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Limitations on Free Speech on Whonix Website

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Info This wiki entry has been authored by Patrick Schleizer, Whonix ™ founder and lead developer.

Free Speech Limitations[edit]

First, I will openly admit that we have a free speech 'problem' in the Whonix ™ forums, wiki and comments sections insofar as material or opinion that might fall afoul of the law is generally removed.

What issues are discussed and for how long is left to the sole discretion of the Whonix ™ moderation team. The Whonix ™ Forum Policy clearly outlines forum goals, rules and objectionable use of the infrastructure.

One case in point is the "Off-topic" sub-forum in Whonix ™ which was closed in the recent past. My reasoning was that it was better to separate politics and other controversial issues and opinions from the Whonix ™ project. Also, due to the high volume of posts on controversial or sensitive topics, it was difficult to follow them all. This meant it was safer to close the sub-forum rather than risk unforeseen legal ramifications in the future.

This does not mean that political issues are completely off-limits. For instance, consideration of possible state surveillance methods [archive] has been allowed before. As a politically astute individual, I actively participated in the discussion and am comfortable leaving all expressed opinions on the record. In this case, the volume of posting and the level of controversy were relatively minor.

Personal Liability[edit]

The reader might have noticed the word 'I' is used throughout this entry. This is because as the Whonix ™ founder and trademark owner I must consider a number of personal and legal responsibilities with regards to published content. It is simply impossible for one person to achieve all of the following:

  1. Maintain Whonix ™; and
  2. Simultaneously provide a free speech platform, which necessitates:
  • Staying up-to-date on developments in inter-jurisdictional legislation.
  • Following nearly all posts. [1]
  • Being ready to defend any opinion that I do not personally hold in legal proceedings.
  • Having financial resources to defend against legal actions.
  • Contemplating personal liability costs if legal proceedings are lost.

So far, despite an open offer, no other person or entity has approached me and been willing to take on the personal liability risk. Unless this situation changes, no user of Whonix ™ infrastructure should complain about limitations on free speech. It is easy for anyone to demand an 'everything goes' policy, but this ignores risks like regulatory changes, legal challenges, and stiff penalties leveled against individuals or corporations in recent history.

If any person or organization is ready to be both identifiable and sign a binding contract to take responsibility for any user-posted opinions on the Whonix ™ website, then I am willing to facilitate this arrangement. This is an unlikely outcome, since even those requesting free speech would probably decline the offer once the legal ramifications were better understood. [2]

Banned Subjects[edit]

The following subjects are currently banned: [3]

Further Reading[edit]

For more information on free speech limitations on the Whonix ™ website, refer to these related forum discussions:

Related[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. I may not even be obliged to do so, depending on the jurisdiction in question.
  2. Following detailed legal research on the matter.
  3. More subjects are likely to be listed in the future.


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