The California Assembly has just passed legislation broad enough to ban the sale of books on the politically incorrect notion of being able to change sexual orientation.
AB 2943 cleared the chamber on a vote of 50-14. The measure adds advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual to the state's list of illegal unfair methods of competition and unfair or
deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer.
Sexual orientation change efforts are defined as any practices that seek to change an individual's sexual orientation. Other states have enacted narrower bans on conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, for minors, but CBS Sacramento
that California's is the first in the nation that would also prevent adults from voluntarily obtaining the treatment.
The bill is unprecedented for another reason, too: by classifying the subject under prohibited goods, which critics say means it would go so far as to ban the sale of books endorsing the practice, as well as other forms of
At its core, AB 2943 outlaws speech, Alliance Defending Freedom's (ADF) legal analysis of the bill reads. It says that licensed counseling, religious conferences, book sales, and paid speaking engagements could all potentially face legal penalties
for promoting gender reorientation.
The bill now moves on to the state Senate for consideration.
Grovelling to the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, Mark Zuckerberg apologised that Facebook had not taken a broad enough view
of its responsibility for people's public information. He ssaid:
It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here.
Zuckerberg said its audit of third-party apps would highlight any misuse of personal information, and said the company would alert users instantly if it found anything suspicious.
When asked why the company did not immediately alert the 87 million users whose data may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica (CA) when first told about the improper usage in 2015, Zuckerberg said Facebook considered it a closed case after CA
said it had deleted it. He apologised:
In retrospect it was clearly a mistake to believe them.
Zuckerberg's profuse apologies seem to have been a hit at the stock exchange but techies weren't impressed when he clammed up when asked for details on how Facebook snoops on users (and non-users).
President Donald Trump has signed the internet censorship FOSTA/SESTA bill into law, paving the way for more law
enforcement actions against websites that facilitate prostitution.
Websites started shutting down sex-work forums even before Trump signed the bill. Craigslist removed its Personals section, Reddit removed some sex-related subreddits, and the Erotic Review blocked any user who appears to be visiting the website
from the United States.
The bill becoming law will likely lead to more voluntary site shutdowns or law enforcement actions against sites that continue to be used for prostitution.
The SESTA and FOSTA acronyms (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) suggest that the new law is aimed at cracking down on sex trafficking. But the law barely distinguishes between trafficking and consensual sex
Operators of websites that let sex workers interact with clients could face 25 years in prison under the new law.
At Netflix, we offer a wide variety of series and films catering to an equally broad variety of tastes and
sensibilities. With that in mind, we are improving some long-standing Netflix features that provide members with the information and tools they need to make wise decisions about what's right for themselves and for their families. We're rolling out
these improvements across the many devices used by Netflix members, and across our global markets, in the coming months.
The first change involves introducing a PIN parental control for individual movies and series to give parents and guardians more specific control over what children can watch on the service. We understand that every family is different and that
parents have differing perspectives on what they feel is appropriate to watch at different ages. While we already provide PIN protection for all content at a particular maturity level for Netflix accounts, PIN protection for a specific series or
film provides families with an additional tool to make decisions they are comfortable with.
In addition, we will also begin displaying more prominently the maturity level rating for a series or film once a member hits play on a title. While these maturity ratings are available in other parts of the experience, we want to ensure members
are fully aware of the maturity level as they begin watching. We are also continuing to explore ways to make this information more descriptive and easier for our members to understand with just a quick glance.
One of the great benefits of internet TV is that it allows for amazing variety and provides viewers with complete control over their experience. At Netflix, we are proud to create and deliver to our members a large catalog of compelling stories
crossing many genres from all over the world, while also giving them great control over how and when to enjoy them. These latest steps are part of our continuous efforts to keep members better informed, and more in control, of what they and their
families choose to watch and enjoy on Netflix.
There is no shortage of hostility towards Facebook at the moment, as a result of recent revelations about their exploitation of user data
and dissemination of supposed 'fake news'.
And the Californian Government has taken this to a whole new level and come up with a tradition approach to demand that all online news in the state is censored by government approved 'fact checkers'.
California State Senator Richard Pan introduced the bill SB1424 Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan. that requires any online communication to be run through government-approved censors fact-checkers.
This bill would require any person who operates a social media Internet Web site with a physical presence in California to develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Web site. The bill would require the plan to include, among
other things, a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false
Although the bill initially suggests that this would apply only social media companies, the definitions confirm that it would apply to all internet communications from individuals, and companies large and small. The scope is defined in the bill:
As used in this section, social media means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or
accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.
The bill stands little chance of passing and, if it did, would face serious challenges in court as an infringement of The First Amendment, but it is astonishing that a legislator would even consider such a thing in America.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking to create a database that would monitor news outlets, journalists and
media influencers around the world, it has been reported.
DHS is looking to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, television, and radio, according to a request for information. It will also look at trade and industry publications, local, national and
international outlets, and social media, according to documents.
The plans also encompass media coverage being tracked in more than 100 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, with instant translation of articles into English.
The DHS Media Monitoring plan would allow for 24/7 access to media influencer database, including journalist, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc to identify any and all media coverage of a particular event.
US media has a bit of a downer on Donald Trump so they had great fun reporting Trump's less than diplomatic description of African states as 'shithole countries'.
Politico reporter John Hendel has revealed that US TV censors of the Federal Communications Commission have received complaints from at least 162 people about the uncensored, bleep-free coverage of Trump's colourful phrase by news organizations.
Many of the viewer complaints over the controversy implored the FCC to take action against one of Trump 's favorite targets: CNN, but unfortunately for them, CNN is a cable station and is not bound by FCC strong language rules.
However this doesn't stop the FCC reporting the complaints. In a complaint report the FCC cited complaints about specific CNN journalists, such as Don Lemon and Jim Acosta, and called the network fake news. One suggested most members of the media
hate Trump and his voters and said the use of such indecent language is 'responsible for the growing animosity that leads to riots and other crimes and is in fact tearing our country apart'.
Nasim Najafi Aghdam, the woman who allegedly opened fire at YouTube's headquarters in a suburb of San Francisco, injuring three before killing
herself, was apparently furious with the video website because it had stopped paying her for her clips.
No evidence had been found linking her to any individuals at the company where she allegedly opened fire on Tuesday.
Two of the three shooting victims from the incident were released from hospital on Tuesday night. A third, is currently in serious condition.
Aghdam's online profile shows she was a vegan activist who ran a website called NasimeSabz.com, meaning Green Breeze in Persian, where she posted about Persian culture and veganism, as well as long passages critical of YouTube .
Her father, Ismail Aghdam, told the Bay Area News Group from his San Diego home on Tuesday that she was angry with the Google-owned site because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, and that he had warned the police
that she might be going to the company's headquarters.
America has been working hard to make itself an unpleasant place to visit and has come up with a new idea to make it even worse. Apparently a significant decrease in international visitors to the USA has been termed the Trump Slump.
Of course some of the slump is considered a positive thing as Trump banned visitors from several terrorist prone nations. But the US also introduced a measure to investigate a wider set of not so desirable visitors, presumably muslims, from other
nations beyond the list of rogue states. The US now demands that 'selected' visa applicants are asked to hand over details of all their social media accounts and emails. Note that this measure was introduced under Obama rather than Trump.
Now, it seems that the Trump administration is intent on putting even more people off visiting the country. The government's latest bright idea is to ask basically everyone who wants to enter America for five years' worth of their social media
According to a state department proposal filed on Thursday, most visitors would be asked for their social media identifiers. It's expected to affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants.
Of course anyone who does want to still visit America, then perhaps you had better be a bit more careful about what you say online, and perhaps you had better tidy up your reputation too, lest the US visa vetters think you are better off
Rhode Island state Senator Frank Ciccone has pulled his bill that would have charged users $20 to unblock online porn, citing that
dubious origins of the people who suggested th ebill to him.
Ciccone said he made the decision to shelve SB 2584 , which would have required mandatory porn filters on personal computers and mobile devices, after Time.com and the Associated Press published stories on the main campaigner, Chris Sevier, who
has toted his ideas to several states.
Sevier had publicized that language in his template called the legislation the Elizabeth Smart Law after the girl who was kidnapped from her Utah home as a teenager in 2002. But Smart wanted nothing to do with Sevier idea, and she sent a
cease-and-desist letter to demand her name be removed from any promotion of the proposal.
Ciccone later found out about Smart's letter and learned another thing about Sevier: He had a history of outlandish lawsuits, including one trying to marry his computer as a statement against gay marriage. Besides filing similar lawsuits targeting
gay marriage in Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kentucky, Sevier was sentenced to probation after being found guilty four years ago of harassment threats against country singer John Rich.
US Congress passes an unscrutinised bill to allow foreign countries to snoop on US internet connections, presumably so that GCHQ can pass the data back to the US, so evading a US ban on US snooping on US citizens
On Thursday, the US House approved the omnibus government spending bill, with the unscrutinised CLOUD Act attached, in a 256-167
vote. The Senate followed up late that night with a 65-32 vote in favor. All the bill requires now is the president's signature.
U.S. and foreign police will have new mechanisms to seize data across the globe. Because of this failure, your private emails, your online chats, your Facebook, Google, Flickr photos, your Snapchat videos, your private lives online, your moments
shared digitally between only those you trust, will be open to foreign law enforcement without a warrant and with few restrictions on using and sharing your information. Because of this failure, U.S. laws will be bypassed on U.S. soil.
As we wrote before, the CLOUD Act is a far-reaching, privacy-upending piece of legislation that will:
Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people's communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant.Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge.Allow the U.S.
president to enter executive agreements that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws.Allow foreign police to collect someone's data
without notifying them about it.Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it's a U.S. person's or not, no matter where it is stored.
And, as we wrote before, this is how the CLOUD Act could work in practice:
London investigators want the private Slack messages of a Londoner they suspect of bank fraud. The London police could go directly to Slack, a U.S. company, to request and collect those messages. The London police would not necessarily need prior
judicial review for this request. The London police would not be required to notify U.S. law enforcement about this request. The London police would not need a probable cause warrant for this collection.
Predictably, in this request, the London police might also collect Slack messages written by U.S. persons communicating with the Londoner suspected of bank fraud. Those messages could be read, stored, and potentially shared, all without the U.S.
person knowing about it. Those messages, if shared with U.S. law enforcement, could be used to criminally charge the U.S. person in a U.S. court, even though a warrant was never issued.
This bill has large privacy implications both in the U.S. and abroad. It was never given the attention it deserved in Congress.