I take it everybody's aware of the SNP's plan to crackdown on sectarian hatred? Part of the plans "include five-year sentences for anyone engaging in bigotry [...] online."http://news.stv.tv/scotland/249460-snp-plans-crackdown-on-sectarianism/
Details are still to emerge, but obviously, any attempt to limit behaviour online should concern us. What are people worried about WRT this legislation?
Personally, I think it's not objectionable per se
to wish to limit sectarian hate speech -- this often falls within the realm of incitement to violence, and I'm happy in theory for freedom of speech to be end where real physical threat begins. When it falls short of incitement to violence but within the realm of hate speech, it's admittedly a grey area. Do such sentiments contribute to violent behaviour? Undoubtedly. Do they, in and of themselves, constitute a threat? I would say no. Basically, this seems to be analogous to our old friend "incitement to racial hatred".
Where my concerns are clearer are on the details
of the law. How exactly are individual users going to be identified? Are there any plans to increase online surveillance? Will Scottish ISPs be forced to reveal more user information to the government? Any such attempts I would oppose.
Additionally, I am concerned about how the law would be worded, and whether it could be applied outside its original intent. I am particularly thinking of the Twitter Joke Trial here. Will ordinary internet users find themselves taken to court under this legislation for satirical comments? For valid criticisms of religious ideas and organisations? (e.g. "The Pope Song" by Tim Minchin).
What's everybody else's take on this?