European, US and Canadian security ministers met on Sunday in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks to discuss increasing internet surveillance.
They agreed that tighter border checks are “urgently” needed and that they had “determination to fight together against terrorism“.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) January 11, 2015
Is this war on free speech?
They called on internet providers to cooperate with western security services in the monitoring of its users’ activity and to report and remove content that “that aims to incite hatred and terror”. The French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneve said “we forcefully noted the need for greater cooperation with Internet companies to guarantee the reporting and removal of illegal content, particularly content that makes apologies for terrorism or promotes violence or hate”.
Europeans are also likely to see a radical increase in border control within and outside of the EU borders. Ministers agreed that they needed to “step up the detection and screening of travel movements of European nationals” leaving or entering the EU’s external borders, and modify Europe’s internal Schengen freedom-of-movement rules to widen information sharing and subject suspect passengers to greater checks.
They saw a “crucial and urgent need” to establish an EU-wide database of passenger information for travel inside Europe.
The Paris attack will be used to impose new and more draconian legislation over free speech and the right to communicate without interference by the state.
“France’s police state apparatus is one of the continent’s toughest. Article 13 of its 2014-19 defense appropriation legislation permits monitoring, collecting and maintaining Internet user data,” writes Stephen Lendman.
The legislation requires ISPs and web sites to provide government with information on users’ activities and authorizes surveillance by the state.
Britain, often cited as the incubator for police state activity in the West, leads the way.
In 2005 it imposed the Prevention of Terrorism Act which did away with long standing legal protections. The legislation permits arbitrary house arrest, prohibitions against free association, and bans on electronic communication.
In September, the British Home Secretary Theresa May criticized Parliament the “torpedoing” of a so-called snooper’s charter communications data bill that would outlaw speech the state considers “poisonous hatred.” May specifically cited the Islamic State when she argued in favor of the the legislation.
In addition to addressing the purported threat of Islamic speech, the law would also confront “all forms of extremism‚ including neo-Nazism,” according to The Guardian, and focus on the “culture of bullying and intimidation” in British schools.