy will not work. Ever.
    England may curb free speech and it may help them curb their terrorists. But they need to be tougher on the terrorists whom they know of. Round em up. Lock em up. Kill some. Castrate others. Punish their moms and dads when they do an act of terrorism.

  3. Wait. She’s seriously blaming the Internet rather than terrorism driven by Muslim Extremism? That’s really a short sighted move. Besides the obvious dampening of free speech, it would remove one of the means that we have to identify extremists.

  4. What she actually said was a good deal more ambiguous than you’re pretending:

    “Second, we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide.

    We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning. And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.

    Third, while we need to deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online,”

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