16 Comments

  1. Ben D

    Free Speech is just that. It’s difficult to censor speech and not step on someone’s rights. Hate speech is still protected speech. Call for violence against another is not protected though IMHO. But like everything else here, that is just my opinion.

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  2. Shane Gowland

    “What I’m saying is the best people – who understand the technology, who understand the necessary hashtags to stop this stuff even being put up”

    Did this woman have a mid-sentence stroke?

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  3. Alec

    The UK is already the country with the most CCTV cameras. It’s truly a nanny/big brother state, straight out of George Orwell’s prescient book. Perhaps if the UK didn’t allow open hate preaching in its mosques, it wouldn’t have to attempt to shut down free speech online and violate privacy at every turn.

    I still can’t get over that when transiting the UK, the authorities have the right to pry into your most intimate thoughts and writing and personal secrets by taking a full copy of all files on your device or laptop. Otherwise innocent privacy advocates have done up to a year in jail for refusal to give up their encryption keys.

    While I’m often critical of WordPress.com, Automattic and Matt Mullengweg, on protection of free speech, they are world leaders. To date have walked the walk and not just done the talk (like Google and Microsoft). Keep up the good work Automattic!

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  4. gorwinnie

    So what’s new? Politicians spouting off about things they know nothing about, making bold claims and blaming someone else. Sound familiar? That said, I am firmly of the belief that national security is of paramount importance and if Automattic is culpable in anyway, they need to cooperate and address it. And remember, this is not just a UK issue, but a global one so the fact that most are US companies should be of little consequence. There is a huge chasm between supporting or protecting free speech and being the willing enablers of hate.

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  5. Ryan Hellyer

    Thankfully the USA, where all of these big tech companies are based, has a long track record of supporting free speech.

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  6. Cameron Jones

    I found it quite funny how she singled out WP.com which is certainly easier to monitor and censor than a self hosted installation

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  7. Joseph Dickson

    McCarthyism is alive and well in 2017.

    Conveniently forgetting how these same technologies lead to freedom and progress.

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  8. GJP

    Online Providers to UK:
    No problem.
    Give us a list of all known terrorists and we will block them.
    *facepalm*

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  9. Matt

    If anyone is interested, here’s Automattic’s transparency report: https://transparency.automattic.com/

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  10. Heather Burns

    Lest anyone think this is an isolated outburst which doesn’t concern you because you’re not in the UK, the concept of intermediary liability/safe harbor is under threat in the US too.

    https://backchannel.com/the-most-important-law-in-tech-has-a-problem-64f5464128b6#.xav9vvsld

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    • Alec

      That’s a great link Heather. Ironically I agree that businesses like

      AirBnB whose partners post commercial listings should be liable for tax

      and the regulations of their sector (whether hotellerie or transport).

      The distinction between a news platform and a profitable service

      business is pretty clear. Judge James Donato in California did a great

      job of finding the line.

      Except that James Donato, a US District Court Judge for

      California’s Northern District, didn’t see it that way. In November

      2016, he dealt a major setback to Airbnb when he rejected the

      company’s request to block the ordinance. Donato didn’t buy

      Airbnb’s Section 230 argument. As he put it, San Francisco’s

      ordinance doesn’t treat Airbnb as the publisher of illegal rental

      listings, nor does it force Airbnb to police its website and remove such

      listings. It simply holds Airbnb accountable for its own conduct:

      providing “booking services” in connection with unregistered

      units.

      Defending free speech should not mean shielding illegal commerce.

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  11. Patrick B

    This seems to be the new “rock music and video games cause school shootings.”

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