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U.S. House Briefed on International Cooperation on Internet Hate

Washington, DC, September 9, 2005 .... Continuing to further efforts on international cooperation regarding online hate stemming from the OSCE Conference on Hate on the Internet in Paris in June 2004, ADL experts addressed a packed room on Capitol Hill to discuss how governments, industry and advocates could partner to curb online hate. The session was sponsored by the Congressional Task Force Against Anti-Semitism and co-hosted by ADL and the French Embassy.

The meeting began with remarks from Task Force Co-Chairs Reps. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). Ambassador Jean David Levitte of France and Ambassador Samuel Zbogar of Slovenia discussed the ongoing efforts by France and OSCE nations to combat Internet hate and foster international cooperation.  Slovenia currently chairs the OSCE.

Panelists included Christopher Wolf, Chair of ADL's Internet Task Force and Partner, Proskauer Rose, who spoke about the complex legal issues surrounding bigotry online; Markham Erickson, General Counsel for NetCoalition, who discussed the Internet industry's responses and continued commitment to enforcing their already-existing usage policies for users regarding online hatred; and Brian Marcus, ADL Director of Internet Monitoring gave a multi-media presentation that highlighted many examples of hate materials from around the world.

"We all know and appreciate that the Internet has transformed the ways in which we communicate, educate, inform and entertain.  But there is a dark side to the Internet," Mr. Wolf testified.  "Terrorists, anti-Semites, racists, homophobes  and other haters have logged on and are online. ... Unfortunately, the Internet has become the new frontier in spreading hate."

Mr. Wolf offered recommendations for coordinating an international response to online hate, including:

  • Better international cooperation and coordination of monitoring the use of the Internet for hateful and terroristic purposes.
  • Studies on the ways in which vulnerable people, especially children, become exposed to hate sites and content, and the ways in which such content affects that audience.  
  • An examination of the link between hate speech and hate crimes.  
  • Annual reports should be prepared on the "State of Hate on the Internet" setting forth trends and describing where there has been progress in fighting such hate.

Panelists discussed the ongoing efforts to coordinate the fight against online hate, and agreed that government, industry and nongovernmental organizations need to work together even in vastly different frameworks. International differences can be bridged, and all players can agree on a common set of principals regarding hate online that respect the differences, but still seek to expose hate, get industry to act on sites that violate their terms of service and to educate parents, educators and kids about what to do when they encounter hate online.


The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.



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OSCE Conference on Hate on the Internet (June 2004)
 
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2005 Anti-Defamation League