Thursday, March 08, 2007

French combat "happy slapping" - 'Happy slap' crackdown sparks row
A new law in France makes it a crime -- punishable by up to five years in prison -- for anyone who is not a professional journalist to film real-world violence and distribute the images on the Internet.

Critics call it a clumsy, near-totalitarian effort by authorities to battle "happy slapping" -- the youth fad of filming violent acts -- which most often they have provoked themselves -- and spreading the images on the Web or between mobile phones.

The measure, tucked deep into a vast anti-crime law that took effect Wednesday, took media advocates by surprise with what they say is an undesirable side effect: trampling on freedom of expression.
This is an excellent example of attacking the symptom instead of the real problem and overgeneralizing the solution. Since kids are acting violently and then filming it, they decide to outlaw filming and displaying violent acts (recorded by anyone other than professionals). As the story points out, this includes filming police brutality.

I just don't understand why people are so willing to go too far in an effort to gain some small amount of safety, never realizing what they are giving up in the process.

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