The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

Global Censorship

Sam Taylor

Posted on February 25, 2021 04:00

4 users

To combat discrimination, the European Union has imposed stringent regulations on big-tech industries. But the international effects of these regulations pose a grave threat to the democratic process.

An effective democracy is receptive to the public interest. If policies—especially those which constrain liberty—aren’t approved by the people, they aren’t democratic. This fact holds whether the constraining policies are implemented over a nation by its government or that of another.   


Prompted by online malice towards Muslims after the 2015-2016 terrorist attacks, the European Union has taken to regulating the speech policies of social media platforms. Though most of these regulations have been extra-legal in nature, constituted by threats to deny Silicon Valley access to European markets, the EU recently announced two proposed laws: the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act.

If adopted, these acts would require big-tech companies to censor “illegal hate speech,” which the EU defines as “the public incitement to violence or hatred on the basis of certain characteristics, including race, color, religion, descent and national or ethnic origin.” 

The problem is that much of this European pressure affects the terms of service for social media platforms—terms which apply internationally. And even where this pressure doesn’t pertain to terms of service, the practices tech companies adopt in one market could plausibly be reflected elsewhere.

The EU’s influence on big-tech extends to the global scale, contorting foreign speech into conformity with European trends. This, given the salience of social media in modern communication, is a threat to the function and efficacy of democracies worldwide. 

To justly regulate liberty, a government must have a compelling interest. If the Republic of South Africa wishes to violate an individual’s privacy, it must have a legitimate and moral rationale to do so.

If the United States wants to enact capital punishment, it’s obligated to present a convincing reason to. But in the international imposition of its capricious formulation of hate speech, the European Union has foiled this democratic obligation. 

Most everyone agrees that the public incitement to violence should be illegal. To construe discriminatory hatred as an illegality, however, appears far more controversial. In fact, it isn’t clear that a government interest compelling enough to censor hatred exists—except where that hatred directly germinates brutality, which, by any plausible definition, already falls under the crime of publicly inciting violence.

At the very least, discussion and concurrence regarding this topic is needed among a nation before its government can hamstring civil discourse in revulsion to some oft-enigmatic concept like hate speech. 

Yet, the EU’s international dragooning has unintentionally circumvented this democratic necessity. In restricting online communication, Europe has obstructed free access to a near-necessity in the dissemination of ideas, influencing what can be said on the internet to accord with its preferred notion of protected speech, all without the approval of those nations upon which its iteration of illegality is thrust. 

In my view, it’s essential for the international community to respond to this anti-democratic phenomenon in preservation of free speech or, at least, national authority. 

Sam Taylor

Posted on February 25, 2021 04:00

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: FOX News

The European Union police agency coordinated raids against online hate speech that promote racism and xenophobia in seven...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest