Paul.Treanor on Mon, 14 Oct 96 14:33 MET

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Re: nettime: Sabine Helmers: xs4all and xs2all

I find the contents of this message very strange.

Ron Gonggrijp of xs4all once told me they cut off any person who criticies 
racism of Dutch businesses, if the business requests in court. I have no 
reason to think this has changed. The point is xs4all censors, so it is 
not logical to say xs4all is against censorship.

Let me give a very clear example. If I use xs4all to repeat certain 
information about Philips, the second largest company in the Netherlands, 
will xs4all censor it? The information, which has been circulating for 
years, is the story of how Philips, during the German occupation,  used the 
Sicherheitsdienst to get rid of trade union activists. Anyone who repeats 
this story in public is attacked with the full force of Philips legal 
department. If xs4all circulate the story, which they can not prove in 
court, they will probably become bankrupt because of the financial claims 
by Philips. So, the easy thing to do, is to do what Philips asks - cut 
off any document which repeats this story.

If xs4all are prepared to fight a claim by Philips, to defend my right to 
repeat this story via xs4all, then let them say so. Of course they are not. 
And similarly, they do not want to risk any other claim by businesses. There 
is therefore no reason for xs4all to claim any hero status. Their own 
policy is in principle no different from that of the public prosecutors 
office in Germany. In order to preserve their own interests, in this case 
the survival of the organisation, the transmission of certain texts is blocked.

Similarly, Sabine Helmers once refused to include a link to any of my 
texts on the WZB collection of texts about electronic communication. WZB 
is a German government institution, entirely controlled by persons 
appointed by Land and federal governments. It represents the German 
nation state just as much as the legal authorities. It too, has a policy 
concerning what is acceptable and what is not.

All organisations censor. All organisations favour censorship, including 
the EFF. The EFF will not protest if xs4all refuses me access, the EFF 
did not and will not protest if the WZB excludes my anti-Net texts. All the 
EFF will do in such cases is to say: that is not censorship. And of 
course that is exactly what the authorities will say about the Radikal 
case: that is not censorship, it is a public order question, it is a 
violence question, it is a terrorist question, etcetera. In other words, 
they do exactly what xs4all, the EFF, and the WZB do: change their 
definition of censorship to allow themselves to censor.

In other words, the whole thing is a non-issue, just word games.

Paul Treanor
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