Sunday, June 15, 2008

EP: monitoring blogging

Whilst it is easy to get caught up in the jubilation over the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, it behoves us to remember that, alas, the EU is still here and still attempting to build its new empire. A reminder of this comes from Bruno Waterfield, who reports, via EU Referendum (ahead of the curve as usual), that the EU now wants to attempt to monitor blogging.
Blogs. Apparently MEPs, those people with all that cash, are worried about them. You see it is all a bit of a free for all. People can write blogs without applying for a licence or being approved by the proper authorities. Shocking isn’t it?

Euro-MPs want action: blogs with “malicious intentions or hidden agendas pose a danger”. Marianne Mikko, an Estonian centre-left MEP, is calling for something to be done in a report. Thanks to EU Referendum for this amazing story.

“Blogs are publicly available web pages, with personal views and links expressing the opinions and observations of a particular person, usually on a specific topic or theme and are usually updated regularly reflecting the personality of the author,” so says the Parliament’s website.

How terrible. Just imagine, anybody can think what they like or say what they like, and all by themselves too. People can (easily, what’s worse) publicly write what they think online. And, what is really worrying is that other people might read it.

Ms Mikko: “The blogosphere has so far been a haven of good intentions and relatively honest dealing. However, with blogs becoming commonplace, less principled people will want to use them.”

“I think the public is still very trusting towards blogs, it is still seen as sincere. And it should remain sincere. For that we need a quality mark, a disclosure of who is really writing and why.”

“Hidden agenda” is code here for not trusting people to be able to judge for themselves over arguments put forward by others. It also tends to be the cry from those who are less than sure about being to carry the debate themselves. They think we are stupid and that those who disagree with their world view are malicious and dangerous.

Well, fuck me sideways; the EU wants to protect the people from those evil bloggers! And in order to protect the people from "malicious intentions or hidden agendas", the EU wants to introduce a special mark to show that a blog has been approved by our Soviet EU masters. And this will be "a disclosure of who is really writing and why".

So, that will be an end to anonymous blogging then.

This is a fucking appalling imposition but hardly a surprise: we have, after all, already seen proposed EU legislation deliberately designed to target bloggers.

My Lord Cramner has a few words to say about this too.
Since when has one needed permission from the State to express more than one’s personal view? Are we about to surrender the freedom to blog to the EU’s licensing authorities? Will Euroblogs become the only permitted mechanism for placing information in the public domain? Goebbels would take great pride in this control of information and public opinion, for bloggers who are deemed to incite hatred against the EU will most likely be classified as terrorists, with terrorism now defined succinctly as 'acts which seriously affect the political, economic or social structures of a country or organisation governed by public international law.'

So, the EU is concerned about certain ‘pressure groups’ who may wish to disseminate ‘their message’, and this may be seen as ‘a threat’. And there must be ‘disclosure of who is really writing and why’. And when these criteria are fulfilled, the blogger will be issued with an EU ‘quality mark’ in order that he or she may continue blogging to their heart’s content.

Cranmer can hardly wait to see if his august blog shall be awarded such a mark, which he would be proud to display amongst his other awards and honours, if only as a perpetual reminder of the identity of Caesar—his temporal sovereign, lord and master.

On the other hand, Jon Worth thinks that this whole outrage is a fuss over nothing.
Get a grip folks. What’s the first thing to do when someone in the EP sounds off? Look at what sort of document we’re talking about… In this case it’s an EP resolution - you can find the original report and a list of amendments here. It’s not legislation (i.e. not a Directive or a Regulation). It’s only a little bit more formal than an EDM in Westminster - and there 87 MPs have signed one complementing Fidel Castro.

Yes, and I was happy to call them a bunch of fucking cunts too. Just because these arseholes are not affecting the rest of us with their poisonous opinions does not mean that they aren't a bunch of fucking cunts and should not be called out as such.
Does Marianne Mikko know much about blogging? I doubt it. Did anyone in Brussels bother to lobby her about the parts of her resolution about blogging? Probably not, as any lobbyist who’s any good knows resolutions are rather a waste of time (and rather something for journalists and British eurosceptics to get into a lather about).

Jon, you should know as well as I do that just because a politician knows less than fuck all about a particular subject does not mean that they will not try to legislate. Amongst anything else, if the actors of the EU had the first fucking clue about economics, they wouldn't be trying to stifle free trade.
Plus if Helen and Bruno had dug a bit deeper they would have found, among the amendments to the resolution, amendments proposed by Maria Badia i Cutchet cutting back the text and saying only clarity is needed when it comes to legal protection for bloggers, and suggestions to delete the article about voluntary standards for bloggers from Ignasi Guardans Cambó and Claire Gibault.

That's all well and good, but that does not mean that we should not be on our guard: I absolutely guarantee that the EU will attempt to constrain blogging at some point. Apart from anything else, these bastard control freaks cannot bear to leave anything unregulated.

At present, EU Directives and Regulations control much of the minutiae of people's lives (little though they may realise it); the difficulty of pinning down bloggers has so far defeated the Eurocrats.

However, that does not mean that they will not try, as the Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia [PDF] showed quite clearly.
But the really bad news for bloggers is in Article 10: Jurisdiction (I will publish the whole document, but I need to get some clearance first). [Emphasis mine.]
Article 10
Jurisdiction
  1. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to establish its jurisdiction with regard to the conduct referred to in Articles 1 and 2 where the conduct has been committed:
    • (a) in whole or in part within its territory; or

    • (b) by one of its nationals; or

    • (c) for the benefit of a legal person [i.e. a company, charity, etc—DK] that has its head office in the territory of that Member State.

  2. When establishing jurisdiction in accordance with paragraph 1(a), each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that its jurisdiction extends to cases where the conduct is committed through an information system and:
    • (a) the offender commits the conduct when physically present in its territory, whether or not the conduct involves material hosted on an information system in its territory;

    • (b) the conduct involves material hosted on an information system in its territory, whether or not the offender commits the conduct when physically present in its territory.

That's right, a blog is "an information system" and it doesn't matter where it's hosted; you can still go to gaol.

As I pointed out when I last wrote about this, if this legislation had been in force at the time, John Band would not simply have taken down Shot By Both Sides: he could be in prison. Further, under provision of this framework, if it was determined that the company that he worked for could have stopped his action, it could have been compulsorily wound up.

This is, in and of itself, a terribly dangerous piece of legislation, but there is a far more worrying aspect to this whole debate; if the EU is allowed to make criminal law, then what use is our veto on Criminal Justice and Home Affairs? And do you want your criminal law made by an unelected Commission; a Commission made up of people like Mandelson? If these people make bad law, there is nothing that we can do about it: neither our current nor future governments can repeal it or alter it (at least, it would be so difficult as to be 99.99% certain to fail).

And where does it stop? After all, the EU has also talked about criminalising "green crimes"; will your humble Devil soon be in a criminal court, charged with "denying anthropogenic global warming"?

Jon may dismiss this story as Europhobic scaremongering, but then a Europhile who writes under his own name is hardly going to be censured. But I would seriously recommend that other bloggers be really very careful about the legislation emanating from the EU.

They will try to control us at some point, and we need to be ready for it...

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Marianne Mikko was born in 1961. This means she grew up not in the independent Republic of Estonia but in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Clearly her formative years spent living under Soviet Communist tyranny have had a profound impact on her.

I, personally, have always wanted the EU to succeed. I have always wanted to see Europe come together in a great commonwealth that would be a force for the promotion of liberty and peace in the world. That fact that I am now resolutely Euro-sceptic has much to do with the sheer fucktardedness of those who now run the European project.

leg-iron said...

Oh well, looks like it'll be back to underground presses putting out pamphlets again. It worked in the 1700's, I believe.

No doubt we'll see a banning of desktop publishing software when that happens - or some means by which the software's printout can be used to identify its owner.

One thing's for sure, there'll be a mass takedown of blogs without the 'CE' mark on them eventually. Those with this Mark of the Beast will be monitored, censored and taxed, and not worth reading.

People will continue to think for themselves nonetheless. We'll just do it where they can't see us.

Ordovicius said...

"Ahead of the blogging" indeed!

I posted about it last friday (as did Jon Worth) and I also posted about it before, on the 5th of June

Trixy said...

Jon 'twat' Worth is doing another classic job of deception or is ignorant.

For example, the fuss over banning patio heaters was nowt but a resolution. However, the Commission use these as a guideline for what they will be able to get through the Pariament. So we see the Commission now drawing up legislation to ban patio heaters.

I am going to Strasbourg, and if I find that declaration I will write 'fuck off you fascists' on it as a united message from us all.

Travis Bickle said...

How long before these twats start thinking about rebuilding the equivalent of the Berlin wall to stop EU citizens fleeing to freedom?

wonderfulforhisage said...

DD for PM say I.

Katabasis said...

Developments in Italy on this subject should give us ALL very serious pause for thought:

[url=http://www.beppegrillo.it/eng/2007/10/the_leviprodi_law_and_the_end.html]The Levi-Prodi law[/url]

"The Levi-Prodi law lays out that anyone with a blog or a website has to register it with the ROC, a register of the Communications Authority, produce certificates, pay a tax, even if they provide information without any intention to make money. "

Katabasis said...

Sorry - fixed link

Devil's Kitchen said...

Ordovicius,

Yes, I think that you emailed me about it too, eh? Sorry about that, forgot.

Still, if you had actually read what I wrote, you would have noticed that I quoted Jon's article at length.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother... ;-)

DK

Devil's Kitchen said...

Katabasis,

Thanks for that, but I covered the Levi-Prodi law some time ago.

DK

Ian_QT said...

If they tried anything like Levi-Prodi in the EU there'd be an almighty row emanating from the online communities all across Europe and I'd expect outrage from the rest of the anglosphere as well.

I expect the anti-EU mainstream media would join in the chorus of outrage as well.

At the same time, the fact that there are people who think like Marianne Mikko involved in making law is a scary thought.

Incidentally, this is why I loathe certain left-wing bloggers so much - because they display the same leanings i.e. a desire for thought control.

Of course, unlike them I don't want to see those blogs I find offensive to be shut down, but IMO they need to be confronted with their totalitarianism loudly and often.

Ordovicius said...

Still, if you had actually read what I wrote, you would have noticed that I quoted Jon's article at length.

That's what happens when I blog, comment and cook at the same time (If frying mince and throwing eggs and tomatoes on top counts as cooking).

I have added Ms Mikko and co to my list of "politicians I'd twat in a pub"

The Morningstar said...

It wasn't that long ago that people were thinking that the British parliament wouldn't ban extreme pronography just because Mrs. Longhurst wanted it banned. Look what happened when those lying fucking twats Croaker and Salter got involved.

We now have an extreme pornography law that doesn't have any decent definitions of what extreme porn is and it is up to the person in front of the monitor to try and work it out.

All it takes is one member of any parliament going on about something and you could end up being screwed with your pants on.

Rob said...

"We now have an extreme pornography law that doesn't have any decent definitions of what extreme porn is and it is up to the person in front of the monitor to try and work it out."

Yet another one of those public sector non-jobs advertised in the Guardian? I might get me a copy tomorrow...

Mr Eugenides said...

Ordovicius,

Would it not be quicker to draw up a short list of politicians you wouldn't twat in a pub? You know, just in case?

Very short, mind you. In fact I think that glamour model in Berlusconi's cabinet might be the only one.

Anonymous said...

Travis Bickle said...
"How long before these twats start thinking about rebuilding the equivalent of the Berlin wall to stop EU citizens fleeing to freedom"

Yes – I predict restrictions on export of personal capital wealth in the not too distant future.

ELF

Council House Tory said...

have just read guido's post about the falling market share of the mainstream in online commentary.

left a comment that our masters would seek to regulate you all out of business.

that i was right scares me. they really do want to control us.

Henry Crun said...

Trixy,

The patio heater thing may only have been a "resolution" but it didn't stop Ken and other green fuckwits from trying to pass it into legislation. Similarly with the blogging kitemark idea - it does not require a huge leap of faith to imagine that out Labour lords and masters would try and incorporate it into the terrorism act or civil contingencies bill.

Henry Crun said...

This resolution/legislation will just be the thin end of the wedge:

See here

Snowolf said...

A thought occured to me as I was watching to licensed trade rep north of the border bleating on Al-Beeb a moment ago. It would appear that the pub trade are very happy with this idea as drinking in pubs is on the slide. Now why could that be? What has been banned in pubs fairly recently that could cause people to stay at home and drink? Or have the numbers of pissed up kids sky rocketed over recent months?

Roger Thornhill said...

This is not a fencepost, I declare this an attempt to put up a fence PANEL.

number 6 said...

Naturally the EUSSR wishes to control blogs, along with every other aspect of our lives. Blogs represent instant communication of ideas and views on emerging political situations. Thus, they are instant expressions of free thought and comment, both of which are viewed as double plus bad by the EUSSR.

Chalcedon said...

You know how these continentals operate. Roman Law/Code Napoleon: You can do something only if a law says you can.

English law..........you can do anything you like unless there is a law against it.

Big frigging difference. They are trying to impose the former. Serveral tens if not hundreds of thousands of the British died fighting for our way of life and these bastards in Westminster want to hand us over to the continentals and impose their way of doing things on us! The Duke of WEellington and Lord Nelson must both be approacking light speed spinning in their graves.

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