mfioretti: censorship*

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  1. The situation in the country is so severe that an estimated 700,000 Rohingya refugees are thought to have fled to neighboring Bangladesh following a Myanmar government crackdown that began in August. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has labeled the actions as ethnic cleansing, as has the UN.

    Tensions inflamed, Facebook has been a primary outlet for racial hatred from high-profile individuals inside Myanmar. One of them, monk Ashin Wirathu who is barred from public speaking due to past history, moved online to Facebook where he quickly found an audience. Though he had his Facebook account shuttered, he has vowed to open new ones in order to continue to amplifly his voice via the social network.

    Beyond visible figures, the platform has been ripe for anti-Muslim and anti-Rohinga memes and false new stories to go viral. UN investigators last month said Facebook has “turned into a beast” and played a key role in spreading hate.
    https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/06/mya...nch+%28TechCrunch%29&sr_share=twitter
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  2. That means in addition to being a chokepoint through which governments can block the Internet, it is also a place where they can monitor it. While leaking data to Comcast may be creepy, leaking because the DNS protocol in some parts of the world, literally a matter of life and death.
    https://shift.newco.co/sure-the-inter...-lets-go-fix-it-shall-we-5c27e294c25c
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-04-05)
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  3. 1)The UK Government have announced they have developed an algorithmic tool to remove ISIS presence from the web.
    2) Copyright industries have called for similar programs to be installed that can remove un-approved creative content in the United States.
    3) The European Commission has suggested that filters can be used to “proactively detect, identify, and remove” anything illegal – from comments sections on news sites to Facebook posts.
    4) The Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive, currently being debated by MEPs, is proposing using technical filters to block copyrighted content from being posted.

    There’s a recklessness to all of these proposals – because so much of them involve sidestepping legal processes.

    EFF coined the term “shadow regulation” for rules that are made outside of the legislative process, and that’s what is happening here. A cosy relationship between business and governments has developed that the public are being left outside of when it comes to limiting online speech.
    https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/the-da...hip-and-circumventing-laws/2018/02/28
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  4. The untenable technophobia of the Left pushes us backwards in time. It leads not only to greater puritanism and an infuriating ideology of victimhood, but also to a pervasive abuse of the figure of “hate crime” to oppress and to censor on all sides. This is sweeping away freedoms of the press, satire, information and speech and even sexual freedoms.

    Do we want to fight hatred? Do we want to protect those threatened systematically because of their experience of discrimination? Very much, but not like this.

    Threats, insults and harassment, both in public and in private, are all crimes punishable by law. A clumsy or malicious legal interpretation of EU legislation on so-called “hate speech crimes” can kill freedom.

    Given the abuse by the wealthy of crimes against personal honour – systematically employed to stop more serious crimes from being dragged out in the open – the Left should have expected to find nothing good coming via this route. But it didn’t get the message.

    Because the real trap, this twisted conception of “hate speech”, was not invented by evil ministers; they have only taken advantage of it in many States like that of Spain, which has a severe democratic deficit in its value system.

    “Hate speech” is a treacherous phrase: fighting against “hate speech” – where “hate” is a subordinate adjective to “speech” – means nothing other than fighting against “speech” in the first place, thereby contributing to the shrinking frame of freedom of speech, instead of fighting for an end to discrimination.

    Defending freedom of speech is not only a pretty and very leftist thing to do, it is also important so that we can distinguish between what a democracy really is and what it is not. Pursuing free speech as a political and legal praxis is a characteristic of dictatorships: and this willing adherence of the Left can only send us in the opposite direction from any solutions.

    Pursuing free speech as a political and legal praxis is a characteristic of dictatorships: and this willing adherence of the Left can only send us in the opposite direction from any solutions. Responding to prosecutions with an eye for an eye logic, responding to hate speech accusations with hate speech accusations, legitimates the narrative which destroys our freedom and reinforces polarization and hatred.
    Legal autarchy

    Spain is slowly becoming (once again) a legal autarchy, with the Minister of Interior widening the definition of hate crime as he likes in order to push the narrative which is destroying our freedoms. Meanwhile, however, the Left calls for limits to freedom of speech without any legal safeguards with its proposal of a law for LTGBI protection.

    I disagree. It is by consolidating freedom of speech that those who are a minority in the ruling narrative will get to express themselves and break free of their constraints on their own. On their own, never in a supervised and victimising way thanks to the loudest voice like that of a Left that always aims to “represent” everyone, even when nobody asked them to.
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-eur...i-xnet/untenable-technophobia-of-left
    Voting 0
  5. When Facebook first came to Cambodia, many hoped it would help to usher in a new period of free speech, amplifying voices that countered the narrative of the government-friendly traditional press. Instead, the opposite has happened. Prime Minister Hun Sen is now using the platform to promote his message while jailing his critics, and his staff is doing its best to exploit Facebook’s own rules to shut down criticism — all through a direct relationship with the company’s staff.

    In Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen has held power since 1998, a reign characterized by systematic looting, political patronage and violent suppression of human rights; when opposition parties used Facebook to organize a strong showing in the 2013 elections, Hun Sen turned to the tool to consolidate his slipping hold on power.

    In this he was greatly aided by Fresh News, a Facebook-based political tabloid that is analogous to far-right partisan US news sources like Breitbart; which acted as a literal stenographer for Sen, transcribing his remarks in "scoops" that vilify opposition figures and dissidents without evidence. Sen and Fresh News successfully forced an opposition leader into exile in France, and mined Facebook for the identities of political opponents, who were targeted for raids and arrests.

    The Cambodian government has cultivated a deep expertise in Facebook's baroque acceptable conduct rules, and they use this expertise to paint opposition speech as in violation of Facebook's policies, using the company's anti-abuse systems to purge their rivals from the platform.

    Offline, the government has targeted the independent press with raids and arrests, shutting down most of the media it does not control, making Facebook -- where the government is able to silence people with its rules-lawyering -- the only place for independent analysis and criticism of the state.

    Then, last October, Facebook used Cambodia in an experiment to de-emphasize news sources in peoples' feeds -- a change it will now roll out worldwide -- and hid those remaining independent reporters from the nation's view.

    Opposition figures have worked with independent researchers to show that the government is buying Facebook likes from clickfarms in the Philippines and India, racking up thousands of likes for Khmer-language posts in territories where Khmer isn't spoken. They reported these abuses to Facebook, hoping to get government posts downranked, but Facebook executives gave them the runaround or refused to talk to them. No action was taken on these violations of Facebook's rules.

    Among other things, the situation in Cambodia is a cautionary tale on the risks of "anti-abuse" policies, which are often disproportionately useful to trolls who devote long hours and careful study to staying on the right side of the lines that companies draw up, and scour systems for people they taunt into violations of these rules, getting the platforms to terminate them.

    When ordinary Facebook users find a post objectionable, they click a link on the post to report it. Then a Facebook employee judges whether it violates the platform’s rules and should be taken down. In practice, it’s a clunky process that involves no direct communication or chance for appeal, and the decisions made by Facebook can seem mysterious and arbitrary.

    But for the Cambodian government, that process has been streamlined by Facebook.

    Duong said every couple of months, his team would email an employee they work with at Facebook to request a set of accounts be taken down, either based on language they used or because their accounts did not appear to be registered to their real names, a practice Facebook’s rules forbid. Facebook often complies, he said.

    Clare Wareing, a spokesperson for Facebook, said the company removes “credible threats, hate speech, and impersonation profiles when we’re made aware of them.” Facebook says it only takes down material that violates its policies.
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/meghara/face...racy?utm_term=.or3XYz3wNX#.wpJgoz5Lvg
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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. "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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  9. 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)
    Voting 0
  10. 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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