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According to a report on on Jan. 19, 2016 in The Times of Israel, also briefly reported in The New Observer, Gilad Erdan the Israeli Public Security Minister, is to develop legislation that would force FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter and others to take responsibility for content, that is, legislation that would enforce a kind of censorship in which the excuse that supports such extra-territorial legislation is that these social-media networks can serve to peddle incitement to terrorism.
This is specifically but not only aimed at Palestinians, said Gilad Erdan, as an example of incitement to terrorism, who allegedly posted a body chart on which are shown the best places where one can stab someone fatally—apparently a reference to the recent wave of knife attacks on Jews in Israel. Erdan also said on Sunday, that he “intended to methodically expose the Palestinian culture of incitement among relevant communities around the world.”
Apparently Erdan plans to start working on a model statute with European countries, said his spokesman, and assures that most of these countries “are very interested in this idea. The legislation would have common features, such as defining what constitutes incitement and what the responsibilities of social networks regarding it are. Companies that do not comply will find themselves hauled into court, paying a penalty.”
But experts are skeptical about the proposal. This so-called Coalition poses a high level of technical problems as to how to monitor each and every post. As it is now, companies like FaceBook have difficulty monitoring and enforcing their own policies due to the volume of posts made on a given day.
However even if technically possible, there is also a mixed reaction within Israel itself. We hope that is true for the rest of the world, including those European countries which are interested in this proposal. Censorship can wear many guises and could even look appealing to some, but in the end it is a terrible game where no one gains but those who enforce it, and all liberty is in peril.
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|Title:||Israel to Form Coalition for World Internet Censorship|
|Sources:||The New Observer, http://newobserveronline.com/israel-demands-world-internet-censorship/; The Times of Israel, Jan 19, 2016; http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-eyes-world-coalition-to-force-social-media-platforms-to-block-incitement/.|
|First posted on CODOH:||Feb. 15, 2016, 10:22 p.m.|