Web search for bomb recipes should be blocked: EU from Reuters reports Franco Frattini, the European Union’s Justice & Security Commissioner, would like to somehow block searches that might help terrorists from finding sites about making bombs.
Frattini is expected to deliver his proposal for EU states to consider adopting in early November.
Frankly speaking, instructing people to make a bomb has nothing to do with the freedom of expression, or the freedom of informing people.
The right balance, in my view, is to give priority to the protection of absolute rights and, first of all, right to life.
Each EU country will be involved in the plan to block out these bomb-making searches and web sites.
Postscript From Danny: I can appreciate Frattini’s concern, but you have to think he’s about to learn how absurd his proposal is, if he tries to implement it in any way as the story reports. Consider:
“I do intend to carry out a clear exploring exercise with the private sector … on how it is possible to use technology to prevent people from using or searching dangerous words like bomb, kill, genocide or terrorism,” Frattini told Reuters.
Seriously — like he’s going to block people from searching on “dangerous words” like “genocide.” So will school children trying to learn about, sadly, the many genocides over time be barred from doing educational searches? Would I be violating some future EU law if I searched about a bombing attempt, as I did back in June when I wondered about a bomb in London that was rigged near an area I had been at?
Words on their own have no particular meaning. And even words entered into a search box express no certain intent. Someone searching for “bomb making” might very well not be trying to make a bomb but instead seeking to determine if others are posting such material.
In addition, I once spoke with the head of a a child pornography fighting team in the UK on the challenges his group faced, given that those looking for and posting child porn have evolved a “safe” set of terms that don’t reflect the true nature of what they are looking for.
I doubt he’ll succeed on the blocking searches front. Aside from that, he would like to have sites with such information removed from the web. Some countries such as Germany already have existing laws that cover this.
Certainly that’s a better route to go — removing a site from a particular search engine doesn’t mean it can’t be found via another one. But remove the site from the web, and no search engine can find it. The fact that the information will likely still leak out on the web through other sites is a challenge / debate I’ll leave for others. I just know that blocking searches isn’t going to do what he thinks to be a solution.