[Clipart] Nazi flag

Bryce Harrington bryce at bryceharrington.com
Thu Aug 4 10:32:38 PDT 2005

On Thu, Aug 04, 2005 at 01:03:20PM +0100, Daniel Carrera wrote:
> Christian Fredrik Kalager Schaller wrote:
> >>I don't know about France, but a German Debian developer told me that in 
> >>Germany it's illegal enough that Debian can't include it.
> >
> >That is probably more to do with hobbyist lawyering than knowledge.
> Perhaps. But the main point of my email was not about the stupid flag. 
> It was about what we should do about illegal material. *Suppose* for the 
> sake of argument that it really was illegal. Or suppose you have some 
> other, unspecified image, which is illegal. How do you deal with those?

I think the answer is clear.  In the case of truly illegal images, such
as copyright infringements or child porn, it would simply be removed
from the collection.

In the case of offensive (adult material, etc.) or locally-illegal
images (flags, etc.) our policy has been to tag and filter.  As a
project we wish to respect people's sensibilities, however at the same
time we are opposed to outright censorship.

As I think people can see, the only realistic way you can hold the
principle of not allowing censorship is to provide a way to filter,
because otherwise there will build up a strong pressure to "fix" things
by more heavyhanded methods (deletion).  As well, I think people can see
that this is a long steep slope; once you start deleting a few images,
where do you stop?

The one thing that we have to watch out for is that certain quarters who
call for censorship of things do so not just because they personally
don't want to see it, but because they feel that society would be better
if _nobody_ saw it, and thus what they want is not a filtering mechanism
that each person could decide what level to use, but a removal mechanism
that prevents everyone from seeing it.  But history teaches us that
"burning the books" doesn't lead to a better society based on morality
after all but rather it leads to a repressive one based on fear.


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