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Brian Levin, criminology professor and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, was interviewed for an article on a new mapping tool developed by activists to track the physical location of people affiliated with the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. The mapping tool was described as a step-up in the simmering online war between anti-fascists and the alt right, the news site reported.
Levin said that people have a right to participate in political organizations privately. That right was determined through the 1958 Supreme Court ruling NAACP v. Alabama.
On the other hand, they are making their views known in a public space, the internet. “You’re going into today’s modern town square, the internet,” said Levin. “When people make pronouncements under that oak tree in the town square, their anonymity rights are limited.”
Aggregating information that was already publicly available without nefarious intent isn’t a problem, said Levin. “It’s perfectly ethical to expose someone with a screen name like ‘white power forever’ who is spreading fake information about race studies,” he said.
But it does get legally murky if the purpose of the map is to inspire others to real-world action. “People have the right to be nasty. And those who want to expose them in good faith to condemn their ideas, that’s appropriate,” said Levin. “What we can’t have is something that rises to the level of a network that attempts to do something more, like shut down their speech, and intimidation.”
Read the complete article at “This new mapping tool shows where neo-Nazi trolls live in the U.S.”