mfioretti: censorship*

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  1. Here’s how this golden age of speech actually works: In the 21st century, the capacity to spread ideas and reach an audience is no longer limited by access to expensive, centralized broadcasting infrastructure. It’s limited instead by one’s ability to garner and distribute attention. And right now, the flow of the world’s attention is structured, to a vast and overwhelming degree, by just a few digital platforms: Facebook, Google (which owns YouTube), and, to a lesser extent, Twitter.

    These companies—which love to hold themselves up as monuments of free expression—have attained a scale unlike anything the world has ever seen; they’ve come to dominate media


    Not to put too fine a point on it, but all of this invalidates much of what we think about free speech—conceptually, legally, and ethically.

    The most effective forms of censorship today involve meddling with trust and attention, not muzzling speech itself.

    What’s more, all this online speech is no longer public in any traditional sense. Sure, Facebook and Twitter sometimes feel like places where masses of people experience things together simultaneously. But in reality, posts are targeted and delivered privately, screen by screen by screen.
    https://www.wired.com/story/free-speech-issue-tech-turmoil-new-censorship
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  2. the U.S. Government – meaning, at the moment, the Trump administration – has the unilateral and unchecked power to force the removal of anyone it wants from Facebook and Instagram by simply including them on a sanctions list. Does anyone think this is a good outcome? Does anyone trust the Trump administration, or any other government, to compel social media platforms to delete and block anyone it wants to be silenced? As the ACLU’s Jennifer Granick told the Times:
    https://theintercept.com/2017/12/30/f...on-of-the-u-s-and-israeli-governments
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  3. "This felt and functioned like freedom, but it was always a commercial simulation"

    You could be forgiven for seeing this as a turning point for these sites, away from a hands-off approach to the communities they host and toward something with more oversight and regulation. An inside-out version of this analysis has been embraced by right-wing users, who have wasted no time declaring these bans a violation of their free speech. But this is an incomplete accounting of what happened and one that serves two parties and two parties alone: the companies themselves and the people they’ve just banned.
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    The recent rise of all-encompassing internet platforms promised something unprecedented and invigorating: venues that unite all manner of actors — politicians, media, lobbyists, citizens, experts, corporations — under one roof. These companies promised something that no previous vision of the public sphere could offer: real, billion-strong mass participation; a means for affinity groups to find one another and mobilize, gain visibility and influence. This felt and functioned like freedom, but it was always a commercial simulation.

    A community of trolls on an internet platform is, in political terms, not totally unlike a fascist movement in a weak liberal democracy: It engages with and uses the rules and protections of the system it inhabits with the intent of subverting it and eventually remaking it in their image or, if that fails, merely destroying it.

    But what gave these trolls power on platforms wasn’t just their willingness to act in bad faith and to break the rules and norms of their environment. It was their understanding that the rules and norms of platforms were self-serving and cynical in the first place. After all, these platforms draw arbitrary boundaries constantly and with much less controversy — against spammers, concerning profanity or in response to government demands. These fringe groups saw an opportunity in the gap between the platforms’ strained public dedication to discourse stewardship and their actual existence as profit-driven entities, free to do as they please. Despite their participatory rhetoric, social platforms are closer to authoritarian spaces than democratic ones. It makes some sense that people with authoritarian tendencies would have an intuitive understanding of how they work and how to take advantage of them.

    This was also a moment these hate groups were anticipating; getting banned in an opaque, unilateral fashion was always the way out and, to some degree, it suits them. In the last year, hard-right communities on social platforms have cultivated a pre-emptive identity as platform refugees and victims of censorship.


    There are alternative fund-raising sites in the mold of GoFundMe or Kickstarter; there’s an alternative to Patreon called Hatreon. Like most of these new alternatives, it has cynically borrowed a cause — it calls itself a site that ‘‘stands for free speech absolutism’’ — that the more mainstream platforms borrowed first. Their persecution narrative, which is the most useful narrative they have, and one that will help spread their cause beyond the fringes, was written for them years ago by the same companies that helped give them a voice.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/21/ma...p_0=502753&kwp_4=1807960&kwp_1=769030
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  4. Reason Hollywood is "helping" China monitor set top boxes & smart tv's for copyright infringement is nothing more than Hollywood fill another one of their wet dreams which is aimed straight at restricting what you can view on those smart tv's and your set top boxes.

    Think about how Hollywood has waged war on torrent files and streaming sites, URL blocking and it's latest was on Kodi and other boxes.

    Hollywood is using China as a proof of concept to block users from seeing content that Hollywood doesn't want you to have access to (without kicking them some money first) or by the way of a license to enable you or the box provider to view or allow it to be distributed via a program or add on to the box, this concept would also be applied to smart tv's no doubt.

    Hollywood would never get away with doing a trial like this to block or censor set top boxes or smart tv's in the U.S. or UK, but China one could see allowing Hollywood do it with a large contribution of cash from Hollywood to get the goverment to okay it.

    China also benefits because they to can use this to have another way to filter what their citizens see and where they are getting it from and then blocking access to views that it doesn't like from reaching the public.

    You can bet if this proves effective that Hollywood will push this revelation of battling copyright infringement to other countries by saying the stats prove this is most effective and will save thousands of jobs and the infusion of cash that Hollywood needs to survive from all that piracy that threatens to push Hollywood to the brink of collapse... or so they say.
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...o-tackle-copyright-infringement.shtml
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-05-22)
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  5. In Norway, the Norwegian bank DNB has taken the lead. And since politicians in general are trained to do as financial capitalism bids, we can say with almost total certainty that legislation banning cash will be passed. If cash payment is banned by law, we will no longer have money. Or rather: we will no longer have any control over our own money. Whether we’ll be able to use them or not, will be decided by the banks and the authorities. We can no longer withdraw money from the bank and hide them under the mattress, even if the banks should introduce a five percent negative interest rate. And if the authorities decide that a certain person should be blocked from their account, they cannot buy as much as a bus ticket or a piece of bread. The totalitarian society on steroids.

    This neo-fascism, or this post-democratic society – or whatever we should name this nightmare – is matched by the draconic legislations against so-called “fake news” and the introduction of public-private censorship bodies. As noted before, a militarization of opinion formers worthy that of a dictatorship, is taking place. And it is happening without the slightest protest from those who supposedly support the freedom of the press and free speech.
    https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/lessons-oblivious-enemy/2017/03/01
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  6. Press freedom organizations have raised concerns about censorship after Members of the European Parliament approved extraordinary measures to combat hate speech.

    MEPs granted the parliament's president authority to pull the plug on live broadcasts of parliamentary debate in cases of racist speech or acts and to purge offending video or audio material from the online system.

    Critics say the rules are vaguely worded and could be manipulated or used as a tool of censorship.

    "This undermines the reliability of the Parliament's archives at a moment where the suspicion of 'fake news' and manipulation threatens the credibility of the media and the politicians," said Tom Weingaertner, president of the Brussels-based International Press Association.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/...ean-parliament-introduces-kill-switch
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-02-27)
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  7. Italy’s antitrust chief, Giovanni Pitruzzella, has said that E.U. countries should set up a network of government-appointed bodies to remove fake news and potentially impose fines on the media. Pitruzzella doesn’t hide his political agenda — he wants to target his opponents on the populist left and right. “Post-truth in politics is one of the drivers of populism, and it is one of the threats to our democracies,” he told the Financial Times.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...882_story.html?utm_term=.68f94c21649f
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-02-14)
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  8. The FT reports on Wednesday that “Facebook and Google have announced they will restrict advertising on online platforms with fake news, after a furore over the role of such stories in last week’s US presidential election.”

    The following is a personal view and thus not representative of the wider views of the FT, so no doubt biased to whatever cultural norms impacted my formative years — among them being of Polish descent, being brought up Catholic, having staunchly anti-communist parents, experiencing a youthful rebellion against that framework and later moderating to a middle ground. With that out of the way…

    Surely having Facebook and Google restrict advertising on subjective grounds is the worst possible outcome of this entire affair?

    The idea all-powerful platforms like Google and Facebook should be charged with the responsibility of strategically filtering and determining what constitutes fake news is not just questionable but frightening in the Orwellian Newspeak sense of the word.


    Habermas’ most profound observation is that the formation of the public news arena is intimately connected to the rise of the coffee houses and stock exchanges. This is because it is only on the stock exchange that the full range of conflicting views collide to forge a clearing price. Repression or manipulation of information flow, meanwhile, only ensures that the clearing price will be off to someone’s advantage and to someone else’s disadvantage.

    Interestingly, back in the 90s and noughties, when the internet was first becoming a thing, media academics would often ponder whether this new form of information exchange represented the reconstitution of a public sphere in a digital form (especially in light of Herman/Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent critique, which argued the advertising funding model had skewed the public debate and turned the industry into a corporate propaganda outlet). Mostly, they erred towards the notion it did not precisely because it captured a small slice of the population and had a tendency to compartmentalise discussion rather than broaden it.

    Based on all that, if Facebook and Google moves to filter “fake news” it will only exacerbate the problem because these institutions will always be governed by commercial interest not public duty. That as a whole makes them inequipped to judge what news is fit for publication and which is not. What it does do in the long run is open the door to an even more sinister advertising propaganda model than that which inspired Herman/Chomsky’s Manufacture of Consent.

    In that light, here’s some commentary from Habermas about what aspects of salon and coffee-house culture constituted a public sphere (and which I’d argue are lacking today):

    However exclusive the public might be in any given instance, it could never close itself off entirely and become consolidated as a clique; for it always understood and found itself immersed within a more inclusive public of all private people, persons who- insofar as they were propertied and educated — as readers, listeners, and spectators could avail themselves via the market of the objects that were subject to discussion. The issues discussed became “general” not merely in their significance, but also in their accessibility; everyone had to be able to participate.

    What of the uneducated and unpropertied or too poor to engage in the market for objects, you ask? According to Habermas, they were brought into the public sphere by way of festival gatherings, theatre performances and the music halls, all of which spurred public debate.

    In a highly atomised and compartmentalised culture, however — where even workplace gatherings don’t bring people together because everyone is being encouraged to “work for himself” in the gig economy or from home — there seem to be ever fewer occurrences where we, the public, have no choice but to interact with those who disagree with us.

    This in turn encourages the cultivation of safe spaces, which in turn twists our perception of reality into something it simply is not.
    https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2016/11/1...cebook-and-the-manufacture-of-consent
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  9. On 30 March 2014 the Debrecen High Court established the responsibility of six out of the eight respondents, including the applicant, in respect of the defamatory comments made in the video. Regarding the applicant, the court found that in making available the Youtube video by providing a hyperlink leading to it, it had disseminated the defamatory statements. On appeal, on 25 September 2014 the Debrecen Court of Appeal upheld the judgment. The applicant now compaints that this ruling is a disproportionate interference with its freedom of expression.
    https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/20...ear-case-about-liability-hyperlinking
    Voting 0
  10. I don’t see the NUS as the enemy. I support their efforts to defend student rights and back their opposition to tuition fees and education cuts. I just disagree with the way some of them choose to deal with other people’s opinions. Anyone who doesn’t toe the line politically risks being denounced, even over the tiniest disagreement.

    The race to be more Left-wing and politically correct than anyone else is resulting in an intimidating, excluding atmosphere on campuses. Universal human rights and enlightenment values – including John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty – are often shamefully rubbished as the ideas of Western imperialist white privilege.

    I am all in favour of protesting against real racists and transphobes. But the most effective way to do this is to expose and counter their bigoted ideas, not censor and ban them. I’ve often debated religious fundamentalists and homophobes. They’ve lost the argument; leaving them weakened and discredited.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/...lifelong-civil-rights-campaigner.html
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