UK Government loses internet terror Bill

By Derek Sooman on February 2, 2006, 8:04 PM
The UK government has lost its Internet terror Bill by one vote. The proposed bill would have given Police the power to shut down websites which promote terrorism – or, more accurately, websites that the Police have decided promotes terrorism.

Lords voted 148 to 147 in favour of attaching an amendment to the controversial Terrorism Bill insisting that a police officer obtains judicial approval before serving notice on the offending internet service provider.
Conservative and Liberal Democrats made the case that the bill posed a risk to freedom of speech on the Internet. Many figures, such as Lord Goodhart, the Liberal Democrat spokesman, agree that there needs to be provision to take down Internet content that is truly terrorist related, but disagree that Police should have the authority to decide what should and should not be taken down.

Last month the Lords threw out plans for a new offence of "glorifying" acts of terrorism. The Government has said it will try to overturn this defeat. The Government was also defeated when peers voted to redraft ministers’ version of the offence of "intentionally" or "recklessly" disseminating a terrorist publication.

User Comments: 11

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gamingmage said:
Wow what a close call. I think that what happened is the right thing to do. I mean to allow the police to decide what counts as terrorism may lead to abuse and it's not very efficient.
howard_hopkinso said:
In the post 9/11 world, terrorism has taken on a whole new importance, and with good reason.Whilst I agree that the police need to get a judicial order to close down any particular website suspected of promoting terrorism. I do feel that it is important for the judiciary to act quickly on the evidence presented.I`m all in favour of free speech, but not at any price.Regards Howard
Kaleid said:
Stuff like this worries me:[url][/url]"
he End of the Internet?" we know it?Since I'm in a bit of an hurry I'll leave with this quote:"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Cy6erpuke said:
Wow Kaleid, well said. Now I just have to work harder on my content filter programs to keep this out of my kids hands. This kind of evil will always be with us. Legislation does not replace healthy judgment and corporate and parental control. I would love to know who they thought they would be protecting with this bill..... themselves?
sngx1275 said:
[b]Originally posted by Kaleid:[/b][quote]Stuff like this worries me:[url][/url]"
he End of the Internet?" we know it?Since I'm in a bit of an hurry I'll leave with this quote:"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."[/quote]Except that nobody actually ever said that. Check it out on snopes. They have big thing about it.
barfarf said:
I agree with the UK decisions. I can only imagine if cops here the US tried to censor the internet. How would you determine what is terrorism? Where do you draw the line? Anything anti-government? Sounds like a police state. Not to mention the cost of man power needed. From my Internet Communication class a few years back we talked about Freedom of Speech on the internet. While we didn't come to a solution the conversation was stimulating. I remember examples on how Freedom of Speech perhaps protected too much. One being which in fact is an evil KKK white supremacist website masquerading as an inncoentent MLK website. The other which is a porn site or it used to be. From class we talked about should these websites be kept online? Who else might be affected if they were taken down? Overall my vote was to let Freedom of Speech ride on as it has been.
Vaulden said:
Very good decision. There needs to be checks and balances in all things to keep one group from getting too powerful. Anything like this also needs to have guidelines to follow; else some sites will be improperly shut down.
nathanskywalker said:
t happening. And if it ever did, well, "take my internet and i shoot you".though i'm not for the police deciding whether or not a site should go down, if the police can't tell what terror is, then we are in big trouble. There would be some major problems in allowing this, so it would probably be best not to give the police this power. But the again, the internet is a vast resource. Even if the police were allowed to do this, and did their jobs well, that would take alot of effort.
Need_a_Dell said:
This truly is unfortunate. I can't believe that everybody didn't vote in favour of this bill. There is no need for websites that promote terrorism, and you'd think that after so many tragedies, people would open their eyes and try to help solve the problem. Just during the summer, the UK suffered a terrorist attack on their subway system. This attack could have been much more disastrous than it really was, and they should realize this. If the Chinese government is capable of banning sites returned on Google, than the UK should be able to ban sites promoting terrorism. Technically, there is no difference between these two cases.
Race said:
The people of the UK are certainly no strangers to terrorism, even before the 'Tube' bombings, and this is part of the third and final stage of the British Terrorism Bill.It's no secret that governments are increasingly concerned that terrorists are using (in a big way) the internet and chatrooms to lure a less visible generation of recruits to the cause of militant Islam and other terrorist activities. I think the UK vote was the right one, and since judges will have the authority to immediately approve a ban on any website they consider related to terrorism, it's a good move.The closeness of the vote does indicate a division over who should have this authority, and to what end. It appears to have encouraged the government to try and overturn it. Hopefully, various bureaucracies won't delay or hinder this very important step.
Canadian said:
I really dont think anyone should have the power to control the internet. Its called freedom of speech!
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