Title: Who wants to be a terrorist? A rough guide to over-regulating free speech with anti-terrorist measures[edit | edit source]
Manifestations of fear of terrorism are visible almost everywhere in the world. This fear facilitates the emergence of laws that give multiple powers to law enforcement, through de facto permanently raising threat levels in cities around the world to “code yellow”; to tackling the emergence of radical messaging online as a terrorist radicalisation tool.
In the debate civil and human rights organisations navigate a difficult landscape: on one hand, acts of terrorism should be prevented and radicalisation should be counteracted; on the other, regulatory trends conflate fighting terrorism with simply removing controversial content from before our eyes. Many projects documenting human rights violations, incl. terrorist activity, are already affected by arbitrary content removal decisions taken by internet platforms.
In the digital rights movement we believe that the rigorous application of proportionality is the only way to ensure that laws and subsequent practices will not radically change the ways we exercise the freedom of speech online. Human rights exist in the digital world, and must be respected by governments and companies alike. We want to engage participants in the conversation about the global society of the near future. Do we want laws that err on the side of free speech and enable exposure to difficult realities at the risk of keeping terrorist content online? Or do we “go after terrorists” at the price of stifling citizen dissent and obscuring that difficult reality?
Since the session topic touches upon freedom of expression and safe spaces for activism, it directly translates into ”Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”. The aspect of access to information and knowledge ties also to “Quality Education” as it cannot be achieved with measures stifling information and discourse.
This session will address the conference theme — Wikimedia, Free Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals — in the following manner:
We will examine the global trend of using counter-terrorist regulations that focus on preventing dissemination of terrorism-related content online as a new, radical form of censorship and control over dissent. The internet platforms wield enormous powers to judge who is and who isn’t a terrorist – and users’ rights are collateral damage of these processes. How can we best safeguard the freedom of expression while navigating between the real threats and the abuse of their significance to justify censorship? What are the takeaways for the Wikimedia community? While directly opposing antiterrorist laws can be dangerous and counter-productive, we would like to create narratives that debate the issues of proportionality and successfully drive opposition to the abusive or disproportionate clauses. The ideas will be carried out by the audience and by the organizers who are active in the large networks advocating for the changes in the proposed regulation.
Video on Commons
- Anna Mazgal
- Diego Naranjo
Affiliation/country (if any)[edit | edit source]
- Wikimedia BXL
- European Digital Rights
- Email 2
Each Space at Wikimania 2019 will have specific format requests. The program design prioritises submissions which are future-oriented and directly engage the audience. The format of this submission is a:
- Roundtable discussion forum
The session will work best with these conditions:
- Room: conversation-friendly setting
- Audience: already aware of the trend, even if not with the details
- Recording: not needed