The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, used the annual SXSW festival in Austin to join other European leaders in calling for tech companies to censor hate speech and be subject to government regulations for fines for violations. Khan read hateful messages against him to support the need for a crackdown — ignoring the free speech implications of such government regulation.
Both France and Germany are pursuing new laws that would take it upon themselves to police the Internet.
Khan insisted “This isn’t about depriving people of free speech — this is about inciting hatred. This is about things that divide our community.”
Khan is an example of how the greatest threats to free speech seems to be coming from the left as politicians and activists seek to eliminate “harmful speech” while leaving to their government to define what meets that ambiguous definition.
Khan did not mention English laws that have expanded steadily in the criminalization of speech to cover insults and objectionable statements. His desire to take that level of speech regulation to the Internet is chilling. The fact that he has found a forum in the United States to try to convince people to embrace speech regulation is glacially chilling.