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Uncensored news...

Russia fines Google for not following local censorship orders


Link Here10th August 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia 2020s...Russia and its repressive state control of media
A Russian court has fined Google 1.5 million roubles ($20,350) for not blocking content ordered to be censored by the Russian government.

 

 

 

Offsite Article: US companies are as bad as Huawei...


Link Here10th August 2020
A U.S. government contractor embedded tracking software in the apps of millions of smartphone users

See article from androidcentral.com

 

 

These protocols must be effective then...

Chinese national firewall blocks https when used with TLS 1.3 and Encrypted SNI.


Link Here9th August 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in China 2020s...A new decade of Chinese internet censorship
The Chinese government has deployed an update to its national firewall, to block encrypted HTTPS connections that are being set up using the latest internet standards for encryption.

The ban has been in place since the end of July, according to a joint report published this week by three organizations tracking Chinese censorship -- iYouPort , the University of Maryland , and the Great Firewall Report.

In particular China is now blocking HTTPS+TLS1.3+ESNI.

TLS 1.3 is the latest encryption standard that can be used to implement https. Server Name Indication is used to specify which website is required when several websites are hosted using the same I address. By default it is unencrypted letting ISPs and snoopers know which website is being accessed even when using https. ESNI (Encrypted Server Name Indication) closes this loophole.

Other HTTPS traffic is still allowed through the Great Firewall, if it uses older versions of the same protocols -- such as TLS 1.1 or 1.2, or SNI (Server Name Indication). This rather suggests that these old encryption standards are now compromised.

Per the findings of the joint report, the Chinese government is currently dropping all HTTPS traffic where TLS 1.3 and ESNI are used, and temporarily banning the IP addresses involved in the connection, for small intervals of time that can vary between two and three minutes.

Note also that this news about Chinese censorship probably informs us about snooping capabilities in the UK. Presumably GCHQ and UK ISPs would be similarly blinded by HTTPS+TLS1.3+ESNI, whilst still being able to block and snoop on older standards.

 

 

Offsite Article: Prince Harry calls for more censorship...


Link Here8th August 2020
'Social media is dividing us. Together, we can redesign it'

See article from fastcompany.com

 

 

State lawyers bully Facebook...

20 US state attorney's call on Facebook to censor more


Link Here7th August 2020
Full story: Facebook Censorship since 2020...Left wing bias, prudery and multiple 'mistakes'
US Attorneys General from 20 different states have sent a letter urging Facebook to do a better job at censoring content. They wrote:

We, the undersigned State Attorneys General, write to request that you take additional steps to prevent Facebook from being used to spread disinformation and hate and to facilitate discrimination. We also ask that you take more steps to provide redress for users who fall victim to intimidation and harassment, including violence and digital abuse.

...

As part of our responsibilities to our communities, Attorneys General have helped residents navigate Facebook's processes for victims to address abuse on its platform. While Facebook has--on occasion--taken action to address violations of its terms of service in cases where we have helped elevate our constituents' concerns, we know that everyday users of Facebook can find the process slow, frustrating, and ineffective. Thus, we write to highlight positive steps that Facebook can take to strengthen its policies and practices.

The letter was written by the Attorneys General of New Jersey, Illinois, and District of Columbia, and addressed to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. It was cos-signed by 17 other democrat AGs from states such as New York, California, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

The letter proceeds to highlight seven steps they think Facebook should take to better police content to avoid online abuse. They recommended things such as aggressive enforcement of hate speech policies, third-party enforcement and auditing of hate speech, and real-time assistance for users to report harassment.

 

 

Hungary tires of social media interference in free speech...

Hungarian data censor proposes a law requiring that social media companies justify why they ban people


Link Here 5th August 2020
Hungary's Data Protection Chief has proposed new legislation which would enable social media platforms to ban people from their services only with a compelling reason, while also granting the right to Hungarian authorities to review the decisions.

The head of the Hungarian Data Protection Authority (NAIH), requested a regulation on social media at a meeting of the Digital Freedom Working Group, according to which community profiles can only be suspended for compelling reasons. Also, according to Attila Péterfalvi, Hungarian authorities should have the right to review these decisions.

The justice ministry's digital freedom committee aimed at improving the transparency of tech firms has penned a letter to the regional director of Facebook asking whether the company's supervisory board complied with the requirements of political neutrality and transparency in its procedures, Justice Minister Judit Varga said:

Péterfalvi said:

I made the suggestion of establishing a Hungarian authority procedure in which the Hungarian authorities would oblige Facebook to review unjustified suspensions so that freedom of expression would remain free indeed.

 

 

A presidential ticking off...

After TikTok was found seemingly grabbing people's passwords from the paste buffer, Trump threatens to ban the app


Link Here1st August 2020
President Donald Trump has said that he will ban the popular short-form video app TikTok from operating in the United States. Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order.

Earlier on Friday, it seemed that the President was set to sign an order to force ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the social media platform, to sell the US operations of TikTok to Microsoft. The move was aimed at resolving policymakers' concerns that the foreign-owned TikTok may be a national security risk.

The US government is conducting a national security review of TikTok and is preparing to make a policy recommendation to Trump.

 

 

Offsite Article: Instagone...


Link Here1st August 2020
Full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo sharing website gets heavy on the censorship
Big Tech's Morality Police Are Going After Adult Content

See article from vice.com

 

 

Setting free speech thieves to catch free speech thieves...

The Whitehouse asks the FCC to investigate whether the law allows social media to censor right leaning content


Link Here 30th July 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

The Department of Commerce, as directed by President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship, filed a petition to clarify the scope of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The petition requests that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) clarify that Section 230 does not permit social media companies that alter or editorialize users' speech to escape civil liability.

The petition also requests that the FCC clarify when an online platform curates content in good faith, and requests transparency requirements on their moderation practices, similar to requirements imposed on broadband service providers under Title I of the Communications Act. President Trump will continue to fight back against unfair, un-American, and politically biased censorship of Americans online.

 

 

Wrong think...

Labour demands the faster implementation of internet censorship


Link Here28th July 2020
Full story: Online Harms White Paper...UK Government seeks to censor social media
More censorship legislation is needed to protect people online after social media giants' failure to tackle hate speech on their websites, claims the Labour Party.

Jo Stevens, shadow secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, claimed the UK desperately needed legislation forcing platforms to act because self-regulation isn't working.

The Labour party is accusing the Government of delaying the introduction of an online harms bill to protect Internet users. It comes after politicians and campaigners condemned Twitter for being too slow to remove anti-Semitic tweets by rapper Wiley.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he has written to Instagram and Twitter to make it clear that they need to act immediately to remove social media posts that Labour does not like.

 

 

Offsite Article: You can't defeat racism with censorship...


Link Here28th July 2020
Calls for social-media censorship in the wake of Wiley's anti-Semitic rant are dangerous and wrong. By Fraser Myers

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Australian data censor calls out Google...

Google found to be exploiting user's personal data without consent


Link Here27th July 2020
Full story: Gooogle Privacy...Google's many run-ins with privacy
Australia's competition regulator has launched court proceedings against Alphabet's Google for allegedly misleading consumers about the expanded use of personal data for targeted advertising.

The case by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in Federal Court said Google did not explicitly get consent nor properly inform consumers about a 2016 move to combine personal information in Google accounts with activities on non-Google websites that use its technology.

The regulator said this practice allowed the Alphabet Inc unit to link the names and other ways to identify consumers with their behaviour elsewhere on the internet .

 

 

Offsite Article: Tumblr, a year on from banning porn...


Link Here26th July 2020
Full story: Tumblr Censorship...Tumblr announces that it will ban all porn
Activity abput half what is was but the remainers seem happy with the change

See article from adotas.com

 

 

Proving the QAnon conspiracy...

Twitter proves that there is a liberal elite silencing the right


Link Here24th July 2020
Twitter's threat to shadowban accounts and hashtags linked to the pro-Trump QAnon movement has merely validated followers' fears that they are being controlled by a liberal elite.

The US conspiracy theory (really an ecosystem of interlinked conspiracy theories) is centered around the cryptic disclosures of a supposedly high-ranking government employee going by the moniker Q.

The supporters believe that the eponymous Q is posting coded messages online to inform Trump's supporters about a secret war against the right, and preparing them for an imminent event in which the president overthrows the evil cabal and imprisons its members.

Generally they believe that Donald Trump is fighting against a secretive and evil global cabal, members of which include former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros, who both have been hate figures for the American political right for many years.

Twitter's thread vowing to take further action on QAnon activity across the service induced a collective persecution-complex orgasm across the Q community, who mostly interpreted the deplatforming threat as an admission that QAnon was every bit the threat to the ruling power structure they've always believed they were.

The company warned some 150,000 accounts will be affected by the new rule, implying that sharing QAnon content is behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm. Tellingly, they didn't cite any specific incidents, and mainstream media that have reported on the ban don't seem to care what harm has in fact resulted from the fevered speculation over cryptic Q breadcrumbs.

 

 

In the name of 'fake news'...

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee calls for an accelerated appointment of Ofcom as the UK internet censor


Link Here21st July 2020
A parliamentary committee looking into supposed 'fake news' is calling for more internet censorship. It writes:

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee calls for Government to appoint new Online Harms Regulator now.

Online misinformation about Covid-19 was allowed to spread virulently across social media without the protections offered by legislation, promised by the Government 15 months ago.

The Misinformation in the COVID-19 Infodemic Report details evidence on a range of harms from dangerous hoax treatments to conspiracy theories that led to attacks on 5G engineers.

The Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019, proposed a duty of care on tech companies and an independent Online Harms Regulator, both key recommendations from the predecessor DCMS Committee.

MPs voice new concerns that the delayed legislation will not address the harms caused by misinformation and disinformation 203 a serious omission that would ignore the lessons of the Covid crisis.

The Report finds that tech companies use business models that disincentivise action against misinformation while affording opportunities to bad actors to monetise misleading content. As a result the public is reliant on the good will of tech companies or the bad press they attract to compel them to act.

The DCMS Committee calls for the Government to make a final decision on the appointment of the regulator now.

The report summary reads:

In February, the World Health Organisation warned that, alongside the outbreak of COVID-19, the world faced an infodemic, an unprecedented overabundance of information204both accurate and false204that prevented people from accessing authoritative, reliable guidance about the virus. The infodemic has allowed for harmful misinformation, disinformation, scams and cybercrime to spread. False narratives have resulted in people harming themselves by resorting to dangerous hoax cures or forgoing medical treatment altogether. There have been attacks on frontline workers and critical national infrastructure as a result of alarmist conspiracy theories.

The UK Government is currently developing proposals for online harms legislation that would impose a duty of care on tech companies. Whilst not a silver bullet in addressing harmful content, this legislation is expected to give a new online harms regulator the power to investigate and sanction tech companies. Even so, legislation has been delayed. As yet, the Government has not produced the final response to its consultation (which closed over a year ago), voluntary interim codes of practice, or a media literacy strategy. Moreover, there are concerns that the proposed legislation will not address the harms caused by misinformation and disinformation and will not contain necessary sanctions for tech companies who fail in their duty of care

We have conducted an inquiry into the impact of misinformation about COVID-19, and the efforts of tech companies and relevant public sector bodies to tackle it. This has presented an opportunity to scrutinise how online harms proposals might work in practice. Whilst tech companies have introduced new ways of tackling misinformation through the introduction of warning labels and tools to correct the record, these innovations have been applied inconsistently, particularly in the case of high-profile accounts. Platform policies have been also been too slow to adapt, while automated content moderation at the expense of human review and user reporting has had limited effectiveness. The business models of tech companies themselves disincentivise action against misinformation while affording opportunities to bad actors to monetise misleading content. At least until well-drafted, robust legislation is brought forward, the public is reliant on the goodwill of tech companies, or the bad press they attract, to compel them to act.

During the crisis the public have turned to public service broadcasting as the main and most trusted source of information. Beyond broadcasting, public service broadcasters (PSBs) have contributed through fact-checking and media literacy initiatives and through engagement with tech companies. The Government has also acted against misinformation by reforming its Counter Disinformation Unit to co-ordinate its response and tasked its Rapid Response Unit with refuting seventy pieces of misinformation a week. We have raised concerns, however, that the Government has been duplicating the efforts of other organisations in this field and could have taken a more active role in resourcing an offline, digital literacy-focused response. Finally, we have considered the work of Ofcom, as the Government's current preferred candidate for online harms regulator, as part of our discussion of online harms proposals. We call on the Government to make a final decision now on the online harms regulator to begin laying the groundwork for legislation to come into effect.

 

 

Updated: Ask 101...

Turkey asks Netflix to censor gay character from teem drama


Link Here20th July 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's Radio and Television Supreme Council, or RTÜK, recently confirmed that they had requested Netflix remove a gay character from the Turkish teen drama Ask 101 (Love 101) -- and that Netflix had complied.

Main character Osman, played by Selahattin Pasali, had been originally conceived of as gay, but it appears that any scenes which actually say so have now been cut.

An anonymous RTÜK official said the problem about that character has been removed.

Update: Gay culture cancelled

20th July 2020. See article from reclaimthenet.org

On July 18, reports from Turkish media indicated that Netflix was canceling the popular drama Ask 101 (Love 101). RTUK, the country's broadcasting regulator, demanded that the streaming platform should censor the character in the series.

The director of the series, Ece Yörenç, told Fasikül, a Turkish entertainment website, that it was "very scary" that the production of series can be halted because of a gay character. The director argued that RTUK was unreasonable because no gay intimacy even takes place in the show.

Netflix is yet to release an official statement regarding Love 101 or whether they will continue their service in Turkey despite the increasingly strict censorship laws.

 

 

Offsite Article: Logging concerns...


Link Here20th July 2020
7 supposedly 'no logging' VPNs from Hong Kong accused of a massive privacy breach

See article from techtimes.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Former Chinese web censor exposes how TikTok staff in China censor American users...


Link Here19th July 2020
'These people living in fear of the Chinese Communist Party were there to censor American people's speech'

See article from reclaimthenet.org

 

 

Problem gamblers seek to recover their losses...

Age Verification companies win a judicial review of the government's decision to shelve its flawed porn censorship scheme


Link Here 17th July 2020
A coalition of age verification companies have won the first round of their legal action against the Government in a bid to force ministers to introduce a shelved internet porn censorship scheme that would provide the companies with an income.The companies launched an appeal last year, saying they developed software that was never used.

A judge ruled that age verification companies, backed by children's charities, have an arguable case that the Culture Secretary exceeded her powers by deciding not to implement the ban, which had been voted for by Parliament .

The ruling means the claimants can now take the case to a judicial review, which could overturn the Government's decision.

Plans to introduce an age verification scheme were shelved in October last year, perhaps because the law did not provide any provision for keep very dangerous ID and porn browsing data private and safe. At the time, ministers said the age verification scheme as defined in the Digital Economy Act 2017 would be superceded by forthcoming Duty of Care legislation.

In court, the Government argued that ministers had not exceeded their powers and that circumstances had radically altered since the porn ban legislation was originally passed.

 

 

Updated: Duffy Recommends...

365 Days, an erotic thriller on Netflix


Link Here16th July 2020
365 Days (365 DNI) is a 2020 Poland drama by Barbara Bialowas.
Starring Michele Morrone, Anna Maria Sieklucka and Bronislaw Wroclawski. BBFC link IMDb

Massimo Torricelli, a young and handsome boss of a Sicilian Mafia family, has no other option but to takeover after his father has been assassinated. Laura Biel is a sales director in a luxurious hotel. She has a successful career, but her private life lacks passion. She is taking one last shot to save her relationship. Together with her partner and friends, she takes a trip to Sicily. Laura does not expect that Massimo, the most dangerous man on the island, will get in her way, kidnap her, hold her captive and give her 365 days... to fall in love with him. "365 dni" is the first Polish erotic film. It is based on the best-selling novel of the same name from author Blanka Lipinksa.

A British singer named Duffy is asking Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to remove the sexy film 365 Days claiming that it glorifies rape and sex trafficking.

365 Days is an erotic thriller from Poland that has been likened to Fifty Shades of Grey . It is quite sexy for Netflix and has become the services's biggest movie of the summer. The film is is about a mobster who kidnaps a woman he's been stalking, holding her captive for an entire year so that she'll fall in love with him. Naturally, she eventually does fall for her hunky captor and has a lot of sex with him, in various positions filmed from many angles.

The films detractors have organised a petition against the film which has been signed by about 54,000 people.

Now Duffy has weighed in against the film citing her own experience with being drugged in a restaurant and being abducted. She found the premise of 365 Days was just a little too familiar to the singer, so she wrote an open letter calling Netflix irresponsible for airing the film.

Update: Noted by the New Zealand film censor

7th July 2020. See article from rnz.co.nz

 When it was first launched in New Zealand, 365 Days carried a rating of R16, but that was bumped up after Chief Censor David Shanks got involved. Shanks said:
We felt that age rating was inadequate, we thought that this was more at the 18-plus level. We also wrote to Netflix and advised that they should warn for sexual violence as well as potentially highly impactful content in this film that viewers should be warned about.
Shanks said it was frustrating that the legislation his office operated under was from 1993, and therefore did not cover streaming services. But there was a bill before parliament which if passed, would change that and allow for Netflix to rate films more in line with New Zealand standards.

 

Update: A petition to ban 365 Days

16th July 2020. See article from standard.co.uk

A petition to ban the Polish Netflix film has gained about 70,000 signatures.

The Change.org petition's author, fitness influencer Mikayla Zazon, wrote:

Netflix clearly stands on the side of the abusers by having a movie that glorifies, romanticizes, and condones sexual assault trending on their top 10 recommended movies to watch around the globe.

As a social media public figure and a victim of these crimes, I am outraged and heartbroken that this movie shows up on teens' 'watch next' recommendation.

By taking down this movie on Netflix, we can protect sexual violence in adolescent women and adult women. And we can prevent boys from seeing such horrific behaviour as permission to sexual assault and rape women.

 

 

A new position...

Google set to implement automatic delete of location and YouTube viewing logs for new users


Link Here13th July 2020

Google is changing its default settings to automatically delete some of the data it collects about users.

Web and app activity, including a log of website searches and pages visited, as well as location data, will now be wiped after 18 months.

YouTube histories - including which clips were watched and for how long - will be erased after 36 months.

The changes apply to new accounts only but existing users will soon be shown new prompts to adjust their settings.

 

 

Age old censorship...

France passes intern porn censorship laws similar to those that failed in the UK


Link Here10th July 2020
The French parliament has agreed a new law requiring age verification on pornographic websites to prevent access by children under 18. The censorship law has the support of President Emmanuel Macron, who called for such a measure in January.

The French law gives sites discretion to decide how to perform that age verification.

The law gives French regulators the power to create a blacklist for overseas sites that don't comply with the new rules. If a site doesn't respond to a warning from French officials, they can ask the Paris Court of Justice to send an order to telecom operators to block the access to these sites from France.

A major sticking point in the UK's failed age verification law was privacy. Critics pointed out that it wasn't a great idea to force adult consumers to turn over their credit card numbers to porn sites that might not have the strongest privacy protections. It's not clear what privacy protections will be offered to consumers under the French law.

In order to enforce the law, the French audiovisual regulator CSA will be granted new powers to audit and sanction companies that do not comply -- sanctions could go as far as blocking access to the websites in France with a court order.

The Senate has already voted on the bill. Following an agreement between senators and lawmakers from the lower house National Assembly, a final vote will be held again in the Senate where the bill is expected to pass.

 

 

Instagram to block LGBT conversion therapy...

But doesn't the transgender journey convert a gay person into a straight person?


Link Here 10th July 2020
Full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo sharing website gets heavy on the censorship
Instagram will block the promotion of conversion therapy, which tries to change a person's sexuality or gender identity.

Campaigners are urging the government to act now on a two-year-old promise to make the practice illegal. This year, 200,000 people have signed an online petition calling for action.

In 2018, the government announced that gay conversion therapies were to be banned as part of a government plan to improve the lives of gay and transgender people, but activists note that such a ban has not been initiated. The government has since said it will consider all options for ending the practice.

Speaking exclusively to the BBC, Tara Hopkins, EMEA public policy director, Instagram, said the company is changing the way it handles conversion therapy content:

We don't allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services. We are always reviewing our policies and will continue to consult with experts and people with personal experiences to inform our approach.

Earlier this year, Instagram banned the promotion of conversion therapy in ads. From Friday, any content linked to it will now be banned across the platform.

 

 

Facebook cleansing...

The German government calls on the EU to call for Facebook to censor its users more aggressively


Link Here9th July 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
The German Government seems to have been inspired by a fair number of companies that find that the day to day posts of their users do not conform to the cleansed dreamworld Utopia that they would like to see as the backlot to their advertising. The advertisers are boycotting Facebook so as to try and force the social media companies to censor their users to make them fit for advertising.

Well it seems that this corporate censorship ideal is chiming with the authoritarians in the German government. reclaimthenet.org is reporting that the German Government is meeting to discuss ideas to require Facebook to apply even more automatic censorship to what their users are allowed to post:

The German government has indicated again that it wants to increase the regulation of Facebook content, and say that the tactics applied by the social network are not enough to prevent the spread of so-called hate speech.

Possible actions by the German government are being decided upon as a response to a campaign against Facebook originated by activist movements in the United States.

These movements, united under names such as Stop Hate for Profit, say that the social network has not contributed much in the fight against hate speech, so they urge the platform's advertisers to not advertise during the whole month of July to put pressure on Facebook until it changes its moderation policies.

This week, Berlin called for more action at a meeting on Monday of the bloc's justice ministers. German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said:

We cannot accept the public debate being distorted and poisoned. Voluntary commitments and self-responsibility are not enough.

Since 2018 there is a law in Germany that requires that content that has been reported as inappropriate be blocked or removed from social networks within 24 hours. This law encouraged social networks to dedicate themselves much more to regulating content.

For the German government and activist groups, it's still not enough. And, at this point, it's starting to look like nothing ever will be.

 

 

More censorship...

ITV, Channel 4 and Sky bosses call for more censorship of news and advertsing on social media platforms


Link Here8th July 2020
Journalism is taking a massive revenue hit in the face of nominally free news circulated via social media. And traditional mainstream broadcasters are a little aggrieved that they are held to higher standards, and a more expensive, regulatory envirnoment, compared to their internet competitors.

Now three of Britain's largest broadcasters are calling on ministers to introduce new laws to even up the playing fields by requiring more regulation and censorship for social media news dsitribution. Of course the broadcasters site that old chestnut of supposed  'fake news' to justify the increased regulation.

In a joint letter published on The Times website, the heads of ITV, Channel 4 and Sky say that statutory regulation of online advertising is necessary, and urgent, given the scale of harm supposedly currently being caused to consumers.

Dame Carolyn McCall of ITV, Stephen van Rooyen, Sky's chief executive for the UK & Europe and Alex Mahon at Channel 4, home of the appalingly biased progressive propaganda bulletin called Channel 4 News, say that laws should be enacted urgently to hold online platforms and online advertisers to the same high standards as television channels. The broadcasters called for these new laws to be backed up with large fines that meaningfully incentivize major online platforms to comply with the rules.

The group were perhaps on firmer ground in noting that the internet companies had effectively stitched up the online advertising market. But again the broadcasters tried to justify calls to challenge the is advertsing status quo by citing misinformation as if the silly stories about 5G and coronavirus were bringing civilsation to its knees. The trio suggested that Facebook and Google's dominance in the digital advertising market is the cause of the "epidemic of disinformation" and wrote that "statutory regulation of online advertising is necessary, and urgent, given the scale of harm currently being caused to consumers."

They also argued that Google and Facebook should "bear the responsibility for the advertising they carry and liability for harmful or misleading ads" as broadcasters and claimed that their advertising models "reward and amplify many of the very types of content that the government wants to see tackled."

 

 

Updated: Ticking privacy bomb...

TikTok comes under scrutiny in Australia over revalations that the app snoops on users sending passwords and users' private data back to China


Link Here7th July 2020
Chinese video app TikTok has been accused of being a data-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in news reports quoting an unnamed federal parliament member.
 A mysterious whistle-blower said the government is facing pressure to ban the app, as was recently done in India. TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

Members of the armed forces in Australia and the US have been told not to use the app on any Defence-issued device.

There's a possibility TikTok representatives could be called before an ongoing Senate Inquiry into Foreign Interference on social media.

Update: America too

7th July 2020. See article from aljazeera.com

The United States is considering banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, over allegations Beijing is using them to spy on users. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said:

I don't want to get out in front of the President, but it's something we're looking at.

US politicians have raised concerns over t he handling of user data by TikTok saying they were worried about China's laws requiring domestic companies to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

In an apparent attempt to distance itself from China, Tik Tok said it would pull its popular video sharing platform from app stores in Hong Kong. It came as a growing number of tech companies suspended compliance with data requests from the Hong Kong government, citing concerns over a new national security law imposed by Beijing on the financial hub.

 

 

Hong Kong hand over...

US social media companies respond to China taking control of Hong Kong by ending the hand over of data to the Hong Kong government, lest this is now a proxy for the Chinese government


Link Here6th July 2020
Major internet and social media platforms said Monday they will stop processing requests for user data made by Hong Kong law enforcement authorities while they carry out an assessment of a controversial security law imposed by China on the city.

Facebook and its messaging service WhatsApp said in statements that they would pause the review of information requests from the Hong Kong government pending further assessment of the impact of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts. Facebook said the company believes freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions.

A Google spokesperson told CNN Business that when the law took effect, they paused production on any new data requests from Hong Kong authorities, and we'll continue to review the details of the new law.

Facebook and WhatsApp said they only comply with information requests from law enforcement authorities in accordance with their terms of service and only when the requests are in line with international human rights standards.

 

 

Campaigners get their Rocks Off...

Amazon Prime censors 4 episodes of 30 Rock over blackface


Link Here5th July 2020
Four episodes of 30 Rock in which characters appear in blackface are to be taken down, at the request of creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.

Fey wrote that the episodes are best taken out of circulation and apologised for pain they have caused. The episodes will be removed from streaming services Amazon Prime and Hulu, as well as purchase platforms, including iTunes and Google Play. No re-runs will be shown on TV either.

They include a live episode with guest star Jon Hamm in series six. He appeared in a wig and blackface, part of a spoof of an old US radio and TV show titled Amos n Andy.

Two episodes of the hit US series featured Jane Krakowski's character Jenna - one from series three, Believe in the Stars, and the other from series five, called Christmas Attack Zone. The Believe in the Stars episode (2008) involved Jenna and Tracy Jordan (played by Tracy Morgan) deciding to swap identities in order to determine whether black men or white women faced more challenges in society.

The fourth and final episode being pulled by the studio is the East Coast version of season five's Live Show - the first live episode of 30 Rock.

 

 

Offsite Article: Online censorship, censoring our sex...


Link Here4th July 2020
A review of US and UK laws setting out to censor sex oon the internet. By Kate Lister

See article from frolicme.com

 

 

Amended but still censorship...

The New EARN IT Bill Still Threatens Encryption and Free Speech


Link Here3rd July 2020

The day before a committee debate and vote on the EARN IT Act, the bill's sponsors replaced their bill with an amended version . Here's their new idea: instead of giving a 19-person federal commission, dominated by law enforcement, the power to regulate the Internet, the bill now effectively gives that power to state legislatures

And instead of requiring that Internet websites and platforms comply with the commission's best practices in order to keep their vital legal protections under Section 230 for hosting user content, it simply blows a hole in those protections. State lawmakers will be able to create new laws allowing private lawsuits and criminal prosecutions against Internet platforms, as long as they say their purpose is to stop crimes against children.

The whole idea behind Section 230 is to make sure that you are responsible for your own speech online--not someone else's. Currently, if a state prosecutor wants to bring a criminal case related to something said or done online, or a private lawyer wants to sue, in nearly all cases, the prosecutor has to seek out the actual speaker. They can't just haul a website owner into court because of the user's actions. But that will change if EARN IT passes. That's why we sent a letter [PDF] yesterday to the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the amended EARN IT bill.

Section 230 protections enabled the Internet as we know it. Despite the politicized attacks on Section 230 from both left and right, the law actually works fine . It's not a shield for Big Tech--it's a shield for everyone who hosts online conversations. It protects small messaging and email services, and every blog's comments section.

Once websites lose Section 230 protections, they'll take drastic measures to mitigate their exposure. That will limit free speech across the Internet. They'll shut down forums and comment sections, and cave to bogus claims that particular users are violating the rules, without doing a proper investigation. We've seen false accusations succeed in silencing users time and again in the copyright space, and even used to harass innocent users. If EARN IT passes, the range of possibilities for false accusations and censorship will expand.

EARN IT Still Threatens Encryption

When we say the original EARN IT was a threat to encryption, we're not guessing. We know that a commission controlled by Attorney General William Barr will try to ban encryption, because Barr has said many times that he thinks encrypted services should be compelled to create backdoors for police. The Manager's Amendment, approved by the Committee today, doesn't eliminate this problem. It just empowers over 50 jurisdictions to follow Barr's lead in banning encryption.

An amendment by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), also voted into the bill, purports to protect encryption from being the states' focus. It's certainly an improvement, but we're still concerned that the amended bill could be used to attack encryption. Sen. Leahy's amendment prohibits holding companies liable because they use end-to-end encryption, device encryption, or other encryption services. But the bill still encourages state lawmakers to look for loopholes to undermine end-to-end encryption , such as demanding that messages be scanned on a local device, before they get encrypted and sent along to their recipient. We think that would violate the spirit of Senator Leahy's amendment, but the bill opens the door for that question to be litigated over and over, in courts across the country.

And again, this isn't a theoretical problem. The idea of using client-side scanning to allow certain messages to be selected and sent to the government, circumventing the protections of end-to-end encryption, is one we've heard a lot of talk about in the past year. Despite the testimonials of certain experts who have sided with law enforcement, the fact is, client-side scanning breaks the protections of encryption. The EARN IT Act doesn't stop client-side scanning, which is the most likely strategy for state lawmakers who want to use this bill to expand police powers in order to read our messages.

And it will only take one state to inspire a wave of prosecutions and lawsuits against online platforms. And just as some federal law enforcement agencies have declared they're opposed to encryption, so have some state and local police.

The previous version of the bill suggested that if online platforms want to keep their Section 230 immunity, they would need to earn it, by following the dictates of an unelected government commission. But the new text doesn't even give them a chance. The bill's sponsors simply dropped the earn from EARN IT. Website owners--especially those that enable encryption--just can't earn their immunity from liability for user content under the new bill. They'll just have to defend themselves in court, as soon as a single state prosecutor, or even just a lawyer in private practice, decides that offering end-to-end encryption was a sign of indifference towards crimes against children.

Offering users real privacy, in the form of end-to-end encrypted messaging, and robust platforms for free speech shouldn't produce lawsuits and prosecutions. The new EARN IT bill will do just that, and should be opposed.

 

 

Censoredit...

Reddit bans 2000 of its sub-forums for 'wrong think'


Link Here2nd July 2020

On Monday, online discussion platform Reddit permanently took down its largest community of Donald Trump supporters, r/The_Donald.

The community had more than 7,000 active users per day (although this has previously been much higher). The ban was on the grounds that some posts incited violence, and the community had engaged in harassment on other subreddits. It will have removed hundreds of thousands of posts, and millions of comments going back many years.

The r/The_Donald subreddit is a themed, online message board where users can submit, comment and vote on posts. The decision to ban it comes as several other platforms censure racist and violent material from Trump and his supporters.

According to the New York Times, Reddit also banned another 2,000 communities across the political spectrum alongside the pro-Trump community, including left-leaning groups.

Started in 2015, r/The_Donald was the largest and most controversial subreddit dedicated to supporting Trump. Before the ban, it had more than 790,000 subscribers and was at times one of the most popular subreddits on the platform.

In June last year, Reddit quarantined the subreddit over posts inciting violence. Several months later it purged most of the community's volunteer moderators, arguing they weren't upholding the platform's policies, particularly through allowing banned content to stay up.

These shifts mirror changes in Reddit's overall governance approach. Historically, the platform has sold itself as a democratic space for free speech, with administrators resisting censorship in favour of a hands-off philosophy. However, like other platforms, Reddit now faces pressure from advertisers that don't want their brands associated with political extremism. Advertising is a growing part of Reddit's economic model. And with major partners such as L'Oreal and Audi, advertisers' preferences undoubtedly hold sway in how the website is regulated.

... Read the full article from theconversation.com


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