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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Barry Rubin censored by an English-speaking European government

Barry Rubin writes that an article he wrote about Egypt's Islamist takeover has been banned as 'hate speech' by a certain English-speaking European country.
What this means is that if you work for any institution that is part of this government–including the Foreign or Defense ministries–you cannot read this PJ Media column on your computer that’s part of such a server.
The message reads: Access denied — reason given : hate speech.

My reader asks sarcastically if complaining about this action would constitute a “thought crime” on his part.

Update: A reliable reader reports the same thing happened on a business computer in the United States where the sheriff is apparently something called DansGuardian.

This is the first time ever that one of my articles has been so flagged. But it brings out an important point: A computer program that picks out “key words” can accuse you of a crime and block your free speech. If I had to guess at the phrase it would be my reference (that’s a guess) to “Muslim riots” in France several years ago. But they were riots by Muslims and that is not only factually correct but necessary for making an important point.

Apparently, this system has done the same thing to articles by other people before though I don’t know the details.

So there are two problems here:

–Free speech is now conditional on someone’s judgment of your viewpoint.

–That judge isn’t even a human being but a computer program that makes arbitrary selections out of context. Would the phrases “Christian riot,” “Hindu riot,” “Jewish riot,” “Caucasian riot,” etc., trigger an accusation of hate speech? Who decides? Where is this information available to the public? Perhaps we might be told what we are and aren’t allowed to say now so we can save time by censoring ourselves.
Disgusting. Read the whole thing.

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