For the first time in human history, we have the means to connect people fromevery corner of the globe, to talk to each other and share information at a costthat’s far more affordable than any other means of publishing in the world. There is nothing more powerful as the Internet or the World Wide Web that hasever existed before. Hate is scary.
By definition, “Hate is an intensehostility and emotional aversion to someone or something. It is displayed withwords, harassment and/or acts of violence including killing. ” (Novick, para4). Hate can be hidden from friends or family, but at other times it is braggedabout. Hatred can be motivated by the desire for political power, for the needto put someone in their place, even by religious beliefs. The Internet seems tohave pushed all our buttons of paranoia, especially these days, when we’realready confused and frightened by all the violence and chaos in our world.
Preventing Internet Hate Crimes Controls and Mechanisms The first method isrebuttal, a technique long used by the anti-censorship or anti-hateorganizations. “Rebuttal allows for the unrestricted dissemination of hate andnegates it by offering a more “insightful and historically accurate”examination of political and social history. ” (Guide To Hate Groups, soundclip). This method eliminates the question of censorship and the stigma ofgovernmental control. But it does not compensate for the real human pain ofhaving swastikas, ethnocentric messages, or racial caricatures on one’scomputer screen, nor does it keep children from accessing the hate sites withoutunderstanding the true context of the debates. The second method is that ofmoral , a tactic which has been successfully used by social activists andinterest groups throughout the 20th century.
“Moral persuasion would shift theresponsibility of eliminating cyber-hate from the government to non-governmentalorganizations, special interest groups, and social activists, avoiding theproblem of censorship and the inadequacy of the anti-hate laws. “(Guide To HateGroups). Concerned individuals and organizations would consolidate and cooperatein a social movement to increase public awareness and encourage economicsanctions against the Internet service providers who offer access to hategroups. Who Do We Blame? “The current problem of cyber-hate is not one oftechnology, but rather one of public policy.
“(Censorship) The most commonmeans for any government to deal with this problem is either to modify existinglegislation or to introduce new, more inclusive anti-hate laws. But policymakers have not acted quickly enough to modify existing legislation to dealadequately with the capabilities of the Internet. Hate groups have gained aformidable person on the Internet and cleaning up cyber-space will be difficult. Blame policy, not technology Addressing Cyber Hate Crimes Expose It While somegovernments already have laws limiting freedom of speech, and others contemplatelimiting what is allowed on the Internet, the culture of the Net has created itsown crusaders for free expression. Rather than consider censoring or banning Netsites that concern them, they have, using their own time and money, begunbuilding Web pages to expose or contradict what they find repellent. Theirphilosophy is simple, let the free marketplace of ideas decide what content isacceptable.
Advocating censorship of these groups is not the answer. It will dono good to force them underground. Linking to information that contradictsracism and anti-Semitism on the Net is the goal of other anti-hates sites whichuse the communicative powers of the Web to show alternatives to thehate-mongers’ sites. “In the free marketplace of ideas,” they willeventually make the “right choices. ” (Hate Crimes) Crack It Thecracking of Cyber Hate pages may represent an opening shot in a new way to wagethe war of information on the Net, now hackers can just deface Web pages theydon’t like. “We may start to see opposing opinions begin to wage actual war inthe internet world.
The hacker’s attack bodes ill for the future of freeexpression on the Internet. ” (Cyber Hate) Anti Cyber Hate Laws California’sAssembly Bill 295 This bill would expand obscenity and child pornographystatutes to prohibit transmission of images by computer. This basically coveredall sites dealing with the illegal use of picture of minors on the Internet. California Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1998, (Hate Crime Laws) The incidenceof violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, national origin,religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability of the victim poses aserious problem. Such violence disrupts the tranquillity and safety ofcommunities and is deeply divisive. existing Federal law is inadequate toaddress this problem, such violence affects interstate commerce.
Free Speech OrNot? Freedom of Speech and the 1st Amendment Freedom of speech is aninextricable part of the fabric of the Internet. So much so, that no matterwhere you live, whether you point to the rights represented in the US by theFirst Amendment, odds are that when you log on, you access a higher level offreedom of expression than any “off-line” citizen. However, civillibertarians say that’s only because to most governments the Internet is still amystery, and lawmakers haven’t yet gotten around to applying existing statutesor passing new ones. The very few arrests and prosecutions that make the papersin the United States, they say, have dealt with high-publicity cases like childpornography and hackers, not “hate crimes. ” It is without a doubt themost democratic means of communication that has ever existed”. (CensorshipOpposing, para 12).
It’s incredibly important to remember that the people whofounded the United States believed so strongly that free speech is thecornerstone of democracy. By exposing wrong or dangerous ideas gets peopletalking about them, so that they can reject them. The Internet has actually donemore than any other means of communication to get millions of people involved intalking to each other about issues and ideas that they care about. We do have aproblem here, but it is not the Internet.
Now that the web has made it possiblefor almost anyone to be a publisher, there is an enormous amount of electronicjunk out there, posing as fact. For example, “As a matter of constitutionaltradition, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we presume thatgovernmental regulation of the content of speech is more likely to interferewith the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it. The interest inencouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs anytheoretical but unproven benefit of censorship. ” — Justice John PaulStevens, writing for the majority .
(CIEC, para 5) As a society, we’ve gottenquite accustomed to having our information spoon-fed to us without questioningit. We don’t know how to tell good information from bad. Our own ignorance isreally the enemy here, not the Nazi revisionists and certainly not the Internet. Are We Protected? There are laws against slander and libel. These laws exist sothat one can protect himself against people who use speech as a weapon, ratherthan as a tool. What it comes down to is this: A society built on free speech isa society that’s willing to take risks.
It’s willing to risk that unpredictable,individual expression may hurt or offend people, or give power to people orgroups whose rhetoric can catch hold and sway the population. In contrast, asociety that’s built on free speech is also willing to have faith that freespeech will allow the truth to prevail, and that’s more important than the riskof humiliation, and even more important than the risk that someone might believea lie. “If the goal is to protect children, then parental empowermenttechnology together with education provides the means. Making a law would onlylull parents into a false sense of security, into feeling that children wereprotected when they are not. We know that at least 40% of the content that maybe inappropriate for children is outside the US, and beyond the reach of USlaw,” said Bill Burrington, Assistant General Counsel of AmericaOnline.
(CEIC). Many lies are being told today by hate groups, and maybe somepeople believe them. There is nothing so powerful about them, that gives thegovernment, or anyone else the power to decide whose version of history, orwhose version of the truth, should be allowed to travel along the wires of ourcommunications systems, including the Internet. Examples Of Hate Sites Hategroup web pages are not difficult to find. Identifying an organization as a hategroup would be somewhat of a subjective task. Some individuals would broadentheir list to include organizations that manifest various levels of intolerancetoward target populations, even though the organizations would not advocateviolence.
Lists of hate groups generally include organizations that advocateviolence or unreasonable hostility toward target populations, for example. Racists David Duke, a former Louisiana legislator and national leader of theInvisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, is one example of those who areusing the Internet to spread racial hatred. On his website, he writes: “Ourpeople (white people) will learn that our very survival is in jeopardy. We willfinally realize that our culture and traditions are under attack; that ourvalues and morality, our freedom and prosperity are in danger. ( Creating Fear ofDifference Online). Several white supremacist groups use symbolism fromChristian scriptures to assert their racist and anti-Semitic agenda.
One exampleis the Aryan Nations, which claims that fair-skinned people with northernEuropean ancestry are God’s chosen people, to the exclusion of all others. SuchInternet messages propagate fear of difference by stereotyping, exaggerating ormaking up figures, and spewing fear-filled language. They create an atmosphereof hate that feeds violence. That is just one example of the many Internet sitesthat is steering up hate in our society. The Aryan Nations, Christian Identity,Ku Klux Klan organizations and a number of other groups assert that white peopleshould not have to share a common culture with non-whites. Sex DiscriminationMany of these sex discrimination sites have gone under ground.
These site arethe weaker of the hate sites. Many of the sites also lean on the same basis forrejecting the homosexual life. Here is an example of one of the sites:”Homosexuality is immoral and is therefore illegal — despite the desperateattempts by homosexuals to have homosexuality and homosexual marriages declaredlegal. “(Homosexuality) My Stance I believe we do have a severe problem on ourhands.
However I feel the problem is not with the internet. I would have to saythat the censorship of the internet is to be taken care of at home. Many peoplerely on television, VCR’s, and toys to watch over their children. Whathappened to family values? I think people have become very lazy when comes tocare for their children. Come on America, start accepting responsibility foryourself and stop blaming technology. Conclusion In conclusion, The decisions wemake today about our basic freedoms will be ones we live with for a very longtime.
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