Richard Warman is a lawyer who has been made a target on a white supremacists website. The offending blog author is calling for the murder of Mr. Warman, a human rights lawyer in Ottawa who put Tomasz Winnicki in jail for ignoring a court order to stop posting hate on the Internet.
According to the Canadian Press, Mark Goldberg has teamed up with lawyers from Papazian Heisey Myers and Bernie Farber, CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress, to file an application with the CRTC which describes Bill White of Roanoke, Virginia, as a neo-Nazi who has encouraged people to "take violent action" against Warman and even posted his home address on the sites. The application requests that the CRTC issue an order enabling carrier ISPs to block the site and any others that have perpetuated the violent action against Mr. Warman.
So is this an issue of net neutrality, or hate?
Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success...A number of justifications have been created to support carrier control over consumer choices online; none stand up to scrutiny."
Tim Lee, regarded as the Inventor of the World Wide Web, offers up his own view:
The neutral communications medium is essential to our society. It is the basis of a fair competitive market economy. It is the basis of democracy, by which a community should decide what to do. It is the basis of science, by which humankind should decide what is true. Let us protect the neutrality of the net."
This idea of network or net-neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet.
Where net-neutrality falls short is when people have to fear for their lives, or go into hiding because hate and violent views are taken to a provocating and criminal level.
Mr. Warman doesn't think too highly of the idea of freedon of speech, specifically when the internet is used as a vehicle to perpetuate hate.
As put off as some may be about his fanatical opposition against freedom of speech, and his accession of legal remedies to remove hate from the web, it doesn't justify the fact that he now needs to go into hiding, as hiding can and will severely interfere with one's list of places to go and people to see. His indvidual freedoms have in one fell-swoop been altered when his life was threatened by a menacing blogger.
Hatred against any race, ethnicity, indvidual or entity ought not be tolerated in Canada. It is illegal, and punishable under the Canadian criminal code.
Whether its child porn, or views espoused by the Keegstra's and Zuendels of the world, legal remedies are a necessary way to deal with the most active purveyors of violence and hate.
Countering it with a link appearing before you conduct a Yahoo or Google search, asking if you'd like a "censored" or "uncensored" view of your results might not be the best way to deal with the problem.
With regard to the matter at hand, there is no doubt that threatening a persons life is a vile and reprehensible act, but is the CRTC the right place to look for a remedy to a matter as complex as this one? The violator lives in the US, and his blog was published on a server located in the US.
If the CRTC does issue such an order to ISP's to block such content, how many similar requests will follow, and how will a decision like this impact companies like ours that monitor menacing activities towards people and/or companies? Can the sites be blocked without also blocking dozens or hundreds of additional sites hosted at the same IP address?
Jim Bensons views are in alignment with my own on the matter:
Censorship is a value judgement. Making ISPs responsible for censorship is asking them to make a value judgement for society. ISPs mission statements generally say nothing about value judgements. Value propositions, yes, judgements no.
It appears that this incident has all the earmarks for a watershed moment in Canadian history with respect to hate laws, and the CRTC taking an active role in regulating Internet sites spreading hatred.
I'm certain that there will be more follow-up on the application, and the case at Mark Goldberg's blog.
Originally appearing in The SHIELD™ - Volume 05 - Winter 2007
Part 2 of a 3-part series - Corporate tips to build brand and avoid disaster in the conversational era.
The "echo chambers" of cyberspace
In the last installment, we shared ways to safeguard your company’s online reputation. We showed you how to recover when your company becomes the target of online discussion and controversy. This time, we’re shifting to the area of online marketing. How, as a business, can you gauge success amidst savvy online consumers?
There’s a popular term known as consumer generated media (CGM), which describes a particular online audience who knows how to work “word-of-mouth” behaviour. These consumers are well-informed on all types of modern day products, brands and services. Astute researchers, they
engage in online discussions against a sea of feedback from other consumers, buyers and even manufacturers of the goods they purchase.
A feedback life-cycle is taking shape and form. Within this virtual organism, you can find all the strengths and weaknesses of something as random as a pair of running shoes, or the car you’ve always dreamed about purchasing.
Blogs make up a large part of where CGM occurs, but cyberspace is also filled with a multitude of Weblic™ water coolers called message boards, forums, chat rooms, MySpace, YouTube, LiveJournal, consumer advocacy and anti-establishment, complaint and gripe sites.
Why are people taking consumer issues online? Mostly because they can. Internet gives voice to public concerns in a way that transcends geographic and social barriers. This kind of reach provides resolution to the consumer that is far more satisfying than any customer service desk.
Discussion on a message board creates a form of allegiance among sympathizers. If consumer dissatisfaction is dismissed by a company, you can be sure that the online community will sling mud fearlessly.
CGM also has a bright side. The sea of feedback in the form of online complaints and compliments gives business an opportunity to recalibrate and improve profits. Companies that listen to feedback and adapt, as required, will master versatility in their business models.
They will achieve staying power.
Businesses that plan their online campaigns, taking into account pre- and post- campaign feedback are most likely to succeed. By tapping into online consumer feedback, they will be better equipped to handle the demands of digital economies.
Products like RepuTrace™ allow business the ease and ability to monitor the entire feedback lifecycle, from the time a product is first released. This gives them greater latitude and control over their bottom lines. Businesses who jump online without planning may experience the echo chamber phenomenon. An online echo chamber occurs when a post created to raise awareness around a product offering evolves into a discussion with misleading viewing statistics. Web stats have come a long way in monitoring online traffic, but they’re not always reliable in measuring campaign success.
For instance, a spike in the number of viewings may not be tracked by unique visitors. Several contributors may be returning often to see if anyone has made follow-up remarks. In this case, a rise in viewing traffic statistics might lead campaigning hopefuls to arrive at the false conclusion that the feedback audience is large and varied.
So how can you know if you’re pitching a campaign to an echo chamber? Well you can’t, really. But if you’re willing to let the announcement or concept ride on a small stream of reviewers, this can still be positive. In this author’s opinion, any online campaign should ensure that you’re not selling out of place, and that the range of feedback is obtaining the greatest possible reach.
For instance, a small-shop manufacturer of an after-market car part might search out all the message boards and Weblic™ chat rooms where car enthusiasts and hobbyists congregate. After researching all the available enthusiast sites, they may launch a text ad or banner ad campaign with Google, MS adCenter and/or eBay. The goal is a form of blitz campaigning in which consumers assist your promotional efforts. They will talk about your product or service on blogs, or post links to your website on the message boards and chat rooms they frequent.
If you are seeking mass market and high volume sales, then you’ll need to bypass the echo chamber and dig deeper into the reaches of cyberspace. In this way, you increase the likelihood that your product, even in a conceptual stage, will match consumer interests and needs.
Monitoring feedback generated by a campaign is an essential component of success.
To find out how CoreX can help in this regard, visit us at www.corextech.com. In the next and final installment, we will investigate the conversational era’s new economy of feast and famine.
A great article by Globe and Mail columnist Mathew Ingram outlining the importance of dealing with any nasty conversation that targets your business in a timely manner:
Article: Blog Bites Man
Link: Blog Bites Man
Information, news, allegations, innuendo - all traveling at warp speed.
People everywhere are linked, communicating and deliberating with hyper-connectivity.
So how does business stay in control? By recalibrating the corporation’s sense of reputation and using those same communications technologies to its advantage.
RepuMetrix Inc. recognized that access to precision Web searching of real-time news and information intelligence drives informed business decisions.
As a result, RepuMetrix has pioneered a suite of trademarked search services that is based on an advanced framework of Web tools developed exclusively to serve business sector interests.
Already, RepuMetrix products and solutions are trusted by growing number of organizations and professional sectors.
To find out more about our search intelligence technology, products or services, feel free to contact us anytime.
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Below are some links to product or company mentions in mainstream media:
Protecting the firm’s name on the web | Law Times
Safeguard Your Brand Reputation Online | Inc. Technology
They’ve got their eyes on you—are your ears burning? | ComputerWorld Canada
Blog author threatens to go "on a killing spree" | CNW Group
Blog author threatens to go "on a killing spree" | PR Newswire
Tips on Safeguarding Your Online Reputation | WSJ Startup Journal