EFFI: Search engine censorship is an absurd proposal


Press Release 12.9.2007
Electronic Frontier Finland – EFFI ry

EFFI: Search engine censorship is an absurd proposal

Electronic Frontier Finland ry (Effi) demands that Finland dissociates itself from the Internet search words censorship project outlined by an EU commissioner. According to a Reuters interview, Justice and Security Commissioner Frattini intends to present during this autumn a law proposal, which would seek to remove “dangerous” search words such as “bomb”, “genocide” and “terrorism” from search engines.

“How on Earth does Frattini think it could be possible to distinguish whether someone doing a search for ‘tapa juutalainen’ is looking for information on Jewish customs, or planning a genocide”, snaps Effi Chairman Tapani Tarvainen. (In Finnish, ‘tapa’ means both ‘kill!’ and ‘a custom’.)

“Frattini’s proposal would also hide from search engines the web pages of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (www.wiesenthal.com), which documents the genocide committed by the Nazis. Was Frattini thinking he could prevent future atrocities by hiding information?”, Tarvainen continues. “Forbidding words or symbols has never made the things they represent go away.”

Effi Vice Chairman Ville Oksanen says: “Law proposals concerning the Internet become more and more absurd every year, of which Frattini’s suggestion is a depressing but unsurprising example. There are people in power who lack the sense of proportion necessary to assess freedom and security, especially concerning the Internet.”

According to Oksanen, there are also Finnish domestic examples. Earlier, minister Tanja Karpela wanted to censor Internet browsing in schools and libraries, and minister Kari Rajamäki wanted to prevent the Internet from being used for “clearly illegal purposes”. Oksanen concludes: “Luckily the youth understands the risks and possibilities of the Internet better, as was shown in the recent Eurobarometer study. There is still hope.”

Effi Chairman Tapani Tarvainen ends with an appeal: “We hope that Minister of the Interior Anne Holmlund will rise against this insanity at the EU level. Finland must not accept any new ostensibly security-motivated restrictions on basic rights!”

More information:

Frattini interview

Eurobarometer study by the Commision

Tapani Tarvainen
Chairman, Electronic Frontier Finland ry
+358 40 729 3479

Ville Oksanen
Vice Chairman, Electronic Frontier Finland ry
+358 40 536 8583