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Partner Organizations

Anti-Defamation League


Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence


The Leadership Conference Education Fund

Funded By

Office of Juvenile Deliquency Prevention U.S. Department of Justice


Safe and Drug Free Schools Program U.S. Department of Education

Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program.

Issue/Question:
How does the law in foreign countries differ from American law regarding hate on the Internet? Can an American citizen be subject to criminal charges abroad for sending or posting material that is illegal in other countries?

Suggested Response:

In most countries, hate speech does not receive the same constitutional protection as it does in the United States. In Germany, for example, it is illegal to promote Nazi ideology, and in many European countries, it is illegal to deny the reality of the Holocaust. Authorities in Denmark, France, Britain, Germany, and Canada have brought charges for crimes involving hate speech on the Internet. While national borders have little meaning in cyberspace, Internet users who export material that is illegal in some foreign countries may be subject to prosecution under certain circumstances. American citizens who post material on the Internet that is illegal in a foreign country could be prosecuted if they subjected themselves to the jurisdiction of that country or of another country whose extradition laws would allow for arrest and deportation. However, under American law, the United States will not extradite a person for engaging in a constitutionally protected activity even if that activity violates a criminal law elsewhere.
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