Tag Archives: free speech

The Bill of Rights at the border: The First Amendment and the right to anonymous speech

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Stephanie Lacambra

"The U.S. border has been thrown into the spotlight these last few months, with border agents detaining travelers for hours, demanding travelers unlock devices, and even demanding passwords and social media handles as a prerequisite for certain travelers entering the country. As the U.S. government issues a dizzying array of new rules and regulations, people in the U.S. and abroad are asking: are there meaningful constitutional limits on the ability of border agents to seize and search the data on your electronic devices and in the cloud? The answer is: Yes. As we'll explain in a series of posts on the Bill of Rights at the border and discuss in detail in our border search guide, border agents and their activities are not exempt from constitutional scrutiny." (03/22/17)


Entire campus should be safe for free speech

Source: Heartland Institute
by Robert Holland

"In a simpler age, one major argument for a young scholar going to college was the exposure he or she would receive to a wide spectrum of viewpoints, vigorously and freely debated. Sadly, many institutions of higher learning now seem determined to protect students from free speech, especially if controversial views run counter to progressive orthodoxy. Thus, a culture of censorship now grips many universities via such mechanisms as minuscule free-speech zones, restrictive speech codes, safe spaces for those taking umbrage to criticism (so-called 'snowflakes'), mandatory diversity training, and speaker dis-invitations." (03/22/17)


Google ads: Free speech on trial

Source: spiked
by Naomi Firsht

"Those who are boycotting Google expect it to exert some kind of editorial control over what is published on its platforms. Google, naturally, does have guidelines for what can and can't be posted, but that doesn't mean it should be equated to a newspaper or official media outlet, like Reuters. Google and YouTube provide a space for anyone to publish material. They are not promoting any particular editorial line, nor should they. As Google is finding out, sticking up for free speech can be tough — you find yourself defending the rights of hateful people to say hateful things. Unfortunately, that's often what it boils down to. After all, no one is going to propose a boycott of videos promoting world peace. But let's say Google gave into the pressure and removed the hundreds of anti-Semitic videos it is hosting. What then? Will we enter a new era free of anti-Semitism? Hardly." (03/22/17)


"Liberal" libel law: Still a disgrace to democracy

Source: spiked
by Mick Hume

"It appears that the dreadful Katie Hopkins and I might have more in common than we might like to think. Both of us have been sued and punished under England's execrable, free-speech-hobbling libel laws. The difference is that Hopkins was sued by food blogger Jack Monroe after we were assured that the old repressive defamation regime was dead and gone; campaigners boasted that the reforms they had won in the 2013 Defamation Act meant the law which hammered me back in 2000 had been liberalised to protect free speech. Yet when the judge delivered his verdict in the Hopkins case last week, the much-vaunted new protections — such as the 'serious harm' test — disappeared, and she lost just the same. Indeed the outcome of the trial — Hopkins hit with £24,000 in damages and more than £100,000 in legal costs for two tweets — suggests that, in the age of social media, our allegedly liberal libel laws might pose more of a threat to unfettered free speech than ever." (03/21/17)


Geert Wilders is no hero of free speech

Source: Cato Institute
by Flemming Rose

"A couple years ago, when I debated Wilders on the legitimate limits of free speech in a democracy, I told him that all his proposals to restrict freedom of speech and religion for Muslims would be denounced by the U.S. Supreme Court with reference to First Amendment protection. They wouldn't stand a chance to become the law of the land. Wilders responded that if that's the case, then we need to adopt a slightly different version of the First Amendment in Europe. It became clear to me that Wilders's support for the First Amendment was based on the fact that it would protect his own speech, but when he found out that the First Amendment would also provide a robust protection of the freedom of speech and religion for Muslims, he was reluctant to support it. In doing so, he failed the acid test for the support of free speech in a democracy." (03/14/17)


Various thoughts on campus free speech

Source: Bleeding Heart Libertarians
by Jason Brennan

"Any theory of campus free speech better take political economy seriously. It's one thing to specify a set of rules or conditions under which speech should be allowed or prohibited. But there's little reason to suppose that campus administrators, faculty, or students will be any good at identifying when those conditions obtain, or that they will act in good faith. Most of these people are biased hooligans, and some of them are malicious. Many of them think they're engaging in war. If you tell people 'Under special circumstances, it may be right to prohibit a speaker or shout him down,' then people, being people, will believe or claim that these special circumstances just so happen to obtain whenever they dislike or disagree with the speaker. As a matter of fact, censorship will always be an ugly political battle." (03/07/17)


France: Le Pen loses EU immunity for opposing Islamic State

Source: Yahoo! News

"Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was stripped of her European Parliament immunity Thursday after she tweeted images of Islamic State atrocities, paving the way for her prosecution by French authorities. Prosecutors launched a probe in December, 2015 over the graphic pictures that the French National Front (FN) leader posted on social media, which included the decapitated body of US journalist James Foley. … They showed Foley's bloodied body with his decapitated head on his torso, as well as a man on fire in a cage, and a victim being driven over by a tank. Police in the Paris suburb of Nanterre launched an investigation into 'the dissemination of violent images.'" (03/02/17)


Five ways to react to speech you don't like (besides censorship)

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Theresa Glinski

"Working in the business of free speech can be tough sometimes. I've read and heard opinions that have befuddled me, disgusted me, and everything in between. But even the speech that makes me the angriest and most frustrated is usually protected by the United States Constitution. While it can put me in an intellectual tailspin some days, it is ultimately much more important that I put any personal feelings aside and make sure the broad protections of the First Amendment and the principles of free speech are protected for everyone on college campuses." (02/24/17)


NRA-backed law violates the First Amendment in the name of protecting the Second

Source: Reason
by Jacob Sullum

"Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit overturned a censorious Florida law that tried to stop doctors from pestering their patients about guns, sacrificing the First Amendment in the name of protecting the Second. Such laws, which the National Rifle Association supports, show how fake rights — in this case, an overbroad understanding of the right to armed self-defense — endanger real ones." (02/22/17)


Even Choudary's friends must have free speech

Source: spiked
by Candice Holdsworth

"A group of Anjem Choudary's supporters have been imprisoned for talks they gave encouraging support for terrorism and ISIS. … Detective superintendent Glen Channer, from the Eastern Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit, made a statement after the men were sentenced at the Old Bailey: 'This was a complex investigation which was launched to target those who seek to influence others with their poisonous rhetoric. This case is another example to show that we simply will not tolerate those who spread fear and hate in our communities and will continue to target, arrest and disrupt anyone with extreme views.' Yes, these men are despicable, but the fact remains that they have been imprisoned not for what they did, or were planning to do, but for what they said." (02/16/17)