Just two short updates on previous stories.
First, so far nothing new on the reported Craig Cobb arrest, though we have notices that Podblanc is down again. Cobb's friends on VNN also noticed our previous article reported the arrest and have been trying to get in contact with Cobb, including Glenn Miller (who posts as "Rounder" on VNN):
Now now, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, Glenn.
Second, a story related to the arrests of the 17 year old and the 28 year old David Castonguay in Quebec and their use of social networking websites to disseminate hate propaganda:
Provincial police made two arrests this week in cases in which the Internet became the conduit of hate propaganda.
On Tuesday, officers of the Surete du Quebec arrested a 17-year-old man in Sept Iles who was allegedly using a Facebook page to disseminate hate against specific ethnic communities.
On Thursday, they arrested a 28-year-old in Trois Rivieres who was allegedly using You-Tube videos to propagate his messages. Officers found a Nazi flag, hate literature and some pot in the man's home.
The second arrest was prompted by a complaint filed by a citizen in January.
Human rights lawyer Richard Warman said it was only a matter of time before hate propaganda moved to popular sites like Facebook and YouTube.
"Social media have become an essential part of people's lives and hate-mongers are using that forum," Warman said.
"Statistics show that there has been a recent spike in hate crimes, but that might also mean there has been more reporting of it."
Warman said the usual targets are showing up in online hate sites: Jews, Muslims, blacks, gays and lesbians.
The law states that anyone wilfully propagating hatred can be sentenced to a maximum of two years in jail.
Warman said he would like to see Facebook and YouTube monitor the pages under their names more carefully. Facebook does have a report button for users to flag particularly offensive material, but with an estimated half a billion users, some questionable sites slip through.
"If a service provider knows that a site like this exists, they should be held accountable for not taking steps to stop it," Warman said.
He said if a citizen comes across a hate propaganda site, they should contact the police, in particular the SQ hate crimes unit.
"In my dealings with the SQ, they have been very solid," Warman said.