Penticton Herald, Feb. 10, 2000, p. A3

Internet Hatred
Time to put the issue to bed, says mayor
by Penticton Herald Staff

Oliver Mayor Linda Larson hopes the end of the police investigation into a local Internet provider, alleged to have spread racial hatred, will end talk that unfairly maligned her town.

Allegations the local Fairview Technology Centre site carried material that promoted hatred of minority groups prompted one commentator [?prevaricator] to label the town the "hate capital of Canada."

The label was carried in headlines across the country two years ago.

The province has decided not to lay any charges against the Internet provider, which is no longer in operation. [FTCNET.COM continues to be a operational domain, but no longer hosts customer web sites]

"We have put it to rest.  What we need is for everybody else to put it to rest," said Larson.

Though the label undoubtedly damaged the town's reputation, Larson said, some good has come from it.  A vibrant multicultural organization was formed as a direct result.

Up to 300 people are expected to attend its annual dinner next Thursday, and on Friday students from the community's three schools will hold a march to the community centre.

"We can't solve the (racism) problem globally, but we can do something locally," she said.

Meanwhile, Rick Eaton, senior researcher at the Simon Weasenthal Centre in Toronto, said the investigation into the Oliver Internet service provider is a positive development, even if no charges were laid.

"This whole issue has brought about a great deal of interest.

"Law enforcement all over the country has started looking into using the Internet as a tool for investigating and seeing what is out there and getting background information and so forth.

"In that respect is has been a bonus.

"A lot of people who didn't know much about it are taking a look at it and shining the light on these types of people usually makes them run and hide."

He said Canadian law appears to be adequate to deal with the spreading of hate on the Internet, but that he is concerned the number of sites continues to spread in other countries. [why is the CJC pushing the BC AG for more restrictive legislation?]

"We have seen over the past few years, since 1995, the evidence of hate sites all over the world going up.  We count close to 2,000 sites internationally.

A good majority of those are in the United States and many of the foreign ones have gone to American servers because nobody will bother them there. [that's why we nearly always recommend that our Canadian clients take their website business to American webhosting providers]

"I think there is always the possibility it will happen again here and for that we have to remain vigilant," he added.
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