Internet Hate Groups For the first time in human history, we have the means to connect people from every corner of the globe, to talk to each other and share information at a cost that’s far more affordable than any other means of publishing in the world. There is nothing more powerful as the Internet or the World Wide Web that has ever existed before.
Hate is scary. By definition, “Hate is an intense hostility and emotional aversion to someone or something. It is displayed with words, harassment and/or acts of violence including killing.” (Novick, para 4). Hate can be hidden from friends or family, but at other times it is bragged about. Hatred can be motivated by the desire for political power, for the need to put someone in their place, even by religious beliefs. The Internet seems to have pushed all our buttons of paranoia, especially these days, when we’re already confused and frightened by all the violence and chaos in our world.
Preventing Internet Hate Crimes Controls and Mechanisms The first method is rebuttal, a technique long used by the anti-censorship or anti-hate organizations. “Rebuttal allows for the unrestricted dissemination of hate and negates it by offering a more “insightful and historically accurate” examination of political and social history.” (Guide To Hate Groups, sound clip).This method eliminates the question of censorship and the stigma of governmental control. But it does not compensate for the real human pain of having swastikas, ethnocentric messages, or racial caricatures on ones computer screen, nor does it keep children from accessing the hate sites without understanding the true context of the debates. The second method is that of moral , a tactic which has been successfully used by social activists and interest groups throughout the 20th century. “Moral persuasion would shift the responsibility of eliminating cyber-hate from the government to non-governmental organizations, special interest groups, and social activists, avoiding the problem of censorship and the inadequacy of the anti-hate laws.”(Guide To Hate Groups). Concerned individuals and organizations would consolidate and cooperate in a social movement to increase public awareness and encourage economic sanctions against the Internet service providers who offer access to hate groups.
Who Do We Blame? “The current problem of cyber-hate is not one of technology, but rather one of public policy.”(Censorship) The most common means for any government to deal with this problem is either to modify existing legislation or to introduce new, more inclusive anti-hate laws. But policy makers have not acted quickly enough to modify existing legislation to deal adequately with the capabilities of the Internet. Hate groups have gained a formidable person on the Internet and cleaning up cyber-space will be difficult. Blame policy, not technology Addressing Cyber Hate Crimes Expose It While some governments already have laws limiting freedom of speech, and others contemplate limiting what is allowed on the Internet, the culture of the Net has created its own crusaders for free expression.
Rather than consider censoring or banning Net sites that concern them, they have, using their own time and money, begun building Web pages to expose or contradict what they find repellent. Their philosophy is simple, let the free marketplace of ideas decide what content is acceptable. Advocating censorship of these groups is not the answer. It will do no good to force them underground. Linking to information that contradicts racism and anti-Semitism on the Net is the goal of other anti-hates sites which use the communicative powers of the Web to show alternatives to the hate-mongers’ sites.
“In the free marketplace of ideas,” they will eventually make the “right choices.” (Hate Crimes) Crack It The cracking of Cyber Hate pages may represent an opening shot in a new way to wage the war of information on the Net, now hackers can just deface Web pages they don’t like. “We may start to see opposing opinions begin to wage actual war in the internet world. The hacker’s attack bodes ill for the future of free expression on the Internet.” (Cyber Hate) Anti Cyber Hate Laws California’s Assembly Bill 295 This bill would expand obscenity and child pornography statutes to prohibit transmission of images by computer. This basically covered all sites dealing with the illegal use of picture of minors on the Internet.
California Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1998, (Hate Crime Laws) The incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability of the victim poses a serious problem. Such violence disrupts the tranquillity and safety of communities and is deeply divisive. existing Federal law is inadequate to address this problem, such violence affects interstate commerce. Free Speech Or Not? Freedom of Speech and the 1st Amendment Freedom of speech is an inextricable part of the fabric of the Internet. So much so, that no matter where you live, whether you point to the rights represented in the US by the First Amendment, odds are that when you log on, you access a higher level of freedom of expression than any “off-line” citizen.
However, civil libertarians say that’s only because to most governments the Internet is still a mystery, and lawmakers haven’t yet gotten around to applying existing statutes or passing new ones. The very few arrests and prosecutions that make the papers in the United States, they say, have dealt with high-publicity cases like child pornography and hackers, not “hate crimes.” It is without a doubt the most democratic means of communication that has ever existed”. (Censorship Opposing, para 12). Its incredibly important to remember that the people who founded the United States believed so strongly that free speech is the cornerstone of democracy. By exposing wrong or dangerous ideas gets people talking about them, so that they can reject them.
The Internet has actually done more than any other means of communication to get millions of people involved in talking to each other about issues and ideas that they care about. We do have a problem here, but it is not the Internet. Now that the web has made it possible for almost anyone to be a publisher, there is an enormous amount of electronic junk out there, posing as fact. For example, “As a matter of constitutional tradition, …