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Technology – Cybertechnology and Free Speech (2002)

Cybertechnology can be the means for hate groups to preach to the unconverted, to recruit new members and to reach a vast audience. Extremists can work anonymously and have world-wide impact. While it is difficult to make a definitive connection between hate sites and violent acts, we know that these sites can contribute to an atmosphere of antagonism, bigotry and divisiveness.

There is a tension between combating anti-Semitism, hate speech, hate sales and violence and at the same time supporting free speech, individual rights and privacy. We need to distinguish between speech that while hateful, doesnot engender violence, and speech that does just that. When Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com were found to be selling copies of the anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a major e-mail campaign in which Women’s League net members joined, was mounted and both companies agreed to post a message from the Anti-Defimation League, which presented the book’s history as a forgery designed to justify anti-Semitism by allejedly revealing a Jewish conspiracy to achieve world domination.

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism urges its members to:

  1. Encourage parents to monitor their children’s on-line activity and take responsibility for what their children watch.
  2. Lobby against hate on the Internet by mounting a grassroots campaign or joining one already in progress.

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism urges our governments to:

  1. Advocate legislation to make it illegal to use the Internet for the purpose of instructing and/or encouraging individuals to engage in imminently violent criminal activities, including terrorism.
  2. Support legislation to protect the privacy of personal information collected on the Internet such as financial, medical and other sensitive data, and to provide greater individual control over the collection and use of that information,, require privacy disclosures on web sites, concumer consent for use of data, and access by individuals to their own personal data.
  3. Promote, measures to monitor and ensure that internet surveillance by law enforcement comport with individual liberties including freedom of speech, association, and due process, and freedom from unwarranted search and seizure. Argue that the Internet communication should be afforded the same legal protection as other forms of speech.
  4. Call on Internet service providers to police their clients’ web sites, reminding them that there is no law requiring that they continue to do business with and provide services to sites that preach violence, teach bomb-making or promote other forms of terrorism.