Frank Sayre, who acts as webmaster for the `Canuck Soup' web pages says, "I decided to mirror the `Freedom Site' because of B.C.'s misguided attempt to censor the Internet".
"I do not agree with the Freedom Site's content," he continues, "but I do agree that they have a fundamental right to express their political opinions, both on and off the Internet."
"The B.C. government has no experience or understanding of cyberspace, ... nor does it have any right to censor or suppress legal expression, even if it's on a web site," says the young cyber-activist.
Sayre says he's encouraging other like-minded individuals to help him make his point by setting up their own "mirror sites" -- something he's facilitated by packaging up the information into a downloadable "ZIP file" that his web pages boasts will enable anyone to "Set up your own Freedom-Site in 5 minutes or less!"
"It's a controversial approach," admits David Jones, president of Electronic Frontier Canada, who recalls that a similar tactic was successful earlier this year in getting Germany's Deutsche Telekom to back down when it started blocking access to Ernst Zundel's web pages based in southern California.
Although Electronic Frontier Canada is a staunch defender of free speech in cyberspace, the organization won't be setting up a mirror site of its own. "I want to be clear that we don't endorse the views expressed in any of these so-called `hate' web pages," says Jeffrey Shallit, EFC vice-president, acknowledging that many Canadians find them offensive and distasteful.
"We do agree, however, that attempts to censor web pages are pointless and misguided. First, attempts at censorship just give more media attention to these people, who desperately crave attention, and second, the end result tends to be that the information gets copied around the Internet to these mirror sites -- which can hardly be considered an improvement."
Both Shallit and Sayre make reference to the approach advocated by US Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas: "The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas. The way to combat falsehood is with truth." (from 1958 interview with Mike Wallace)
The Nizkor Project, run by B.C.'s own Ken McVay, is a notable example of this approach.
Electronic Frontier fights censorship on the Internet
Globe & Mail, July 23, 1996 (Derek Winkler)
Webmaster for "Canuck Soup" and "Mirror of Freedom Site"
phone: (604) 847-5744
president, VRx Network Services
phone: (613) 473-1719 or 473-1731
director, Nizkor Project
More contact information is available at the bottom of EFC's original press release. Please see the following URL: