back to article Don't use Charlie Hebdo to justify Big Brother data-slurp – Data protection MEP

The European Parliament’s data protection supremo says calls from national leaders to monitor all airline passengers are “playing into terrorists' hands”. German MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, who heads the Parliament’s overhaul of EU data protection laws, described the plans for mass storage of PNR (passenger name record) data as …

Never mind data sharing, what about the more fundamental freedom of speech that several million people marched for over the weekend?

Without even a hint of irony, France manages to go and do this:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11344192/Comedian-arrested-for-comment-on-Charlie-Hebdo-attacks.html

I'm not one of his supporters, and think that any anti-semitic speech is to be condemned, but surely if you really do support freedom of speech then you shouldn't be able to stop people from being anti-semitic through legal means any more than you should stop any anti-Islamic commentary?

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Re: Without even a hint of irony

You're not equating drawing a picture of the prophet Mohammed with saying you feel like killing Jews are you? In the UK the second would be considered hate speech, the first is legally fine. I can understand and agree with this distinction.

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Re: Without even a hint of irony

Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliation and somebody feels like killing $EthnicGroup would seem rather similar.

But apparently one is national policy and the other is a hate crime - although only if it is an Ethnic group and not a purely religious one.

The people I really feel sorry for are France's far right parties.

"We deplore the attacks on the Jewish supermarket. It's a flagrant case of copyright violation"

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Re: Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliatiopn

We're discussing the Charlie Hebdo cover, not western foreign policy. I see your point, but not it's relevance.

The OP was talking about freedom of speech and comparing someone saying "I feel like Charlie Coulibaly" (a reference to the hostage taking nutjob in the pattiserie) to a picture of Mohammed saying that he "is Charlie" and all is forgiven. I can see how one of those is considered lawful and one isn't.

Bombing the middle east in retaliation would be mental, but isn't really relevant to the question of whether free speech should be unlimited or not.

Are you saying you think people should be free to say anything, including threatening other people, under free speech laws?

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Re: Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliatiopn

Wasn't there a famous response by a C19 politician to a Prussian request that Marx and his supporters be arrested for calling for the end of monarchy - "In Britain there is no offense in calling for the death of kings so long as no actual act is planned"

It should be perfectly reasonable to stand up on a street corner and say you want to kill XYZ as long as you aren't actually planning an attack.

Otherwise we have the ridiculous case in UK law where it is legal to defame a religous group but not an ethnic one, and we have a series of legal precedents which declare Jews and Sikhs to be a racial groups and therefore protected but muslims and hindus to be religous groups and therefore not subject to race relations laws.

Or the even more ridiculousness US laws which make some groups a protected minority and others not. So it is an offense to attack gays (protected) but not transgender (not covered in the act)

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Correct

It's all a bit of a mire - and only solution is to consider free-speech to be an absolute (right up to staging your own Nuremberg Rally).

Personally I'd prefer we just ignored this issue for a little while, and concentrated on tracking assault rifles and rocket launchers. Reasonably sure these caused more damage.

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Re: Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliatiopn

@sabroni: including threatening other people

That seems exactly the threshold to me.

I think one cannot be prosecuted for being an Anti-Semite, an Islamophob, a racist in general, or a Catholic-hater, not even for expressing one's views, deplorable and unpalatable as they may be, in the town square, or even for acting on them. If one does not wish to, say, employ Jews, Muslims, Catholics, blacks (NB: in general, not just African-Americans - is there a generic PC term?), or bicycle-riders, or if one never enters a kosher or halal shop, the rest of us may decide to never speak to the bigot, never give him any business, and/or cross the street when he walks on a pavement, but I don't think it should be a criminal offence in itself. Large portions of the society may feel offended, but offending someone should not be a crime. Almost any non-trivial statement is likely to offend someone. "Bacon is delicious" will probably offend people in certain neighbourhoods, but you should not be beaten up for blurting it out. You should be allowed to like pork, despise Mohammed, think that a black person should never be allowed to become the president of your country, and be offended that so many people won't speak to you because of the views you hold.

The moment one says "I support killing|beating up|mutilating|torturing|(use your ingenuity here) Jews|Muslims|Catholics|blacks|BMW driver|people who mock the Prophet|people who disagree with me", especially if one is a public figure, the situation changes.

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Re: Without even a hint of irony

@YAAC: "Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliation and somebody feels like killing $EthnicGroup would seem rather similar."

I would argue that they would not, unless the policy is to bomb a country specifically and solely for being different from yours. If one's country is attacked or seriously threatened by another country (militarily - a terrorist attack by one's own citizens or foreigners does not count, at least as long as it was not meaningfully supported by a foreign government, in which case it may arguably be considered a military act) I would argue that waging a war is a option that should be on the table around which the decision-makers gather. It should not be considered lightly, but it should not be ruled out a priori, either.

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Boffin

Re: Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliatiopn

In the U.S., publicly saying you wanted to kill a particular person would often constitute assault (depends on the law of the state you are in when you say it). There are of course allowances for saying things like "I'm so angry with (insert name of spouse/significant other/boss) that I could kill him/her". But getting on TV or onstage and saying "I want to kill Mary Johnson, who lives at 123 Main Street" is illegal.

For groups of people, there is no such protection. You can get up onstage and say that "we need to kill every (insert name of racial/ethnic/religious group) in town" and that is legal, as long as you don't start planning that and you don't mind if somewhere north of 95% of people think you're an asshole.

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Re: Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliatiopn

So nobody else sees any irony in the same government prosecuting a UKIP voter for saying "kill all X" and then dropping some munitions on a wedding party in county X in order to secure votes from UKIP in an upcoming election?

In one case somebody is offended that a racist is racist, in the other some kids get a cluster bomb up them. One is bad, the other isn't.

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Re: Without even a hint of irony @sabroni

You're not equating drawing a picture of the prophet Mohammed with saying you feel like killing Jews are you?

Killing innocent people like that is never acceptable. That's obvious. As for the rest that's your assumption. Personally all I saw when I read that was a very poor attempt at humour (funnily enough like the very sort of distasteful stuff you'd find on the cover of Charlie Hebdo).

For me personally there was never any real threat on his part, which for me is also the crux of the issue: criminal proceedings should be reserved for crimes they can either prove have happened or will happen. Most of the rest is little better than trying to prosecute thought crime.

This link might also be of interest:

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/01/14/days-hosting-massive-free-speech-march-france-arrests-comedian-facebook-comments/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Without even a hint of irony

In the UK the second would be considered hate speech, the first is legally fine. I can understand and agree with this distinction.

It still means you do not have freedom of speech and so should stop pretending as a nation that you do. Cameron is essentially saying feel free to draw pictures of someone's imaginary friend even if it upsets a few staunch pretendy friendy types but don't upset the Jews. That is not freedom. The UK simply has freedom of speech as long as that speech is approved. That is a dangerous precedent. You do not need a hate speech law if you have one that outlaws incitement to commit a crime. I don't believe it would fall under that one.

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Re: Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliatiopn

In the UK it is an offence to make a threat to kill someone if you intend the victim to believe that you intend to carry out the threat whether you intend to or not.

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Re: Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliatiopn

"In the UK it is an offence to make a threat to kill someone if you intend the victim to believe that you intend to carry out the threat whether you intend to or not."

Which - while commendable in its intent - is exactly the kind of thing that has zero business being in a piece of legislation: it makes YOU punishable for something outside your control. While straight up seriously threatening someone with bodily harm is obviously not something you should get away with, this leaves arbitrary scope for a third party to maliciously decide to "feel credibly threatened" by something you did whether or not you actually meant to threaten anyone (or indeed have any idea that such interpretation of whatever you did would be possible).

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Re: Saying we should bomb $MiddleEasternCountry in retaliatiopn

"We're discussing the Charlie Hebdo cover, not western foreign policy. I see your point, but not it's relevance."

Eh, I'd say western foreign policy is *very* relevant to Charlie Hebdo

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Re: Without even a hint of irony

Freedom of speech is an immutable right. At the same time, it is idiotic to insult a billion people for no reason. Just because something is legal doesn't mean you should do it.

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Re: Without even a hint of irony

There's certainly a distinction, but (quite apart from your being wrong on hate crimes) it may be the opposite of what you think. You mention two religions, let's add weight by throwing in my own religion, Christianity, as well. In all three religions killing Jews (or anyone else) is prohibited absolutely as a sin against God. So is drawing a picture of the Prophet. These could even be regarded as equally sinful, as both are prohibited in precisely the same place: the Ten Commandments (for the picture, see Exodus 20:4).

So the true equation, with saying threatening, abusive or insulting things about killing Jews, would be saying threatening, abusive or insulting things in respect of drawing a picture of the Prophet. Which, I trust, was not your intention? English domestic law likely would regard both as hate crimes contrary to various sections (eg 4, 4A, 5, 19) Public Order Act 1986 as amended - saved only by the European Convention on Human Rights, as in Percy v DPP.

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Re: Without even a hint of irony

I don't give a fuck what your various sky fairies think I should or should not be allowed to do. In the west laws are created by men, and rightly so.

Drawing a picture of old mo (long dead, if he ever existed,) is not the same as murdering Jews.

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Wow. Could we get Albrecht to run for president in the US? I'd vote for that bit of honest and clear thinking in a heartbeat.

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Sure, he could run. Anyone can run.

Since he wasn't born American, he couldn't take the job even if elected, and being a Green/Alliance (read: far-left by European standards) politician he'd net less than 0.5% of the votes even without that obstacle.

But run? Absolutely, you just have to talk him into it, then get him nominated in each state. (Come to think of it, I don't know if you even need the candidate's consent to nominate them. Probably varies between states.)

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In what possible way could sharing the data on aircraft passengers have helped thwart the Charlie Hebdo killings? The perpetrators were (as I understand it) Parisian residents, and already known to the Police.

In the same way, the killing of Lee Rigby was done by UK residents known to the police, and the Canadian attacks were the same, carried out in each case by Canadian nationals.

In none of the above cases could data about air travel have had any bearing on the identification or capture of the attackers.

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Nor could defeating encryption on the Internet (UK's proposal) as they were already known to security services or re-introducing passport checks for frontiers inside the Schengen area (Spain's proposal) as they were resident citizens.

Anyone would think the three countries have cynically used a terrorist attack just to push their own pet agendas. None of the three proposals address home-grown terrorism and, in the UK's and France's case, their security services keeping tabs on too many people and as a result deciding to stop monitoring the very people who later turned out to perpetrate the attacks.

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>In what possible way could sharing the data on aircraft passengers have helped thwart the Charlie Hebdo killings?

Because it would have set a precendent for checks on road and rail links and requiring internal passports to travel to different regions. Then Paris could be kept for nice white French people and the Pieds Noir kept to the south - although without the confederate flags.

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In what possible way could sharing the data on aircraft passengers have helped thwart the Charlie Hebdo killings?

It wouldn't, but that isn't the point of the game. The point of the game is to get more power whilst pretending to offer more/greater security. The power is then used to control the population and prevent dissent. As a politician you just hope the majority of the utterly useless media that indulge in AP re-posts rather than journalism don't question the fact that your intrusive data gathering has prevented nothing and the majority of perpetrators were all already known to you. Control the media and you get to control the majority of the public that are busy suckling on the welfare state teat who are more interested in shite like black Friday sales where they can purchase knock-down priced tat.

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Anonymous Coward

Lets not let

the actual facts get in the way of the "idea" that monitoring every aspect of our lives would have prevented this. As others have already said, these fuckers (Hedbo, Rigby) were already known to be potential nutters and the powers that be sat on their arses.

Its like having a small fault on your car that the garage cant be arsed to diagnose. "Wait for it to blow up mate, then we know what part was fucked"...

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Re: Lets not let

It is much the same as the police these days wanting you to incriminate yourself as they are too lazy and too fucking stupid to work out how to do it themselves.

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Thumb Up

Quote this

Anytime this shite come up.

" “Far-reaching data collection in France would not have prevented the odious attacks in Paris. As with previous attacks, the perpetrators of the Paris attacks were already known to security authorities and had been the subject of investigations and supervision measures.

"Instead of creating an ineffective dragnet on all air passengers, security authorities should have been exchanging the data they already had on these suspects,”

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Childcatcher

Re: Quote this

Instead of creating an ineffective dragnet on all air passengers, security authorities should have been exchanging the data they already had on these suspects.

Rather than back off, I have heard calls to double down in order to create an effective dragnet. Surveillance is manpower-intensive, so obviously more money is needed in the budget in order to have more people pouring over the information gathered on everyone... I think we can figure out why this might not be a good plan.

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Facepalm

Can we ...

put this quote on a post card and send it to every Politician?

"Instead of creating an ineffective dragnet on all air passengers, security authorities should have been exchanging the data they already had on these suspects,”

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Re: Can we ...

"Instead of creating an ineffective dragnet on all the POPULATION, security authorities should have been exchanging the data they already had on these suspects,”

TFIFY

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Anonymous Coward

Playing into Terrorists hands...

The way that monitoring airline passengers is "playing into the hands of terrorists' is that any curtailment of "freedom" that is the result of anti-terror legislation means that terrorism works.

I personally don't see the monitoring of airline passengers to be an issue. There IS a modicum of sense in knowing where anyone has been recently. No fly lists have a good reason for use.

Flying in and out of Yemen or Syria or any supect country likely puts you in the position of greater probability thus more inspection is warranted. Having a valid passport and not being on the "No Fly" list is an Al Qaeda recruiters dream.

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Pirate

Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

Indeed .. every time that the politicians have a knee jerk reaction and keep hacking at our freedom and liberty , the terrorists win.

Ignore them totally , giving credits to terrorists for actions like at Charlie makes them more popular.

We have to ignore these people and let secret services handle them the only way that works.

Bomb the shit out of them . In fact .. i'd go one step further .. Make the actions of the secret services even more atrocious than the terrorists's , play their game and start paying them back with interest .. if they see savagery and feel and experience worse violence than their own , maybe they will think twice before attacking again .. I do not see how else we'll ever be left in peace. Reasoning wont work with them .

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

"Reasoning wont work with them ."

It was pointed out this week that being a terrorist leader of violence against British interests seems to have been a necessary requirement before later being invited to dinner with the Queen.

Terrorists eventually run out of steam. If they gain overall political power then their belligerent attitude continues for a few generations.

It is a moot point whether violence or peace is the more likely outcome of human society. Both break out periodically against expectations.

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Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

"Bomb the shit out of them . In fact .. i'd go one step further .. Make the actions of the secret services even more atrocious than the terrorists's"

Yeah, because there's nothing that's quite as a terrorism recruiting tool as someone seeing his wife and kids blown to pieces from a passing F15 for no good reason other than "they looked suspicious" and then being vilified for daring to speak out against it.

If the gloves were off and the secret services were allowed to go after the people training and funding the terorrists it would be awkward because:

1: The Saudis are supposedly our friends

2: The USA would object if Fort Meade was nuked.

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FAIL

Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

In fact .. i'd go one step further .. Make the actions of the secret services even more atrocious than the terrorists's , play their game and start paying them back with interest ..

That is exactly what groups like Al Queda want to happen. Today they're just extremists, with a few supporters organised here and there. Start bombing the shit out of anyone or anything connected with them would be the best recruiting drive for them that you can imagine.

The usual comparison is to think what would have happened if the UK government response to IRA bombs in London in the 70's had been to drop a few kilotons of HE on W. Belfast and Dublin. Do you seriously think we'd have reached even the fragile level of understanding and peaceful cooperation we have today?

Indeed, a more pertinent actual example might be the aftermath of the 1916 Easter Rising. The 'rebels' had very little support, until the government put the leaders in front of a firing squad, with Connolly shot while tied to a chair because he was too injured to stand. The election shortly afterwards was a landslide victory for Sinn Féin and independence.

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LDS
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Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

"Flying in and out of Yemen or Syria or any suspect country...."

You just need to take a more indirect route... or the plan is to gather all data about all planes, trains, boats, buses, cars, horses, etc travels everywhere in the world?

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LDS
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Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

Face it. You win a modern war only when you scare your enemy so much he loses any will to react. Nazi German underwent that treatment. People saw their dears die under the bombs. They also understood there would be more bombs and deaths if they didn't surrender.

It's no longer the "king wars" where a field battle was enough to understand who won and who loses. Today war needs to be total, and is won only when the enemy lose any will to combat longer, despite its losses.

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Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

Believe it or not, you're not the first person to think "escalating the violence" is the answer to terrorism.

Among others who've tried it in the recent past: the Russians (in Chechnya), the Syrians, the Israelis, Papua New Guinea (in Bougainville), the Libyans...

At best (Israel) it's reasonably contained and you just get an ongoing war. At worst (Syria, Libya), you get anarchy. Somewhere in the middle is an option where you just plain lose (Bougainville, Chechnya). Strangely enough, the brutal murder, rape and maiming of large swathes of civilian population - doesn't render the survivors docile and friendly. Who'd've thunk.

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Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

"Face it. You win a modern war only when you scare your enemy so much he loses any will to react. Nazi German underwent that treatment. People saw their dears die under the bombs. They also understood there would be more bombs and deaths if they didn't surrender."

"It's no longer the "king wars" where a field battle was enough to understand who won and who loses. Today war needs to be total, and is won only when the enemy lose any will to combat longer, despite its losses."

--------------

Have you heard of this thing called The Blitz? German bombers carpet bombed London and other cities. That didn't exactly cause Britain to throw in the towel, now did it?

And bombing didn't cause Germany to surrender either. It was Soviet tanks rolling through Berlin that did that.

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Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

"Face it. You win a modern war only when you scare your enemy so much he loses any will to react."

You are aware that Germany only surrendered after Soviet troops had stormed Berlin, Allied troops had pretty much overrun all of Germany and Austria and Hitler had committed suicide?

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Re: Playing into Terrorists hands...

Bollocks. Islam has been killing people for disagreeing with them for over a thousand years.

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Those Germans, they might find a moose in a trenchcoat funny, but there's no faulting their logic...

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re: those Germans

Odd that Europe would be a more open, free-er, fairer place if they were in charge.

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Re: re: those Germans

Yeah, Churchill and our boy's have got a lot to answer for.

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Any Excuse By Governments

Theresa May must have been jumping around her living rrom wooting for joy when France was attacked, now she and the rest of Camoron's poddles can use is an excuse to allow security services do whatever they like !

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WTF?

Are you sure this Albrecht person is a politician? They sound far too sensible.

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I hope the politicians (I won't call them 'leaders') will think first.

I'm old fashioned I guess because I truly believe in Franklin's: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. " and all of it's variants.

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LDS
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"Please, give me your data so I don't have to work to collect them myself"

It's hard to believe law enforcement agency when they want passenger data. Especially when those passenger to live one country and enter another are forced to pass through customs and passport checks. Why law enforcement data can't collect those data there, instead of asking a commercial companies to give away all their passengers data? Because this way is easier and the average cop doesn't have to work too much in his or her airport booth?

A few years ago at Istanbul airport there were five officers in the passport check gate I was going through. One was checking passports, the other four just wasting time. Queues, because many booths were closed.

Now passports are machine readable, thereby gathering data about people transiting is not that difficult, it they really want them. But they want them, without any effort to gather them. And this laziness just mean they want to collect those data just to justify themselves after an event. Because they won't be able to use them efficiently to prevent anything. Too much data means too much noise too, and even if they have "big data" experts is yet to see if they can extract useful info in time...

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Mushroom

ISIS needs to hire a PR flack

Wow, talk about thin skinned, these ISIS peckerheads sure are easy to draw into a PR disaster. While the left and it's fawning press soft pedals Islam as some sort of anti-capitalist vanguard, ISLAM does the right wing's work for it.

Let's have some fun. Let's imagine that the American Tea Party cut off the heads of daughters refusing arranged marriage, stoned to death anyone calling a TV evangelist a con artist, punished with 1000 lashes anyone saying that Jesus may not have walked on water, cut off the hand of a street person caught pilfering a loaf of bread, etc., etc., etc. ETC., ETC., ETC.

I'm of the considered, adjudged and temperate opinion that you'd see blood, bile and snot coming out of the eyes of the Occupy confraternity and its many clandestine pom pom shakers. The irony of the leftist satire 'zine in question falling victim to a presumed ally in bringing Utopia to planet Earth, rises to the heavens like burning copal in an Aztec dawn. I'm barely able to contain my snickering contemptuous mirth.

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Re: ISIS needs to hire a PR flack

"I'm barely able to contain my snickering contemptuous mirth."

Honestly, that's a pretty disgusting thing to say. Are you sure that the implicit superiority expressed in your post is justified? You seem to be a pretty poor kind of a human, to be frank.

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