The office of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has issued a grant for the new Thought Police – an online ‘hub’ designed to identify so-called ‘hate speakers’ for police. What’s more, he is spending millions of pounds of British taxpayer money to essentially eliminate the concept of free speech.
CounterJihad The grant promises to “improve the police response” as well as develop the “intelligence to facilitate counter measures that can reduce and prevent further criminal activity.” British and European law do not contain the robust protections for freedom of speech that America’s First Amendment provides.
Saying anything that falls under the poorly-defined rubric of ‘hate speech’ is already criminal in London: they just want to improve their capacity to send the police to your house. The penalty can be six months in prison per offense.
Well, actually, they want to do a little more than that. The grant also promises to “build community capacity to respond collectively to online hate.” So it isn’t just a rule-of-law response that they are looking for here. They want to organize online mobs to go after you for expressing disapproved thoughts.
Breitbart news points out that this is the brainchild of London’s first Muslim mayor.
The office of London’s first Muslim mayor has secured millions of pounds to fund a police “online hate crime hub” to work in “partnership with social media providers” to criminalise “trolls” who “target… individuals and communities.” … In May this year, the EU announced that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft had “committed” to working more closely with them and national governments and “their law enforcement agencies” to help “criminalize” perceived “illegal hate speech” online.
Naturally, the law will also be used to criminalize political opposition to the establishment — one of the first uses was to target what the UK Standard refers to as “Brexit hate crime.” But it seems from the grant application that speech critical of Islam is the real target. The announcement of the grant states that a recent report “identified 45% of anti-Muslim hate crime took place online, and the organisation is seeing up to 80% of its resources used in monitoring online hate and supporting the victims.”
The claim is that seeing online ‘hate crime’ results in “higher levels of depression, stress and anger,” and can cause changes in “which streets they walk down, how they answer the phone, reactions to strangers, and suspicion of co-workers.” That last element sounds particularly ominous given Islamist workplace attacks such as the San Bernardino shooting.
The London police appear to be suggesting that seeing criticism of Islam on-line leads to murders of this sort. Indeed, the criminalization of critical speech even seems to suggest that these psychological effects to some degree justify Islamist violence against society.
Breitbart points out that convictions under the law banning speech of this kind have increased ten-fold in the last decade. They quote Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent. [T]he police [are] becoming more and more involved in controlling our morality,” he told the BBC. “[They are] almost playing the role of a moral police. And instead of dealing with real crime in the offline world, [the police] find its very convenient to ‘send the message’ in the online world because it’s a relatively easy thing to do.”
Doubtless it is a lot safer than targeting Islamist militants. The only cost is a little liberty. Well, maybe more than a little.