Why does Britain want to put the public in prison for fact-checking claims in the mainstream media?

newspaper-surely-true-1280x720-istockphoto

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced a fifteen-year prison sentence for watching terrorist propaganda, whatever that means this week. There is an exception for academics and journalists with “legitimate reason” to watch the material firsthand. But this also means the general public is going to be banned, under threat of a long prison sentence, from fact-checking such stories in the mainstream media.

In the last post about Britain’s announced law putting people in prison for “repeatedly watching terrorist content”, which amounts to putting people in prison for reading banned literature, there is a catch that deserves particular attention.

There is an exception to the announced law, where you may have a “legitimate reason” to watch such “terrorist content”, and therefore should not have to be in prison for fifteen years for doing so. The announced legislation still doesn’t sound sensible in the slightest, but at least you can detect that somebody with a bit of sense had a small amount of say to mitigate the worst effects of this digital book burning law.

But there’s a catch.

The exception where you may be allowed to watch such material firsthand only applies if you’re an academic or journalist. Only then is it even considered whether you have a “legitimate reason” to view such material, whatever reason the government considers legitimate on a particular day. It is also noteworthy that the definition of “academic” and “journalist” is highly debatable; for example, most governments consider only full-time professional reporters to be journalists, even though serious bloggers — who do not have a boss breathing down on them with pressure to get a story out quickly — can and have produced higher quality stories than your average paid reporter.

However, for the general public, there is never a right to view the material firsthand. This also means there is never a right for the public to verify claims made by academics or journalists by checking against their firsthand sources, even though these sources are as available to the public today as they are to journalists.

Let’s take that again, because this is the consequence of these laws: the general public will be put in prison for fifteen years for verifying claims made by the mainstream media, by checking the claims against the primary sources.

This leads us to the inescapable question:

Why does Britain want to put the public in prison for verifying claims made in the mainstream media?

Syndicated Article
This article was previously published at Private Internet Access..

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He works as Head of Privacy at the no-log VPN provider Private Internet Access; with his other 40 hours, he's developing an enterprise grade bitcoin wallet and HR system for activism.

Leave a Reply to bingobashchips.online Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Since I'm not a robot spammer I'm also answering this easy question:

Discussion

  1. Penelope

    This is the weirdest thing ever! Nineteen Eighty-Four is just a step away!

    1. Chris

      Oh, it’s already here. Last week, MP and Government Whip Heaton-Harris sent a letter to all major universities in Britain, asking them to send a list of all professors who taught economics who had ever talked about Brexit in class, along with all their study materials and copies of their notes.

      That can serve only one purpose, to monitor what is being taught in schools. It put the entire academic corps in fear, as the first real step towards actual thought police was enacted.

  2. bingobashchips.online

    Its good to investigate people in private so yes its the right decision to keep people in prison and investigate, it reveals all the secret easily. Agree to the post

  3. William

    I think it is quite good.

  4. shan

    This is the amazing and i notice your all advice’s. Try to follow them

arrow