Posts Tagged ‘Internet Censorship’

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Facebook logo The recent Fosta law in the US forces internet companies to censor anything to do with legal, adult and consensual sex work. It holds them liable for abetting sex traffickers even when they can’t possibly distinguish the trafficking from the legal sex work. The only solution is therefore to ban the use of their platforms for any personal hook ups. So indeed adult sex work websites have been duly cleansed from the US internet.But now a woman is claiming that Facebook facilitated trafficking when of course its nigh on impossible for Facebook to detect such use of their networking systems. But of course that’s no excuse under the FOSTA.

According to a new lawsuit by an unnamed woman in Houston, Texas, Facebook’s morally bankrupt corporate culture for permitting a sex trafficker to force her into prostitution after beating and raping her. She claims Facebook should be held responsible when a user on the social media platform sexually exploits another Facebook user. The lawsuit says that Facebook should have warned the woman, who was 15 years old at the time she was victimized, that its platform could be used by sex traffickers to recruit and groom victims, including children.

The lawsuit also names Backpage.com, which according to a Reuters report , hosted pictures of the woman taken by the man who victimized her after he uploaded them to the site.

The classified advertising site Backpage has already been shut down by federal prosecutors in April of this year.

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european commission logo Tech companies that fail to remove terrorist content quickly could soon face massive fines. The European Commission proposed new rules on Wednesday that would require internet platforms to remove illegal terror content within an hour of it being flagged by national authorities. Firms could be fined up to 4% of global annual revenue if they repeatedly fail to comply.Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and YouTube owner Google (GOOGL) had already agreed to work with the European Union on a voluntary basis to tackle the problem. But the Commission said that progress has not been sufficient.

A penalty of 4% of annual revenue for 2017 would translate to $4.4 billion for Google parent Alphabet and $1.6 billion for Facebook.

The proposal is the latest in a series of European efforts to control the activities of tech companies.

The terror content proposal needs to be approved by the European Parliament and EU member states before becoming law.

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resist av video Niche porn producer, Pandora Blake, Misha Mayfair, campaigning lawyer Myles Jackman and Backlash are campaigning to back a legal challenge to the upcoming internet porn censorship regime in the UK. They write on a new ResistAV.com website:

We are mounting a legal challenge.

Do you lock your door when you watch porn 203 or do you publish a notice in the paper? The new UK age verification law means you may soon have to upload a proof of age to visit adult sites. This would connect your legal identity to a database of all your adult browsing. Join us to prevent the damage to your privacy.

The UK Government is bringing in age verification for adults who want to view adult content online; yet have failed to provide privacy and security obligations to ensure your private information is securely protected.

The law does not currently limit age verification software to only hold data provided by you just in order to verify your age. Hence, other identifying data about you could include anything from your passport information to your credit card details, up to your full search history information. This is highly sensitive data.

What are the Privacy Risks?

Data Misuse – Since age verification providers are legally permitted to collect this information, what is to stop them from increasing revenue through targeting advertising at you, or even selling your personal data?

Data Breaches – No database is perfectly secure, despite good intentions. The leaking or hacking of your sensitive personal information could be truly devastating. The Ashley Madison hack led to suicides. Don’t let the Government allow your private sexual preferences be leaked into the public domain.

What are we asking money for?

We’re asking you to help us crowdfund legal fees so we can challenge the new age verification rules under the Digital Economy Act 2017. We re asking for 2£10,000 to cover the cost of initial legal advice, since it’s a complicated area of law. Ultimately, we’d like to raise even more money, so we can send a message to Government that your personal privacy is of paramount importance.

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eff machine 0300x0150In exactly one week, the European Parliament will hold a crucial debate and vote on a proposal so terrible , it can only be called an extinction-level event for the Internet as we know it.

At issue is the text of the new EU Copyright Directive, which updates the 17-year-old copyright regulations for the 28 member-states of the EU. It makes a vast array of technical changes to EU copyright law, each of which has stakeholders rooting for it, guaranteeing that whatever the final text says will become the law of the land across the EU.

The Directive was pretty uncontroversial, right up to the day last May when the EU started enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a seismic event that eclipsed all other Internet news for weeks afterward. On that very day, a German MEP called Axl Voss quietly changed the text of the Directive to reintroduce two long-discarded proposals — “Article 11” and “Article 13” — proposals that had been evaluated by the EU’s own experts and dismissed as dangerous and unworkable.

Under Article 11 — the ” link tax ” — online services are banned from allowing links to news services on their platforms unless they get a license to make links to the news; the rule does not define “news service” or “link,” leaving 28 member states to make up their own definitions and leaving it to everyone else to comply with 28 different rules.

Under Article 13 — the ” censorship machines ” — anyone who allows users to communicate in public by posting audio, video, stills, code, or anything that might be copyrighted — must send those posts to a copyright enforcement algorithm. The algorithm will compare it to all the known copyrighted works (anyone can add anything to the algorithm’s database) and censor it if it seems to be a match.

These extreme, unworkable proposals represent a grave danger to the Internet. The link tax means that only the largest, best-funded companies will be able to offer a public space where the news can be discussed and debated. The censorship machines are a gift to every petty censor and troll (just claim copyright in an embarrassing recording and watch as it disappears from the Internet!), and will add hundreds of millions to the cost of operating an online platform, guaranteeing that Big Tech’s biggest winners will never face serious competition and will rule the Internet forever.

That’s terrible news for Europeans, but it’s also alarming for all the Internet’s users, especially Americans.

The Internet’s current winners — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Amazon — are overwhelmingly American, and they embody the American regulatory indifference to surveillance and privacy breaches.

But the Internet is global, and that means that different regions have the power to export their values to the rest of the world. The EU has been a steady source of pro-privacy, pro-competition, public-spirited Internet rules and regulations, and European companies have a deserved reputation for being less prone to practicing ” surveillance capitalism ” and for being more thoughtful about the human impact of their services.

In the same way that California is a global net exporter of lifesaving emissions controls for vehicles, the EU has been a global net exporter of privacy rules, anti-monopoly penalties, and other desperately needed corrections for an Internet that grows more monopolistic, surveillant, and abusive by the day.

Many of the cheerleaders for Articles 11 and 13 talk like these are a black eye for Google and Facebook and other U.S. giants, and it’s true that these would result in hundreds of millions in compliance expenditures by Big Tech, but it’s money that Big Tech (and only Big Tech) can afford to part with. Europe’s much smaller Internet companies need not apply.

It’s not just Europeans who lose when the EU sells America’s tech giants the right to permanently rule the Internet: it’s everyone, because Europe’s tech companies, co-operatives, charities, and individual technologists have the potential to make everyone’s Internet experience better. The U.S. may have a monopoly on today’s Internet, but it doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas about how to improve tomorrow’s net.

The global Internet means that we have friends and colleagues and family all over the world. No matter where you are in the world today, please take ten minutes to get in touch with two friends in the EU , send them this article, and then ask them to get in touch with their MEPs by visiting Save Your Internet .

Take Action

There’s only one Internet and we all live on it. Europeans rose up to kill ACTA , the last brutal assault on Internet freedom, helping Americans fight our own government’s short-sighted foolishness; now the rest of the world can return the favor to our friends in the EU.

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BBC logoA number of TV broadcasters, mobile network and internet service providers has urged the UK government to introduce a new internet censor of social media companies. In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph, executives from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, as well as Sky, BT and TalkTalk, called for a new censor to help tackle fake news, child exploitation, harassment and other growing issues online.  The letter said:

We do not think it is realistic or appropriate to expect internet and social media companies to make all the judgment calls about what content is and is not acceptable, without any independent oversight.

There is an urgent need for independent scrutiny of the decisions taken, and greater transparency.

This is not about censoring the internet:[ …BUT… ] it is about making the most popular internet platforms safer, by ensuring there is accountability and transparency over the decisions these private companies are already taking. The UK government is aware of the problems on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Last October, it introduced an Internet Safety Green Paper as part of its digital charter manifesto pledge. Following a consultation period, then digital secretary Matt Hancock (he’s now the health secretary) said a white paper would be introduced later in 2018.

And in a comment suggesting that maybe the call is more about righting market imbalances than concern over societal problems. The letter noted that its signatories all pay high and fair levels of tax. The letter also notes that broadcasters and telcos are held to account by Ofcom, while social media forms are not, which again gives the internet companies an edge in the market.

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org copyright 0400x0133 In July MEPs voted down plans to fast-track the Copyright Directive, derailing Article 13’s plan to turn Internet platforms into copyright enforcers.

Yet the fight to stop Article 13’s vision of the Internet – one where all speech is approved or rejected by an automated upload filter – is not over.

On 12 September MEPs will vote once again, but this time as of yet unknown amendments will be added to the mix. Bad ideas like Article 13 – and perhaps worse – will be voted on individually, so it’s not a simple up or down vote. To identify and oppose bad amendments, MEPs must understand exactly why Article 13 threatens free speech.

Many MEPs are undecided. Please write to them now. You can use the points below to construct your own unique message. IF YOU’RE OUTSIDE THE UK use this tool instead: https://saveyourinternet.eu .

  • Oppose changes to Internet platform liability. If platforms become liable for user content, they will have no choice but to scan all uploads with automated filters.

  • Say no to upload filters. Filters struggle to identify the vital legal exceptions to copyright that enable research, commentary, creative works, parody and more. Poor judgement means innocent speech gets blocked along with copyright violations.

  • Internet companies do not make good copyright enforcers. To avoid liability penalties, platforms will err on the side of caution and over-block.

  • Free speech takes precedence over copyright. Threatening free expression is way too high a price to pay for the sake of copyright enforcement.

  • General monitoring of all content is technically infeasible. No filter can possibly review every form of content covered in Article 13’s extraorindarily wide mandate which includes text, audio, video, images and software.

  • If you are part of a tech business, or a creator, like a musician, photographer, video editor or a writer, let your MEP know!

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count dankula pug video A man who suffered a miscarriage of justice after being convicted for a joke has been refused permission to appeal against a conviction for supposedly causing gross offence.

Mark Meechan, who blogs under the name Count Dankula, was fined £800 in April after being found guilty under the Communications Act over a  video joke in which he trained his girlfriend’s dog to perform Nazi salutes.

A letter from the court claimed the appeal was not arguable and in each of its elements is wholly misconceived. It also dismissed arguments made by Meechan’s lawyers over the judge’s handling of witness evidence at Airdrie Sheriff Court in March and the meaning of grossly offensive. The letter said:

The appeal against conviction is without merit. Likewise the appeal against sentence is not arguable — this was a deeply unpleasant offence in which disgraceful and utterly offensive material was very widely distributed by the appellant, it said. This was to the considerable distress of the community in question and — just as disturbingly — to the apparent approval of a large number of persons who appear to share the appellant’s racist views.

Indeed it must be observed that in the circumstance the appellant was fortunate that the learned sheriff was not considering custody as an option.