updated 04:00 pm EST, Wed February 11, 2009
Italy may ban Facebook
A proposed Italian law may block user access to websites such as Facebook if they incite or justify criminal behavior, Bloomberg reports on Wednesday. The law is under consideration after Facebook groups dedicated to convicted Sicilian Mafia heads Bernardo Provenzano and Salvatore Riina were suspected of sending coded messages to the mobsters.
The law, introduced by Senator Gianpiero D'Alia, is intended to force sites with user-generated content to remove pages dedicated to criminal or otherwise justify or incite criminal activities. "It's indecent that Facebook said that it won't allow pictures of mothers breastfeeding while there are no rules about removing groups of delinquents," D'Alia said on Wednesday.
According to the bill, Italy's Interior Ministry will be able to order ISPs to block websites if lawmakers can prove criminal content exists on the particular sites. As well, the law would make it illegal and punishable by up to five years in jail to encourage others to commit crimes on the Internet, a practice that is already in effect for printed media in Italy.
Italian ISPs who refuse to follow the Ministry's order to remove pages or sites can be faced with fines up to the equivalent of about $322,000.
The proposed law is an amendment to a bill that passed on February 5th that is menat to crack down on crime. The addition must pass in the Chamber of Deputies without changes in order to become law.