Now that Luka Rocco Magnotta has been arrested, the biggest danger posed by his alleged murder-dismemberment spree is that it will be used to push through internet surveillance measures by the likes of Vic Toews. The Public Safety Minister has already used the incident to try to revive his stalled and widely-derided Bill C-30, which would require internet service providers to hand over information about customers’ online activity. “Certainly, that’s what the police have told me — that the powers in Bill C-30 are very relevant to this type of investigation in terms of either determining who the individual is, or determining the whereabouts of an individual,” he said last Friday.
But as we’ve since seen, it was the very instrument that Toews is so afraid of, the Internet, that brought about Magnotta’s arrest, when he went into an internet café in Berlin to browse for stories about himself and view porn. (Apparently, Magnotta was not quite so bright about how to disappear completely as he supposed.) And, as Michael Geist points out, in a case like this “there is simply no question that law enforcement can obtain the necessary warrant on customer name and address information (if an ISP refused as part of an investigation) . . . . The Magnotta case does not demonstrate the need for lawful access, but rather shows how officials rely on sensationalist claims as they remain unable to muster convincing evidence of the need for the law.”
Meanwhile, speaking of not too bright, the proprietor of bestgore.com, a website out of Edmonton that for a time carried the video of what seems to be Magnotta committing the crime, has helpfully explained why police should not arrest him. “As for suggested obscenity charges — it’s only thanks to Best Gore and the fact that I made the 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick video public in the first place, that Best Gore community was able to identify the perpetrator days before the police,” Mark Marek told The Canadian Press in an e-mail interview. “If exposing a murderer for whom he is and bringing his actions to the attention of the public and the police is a crime, then I better get put in jail, cause I’d rather be there than share the Earth with the sheep who support evil.”
The sanctimonious claptrap continues on the Best Gore site. (No, I’m not going to link to it; if you want to visit, you’ll have to do the work yourself, though trust me — you don’t want to.) “Many people seem to live in a fantasy,” Marek writes. “They seem to look at the world through the rose tinted sunglasses which makes them weak, vulnerable and oftentimes dangerous. To wake people up to the reality, Best Gore was created . . . . the contribution of Best Gore to the betterment of societies is much more evident than that of other means.”
The problem with this is that as Marek is “bettering society,” he’s also earning revenue from the suffering of others, by posting ads for porn sites alongside the gore. So much for selfless humanitarianism. But as far as getting arrested goes, he’s basically right — he shouldn’t be. He doesn’t link to violent porn sites, as another, American site that also carried the video does. In any event, that wouldn’t be illegal. You could argue that, by posting the snuff film, he’s incentivizing murder, but he took it down once it became clear that it’s the real thing. And the rest of his site — as best I could tell, in my brisk perusal of it, which is all I had the stomach for; sorry — sticks to documentary images of events that may be blood-curdling but do fall under the non-prosecutable category of “shit happens.”
So, he should have the right to maintain his grotesque site, I should have the right not to go to it, parents should continue to have the reponsibility to know what their kids are doing on the Internet, and Vic Toews should stay out of it.