Europe votes for internet pornography

The EU has changed its mind about trying to ban internet porn.

This week it looked like the European Parliament was about to ban internet porn and looked to ISPs to enforce it.

The law, which was to provide a blanket ban for porn, was itself censored before it went before members.

Parliament decided to strike out the much-discussed extension of “media” into the internet, effectively limiting the ban to advertising and some undefined print media.

Another thing removed from the law was a reference to the criminalisation of any dissent against the report and the turning of ISPs into thought police.

All that is left for the Pirate Party to complain about was a decision to filter out its constituents’ protests on the matter and to hide how the representatives voted on the report.

Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge wrote in his blog the law had been dangerous to free speech. It was also so broad that it even prevented sending sexual content between couples and would have resulted in the criminalisation of sexting.

It was designed for the laudable goal of preventing the use of sexist advertising and the sexualisation of kids and women in the media. It was also designed to stop the advertising of sex tourism. But it was so general it could be used to cover all forms of communication.

Fortunately everything which expanded “the media” in the law to the internet, was deleted before the vote.

What has miffed Falkvinge was that the European Parliament responded by shutting off constituents’ protests. Apparently some Members of European Parliament (MEPs) had complained to the Parliament’s IT staff about citizens protesting, against the new law.

Protests against this particular report were classified as spam while hundreds of mails protesting agricultural subsidies kept coming in to the MEPs’ inboxes. Someone had rewritten the EU’s spam filter so that any mail containing the words “gender stereotypes” was deleted, Falkvinge said.

Falkvinge moaned that Parliament didn’t care to do a so-called “roll call vote” – a vote where it shows who voted how. In other words, they decided collectively to disable their constituents from holding them accountable.

Still the vote was not as bad as it could have been something that Falkvinge puts down to activists like the Pirate Party creating enough of a stink.