France, Britain to jointly combat online terror threat

The UK and France are moving ahead with a joint plan to fight terrorism, online hate speech, and to crack encrypted data.

Speaking together in Paris on Tuesday, President Macron and UK prime minister Theresa May said the two countries were renewing their counter-terrorism cooperation.

The plan includes possibly imposing fines on social media giants for not taking down flagged online hate speech quickly enough. They also spoke about prying apart encrypted messages, which posed broader questions on civil liberty and cyber security.

But Macron said they first wanted to make sure internet operators “delete any content promoting hatred and terrorism in any way.”

May echoed Macron’s views and said that while cooperation between their intelligence agencies was strong, more should be done to tackle the online threat.

“We are launching a joint UK-French campaign to ensure that the internet cannot be used as a safe space for terrorists and criminals,” she said.

May said the plan was to get companies to develop tools to identify and automatically remove the offending material. “Our campaign will also include exploring creating a legal liability for tech companies if they fail to take the necessary action to remove unacceptable content,” she said.

France currently has no laws for mandatory encryption backdoors, but instead allows for government hacking to access pre-encrypted data.

A 2015 Intelligence Act gives French intelligence officers blanket immunity to hack computers abroad and also enables them to break into systems at home. In 2016, the French version of a French-German joint statement on counter-terrorism also called for a ban on unbreakable encryption. The German version did not. The UK can already compel the removal of encryption via its 2016 investigatory powers act. The British government also has the power to hack anyone’s computer.

Pressure has been mounting for EU legislation on granting police forces access to encrypted data, with French and German ministers calling for an EU bill before the end of the year.

 

Trump’s proposal to keep out Muslims crosses a line for many in both parties

Republican and Democratic leaders leveled their most forceful criticism yet against Donald Trump on Tuesday, widely denouncing the GOP presidential front-runner’s call to bar Muslims from entering the United States and signaling that Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic rhetoric has agitated both parties more than ever.
At the White House, President Obama’s top spokesman said Trump’s proposal “disqualifies him” from the presidency, marking a rare administration foray into the 2016 race. On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the idea was at odds with the values of their party and the United States as a whole.
In working to tamp down anti-Muslim sentiment that erupted after the attacks, Bush repeatedly talked about Islam as a peaceful religion and said the terrorists did not represent Muslims around the world.

Federal Court Orders YouTube to Take Down Controversial Anti-Islam Video

February 28, 2014

 

A federal appeals court ordered YouTube to take down a controversial anti-Islam video in an unusual copyright decision that Google, which owns YouTube, said raised questions about freedom of speech.

The video, “Innocence of Muslims,” was briefly blamed in 2012 for inciting violence across the Middle East that killed four American diplomatic personnel in Libya and was the topic of a debate over free speech at the time.

Many countries, including the United States, asked YouTube to consider taking down the video. YouTube refused because it said the video did not violate its guidelines governing hate speech, though it put the video behind a warning page. (It temporarily restricted access to the video in Egypt and Libya, which it called an extraordinary measure. It also restricted access in countries where the video is illegal, including Saudi Arabia, India and Indonesia, in response to court orders.)

But the latest court order is about an entirely different legal issue: copyright.

The case was brought by an actress in the film, Cindy Lee Garcia, who had a minor role for which she was paid $500. The California Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, overturning an earlier federal court decision, ordered YouTube to remove the video because it said that Ms. Garcia had a copyright claim to the work and that the infringement of the copyright had led to death threats against Ms. Garcia by critics of the film.

Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in the majority opinion that the filmmaker had lied to Ms. Garcia about the movie, which turned out to be very different from the one in which she agreed to perform. He also said her performance could be copyrighted.

NY Times: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/federal-court-orders-youtube-to-take-down-controversial-anti-islam-video/?action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults%234&version=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DHomepage%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3DHomepage%26t%3Dqry714%23%2Fmuslim%2F30days%2Fallresults%2F5%2Fallauthors%2Fnewest%2F

Muslim group says Coffee County meeting was ‘hijacked’

The background:  Last month, Coffee County, Tennessee commissioner Barry West posted a photo on Facebook of a man squinting down the barrel of a gun, with a caption reading, “How to wink at a Muslim.”  The Muslim community in Tennessee and across the nation was outraged, and many were frightened by the implications of the photo and caption, especially coming from an elected official. The photo below is a capture of the Facebook page by the Mail Online.  There is no way to see this as anything but threatening.

The American Muslim Advisory Council decided to host a meeting to allow local Muslims to share with their neighbors about who the Muslim community is, and to talk about American Muslims and public discourse, and they invited a representative of the DOJ and the FBI to attend and talk about what’s considered free speech and what’s illegal hate speech, and where the line is where speech can be prosecuted.    The situation in Tennessee was that there was a lot of tension between the Muslim community and their neighbors.  There had been a series of anti-Muslim incidents, and an elected official had posted something that the Muslim community believed to have crossed the line between protected speech and hate speech.  This is exactly the sort of situation that the DOJ’s community outreach program is designed to address.  Bill Killian, U.S., Attorney of the Eastern District of Tennessee was to speak about the Constitution, the first and fourteenth amendments, and to clarify what constitutes hate speech, and what are the existing legal consequences.

Middle Tennessee got socked by outside instigators who “hijacked” a public meeting last week, turning what was meant to be a step toward harmony into something more akin to a KKK rally, according to a member of the Muslim panel that sponsored the event.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian and representatives of the American Muslim Advisory Council faced a barrage of hostile comments Tuesday in Manchester, Tenn. Dorothy Zwayyed, East Tennessee coordinator for AMAC, said they were mostly out-of-towners who derailed an assembly of fellowship and learning.

Coffee County lies in mostly white Middle Tennessee where local communities have seen a significant influx of immigrants in recent years. The foreign-born population around Nashville jumped 83.1 percent, from 58,539 to 107,184. That growth represents the fourth-largest percentage increase in the United States from 2000 to 2008, according to the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

After Woolwich, don’t ban hate speech, counter it. Hate it, too

Facing Islamist violence, the British home secretary, like her counterparts in Europe, wrongly reaches for censorship The home secretary, Theresa May. ‘What May proposes is impractical, illiberal, short-sighted and counter-productive.’

 

In response to the vile murder of a British soldier by two Islamist extremists armed with meat cleavers, the home secretary, Theresa May, has suggested a broadcasting ban on people who hold “disgusting views” and the pre-censorship of online hate speech. We face a real threat of violence here, as do other European countries. Another Islamist extremist was arrested in France and has admitted to stabbing a French soldier. But this is not the way to reduce that threat. What May proposes is impractical, illiberal, short-sighted and counter-productive. It would curb a vital freedom without enhancing our security. Her suggestion should be consigned to the dustbin of hysteria.

 

The home secretary will reply that she wants to place the blocking duty not with her own bureaucratic enforcers but with Ofcom, the public regulator of broadcasting. But now a state regulator is to pre-censor editorial content, at the bidding of an interior minister, in the name of defending public security and fighting terrorism?

 

May’s proposed ban is impractical. If it didn’t work in the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher tried to stop Sinn Féin/IRA spokespeople breathing the “oxygen of publicity” on terrestrial television, how much less will it work today – when publicity-hungry Islamist provocateurs like Anjem Choudary can just go off and post their videos on YouTube. So, says our knee-jerk home secretary, we should consider getting Google and YouTube, as well as the broadcasters, to block such footage in advance. Now not everything that Google does is good, whether on tax, competition or privacy, but to impose on it the editorial obligation to pre-screen everything going up on YouTube would destroy something incredibly valuable: an unprecedented ability to speak directly to one another, across oceans and continents.

No, the way to fight these preachers of violent extremism is not to ban them but to take them on, in every medium. Editorial judgments must be made – by editors, not by interior ministers.

 

Google Has No Plans to Rethink Video Status

SAN FRANCISCO — Google said on Friday that it would not comply with a White House request to reconsider the anti-Islam video that has set off violent protests in the Arab world in light of its rules banning hate speech on YouTube, which it owns.

 

Google said it had already determined that the video did not violate its terms of service regarding hate speech. In this case, the video stays up because it is against the Islam religion but not Muslim people.

 

These actions came after Google temporarily blocked the video on Wednesday in Egypt and Libya of its own volition — not because it violated laws or YouTube’s terms of service — an extraordinary measure that it said it took in response to the delicacy of the situation. The video is accessible in the rest of the world, even as protests spread to nearly 20 countries, from North Africa to Indonesia.

Meanwhile, a Facebook spokeswoman confirmed that the company had restricted access to a link to the film in Pakistan, at the request of its government.

 

Kevin Bankston, director of the free expression project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit group that focuses on digital civil liberties, said that Google, as a private company, could decide what was appropriate on its sites and what was not. But he added, “Considering the power that many of these platforms have, it’s important for them to be as clear and transparent as possible about those decisions.”

Hatem Bazian: Anti-Islam ads on San Francisco buses put Muslims at risk

Ads running on San Francisco municipal buses, paid for by noted anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller and her American Freedom Defense Initiative, have sparked controversy about hate speech and fears they could stoke more violence against the American Muslim community. The ads come at a time when American Muslims have suffered at least nine attacks across the nation over a two-week period in August.

The advertisements, cribbed from an Ayn Rand quote, state: “In Any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man. Support Israel, Defeat Jihad.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the American Freedom Defense Initiative as a hate group.

The outcry has focused on discrimination against adherents of Islam, and rightly so. On Aug. 10, pigs’ feet were strewed on the lawn of a mosque in Ontario, while Muslim worshipers in Hayward were pelted by oranges and lemons as they walked into prayer. In Illinois, an acid bomb was thrown at an Islamic school and shots were fired at a mosque. In both cases, worshipers were inside attending to Ramadan prayers. A mosque in Joplin, Mo., was torched and burned to the ground, and other mosques in Oklahoma and Rhode Island reported incidents of vandalism. In Panama City, Fla., a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Muslim family’s home.

Geller’s ads demonize Muslims at a time when they are under attack.

As an educator, I fully support free speech and the open exchange of ideas.

But hate speech like the bus ads has a destructive, cumulative impact on society. The term “savages” has been used to demonize people of color and marginalize them throughout this country’s history.

The San Francisco Transportation Authority has posted ads condemning Geller’s language next to her ad, and has set up a commission to review its advertising policies.

Anwar al-Aulaqi’s death reopens wounds for Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church

At the Northern Virginia mosque where Anwar al-Aulaqi once preached, the news of his killing ripped open a wound that congregants wish would heal.

For a decade, Dar al-Hijrah has been haunted by its association with Aulaqi, who was the imam at the Falls Church mosque on Sept. 11, 2001, but had yet to publicly embrace the anti-American extremism that would make him a target of U.S. drones.
Imam Shaker Elsayed acknowledged Aulaqi’s death at a crowded Friday afternoon prayer service. “May Allah give him mercy,” the imam told dozens of worshipers, noting that “when anyone leaves this life . . . their judgment is reserved by Allah.”

Those who killed Aulaqi, Elsayed added, “need to equally prepare for that moment” when they also will be judged by Allah.

They stressed that when Aulaqi preached at Dar al-Hijrah 10 years ago, he “was known for his interfaith outreach, civic engagement and tolerance in the Northern Virginia community.” It wasn’t until he left the United States and was allegedly tortured by Yemeni authorities, the statement said, that he began preaching violence and encouraging “impressionable American Muslims to attack their own country. With his death, Al-Awlaki will no longer be able to spread his hate speech over the internet to our youth.”

Right-Wing Islam Seminar Found Guilty of Denigrating Islam

15-16 February 2011

A verdict has been passed in the case of the controversial “Islam Seminar” taught at the party academy of the right-way Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). Judge Bettina Neubauer dismissed the charge of hate speech, however has fined the presenter of the seminar 480 Euros for denigrating and slandering Islam, due to the instructor’s insinuation that the prophet Mohammed was a pedophile. The defense has announced its intention to appeal the ruling.

Furthermore, the Office of the Federal Chancellor announced the following day that it would be withholding 1045.45 Euros from the FPÖ’s party academy budget during the next round of funding for the party institutes. The Office of the Chancellor had calculated this to be the amount spent by the FPÖ’s party academy for the funding of the controversial “Islam Seminar.”

Yet another drawing…

The Right wing, populist Skånepartiet (a local party active in Skåne, the most southern county of Sweden) have managed to create a buzz by using a poster showing a drawing of a naked Muhammad holding hands with a likewise naked Aisha. “Is this the kind of marriages we want in Skåne?” reads a text.

Accused of hate speech, Skånepartiets leader Carl P. Herslow says:”We’re attacking Islam, not the people believing in Islam. We consider Islam a dangerous and contagious psycho-social disease.”

More established politicians oppose Skånepartiet’s poster, and appeal to Muslims not to be provoked.