The myth of the free speech crisis

The long read: How overblown fears of censorship have normalised hate speech and silenced minorities When I started writing a column in the Guardian, I would engage with the commenters who made valid points and urge those whose response was getting lost in rage to re-read the piece and return. Comments were open for 72 hours. Coming up for air at the end of a thread felt like mooring a ship after a few days on choppy waters, like an achievement, something that I and the readers had gone through together. We had discussed sensitive, complicated ideas about politics, race, gender and sexuality and, at the end, via a rolling conversation, we had got somewhere. In the decade since, the …

New York’s Revenge Porn Law Is a Flawed Step Forward

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law this week criminalizing the spread of nonconsensual pornography, making New York the forty-sixth state to implement such protections for its residents. Unlike many “revenge porn” laws before it, New York’s version includes private right of action in addition to criminal penalties, allowing victims take additional steps like suing the perpetrator for money, or demanding that a website take down their illegally shared images. It’s undoubtedly progress—but also an object lesson in how US legislators fail to fully understand the problem they’re trying to solve. Sharing another person’s private nude images online is now a Class A misdemeanor in New York. Victims will also be able to obtain an order of protection, and …