Spain Wants To Criminalise Online Organisation Of Social Protest

On April 11, 2012 the Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz called for a reform of the Spanish penal code that will include a new and peculiar criminality: "any call to participate in a violent demonstration over the Internet would be considered as offense of integration in a criminal organization ". Internet Without Borders is concerned by this new proposal of Act made by a Member State of the European Union, which undermines liberties. In two months, the governments of three European countries including France and the UK have issued draft or proposed laws that involve violations of individual freedoms. The Retweet of information on an event considered as violent would thus be liable to two years imprisonment in Spain.

Barcelona (06/19/2011) - Demonstrators rally for the movement of Spanish Indignados Democracia Real Ya! / / Andrea Ciambra (@ Tchacky's ...) on Flickr. Creative Commons 2.0
Barcelona (06/19/2011) - Demonstrators rally for the movement of Spanish Indignados Democracia Real Ya! / / Andrea Ciambra (@ Tchacky's ...) on Flickr. Creative Commons 2.0
Spain has witnessed a wave of unprecedented public demonstrations since May 2011. The government's proposal that aims to qualify as criminal passive civil disobedience and certain public gatherings is singular for a Member State of the European Union. In this respect the op-ed in El PAIS of Professor Jacobo Dopico from the Chair of Criminal Law at the University Carlos 3 Madrid is eloquent. For the latter:

"States that qualify as terrorists or criminals those who demonstrate or those who refuse to submit passively to the injunctions of the police [during demonstrations - editor's note] are not our European counterparts, but countries like China, Burma and the former dictatorships of South America."

The criminalisation of online sharing of information on a European territory?

The current form of the proposal of the Spanish government, which is part of a worrying political marketing, would actually criminalise the sharing of information online. So the "Retweet" of an event considered violent would be liable to two years imprisonment. This legislation would open the front to a legal uncertainty unusual for a rule of law: online information today is reticular. Its dissemination and sharing should not be criminalised in a disproportionate way, without taking into account the rights and freedoms of individuals, including the right to express freely on the Internet.

The determination of a violent event would violate privacy

The qualification of "organizing a violent rally over the Internet" can not intervene without violating the right to privacy of Internet users. Thus, this qualification would open the field to an administrative injunction without any control of an independent judge to assess the profile of the user who creates an event on a social network or calls for a demonstration on his website.

The implementation of this proposed Spanish law questions the current widespread use of emergency situations on online individual freedoms in Western democracies. The safeguarding of these rights is undermined by certain laws like the Patriot Act in the U.S. in 2001, and recently the proposal of President Sarkozy in France following the killings by an individual who claimed to be representative of the international Jihadism, slows down the building of the legal protection of individual liberties.
Internet Without Borders is concerned by this Spanish bill: its disproportionate nature with regard to the goal targetted is opposite to the necessity to safeguard freedoms that found liberal democracies.

[Archippe Yepmou ]urlblank:

( Translated by [Julie Owono]urlblank: )

Mercredi 18 Avril 2012
Julie Owono
Head of Africa Desk @ Internet Sans Frontières En savoir plus sur cet auteur

Vos commentaires

1.Posté par bertrand le 28/06/2012 11:26
C'est un véritable scandale... Nos droits partent à vau-l'eau... Quelle tristesse !

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