Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

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yutube limitedYoutube has been introduced a new tier of censorship designed to restrict the audience for videos deemed to be inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.The site is now putting videos into a limited state if they are deemed controversial enough to be considered objectionable, but not hateful, pornographic or violent enough to be banned altogether.

This policy was announced several months ago but has come into force in the past week, prompting anger among members of the YouTube community.

YouTube defines Limited Videos as follows:

Our Community Guidelines prohibit hate speech that either promotes violence or has the primary purpose of inciting hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes. YouTube also prohibits content intended to recruit for terrorist organizations, incite violence, celebrate terrorist attacks, or otherwise promote acts of terrorism. Some borderline videos, such as those containing inflammatory religious or supremacist content without a direct call to violence or a primary purpose of inciting hatred, may not cross these lines for removal. Following user reports, if our review teams determine that a video is borderline under our policies, it may have some features disabled.

These videos will remain available on YouTube, but will be placed behind a warning message, and some features will be disabled, including comments, suggested videos, and likes. These videos are also not eligible for ads.

Having features disabled on a video will not create a strike on your account.

Videos which are put into a limited state cannot be embedded on other websites. They also cannot be easily published on social media using the usual share buttons and other users cannot comment on them. Crucially, the person who made the video will no longer receive any payment.

Earlier this week, Julian Assange wrote:

‘Controversial’ but contract-legal videos [which break YouTube’s terms and conditions] cannot be liked, embedded or earn [money from advertising revenue].

What’s interesting about the new method deployed is that it is a clear attempt at social engineering. It isn’t just turning off the ads. It’s turning off the comments, embeds, etc too. Everything possible to strangle the reach without deleting it.

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Crown Prosecution ServiceThe Director of public prosecutions has announced plans for more prosecutions and harsher punishments for online insult. Prosecutors will be ordered to treat online hate crime as seriously as offences carried out face to face.Alison Saunders said the Crown Prosecution Service will seek stiffer penalties for abuse on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. Saunders says the crackdown is needed because online abuse can lead to the sort of extremist hate seen in Charlottesville in the United States last weekend, which left one person dead.

Writing in the Guardian, Saunders said:

Left unchallenged, even low-level offending can subsequently fuel the kind of dangerous hostility that has been plastered across our media in recent days. That is why countering it is a priority for the CPS.

The new policy documents cover different strands of hate crime: racist and religious; disability; and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic. They also say that victims of biphobic hate crime, aimed at bisexual people, have different needs and experiences compared to those suffering anti-gay and transphobic offences.

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Facebook logoAs queer artists and activists, we’re alarmed by a new trend: Many LGBTQ people’s posts have been blocked recently for using words like dyke, fag, or tranny to describe ourselves and our communities.

While these words are still too-often shouted as slurs, they’re also frequently reclaimed by queer and transgender people as a means of self-expression. However, Facebook’s algorithmic and human reviewers seem unable to accurately parse the context and intent of their usage.

Whether intentional or not, these moderation fails constitute a form of censorship. And just like Facebook’s dangerous and discriminatory real names policy , these examples demonstrate how the company’s own practices often amplify harassment and cause real harm to marginalized groups.

For example, two individuals wrote that they were reported for posting about the return of graphic novelist Alison Bechdel’s celebrated Dykes To Watch Out For comic strip. A gay man posted that he was banned for seven days after sharing a vintage flyer for the 1970s lesbian magazine DYKE , which was recently featured in an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. A queer poet of color’s status update was removed for expressing excitement in finding poetry that featured the sex lives of black and brown faggots.

A young trans woman we heard from was banned for a day after referring to herself as a tranny alongside a selfie that proudly showed off her new hair style. After she regained access, she posted about the incident, only to be banned again for three more days.

…Read the full article from wired.com

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save net neutrailty logo US media censors at the FCC want to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, they’ll allow widespread throttling, blocking, censorship, and extra fees. On July 12th, the Internet will come together to stop them.

Websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. We’ll provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your followers / visitors to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we’ve shown time and time again that when the Internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption. Now, we have to do it again!

See battleforthenet.com

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tory manifesto 2017 mock upBuried at the very end of the Conservative election manifesto is a line of text that could have an enormous impact on how Britons use the internet in the future.Conservative advisers suggested to BuzzFeed News that a future Tory government would be keen to rein in the growing power of Google and Facebook.

The proposals — dotted around the manifesto document — are varied. There are many measures designed to make it easier to do business online but it’s a different, more social conservative approach when it comes to social networks.

Legislation would be introduced to ‘protect’ the public from abuse and offensive material online, while everyone would have the right to wipe material that was posted when they were under 18. Internet companies would also be asked to help promote counter-extremism narratives — potentially echoing the government’s Prevent programme. There would be new rules requiring companies to make it ever harder for people to access pornography and violent images, with all content creators forced to justify their policies to the government.

The Manifesto states:

Our starting point is that online rules should reflect those that govern our lives offline.

It should be as unacceptable to bully online as it is in the playground, as difficult to groom a young child on the internet as it is in a community, as hard for children to access violent and degrading pornography online as it is in the high street, and as difficult to commit a crime digitally as it is physically.

New laws will be introduced to implement these rules, forcing internet companies such as Facebook to abide by the rulings of a regulator or face sanctions: We will introduce a sanctions regime to ensure compliance, giving regulators the ability to fine or prosecute those companies that fail in their legal duties, and to order the removal of content where it clearly breaches UK law.

A levy on tech companies — similar to that charged on gambling companies — would also be used to support awareness and preventative activity to counter internet harms. The Conservatives even see this model going further, announcing their desire to work with other countries develop a global set of internet regulation standards similar to those we have for so long benefited from in other areas like banking and trade.

May’s manifesto also raises concerns about online news, warning it is willing to take steps to protect the reliability and objectivity of information that is essential to our democracy, while pledging to ensure content creators are appropriately rewarded for the content they make available online.

On a more positive note, the Conservative party manifesto contained one significantly welcome provision, which was that the party would not proceed with implementing the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry, and would repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 — both measures that RSF has campaigned for. RSF and other free expression groups viewed Section 40 as threatening to press freedom, particularly its cost-shifting provision that, if implemented, could have held publishers that did not join the state-approved regulator liable for the costs of all claims made against them, regardless of merit.

In contrast, both the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos stated that the parties would disgracefully move forward with the unjust stage two of the Leveson Inquiry.

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Germany flagThe German broadcasting authority, the Landesmedienanstalt , has issued a temporary ruling requiring streamers using services such as Twitch and YouTube to obtain a broadcasting license to avoid penalties. This license, known in German as the Rundfunklizenz , can cost anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 euro to obtain.

The news comes after popular Twitch streaming channel PietSmiet said it was told it will need a license by April 30 if it wants to continue streaming. The changes apply to all online streamers with a very low threshold of 500 or more followers.

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governmet germany logoGerman ministers have recently approved plans to fine technology companies if they fail to censor posts that are claimed to be hate speech or ‘fake news’.

The law introduces fines to the tune of approximately £42.7m if technology companies do not censor complalined about posts within 24 hours of it being reported (or seven days to deal with less clear-cut cases). The approval comes one month after the draft law, the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, was unveiled.

Google, Facebook and Twitter are likely to be particularly affected.

Many have raised concerns over the censorship process. The head of the Digital Society Association, Volker Tripp, said: It is the wrong approach to make social networks into a content police.

The implementation of the law will now mean that all contended posts will now be rapidly and routinely removed regardless of the voracity of the complaint. After all this is the age when complainants are always right.