When Brenton Tarrant live-streamed the murders of worshipers in two Christchurch mosques a week ago, he not only stole the life from innocent human beings, he stole the lifeblood of New Zealand’s peaceful, tranquil freedoms.
In the aftermath, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern immediately called for new gun control laws that would ban the kind of semi-automatic rifle used by Tarrant, even though the country doesn’t have a huge problem with firearms of the type — or with gun crimes in general.
Now, after several Western websites broadcast footage of Tarrant’s livestream, allowed it to be shown on their sites, or permitted it to be freely discussed (on sites like Dissenter and Zero Hedge), not only did New Zealand telecoms ban them, but now the same firms want more censorship from big tech platforms — to “protect consumers.”
That censorship has already begun. Facebook, which was Tarrant’s chosen live-stream platform, took the video down and then proceeded to delete some 1.5 million additional videos of the assault; 1.2 million of those were blocked at the time of upload.
The social media giant also said it had been in contact with the other big tech behemoths including Google, Twitter, and Microsoft via the “Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT).”
Zero Hedge noted on its site that the video could still be downloaded by anyone wishing to see it from BitTorrent.
Twitter has also been at work aggressively censoring a lot of content related to the Christchurch attack — “perhaps most egregiously forcing journalist Nick Monroe to delete a large number of tweets as he covered the incident in real time, just one of which had links to footage of the shooting,” Zero Hedge reported.
Besides merely reporting on and documenting the attack and its aftermath, Monroe has also noted the widespread censorship taking place as well. Examples include the New Zealand Herald quietly editing a March 15 story in order to remove mention of a “well known Muslim local” who “chased the shooters and fired two shots at them as they sped off” — because authorities there don’t want anyone getting the idea that guns can also be used for things like self-defense and protecting the public, and by ordinary citizens, not just armed police officers.
But none of the big tech censorship has progressed far enough, at least according to the CEOs of New Zealand telecom companies. In a letter to Facebook, Google and Tweeter that was reported by the New Zealand Herald, execs from Spark, Vodafone, and 2degrees said they should be “following European proposals” that include censoring (taking down) of materials within a certain period and other “proactive” measures as well as imposing fins of up to $80 million for failure to act. (Related: Slate goes genocidal, says ALL white people of Australia are to blame for mass murder, echoes Third Reich calls for exterminating an entire culture of human beings.)
“Consumers have the right to be protected, whether using services funded by money or data. Now is the time for this conversation to be had and we call on all of you to join us at the table and be part of the solution," they wrote.
The letter came as major New Zealand firms pulled their ads from the platforms.
“We call on Facebook, Twitter and Google, whose platforms carry so much content, to be a part of an urgent discussion at an industry and New Zealand Government level on an enduring solution to this issue,” the wrote.
Their solutions should be viewed as unacceptable to anyone who wishes to remain free. Yes, what Tarrant did — especially live-streaming it — was an awful, terrible thing. But punishing freedom and restricting liberties is exactly the kind of overreaction from governments that terrorists hope their attacks will accomplish.