Public Indifference. By Beppe Grillo

Via: Beppe Grillo’s Blog.

Apparently, the Italian Parliament’s biggest problem is the Web. For years now, they have been churning out laws, decrees, bills and amendments in an attempt to muzzle it. The fury with which the Pdl and the Pdwithoutanel have been dealing with the Internet is absolutely awe-inspiring. It is a priority on the list of the Country’s problems. The latest attack on freedom of information and on the Web is the requirement that websites make prescribed corrections within 48 hours. The blogs are now being equated to the newspapers, with fines of 12,000 Euro per offence. All blogs are at risk of closure.

On previous occasions this blog has launched various successful campaigns against the Levi/Prodi Law and against the D’Alia Law. This time, however, I absolutely refuse. Let them approve whatever laws they want. They alone will pay the price. Indeed, I urge Berlusconi/Bersani to be even more daring and to lay down the law once and for all, gravely and shut down the Internet totally. I am sick and tired of getting into monthly arguments with a bunch of Internet idiots, because then I would also look like an idiot. Therefore, go ahead, shut down, filter, black-out, hack, do whatever the hell you want. You are the ones that will have to bear the consequences, because shutting down the last avenue of democratic debate is a very high-risk strategy indeed. The pressure cooker may just explode sooner rather than later.

This Blog will, in any event, remain indifferent to the law against the Web. This Blog will continue to operate for as long as it remains possible for me to do so. This is not an act of civil disobedience. In order for there to be disobedience, there must also be certain Authorities with a legitimate right to exercise public power and in this Parliament, which consists of a bunch of convicted criminals, inhabitants of gifted houses, and servants nominated by the political parties rather than by the Country’s citizens, I see none of the necessary prerequisites for Authority. The only possible response is public indifference. Not civil disobedience, but blatant indifference from people who are fully prepared to bear the consequences. So go ahead, introduce 100 laws per month to shut down the Web. I certainly won’t apply them and if the millions of Italians that use the Web as a means of communicating do the same, then all your laws will become nothing more than mere toilet paper.

Here is a brief and incomplete list of the bipartisan laws against the Web.

The “Wiretapping” Bill (30/06/2008: The text of the Government’s proposed Bill is tabled in the Chamber)
Regulations governing telephone, data communications and environmental surveillance. Article 18 supplements the press regulations by including «online sites» amongst the media that is subject to the 48-hour correction requirement.

The “Romani” Decree (30/3/2010: published in the Government Gazette as Law No. 44/2010)
The initial draft appeared to introduce certain registration requirements for anyone producing video clips and other material posted directly on the Internet, even on a non-professional basis.

Draft Bill S.1950, otherwise known as the “Lauro” Bill (26/1/2010: Forwarded to the Justice Committee)
Against anyone instigating the commission of a crime against public safety, or who makes apology for any such crime, with aggravating circumstances in the case when telephones or computer systems are used to commit the crime (internet and social networks).

The “Bondi” Ministerial Decree (30/12/2009: the decree was signed)
A surcharge is applied on all digital media
(the so-called “equitable compensation”) to cover publishing rights.

Draft Bill C.881, otherwise known as the “Pecorella Costa” Bill (14/09/2009: Text forwarded to the Justice Committee)
Extends the applicability of the defamation provisions of the Press Law (47/1948) to also include “Internet sites of an editorial nature”.

Draft Bill C.2455, otherwise known as the “right of deletion” Bill (23/06/2009: Text forwarded to the Justice Committee)
Guarantees that information regarding previous criminal convictions can no longer be directly accessed by just anyone.

Draft Bill C.2195, otherwise known as the ““Carlucci” Bill (12/03/2009: Text forwarded to the Transport Committee)
Prohibits the anonymous posting of information on the Web.

The D’Alia Amendment (C.2180) to Draft Bill S.773, otherwise known as the “Security Decree“”(29/04/2009 The D’Alia Amendment was repealed)
Prohibits the use of the Internet to commit crimes of opinion, such as making apology for a crime or instigating the commission of a crime.

Draft Bill C.2188, otherwise known as the “Barbareschi” Bill (12/02/2009: Bill tabled)
Seeks to limit digital piracy by legislating the establishment of a “national computerised file-sharing platform”. Providers obliged to report utilisation by users.

Draft Bill C.1269, otherwise known as the “Levi” Bill (18/11/2008: Levi releases an extract of the Internet Regulations)
Provides vague definitions for the terms “editorial products” and “editorial activities”, which would appear to imply that blogs and amateur sites would also be required to be recognised and registered with the Roc.

The “Pisanu” Decree (30/12/2008: The Berlusconi Government extends its validity to 31/12/2010)
Identification of anyone using public Internet access and archiving of Internet browsing data.

The ““Urbani” Decree (21/05/2004: Promulgated)
Aimed mainly at the public funding of film and sporting enterprises, it introduces certain penalties for the systematic online pirating of music and films by websites or file-sharing systems.

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