Updated: January 21, 2015. Details below.
In light of the recent massacre at the Paris headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, many have turned their focus on how such tragedies can be prevented in the future. Inevitably, many European leaders are calling for expansive new surveillance powers to help them fight terrorism.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to revive legislation that bans apps and communication systems (email) that allow users to encrypt communication. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has called for stronger surveillance of the internet and social media.
UPDATE: The French government announced that as part of the response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the surveillance divisions would add 3,000 new workers, and draft legislation stripping rights of citizenship from those who were affiliated with terrorist groups would be introduced in March.
The Italian government is seeking additional power to monitor the internet and create a “black list” of individuals who pose a security threat. Immediately following the march in support of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, 12 European Ministers issued a letter calling for major ISPs to more swiftly report and remove content that “aims to incite hatred and terror.”
While some might view these proposals as a sincere attempt to fight terrorism, a closer examination reveals a darker truth. These proposals are cynical power grabs, hostile to privacy and free speech, and should be rejected.
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