[IRP] Charter Version 1.1 DRAFT

Tapani Tarvainen tapani.tarvainen
Tue Nov 2 06:50:19 EET 2010

On Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 06:25:34PM +0100, Dixie Hawtin (Dixie at global-partners.co

> b) Annotated Charter Version 1.1 DRAFT: In the interest of
> transparency, this document contains notes explaining why I made the
> changes which I did. It also highlights some of the points for
> discussion by the Coalition.

I finally found time to read the draft and the comments - rather
too quickly I'm afraid, my time being rather overloaded these days,
so I'll make just a few comments.

While the text contains lots of good stuff, I'm rather distressed
to observe that most of the new and good stuff is rather weak,
but even more that it seems to actively degrade old, established
rights - perhaps due to misunderstanding, more likely apparently
due to ill-conceived attempt to make concessions to anticipated
opposition in advance (although elsewhere I've seen similar
suggestions based on quite clear although never explicitly
stated opposition to the rights in question).
I'll pick on two I find most glaring,
freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

The text about freedom of religion avoids mentioning explicitly
the one substantial right freedom of religion can and should include:
the right to not be forcibly subjected to rules of a religion one
does not believe in. What's more, the text seems to imply that
state could choose which religions are acceptable and which are not.
Yes, it does take some reading between the lines - but exactly that
has happened.
Freedom of religion does not, cannot mean that something that would
be illegal if done for secular purposes would become legal if done
for religious reasons - unless you let the state decide which
religious practices, i.e., which religions are acceptable to it,
which is the very antithesis of freedom of religion.
(In case this isn't obvious, think of some religions of the past,
whose practice included human sacrifice.)
What freedom of religion does and should mean is that the state
must not interfere on religious grounds: religious practices must
neither be prohibited _because_ they are religious,
nor any religion-based rules forced upon non-believers.
And this should be stated explicitly, in my opinion.
Oh, and I agree with Dixie that the 2nd clause about advocacy
of hatred should be removed (or moved elsewhere).

The text about freedom of expression is even worse:
it explicitly contradicts not only its title but itself.
While it commendably denounces prior censorship, the
very next paragraph recommends it!
For "blocking and filtering" *is* prior censorship.
Saying "illegal" makes no sense here, this is about
whether it *should* be legal (and it shouldn't).
While on the philosophical level it can be argued it'd be OK
if it could be done "right", it is clear it cannot in practice
be so done (censorship *cannot* be transparent, publicly
auditable and accountable - I defy anyone to produce a single
real example in history), yet any language enumerating criteria
for it can and will be used by forces against freedom of expression,
who do not care about any evidence about how it helps child porn
producers or anything else, as evidenced by the present discussion
about EU directive that appears likely to mandate or at least
support censorship.
I strongly suggest removing the blocking and filtering paragraph
and avoiding any language suggesting it could be acceptable.
Rather I'd state explicitly it cannot be, clarifying that
that's what the no-censorship statement means (even though
I can't think what else it could mean, but the very fact that
this kind of self-contradictory text has wound up here proves
it isn't as clear to everybody as I think it is).

Tapani Tarvainen

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