Europe Changed Its Mind over Online PornJust a few days ago it looked like the European Parliament was decided to ban online porn and tried to force ISPs to start doing so. However, the bill, which was to provide a blanket ban for porn, was itself censored before going before members.
The European Parliament took a decision to strike out the lively discussed extension of “media” into the worldwide web, effectively limiting the ban to advertising along with some undefined print media. They also removed a reference to the criminalization of any dissent against the report and the turning of broadband providers into thought cops from the bill.
With these amendments, all that is left for the Pirate Party to complain about was a decision to filter out its protests on the issue and to hide how the representatives voted on the report. According to the Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge, the legislation was dangerous to free speech, and it was also so broad that it even prevented sending sexual media between couples. Moreover, it would have even resulted in the criminalization of sexting.
The legislation was actually designed to prevent the use of sexist advertising and the sexualization of children and women in the media, as well as to stop the advertising of sex tourism. However, the bill appeared so general that it could be used to cover all forms of communication. This is a good thing that everything, which expanded “the media” in the bill to the web, was deleted before the vote.
What has miffed the Pirate Party founder was that the European Parliament responded by shutting off constituents’ protests. It seems that some Members of European Parliament had complained to the Parliament’s IT staff about emails from citizens protesting against the bill. As a result, protests against this report were classified as spam while countless emails protesting agricultural subsidies were still coming in to the MEPs’ inboxes. The Pirate Party claims that someone had rewritten the spam filter in such way that any mail containing the words “gender stereotypes” was recognized as spam.
The Pirate Party complained that Parliament didn’t care to do a so-called “roll call vote”, which is a vote where it shows who voted how. This means that they just decided collectively to disable their constituents from holding them accountable. Anyway, in the end the vote wasn’t as bad as it could have been.