France, U.S. differ on Internet racism

As if the United States and France didn't argue about enough things, here is one more to add to the list.

Internet service providers could help fight the spread of hate in cyberspace which comes in the form of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic propaganda, delegates at a conference said Wednesday. France, which is hosting the meeting by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), called for greater international cooperation to fight intolerance on the Web.

It said the two-day conference in Paris on the relationship between racist propaganda on the Internet and hate crimes could lead to a code of conduct. However, the United States said it was against any restrictions on freedom of speech, which is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution.

"Government efforts to regulate bias-motivated speech on the Internet are fundamentally mistaken," said Dan Bryant, assistant attorney general for legal policy at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Participants noted many Web Sites with European content were hosted in the United States to take advantage of its freedom of speech provisions.

News source: Reuters

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