During the annual dinner of CRIF, Francois Hollande strongly criticized the Web giants, whom he accuses of ” complicity ” in the dissemination of anti-Semitic messages on the Internet. His comments echoed those of Christiane Taubira, at the intervention of the Minister of Justice this weekend to ‘conference on fight against Internet hate “organized by the UEJF (Union of Jewish Students of France).
To fight against racism and anti-Semitism online, the government wants to take several steps, for now raised to spell, and could be detailed in a “plan against the anti-Semitism “, the Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, must make public in the coming days. Overview of key statements
1) Internet “zone of lawlessness”
What they said. “Everything that is unlawful, illegal offense in physical space must also be recognized in the Internet space,” , said Christiane Taubira Saturday . “The digital world is not out of our reality, it can therefore be beyond our legality” , added the president Monday night .
Why this is false M me Taubira to ignore it: in content inciting hatred, the legislation that apply “ in physical space ,” as she says, are exactly the same as those that apply “ in the Internet space .” In France, it is the 1881 law on freedom of the press that frames the freedom of expression, and punishes such, racist or anti-Semitic, defamation or insult. With very few exceptions, which consider that to make comments on the Internet can be an aggravating circumstance … the same crimes are provided with the same penalties for comments made on the Internet, in the press or in a public place .
2) The “accountability” web actors
What was said Francois Hollande “ If really heavy Internet groups do not want to be accomplices of evil, they must participate in the regulation of digital. “
What criticizes US companies since the attacks that occurred in France in January, the government has said many times: he considers the major players in the Web, which is commonly called “Gafas” (Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon) are too lax in their moderation practices, collaborate sufficiently with the French police, and take refuge behind too easily the American First Amendment, very protective with regard to freedom of expression, to avoid properly apply French law
Why is debatable. all the major US groups say the same thing: they “apply French law” In this case, these services depend on the LCEN, the law on trust in the digital economy, passed in 2004. The latter confers. services that host content produced by users, such as YouTube or Facebook status “web host” , different from news sites for example, which are “publishers” .
In French law, the hosts are not required to monitor preemptively everything that is posted on their platform – however, they must delete all contents “manifestly illegal” that are reported to them, and make available to the public easily accessible reporting forms.
rules applied, albeit with varying degrees of good will by all of large US companies. To go further, the government should change the law, and tilt the Gafas under the status of publishers, but much more demanding in practice impossible to apply for sites publishing hundreds of thousands of content daily, or create new obligations in individual cases.
3) The extension of the special measures to child pornography and terrorism
What was said Francois Hollande “Since we managed to suppress the circulation of images on social networks, then we must act in the same way against those who advocate racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. “
Why it’s complicated: in the fight against child pornography and terrorism, the National Assembly has taken in recent years, a series of measures exception. The child pornography sites or advocating terrorism may especially be blocked by administrative decision – that is to say, without a judge’s decision. The penalty for advocating terrorism, formerly under the Press Act of 1881 was also included in the penal code – more severe and harder to process. M me Taubira has hinted in recent weeks that racist and anti-Semitic remarks could also be “out” of the 1881 Act.
But the Advisory Commission on Human Rights man, such measures pose a serious threat: “The offenses criminalizing hate speech, abuse of freedom of expression, have specificity such that it is not possible to integrate them into the Penal Code “, the Commission wrote in a report published in February, saying that” the output motion of the law of 29 July 1881 of a number of offenses relating to the abuse of freedom ‘blank expression that great law of its substance, making it lose its coherence, at the risk of marginalizing and eventually disappear “
Read:. The proposals against “Internet hate speech”
In the case of social networks, cited by François Hollande, the child pornography have virtually disappeared from many platforms. On the one hand due to a strong commitment from Facebook, Google or Twitter, reluctant to let grow these contents seriously harming their brand. But also through concerted action by police, social networks and their professional association, who set up a reporting system and investigation dubbed “point of contact”. The results were greeted at the beginning of February, for all players, officials of the gendarmerie and social networks. An extension of this device is envisaged in the future “digital Law” in 2015.
M me Taubira also said it wants to expand the ability to block terrorist sites existing child pornography in the law racist and anti-Semitic sites. Again libertarians believe it would be a measure potentially dangerous because it would extend exceptional and intended to be a “last resort”.
4 ) The hypothesis of a dereference content
What was said François Hollande: “ When clicking on a search engine pages and found pages where impunity is making Holocaust denial, then indifference is complicity. “
Why it’s complicated: Francois Hollande referred, without naming it, the practice of delisting, which is to withdraw from Google, Bing or Yahoo! links linking to a website. A decree passed in Brussels already provides the ability to dereference sites advocating jihadism and search engines may dereference of sites after a court ruling – many illegal download services have been removed from Google search results recent years
But dereference device of sites hosting racist or anti-Semitic content may be complex to implement, especially because of risk of over-blocking. – digital freedom advocates fear that such a forum can become stuck in full due to a small number of messages contrary to the law.