Fascists march on to the Internet

April 21, 1995

Fascists and far-right groups are increasingly using the Internet to communicate with each other, according to Mike Whine, of the board of directors of British Jews.

Speaking at a conference on the governance of cyberspace at the University of Teesside last week, he said that German neo-nazis were using the Internet to send messages to each other, thus avoiding state surveillance.

Mr Whine said: "The past few years have seen a growth of communications between far right groups on the Internet.

"The messages are mainly from America but German neo-nazis have been using it to talk to one another as well."

He added: "The Internet has also been used for the publication of hate messages. There was one about a month ago from a far right group saying that the Jews forced the Americans to lose the war in Vietnam.

"There is a lot of Holocaust denial material being published as well as manuals explaining how to make bombs."

Roger Burrows, reader in sociology in the University of Teesside's school of human studies, described the Internet as: "A network without frontiers, without laws, and with no one there to say you can't say that or you must not see this."

He added:"Governments are now waking up to the realisation that this is an information highway without any way to police its users.

"Politicians are now realising the potential problems of the Internet, such as how do you control libel laws, copyright and control censorship on a world-wide scale."

The world-wide Internet has already raised legal problems, said Brian Loader, senior lecturer in policy studies at the university.

He said: "No one in this country is allowed to know anything about the courtroom discussions on whether Rosemary West should stand trial following the death of her husband.

"People abroad are not bound by this legal restriction and some foreign newspaper reports have found their way on to the Internet and can be read by anyone in Britain with a modem."

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