Crime and the influence of the internet

What Does The Internet Have To Do With The Finnish School Shooting?” (24 September 2008) ask Mr. Masnik. Well, at first sight, nothing really. But the debate is not restricted to violent crimes. It is at the center of whether to or not to criminalise hate crimes, a subject I am working on currently. I would say that the internet like any other form of communication (radio) is neither neutral. Responsible behaviours should exist; and yes, it can be used for spreading negative feelings and hatred; and yes, it can have an impact. Now, to which extent there is an impact will probably be a subject of debate for a long time, as long as there is no proper studies on it (there are studies but further research needs to be done). However, if one takes the example of radio, one cannot deny that it was at the heart of the Rwandan genocide. It is radio which was mainly used to spread hatred and callings to murder and genocide. This incitement to hatred can be criminalised. That the US chose not to is actually a very minor position in a world that chose to take the other options with often proper safeguards.

This issue is however different, I think, from the claim that ebay drives people to shoplift! “Retailers Blame eBay For Driving Good People To Shoplift” (24 September 2008)

About Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer @ University of Essex (UK)
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