NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY
 
 $70,210
 
 175

HOT TOPICS ▶ Honduras Elections     Target: Iran     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    


  October 27, 2017

British Government Wants to Criminalize Web Use


The British government is set to expand terrorism offenses to include the act of viewing content online. Jim Killock of Open Rights Group says the move amounts to criminalizing thought
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I support The Real News Network because it is not entertainment...it is real news. - David Pear
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

Jim Killock is the Executive Director of OpenRightsGroup.org. This organization is the UK’s only grassroots digital rights organisation.


transcript

AARON MATÉ: It's The Real News. I'm Aaron Maté. The British government is set to expand terrorism offenses to include the act of viewing content online. Home Secretary Amber Rudd recently unveiled the move.

AMBER RUDD: We will change the law so that people who repeatedly view terrorist content online could face up to 15 years in prison. This will close an important gap in legislation. At present, the existing offense applies only if you've downloaded or stored such material. Not if you're repeatedly viewing it or streaming it online. We will also change the law in another important way. If someone publishes information about our police or armed forces for the purpose of preparing an act of terrorism, then they could face up to 15 years in prison.

AARON MATÉ: That was British Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Now, Downing Street says this legislation sends a clear message to terrorists, but critics say it's actually criminalizing thought. Jim Killock is Executive Director of Open Rights Group, Britain's only grassroots digital rights organization. Welcome Jim. For those of us who are not in Britain and might be hearing about this measure for the first time, can you explain for us what this is?

JIM KILLOCK: Well, this is at the moment just a proposal. We don't know whether Amber Rudd will follow through, but it sounds like she's serious. She wants people to be sentenced to jail if they have been viewing extremist or terrorist related material online. Of course that's going to affect journalists, it could affect academics, all of those already very cautious about what they research around extremism. But it's also going to make it very, very dangerous and hard I think for people who are maybe on the edges of these networks.

Maybe they've been reading this material. Maybe they want to get out. Maybe they think these people are dangerous and they actually don't want to support them and want to maybe tell the authorities about that. What are they going to do at that stage? They'd be admitting to a criminal offense, something that could land them in jail for 10 or 15 years just because they know about these people and have been reading about them online.

That's going to deter them from actually going forward and seeking help or from reporting them. So I think even from Theresa May's point of view and Amber Rudd's point of view this is dangerous. It's not going to help de-radicalization, it's not going to help stop extremists and terrorist.

AARON MATÉ: How do they define what constitutes criminal content?

JIM KILLOCK: Who knows? I think they're having difficulties even now deciding what is and isn't extremist, what is criminal, and of course it's very easy to say look, something that's supporting those sorts of views is criminal and then suddenly lots of things which actually are perfectly legitimate become criminalized...do extremists include environmental groups?

Today we had somebody who had been attending a protest against the G20 having their, reports of how they had have their laptops seized, their material taken off their electronic equipment. They were forced to hand over passwords merely because they had been in demonstrations in Berlin. Apparently that might have been to do with the fact that there were anarchists on that demonstration, a black blog. You're being on a demonstration that has anarchists in it shouldn't make you a terrorist suspect. That's what happened to a woman in the UK only a few months ago.

AARON MATÉ: Your organization has been speaking out about this. What's been the wider reaction in Britain so far?

JIM KILLOCK: It's extremely muted actually. There was a couple of reports on this, so not a lot of reports. I think that's because the Tory party, the conservative party's in disarray to be honest. They are struggling with the idea of leaving the European Union. They're split on how to do it. Everyone's worried about what's happening and that's forming a lot of distraction. Nobody really knows whether this government's capable of legislating on anything, so I think all of that tends to distract.

But I think we should be looking at this very, very seriously. We should be very concerned that our government having put everybody under surveillance and legitimized all the things that we heard from Edward Snowden now wants to do the same for free speech. What it's done for privacy it wants to do for free speech, which is to say yeah, of course you can have free speech so long as you're saying things that we're not worried about.

AARON MATÉ: The conservatives barely held onto power in the recent election. Do you think that this measure has some sort of political motivation in terms of trying to use the old tactic of fear mongering and using the threat of terrorism to get people on side?

JIM KILLOCK: Well, I think they would be doing that whatever had happened in the election. I think they're constantly doing that. I think right at the moment on both sides of the Atlantic in many European countries, not just Britain, there is a tendency towards authoritarianism to taking extreme stances to do actually to put in place the kinds of policies that extreme right wing governments would do if they were the ones in charge.

Instead we have democratic parties doing the sorts of things that we would only expect the most extreme right wing governments to be doing. That's I think because they're trying to capture the same public mood that people are worried, people want things to blame, they're looking for scapegoats and of course terrorism extremists are a great scapegoat. Nobody's going to sympathize with them so why not do that?

However, I think it's a very dangerous tactic and I think maybe our governments are not realizing that by legitimizing that sort of extreme authoritarian behavior that actually they are opening the door for even more extreme governments in the future and make it easier for the extremists to sound normal and sane.

AARON MATÉ: We'll leave it there. Jim Killock is the Executive Director of Open Rights Group, Britain's only grassroots digital rights organization. Jim, thank you.

JIM KILLOCK: Thank you.

AARON MATÉ: And thank you for joining us on The Real News.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

Paul Jay On Our Need For Monthly Donors
Undoing the New Deal: Roosevelt Created A Social Safety Net, Not Socialism (pt3)
The Only Peace Process is Palestinian Freedom
A Chicago Alderman Introduced A Water Affordability Ordinance. Does Baltimore Need One Too?
State of Emergency Declared in Southern California
To Fight Crime We Must Address Root Causes, Says Mayor of Compton, CA
DNC's Unity Commission Further Dividing the Party
Children's Health Insurance Program to Expire Under GOP Tax Bill
Hariri's Unresignation is Saudi's Latest Failure
Palestinians Resist Israel and its US Enabler
Coal, Lies and Renewable Energy, Australian Style
Bernie Sanders and Ben Jealous Hold Healthcare Rally in Baltimore
Mystery Surrounding Detective's Death Heightens Mistrust of Police
Unlike US Embassy, Palestinians Will Not Be Moved
Greece Emerges from Economic Crisis with Increased Inequality
Reporter's Harassment Sparks a #MeToo Moment at WNYC
The Argument for Closing Low-Enrollment Schools is Wrong, Advocates Say
Undoing the New Deal: Truman's Cold War Buries Wallace and the Left (pt2)
Trump's 'Criminal' Jerusalem Move Could Backfire
Is Saudi Arabia Destroying Yemen to Plunder It?
A Semblance of Justice For Walter Scott
Senator Al Franken Resigns
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba Wants to Make Jackson the Most Radical City on the Planet
Bankrupt Greece Becomes a Major Military Spender and 'Sales Agent' for NATO
Residents Say Police Lockdown in Wake of Cop's Death is Unconstitutional
The Whole Bushel: It's Hard To Tell From Your Bio
Ben Jealous: Maryland Needs Medicare-for-All
Preemptive Strike on North Korea: Is Trump Wagging the Dog?
Trump's Jerusalem Embassy Move Was Long in the Works
Brazil's Corruption Scandal Ensnares Anti-Corruption Judge

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting