Italy on the verge of the stupidest censorship law in European history

They were sentenced for the exact opposite: they “predicted” everything would have been fine, suggesting the people to stay at home. They predicted something impossible to predict and many lost their life.

1 Like

This is nothing new, the web in italy has been heavily monitored for a long time. Back in the days of cybercafes you had to let them photocopy your id card and give them your fiscal code (equivalent to the social security number) just to be able to login.
Same with mobile phones, there is no legal way to buy a burner phone, and all (reputable) phone shops will ask for name, address and the details mentioned above.
Also the “right to prosecute for difamation of character” law is not that new, is just a continuation of the media censorship law passed by Berlusconi to stop the media and papers reporting his business.


what? the scientists never claimed to have the ability to see the future. iirc the report stated that a big earthquake is not likely according to the used model.


Very funny, but as a Lega Nord/Padania supporter I don’t think he would agree with you. (He wasn’t too fond of tedeschi either.)

They did the job they were asked to do according to the information available. Physicians have to make the same sort of decision all the time. If the precautionary principle was strictly applied to earthquakes, the populations of California, Italy and Iceland would be very much smaller.
My point stands; that prosecuting experts for failing to give accurate diagnosis in areas where the science really is imprecise is stupid because pretty soon you will have nobody prepared to give an opinion. The death rate from earthquakes would be expected to be a lot higher if all the seismologists and earth scientists decided to change careers to something safer.


…imo part of fascisti from your original post…

This was pre-Berlusconi era when a lot of the new Lega Nord supporters simply wanted a federal Italy - and many of them were left wing, seeing it as a chance to get rid of the corruption of Rome and the incompetence of the South, and establish a modern, democratic republic in the part of Italy that is most like Bavaria or parts of Switzerland.
History reveals that they failed on all counts.


This law is being proposed as a response to a very nasty case in which a woman shared a video of herself with a couple of boyfriends who then posted it against her wishes, it went viral, and she killed herself. If the proposed law is bad, is there a good, non-victim-blaming, alternative?

The current Italian PM is from Florence, and quite Catholic too (fascist and mafioso, I’ll leave it to your judgement).

Besides, this is just a knee-jerk law popping up after a few media-exploited tragedies. I’m sure no other country ever passed bad laws after a tragedy or two – in particular, I’m sure the horrendous PATRIOT Act never happened. I mean, who would ever let the State hack and backdoor every server in the country without any due process, after a plane hijacking? That’s crazy!

Anyway, this Italian law is unlikely to pass in its current form; it gained momentum while it was limited to minors (who, after all, don’t vote, so can be politically abused with impunity), but it’s now been amended to drop that restriction, and hence will likely lose steam. Which is not to say the Italian political class is particularly sane when it comes to the Internet – a lot of bad anti-internet laws were passed in recent years, which is one of the reasons the economy still sucks over there. But you have to understand that Italian laws are, more often than not, little more than words printed on dead trees. Unpopular laws will simply be shrugged away by a population that is fundamentally anarchic, until someone else finds an opportunity to abolish them for a quick popularity boost.

[Moderator Note – post edited to remove a mangled quote. If it’s re-added, please take care with edits.]

1 Like

Yes, there’s a perfect alternative to making up a law based on a single incident.

1 Like

I didn’t propose the law, I asked for a suggestion for a better alternative. And are you seriously suggesting that triggering incident is the only one?

Would it be fair to say that… you’re off-topic right now? :slight_smile:


Ok, that’s the problem. There is no “wishing”. Once you share something, anything – hell, once you RECORD it – there is just no way to control it. The internet is a giant sharing machine, that’s what it was built for. Your phone is an internet device, which means it’s a sharing-machine terminal. All the laws trying to fight this (copyright, censorship and so on) are fighting a lost cause; they might as well legislate that oceans should stand still.

Youngsters have to be educated to understand this concept.

1 Like

Note that I asked above for “a good, non-victim-blaming, alternative.”


I’m not blaming the victim, I’m blaming our social education - it’s been 20 years since we’ve started playing with the internet, and collectively we still don’t understand how it works. Instead of erring on the side of caution, we’re throwing everything we can at it, filling it with our whole lives and letting it define our social bonds for us; when shit happens, we blame the network instead of the social mechanisms that make it the centre of our lives.

This is like blaming the number of car accidents on fast cars, rather than a society that forces us to drive a car all the time (including during recreational times, when levels of self-control can be lower), glorifies fast and expensive cars as status symbols, and does little to educate drivers and non-drivers on the dangers of such machines. I don’t blame people being run over, but I don’t demonise drivers either - they are often victims of their cultural context too.

1 Like

Sure you are. You said that sharing the video with her boyfriend was the cause of it going viral, and while you’re correctly saying that we should educate against dangerous behavior you’re following it up with saying any attempt to legislate against what the young men here have done is “fighting a lost cause.” Why aren’t you writing about how young men should be educated not to share naked pictures of their current or ex-girlfriends?

Somehow these men are facing no consequences for what they have done, while the young woman suffered so much shame that she killed herself. That imbalance is reprehensible, and while the law being proposed might have problems, arguments against it would sound more sincere if they were accompanied with alternatives that permit prosecuting the guilty parties here, which to my mind certainly include the men who uploaded the files and the websites that aggregated them.


You can do that, absolutely. That will be like educating drivers to drive slowly, and pass harsh laws against driving fast, while changing nothing else in a system that forces you to drive a lot and as fast as you can. (Incidentally, Italian lawmakers actually did this less than year ago, inventing the crime of “road homicide” - with predictably dismal results.)

The internet was built to propagate anything that touches it. The minute the video was on it, it became a target for all sorts, from malicious friends of her boyfriends borrowing their phones, to phone repair technicians (ala “1-Hour Photo”) to hackers mass-targeting cloud services and so on. You can pass all the laws you want and this will still happen - digital content is built to be easily reproducible, and the internet is built to reproduce.

What these laws will give you is an avenue for enacting blind revenge, which will likely be abused to hit the poor and the clueless (as most laws are).

Sure, and what is producing that imbalance? A prurient and hypocritical morality, not the network. The morality that says women have to be “pure” whereas men should shag everything that moves. That’s the real problem, and in Italy it’s a huge problem - because Catholicism. If people could be open and compassionate enough to shrug at the thought of someone having a sex video or two, there would be no need to exact revenge for the act of sharing a bunch of pixels. Passing laws just reinforces this stupid sense of hypocritical morality that corrupts the whole place.

No. This is what happens when people who know nothing about the actual circumstances and are clearly unfamiliar with the context make uninformed generalisations. The seismologist case had nothing to do with expert bashing.

The seismologist insisted on people staying home at a time when locals with experience–remember this is an area where local people are experts by experience in earthquakes, because there is a fatal, serious earthquake every 30 years or so–thought it was time to evacuate.

The experts encouraged people to sleep in their bed instead of camping in the open, which is what those with experience suggested they should do.

Very annoying to keep reading this utterly wrong interpretation of what happened in L’Aquila.

Except they forgot one crucial detail. Which is that seismology as a science, at this moment in time, is unable to predict earthquakes with any accuracy. All they can say is that in certain areas there is more or less of a likelihood of an earthquake in the next 100 yrs or so. Which for people living with the reality of earthquake is utterly useless. And if they have an incredibly sophisticated system like in Japan they can maybe give people a few minutes warning. Which of course is useful for locals. But that is it. Seismology as a predictive science is about as useful as economics. It’s the models you know–only as good as the data you can put in.

And it is totally unlike medicine, unless you count a physicians prediction that you are 100% likely to die in the coming 100yrs as medicine.

They behaved unprofessionally and with hubris and thus cost the lives of many–along with the architects who built buildings which didn’t adhere to the building code.

Please stop using this as an example of how experts are sidelined and punished unless you gain an actual understanding of the issue. The scientists allowed their name and their role to be used in communications reassuring the public that all was fine–they colluded with government complacency and that is what the court case was about.

what they forgot to say is that in seismological models are even less accurate and more useless than economic ones and should be vehemently ignored at all times if one would like to live and survive in an earthquake prone region.

A law that allow sexual abuse charges to be brought against a person that shares/posts sexually explicit (up to the courts to decide merits of complaint) content against the wishes of the plaintiff? IANAL but it seems like narrowing the focus to revenge-porn cases should be, if not totally straightforward, more helpful than a blanket wide open door for complaints. The fact that this law was defined so broadly makes it really feel like that top drawer legislation that powerful people were waiting for a semi-related tragedy to justify…