[FACT comments: Nobody likes hate speech but speech is very much in the mind of the listener’s interpretation. Nobody needs to listen.]

Hate Crime Legislation – Back Door to Censorship

James Simpson

American Thinker: May 13, 2009

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/hate_crime_legislation_back_do.html

An extension of the Hate Crimes law recently passed the House of Representatives which will essentially codify into national law the “speech codes” that are smothering academic freedom on college campuses today. This law is the back door method Obama and his fellow socialists will use to stifle free speech in this country, as explained in an informative article by Jerry Kane at American Daughter.

To heck with the “Fairness Doctrine.” Who needs to limit censorship to the airwaves? This legislation will silence anyone who disagrees with them.

Hate crimes legislation has its roots in the communist-inspired, so-called Frankfurt School founded in Frankfurt, Germany by Bolsheviks in the 1920s. Its goal was to implement communism in the West quietly by gradually subverting popular culture — a movement known as Cultural Marxism. One of its leading lights, Herbert Marcuse, opined that the prevailing Western social order is repressive by definition and discriminates against minorities simply by existing.

This creates a phenomenon he called “repressive tolerance” because even though other views are allowed within Western culture — you know, by that insignificant little old thing called the First Amendment — the Capitalist view is still permitted. It goes without saying that Marcuse considered that to be unacceptable.

Instead, he proposed what he called “partisan tolerance,” i.e. tolerating the views of those “repressed minorities” only — who Marcuse assumes share his partisan hatred for everything noncommunist — while actively muzzling the views of the majority.

So now we have a word for Democrats’ eye-popping hypocrisy when they wrap themselves in the mantle of free speech while simultaneously attempting to suppress non-Leftist ideas. We have a word for the Left’s double standard in championing “repressed minorities” only when those minorities share their politics, while savaging principled, accomplished minorities like Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell or Janice Rogers Brown. We have an explanation for why so many college campuses, supposedly the society’s heart of open-minded intellectual inquiry, actively, even violently intimidate conservative speakers — when they let them onto campus at all.

They have been practicing “partisan tolerance.” That is, tolerance of the extreme Left and virulent intolerance of anything else.

Marcuse, among other Frankfurt School advocates, was brought to the U.S. in the 1930s by Edward R. Murrow who at the time headed a program to resettle intellectuals facing Nazi repression. According to Wikipedia, Marcuse worked at the OSS, the State Department and taught at Columbia, Harvard and Brandeis. Now doesn’t that tell you something? He has been called the “Father of the New Left” and inspired many of the 1960s’ young radicals, who now have tenured teaching positions at colleges throughout the U.S. It is easy to see his Frankfurt School influence in university speech codes – indeed it is largely the reason they exist.

In fact the New School, currently run by former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, counts the Frankfurt School as one of its main influences. Barack Obama has an indirect connection to the school, in that his father was offered a scholarship there. According to Wikipedia:

In the early 1960s, the New School offered the father of the US President, Barack Obama, a generous scholarship package that would have paid for his immediate family (including wife Ann Dunham and son, the future President; then residents of Hawaii) to join him in New York City, where he would complete his PhD. He declined and instead abandoned his family and departed for Harvard University, where he had a less-generous scholarship with no family allowance.

The Frankfurt School was dedicated to the destruction of the West. One of its founders, Willi Munzenberg, stated explicitly that its goal was to:

…organise the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilisation stink [sic]. Only then, after they have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, can we impose the dictatorship of the proletariat.

According to an article by Timothy Matthews in Catholic Insight, key strategies to achieve this goal were:

1.  The creation of racism offences.

2.  Continual change to create confusion.

3.  The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children.

4.  The undermining of schools’ and teachers’ authority.

5.  Huge immigration to destroy identity.

6.  The promotion of excessive drinking.

7.  Emptying of churches.

8.  An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime.

9.  Dependency on the state or state benefits.

10. Control and dumbing down of media.

11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family.

Munzenberg stated flatly, “We will make the West so corrupt it stinks.”

Today, his mission appears to have been largely accomplished. Assisted by American public education advocates, Frankfurt School proponents aggressively worked their way into our public education system to the point that today their priorities virtually define it. Their influence explains most of today’s sick popular culture.

So this is the last piece in the Manufactured Crisis puzzle. It seems apparent that “Hate Crimes” legislation is the vehicle by which free speech will be permanently silenced in America. And after that, the thugs will be firmly in charge.

You need look no further for proof that Marcuse’s “cultural Marxists” are in charge in Washington now. Since it is their intention to destroy this country, intellectual appeals to them will fall on deaf ears. The only recourse is to lobby Senate Republicans and those few remaining Democrats with a shred of integrity, if indeed there are any.

We are witnessing the death of our country.

Facebook Shouldn’t Have to Censor Holocaust Denial

Lon Harris

Crushed By Inertia: May 10, 2009

http://crushedbyinertia.blogspot.com/2009/05/facebook-shouldn-have-to-censor.html

Facebook’s failure to ban groups that promote Holocaust Denial has created something of a stir on tech blogs this week.  Brian Cuban makes a passionate argument against Facebook’s policy here, and Michael Arrington takes up the discussion here.

These guys thoughtfully argue that Facebook has set a dangerous double standard.  The company censored a group dedicated to breastfeeding, but refuses to censor a group that actively promotes antisemitism.  They are correct.  This IS a ludicrous double standard.  There is nothing wrong with breastfeeding – it’s an entirely natural activity that women should be allowed to openly discuss in any public forum – but there are many things wrong with Holocaust Denial.  The main one being, that it’s totally wrong, and the Holocaust happened, and it needs to be discussed and remembered.

But I think Arrington, Cuban and others are approaching this argument from the wrong perspective.  In essence, this double standard exists because Facebook SHOULD NOT have censored discussion of breastfeeding, not because it SHOULD censor discussion of Holocaust Denial.  BOTH discussions should be allowed to take place on the site, to my mind.

In my opinion, Facebook shouldn’t censor speech unless it’s absolutely vital.  The discussion should only even come up in extreme cases…Essentially, anything that could cause direct, immediate harm to another individual or group of individuals. Instructions on how to make a weapon or commit a violent crime, requests or orders for group members to go out and commit crimes, private information such as Social Security numbers that must not be made public…That kind of speech would understandably be removed from Facebook.

But, like it or not, a massively-popular website dedicated to free and open discussions will, eventually, attract some odious and repellent contributions.  There are a lot of sick people out there who use the Internet say horrible, untrue, offensive things.

The best antidote to something like Holocaust Denial is not censorship…Quite the opposite.  There is no evidence supporting Holocaust Denial.  Anyone armed with THE TRUTH should be able to outsmart its proponents.  Shine a light on these sorts of pernicious lies rather than trying to hide them.  The cover-up only grants them unearned legitimacy.  Intelligent people who feel strongly about pushing back against hateful lies like Holocaust Denial should confront their real enemies – Holocaust Deniers – publicly, pointing out their factual, logical and moral errors for all to see.  Why cover up something that can be so easily refuted?

Facebook has now painted itself into a corner by censoring the breastfeeding stuff.  Now, they have no choice but to go around censoring any material that a considerable majority of the site’s users might find objectionable or offensive.  This is not an enviable position.  Far better to be very very permissive about what can be discussed on Facebook, limiting censorship ONLY to those discussions which present a direct and immediate threat to the safety and well-being of individuals or groups.  (Holocaust Denial, while offensive to Jews, does not put us in any kind of immediate danger.  People have hated Jews for millennia and we’re still here.)

Facebook’s E-mail Censorship is Legally Dubious, Experts Say

Ryan Singel

Wired: May 6, 2009

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/05/facebooks-e-mail-censorship-is-legally-dubious-experts-say/

When The Pirate Bay released new Facebook features last month, the popular social networking site took evasive action, blocking its members from distributing file-sharing links through its service.

Now legal experts say Facebook may have gone too far, blocking not only links to torrents published publicly on member profile pages, but also examining private messages that might contain them, and blocking those as well.

“This raises serious questions about whether Facebook is in compliance with federal wiretapping law,” said Kevin Bankston, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, responding to questions from a reporter about the little-noticed policy that was first reported by TorrentFreak.

Facebook private messages are governed by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which forbids communications providers from intercepting user messages, barring limited exceptions for security and valid legal orders.

While the sniffing of e-mails is not unknown — it’s how Google serves up targeted ads in Gmail and how Yahoo filters out viruses, for example — the notion that a legitimate e-mail would be not be delivered based on its content is extraordinary.

Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly acknowledged that the site censors user messages based on links. But he insisted that Facebook has the legal right to do so, because it tells users they cannot “disseminate spammy, illegal, threatening or harassing content.”

“Just as many e-mail services do scanning to divert or block spam, prevent fraudulent, unlawful or abusive use of the service — or in the case of some services, to deliver targeted advertising — Facebook has automated systems that have the capability to block links,” Kelly said in an e-mail. “ECPA expressly allows Facebook to operate these systems.”

“The same automated system that blocks these links may also be deployed where there is a demonstrated disregard for intellectual property rights,” he added.

Facebook declined to answer questions about whether it similarly searched private messages for references to illegal drugs, underage drinking or shoplifting.

EFF lawyers suggested that the legality of Facebook’s censorship turns on Facebook’s Terms of Service, how and when the blocking takes place, and whether the messaging system affects interstate commerce (thus giving the federal government jurisdiction).

It’s not clear, however, how links to torrents are spammy, harassing or illegal. Torrents themselves are not copyright-infringing, nor would Facebook be liable for their users’ communications under federal law even if the files were infringing.

Wired.com confirmed Facebook is blocking private messages by sending a link to a Pirate Bay torrent feed of a book in the public domain. Such content is freely available to everyone, as all copyrights have expired. Nevertheless, the message bounced twice, returning the following failure notice: “This Message Contains Blocked Content. Some content in this message has been reported as abusive by Facebook users.” (Facebook’s link-censoring system is may be just tilting at windmills, however, because removing a single vowel from the domain name lets the URL go through.)

In the case of Wired.com’s test, there were only two Facebook users who should have been aware of the content — Wired.com editor John C. Abell and his message’s intended recipient, who was sitting five feet from him — and neither had the slightest objection to it whatsoever.

The EFF’s Bankston suggests that the real answer to the legal confusion over what providers can and cannot do with users’ online communications needs to come from federal lawmakers, who authored the statutes about e-mail privacy in the 1980s when the technology was much different.

“It is often unclear whether or how these Web 2.0 companies are covered by federal electronic privacy statutes, and that’s why Congress needs to update and revisit the law,” he said.

Additional reporting and writing by John C. Abell. This story was edited for style Wednesday afternoon.

Facebook confirms removal of two Holocaust denial groups. Is it enough?

Chris Matyszczyk

CNET News: May 11, 2009

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10237855-71.html

Facebook has confirmed my earlier suspicion that it has disabled two of the five Holocaust denial groups whose presence has caused much controversy over the past week, following attorney Brian Cuban’s consistent pressure for the groups’ removal.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt said in an e-mail to Technically

Incorrect: “Two of the groups have been disabled, but the other three remain.”

He continued: “We are monitoring these groups and if the discussion among members degrades to the point of promoting hate or violence, despite whatever disclaimer the group description provides, we will take them down. This has happened in the past, especially when controversial groups are publicized.”

This would suggest that Facebook is looking to the members of these groups to create the conditions for their own banishment.

It is a curious decision, as some would argue that the very existence of these groups fails to walk the line between hate and threat, if one can be defined at all.

In response to Facebook’s comments, Brian Cuban said: “They have not addressed the issue. I find Barry Schnitt disturbingly dismissive and flippant about these issues.”

How, indeed, should one interpret this posting, for example, from just before Mother’s Day on a Facebook wall of one of the remaining Holocaust denial groups?: “Jews use the holocaust to achieve their agenda of killing innocents. Israel is the holocause (sic) of today.”

Doesn’t that feel like promoting hate?

One can only surmise that in the cross-disciplinary groups at Facebook that make decisions on policies such as these, lawyers have rather more influence than anyone else.

TIn a comment to a post from Michael Arrington at TechCrunch, Schnitt also said: “We are serious about our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and where there is content that violates these terms, we will remove it. We have spent considerable time internally discussing the issues of holocaust denial and have come to the conclusion that the mere statement of denying the holocaust is not a violation of our terms.”

After the posting of Brian Cuban’s open letter to Mark Zuckerberg on Cuban’s blog, the Cuban Revolution, Schnitt also addressed for the first time that for many at Facebook this is also a personal issue:

“Many of us at Facebook have direct personal connection to the Holocaust, through parents who were forced to flee Europe or relatives who could not escape. We believe in Facebook’s mission that giving people tools to make the world more open is a better way to combat ignorance or deception than censorship, though we recognize that others–including those at the company, disagree.”

He added: “We may be fools for doing the former but not ‘cowards.’”

Naturally, it would be interesting to know who at Facebook opposes the company’s stance and whether Facebook would be happy for those employees, whoever they might be, to air their opinions publicly.

Perhaps even on the walls of the three remaining groups.

However, it seems clear that this will not be the last we hear of this issue. In a further e-mail to Technically Incorrect, Schnitt explained who had been consulted by Facebook before the company determined its stance: “The experts we’ve talked to have generally been Internet law experts, free speech people, and experts on radicalism and technology. They haven’t been specifically related to the Holocaust but that is a good idea.”

It will be interesting to see what those Holocaust experts might say.

Chris Matyszczyk is an award-winning creative director who advises major corporations on content creation and marketing. He brings an irreverent, sarcastic, and sometimes ironic voice to the tech world. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET.

How to Set up your own Web Proxy

Palluxo: May 9, 2009

http://www.palluxo.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=215:how-to-set-up-your-own-web-proxy&catid=90:blogs&Itemid=284

A web proxy is becoming more and more important in today’s internet. Schools and Companys tend to block sites pretty quickly nowadays.It is especially irritating when the ban is directed towards just a few websites and not every website in that category. A Web Proxy might be able to sneak past this policies and display the site in your browser even though it is banned in the network.

How does a web proxy work ?

A network bans a website either by its IP, its name or part of its name. A web proxy makes only shows its own address to the network and not the actual destination of the user. The admin of the network will think everything is fine and you are free to reach the site that is banned. The only thing that might happen is that the admin is banning the web proxy as well, but this is not a big deal either. Hundreds of web proxys exist, just switch to a new one and you are ready to visit the banned site again.

Setup your own Web Proxy:

Let us assume that all proxy websites have been banned in your network, you can´t find a single web proxy that is still working. Your best choice is to create your own web proxy at an address that only you know. All you need is the php web proxy proxy and some webspace with php to upload it to. Search google for free webspace php and you should find some hosts that allow you to use php and upload your web proxy to them.

You can alternativly use a cgi web proxy which needs a webspace with cgi enabled.
Web Proxy List:

Please note that the list does not display if the webproxy is able to handle scripts, I did not find a reliable way to make a test for all languages out there, therefor this has not been added to the list. I also removed websites that loaded slowly, displayed errors or forced you to click on an ad before you could use the service.

It is most likely that the name “proxy” might have been banned as well, try using web proxys that do not have proxy i their url, this might help.

Welcome to the New Total Security State

John W. Whitehead
Rutherford Institute: May 11, 2009

http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/commentary.asp?record_id=593

“You had to live–did live, from habit that became instinct–in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”–George Orwell, 1984

The U.S. government now has at its disposal a technological arsenal so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. And these technologies are being used by the government to invade the privacy of the American people.

Several years ago, government officials acknowledged that the nefarious intelligence gathering entity known as the National Security Agency (NSA) had exceeded its legal authority by eavesdropping on Americans’ private email messages and phone calls. However, these reports barely scratch the surface of what we are coming to recognize as a “security/industrial complex”–a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance.

The increasingly complex security needs of our massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental bureaucracy. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending by the government to private corporations is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who will pay the price? The American people, of course, and you can be sure that it will take a toll on more than our pocketbooks. “You have government on a holy mission to ramp up information gathering and you have an information technology industry desperate for new markets,” says Peter Swire, the nation’s first privacy counselor in the Clinton Administration. “Once this is done, you will have unprecedented snooping abilities. What will happen to our private lives if we’re under constant surveillance?”

We’re at that point now. Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one’s every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, “Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity.”

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of terrorists hiding amongst us–the proverbial “needle in a haystack,” as one official termed it–the government has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched–especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations. When you drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance. Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any “threatening” words are detected–no matter how inane or silly–the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. And in recent years, federal and state governments, as well as private corporations, have been amassing tools aimed at allowing them to monitor Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you’re guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, just before leaving office, President Bush granted the FBI wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

Here’s what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it’s not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We’ve already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on hateful thoughts and expression in order to discourage so-called hateful behavior.

Total Internet surveillance is merely the next logical step in the government’s attempts to predict and, more importantly, control the populace–and it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior. No information is sacred or spared. Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA. One NSA researcher actually quit the program, “citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability.”

The NSA is not alone in its quest for power. Another massive and invasive government agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is presently engaged in a power struggle with the NSA over which agency will be appointed to oversee the nation’s cybersecurity programs. One DHS official has already resigned at the prospect of the spy agency overstepping its bounds. “I have very serious concerns about the concentration of too much power in one agency,” said Rod Beckstrom, the former director of the National Cyber Security Center. “Power over information is so important, and it is so difficult to monitor, that we need to have checks and balances.”

Unfortunately, our somnambulant Congress is not heeding this warning. Legislation is presently making its way through Congress that is aimed at giving the president the authority to declare a cybersecurity emergency and limit or shut down the Internet altogether, as well as enable unprecedented federal oversight of private network administration.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 would authorize the creation of a Cybersecurity Czar to centralize power now held by the Pentagon, NSA, DHS and Department of Commerce. It would also require so-called “standards” to be established for private companies, as well as licensing and certification of cybersecurity professionals. Once the government is granted the authority to regulate the Internet and its users, which is what this legislation would ostensibly do, the ability to freely speak up and protest will be virtually wiped out.

Make no mistake: the Cybersecurity Act is just a wolf in sheep’s clothing, much in the way that the USA Patriot Act was an encroachment on our freedoms. It is being sold to us as a way to protect America against the next generation of terrorist attacks–cyber attacks. But all it will do is enable the government to finally turn the lock on this technological prison it has built.

So where does this leave us? If we’ve already been under surveillance for years, largely without our knowledge, what does it matter anyway? And can anything really be done to avoid moving into a total surveillance state? Frankly, technology has developed to such a point that it has outstripped the ability of human beings to control it. It has become virtually autonomous. And in the hands of government, technology is largely working against us now–except for the Internet, the freedom highway where democracy still lives. It remains, for now, our last holdout in this insidious slide towards totalitarianism.

The More Untangled the Web Becomes…

rachelm

New Matilda: May 8, 2009

http://newmatilda.com/polliegraph/?p=636

newmatilda.com’s forum in Sydney on Tuesday night brought together some divergent commentators on the Federal government’s proposed mandatory internet filter. The aim of the forums to some extent has been to broaden participation in the debate by trying to reach an audience beyond the articulate online community and to examine how the arguments are framed both for and against internet regulation. Of course the discussion draws on the well-documented concerns about filtering the internet, which centre on censorship, civil liberties, technical failure, and ineffectiveness to meet cyber-safety objectives.

The event was chaired by David Vaile, CEO of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre. The Parliamentary “host” (who secured the venue for the event) was Penny Sharpe, MLC. Penny weighed into the discussion later with some insights about how much (or little) MPs might know or understand about the proposed filter. She also presented some good examples of “young people” at risk, by talking about the online activities of her 10-year old daughter.

Geordie Guy, a board member with Electronic Frontiers Australia, set the scene with an overview of the clean feed proposal and recent developments from Labor’s election promise to what we know about the current blacklist.

Fiona Patten from the Australian Sex Party gave a brief history of “adult” content classification in the federal and state law and policy context. Fiona reminded us that before Don Chipp waived his magic anti-censorship wand at all the old fogeys in Parliament in the early 1970s, we lived in a very prudish nanny state. It was his efforts that opened up debate and saw the then list of prohibited (print) content made public. Meanwhile, a rapidly changing entertainment media set the pace for consecutive governments to try to regulate access to “adult” content. Fiona went on to trace the path of many versions of legislation that have since been drafted, defeated, modified, passed, or have perennially resurfaced in the hands of different MPs. She also related examples about the role and some successes that the adult entertainment industry lobby had had in protecting civil liberties and individual choice.

Fiona called on political parties to propose the sort of censorship laws that their stated philosophies would logically promulgate, citing aspects of the Labor’s National Platform and several examples of “off the record” conversations with MPs who admitted they were personally open-minded but genuinely concerned about the vocal 3 or 5% of their constituency that was vehemently opposed to pornography.

Kerry Graham spoke as CEO of Inspire Foundation whose work with children and young people, in the field of mental health, is done exclusively online. Kerry’s presentation pointed to a generation gap and emphasized a need for an examination of the way we frame discussion about “young people” and the internet at the public, adult and policy-making levels. She suggested that from the outset that we need to see the internet as a setting for young people – in the same way as a school is a setting. While for most older adults, activity online is quite separate from experiences offline, for young people, according to Kerry Graham the separation is not so clear.

Kerry argued that if the proposed clean feed is a response to assertions that children are at risk when they are online, then we need to reposition young people themselves at the centre of the debate. In this context, she said, it is important to understand how children and young people actually use the net and manage their lives online and offline. It seems like a distinction also needs to be drawn (within the debate) between children (under 10s or Penny Sharp’s kid) and young people (teens and those who use Inspire’s services). Kerry quoted both US and Australian research that shows that the opportunities and benefits of online social interaction far outweigh the risks for children and young people. The research also demonstrates that young people self-regulate pretty well and that families manage net filtering in their homes pretty well. She concluded by observing that we should be arguing for government regulation that is based on actual research and evidence.

The conversation on the night highlighted a few gulfs in this debate. There is the generation gap between adults – parents, lawmakers – and their children – those for whom the laws are ostensibly being made. Then there is a communication gap between tech-savvy people (programmers, engineers, geeks, technologists etc) who implicitly understand the filter proposal and those for whom installing a filter constitutes a technological triumph. Penny Sharpe also highlighted a significant difference in comprehension between those who understand (with some clarity) the concerns that a mandatory filter poses and Australia’s average State or Federal MP.

Which leaves plenty to work with as far as opposing a “clean feed” goes. It seems that to win the debate, those opposing the clean feed need to properly engage with the concerns of sincere people – parents, lawmakers among them – who are never going to be technically savvy and possibly won’t be concerned about civil liberties either. If people need to be offered other reasons to oppose the plan – it looks like research, evidence and a plain(er) English explanation of concerns with the proposal is still required.

Stilgherian’s live blog of the forum can be found here.

Web Filtering Proposals: Crucial Child Safeguard or Censorship? Tool?

Patrick Goodenough

CNS News: May 8, 2009

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=47852

An Australian group campaigning against government Internet filtering proposals has been ordered by the government to remove a link to a U.S.-hosted Web site showing graphic pictures of aborted babies.

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) says the government order to remove a link to a page on the AbortionTV Web site reinforces its concerns that Internet filtering will lead to the blocking of political content.

But some supporters of the government proposals, which aim to prevent access to child pornography sites, view the censorship argument as a smokescreen and part of a misinformation campaign.

The Australian non-profit group, which says it represents “Internet users concerned with online freedoms and rights,” complied with the “link-deletion notice” issued by the government’s Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Had EFA not done so, it said its hosting Internet service provider (ISP) would have faced a daily fine of around $8,300 (11,000 Australian dollars) for as long as the link remained available.

EFA said the content of the linked page was described as “gratuitous, exploitative and offensive depictions of violence, which have a very high degree of impact.”

The link to the abortion information site appeared in an article on EFA’s site about an earlier ACMA notice, sent to a popular Australian technology news site and ordering it to remove the same link.

The EFA article had raised concerns that a planned ISP-level content filtering system, designed to block material relating to child sexual abuse, may also limit political speech.

Nic Suzor, who chairs the EFA board, explained that the group had not carried the link to the AbortionTV page because it supported the view that abortion should be criminalized, but “as an example of over-blocking of political speech by the current and proposed censorship regimes.”

“We are extremely concerned that Australian Web sites are currently being required to remove links to what we believe is legitimate political speech, even where that speech is offensive.”

Suzor said the EFA was worried that government plans for mandatory ISP-level filtering would lead to such sites being blocked.

The proposed filtering system, which is now being trialed by some Australian ISPs, aims to require ISPs to block overseas-hosted sites that are included on a blacklist maintained by the ACMA.

The blacklist has not been made available to the wider public, but ACMA annual reports show that the authority has added around 2,000 URLs (Web page addresses) to the list since 2005. A little over half of those are described as “illegal material,” defined as relating to child pornography.

The rest include sites whose content, under Australia’s ratings system for movies, games and online content, would either be banned (“refused classification”) or carry 18+ restrictions.

Last March, a lengthy list of URLs – purportedly the leaked ACMA blacklist – was posted online. Apart from child pornography and other explicit sex sites, it included several that did not fall into that category, including at least two graphic sites relating to abortion, one pro-euthanasia site and numerous online poker sites.

When the list appeared online, the government minister responsible for broadband and communication issues, Senator Stephen Conroy, disputed its authenticity.

Nonetheless, he called the posting of the URLs “grossly irresponsible” and said it would undermine attempts to create a safe online environment for children.

“Under existing laws the ACMA blacklist includes URLs relating to child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime,” Conroy said. “No-one interested in cyber-safety would condone the leaking of these addresses.”

‘Ideological’

Apart from the censorship concerns, critics of the filtering plans say they will be costly for consumers, may affect speed, and are technically unfeasible, given the nature of the Internet.

The country’s third-largest ISP, iiNet, which recently withdrew from the government’s filtering trial, called the plan “fundamentally flawed [and] a waste of taxpayers’ money” and said it would not work.

Opponents of the scheme also held protest rallies in several cities.

Organizations concerned about the impact of online pornography on children are supportive of the filtering proposals and view some of the arguments being used by opposing ISPs and advocacy groups as intentional distractions.

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace on Friday dismissed claims that the filtering initiative would censor political speech, saying the government had made it “crystal clear that it this was not on the agenda and that it has no plans to prevent adults from viewing legal material.”

The EFA’s actions relating to the AbortionTV link, he said, were “part of a campaign of misinformation against Internet filtering being mainly led by Internet civil libertarians who have an ideological commitment to having no restrictions on the Internet and the pornography industry which is worried filtering illegal porn will hit its profits.”

In an era when children were growing up using the Internet for both education and entertainment, Wallace said, their protection needed to be prioritized.

“Many parents are deeply concerned about the pornographic and abusive material children can too easily access on the Internet and it is crucial that the government provides safeguards from this material,” he said, recalling that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Labor party had pledged to do so while campaigning for election in 2007.

“If we don’t address this issue with the Internet at this stage in its development than we’ll never be able to,” Wallace said.

Who decides?

Clive Hamilton, professor of public ethics at the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics in Canberra, took issue with EFA’s approach, saying that the organization evidently “believes that it should be the arbiter of what is acceptable content in Australia.”

He noted that Suzor explained his decision to post the link to AbortionTV by saying that he believed the initial classification had been incorrect.

“So these issues are ones for his own personal judgment,” Hamilton said Friday. “Presumably he believes it is his prerogative, rather than that of representatives appointed by a democratically elected government, to decide what is acceptable and what is not. Well, sorry, I believe in democracy, and object to the Internet warriors at EFA undermining the will of the people.”

Hamilton said EFA was taking “an absolutist position on the complex question of rights and responsibilities that have been debated by philosophers for centuries.

“EFA would have a little more credibility if it listed the types of content they believe should legitimately be censored, and the principles on which they make their judgment.”

Web Filtering Proposals: Crucial Child Safeguard or Censorship? Tool?

Patrick Goodenough

CNS News: May 8, 2009

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=47852

An Australian group campaigning against government Internet filtering proposals has been ordered by the government to remove a link to a U.S.-hosted Web site showing graphic pictures of aborted babies.

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) says the government order to remove a link to a page on the AbortionTV Web site reinforces its concerns that Internet filtering will lead to the blocking of political content.

But some supporters of the government proposals, which aim to prevent access to child pornography sites, view the censorship argument as a smokescreen and part of a misinformation campaign.

The Australian non-profit group, which says it represents “Internet users concerned with online freedoms and rights,” complied with the “link-deletion notice” issued by the government’s Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Had EFA not done so, it said its hosting Internet service provider (ISP) would have faced a daily fine of around $8,300 (11,000 Australian dollars) for as long as the link remained available.

EFA said the content of the linked page was described as “gratuitous, exploitative and offensive depictions of violence, which have a very high degree of impact.”

The link to the abortion information site appeared in an article on EFA’s site about an earlier ACMA notice, sent to a popular Australian technology news site and ordering it to remove the same link.

The EFA article had raised concerns that a planned ISP-level content filtering system, designed to block material relating to child sexual abuse, may also limit political speech.

Nic Suzor, who chairs the EFA board, explained that the group had not carried the link to the AbortionTV page because it supported the view that abortion should be criminalized, but “as an example of over-blocking of political speech by the current and proposed censorship regimes.”

“We are extremely concerned that Australian Web sites are currently being required to remove links to what we believe is legitimate political speech, even where that speech is offensive.”

Suzor said the EFA was worried that government plans for mandatory ISP-level filtering would lead to such sites being blocked.

The proposed filtering system, which is now being trialed by some Australian ISPs, aims to require ISPs to block overseas-hosted sites that are included on a blacklist maintained by the ACMA.

The blacklist has not been made available to the wider public, but ACMA annual reports show that the authority has added around 2,000 URLs (Web page addresses) to the list since 2005. A little over half of those are described as “illegal material,” defined as relating to child pornography.

The rest include sites whose content, under Australia’s ratings system for movies, games and online content, would either be banned (“refused classification”) or carry 18+ restrictions.

Last March, a lengthy list of URLs – purportedly the leaked ACMA blacklist – was posted online. Apart from child pornography and other explicit sex sites, it included several that did not fall into that category, including at least two graphic sites relating to abortion, one pro-euthanasia site and numerous online poker sites.

When the list appeared online, the government minister responsible for broadband and communication issues, Senator Stephen Conroy, disputed its authenticity.

Nonetheless, he called the posting of the URLs “grossly irresponsible” and said it would undermine attempts to create a safe online environment for children.

“Under existing laws the ACMA blacklist includes URLs relating to child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime,” Conroy said. “No-one interested in cyber-safety would condone the leaking of these addresses.”

‘Ideological’

Apart from the censorship concerns, critics of the filtering plans say they will be costly for consumers, may affect speed, and are technically unfeasible, given the nature of the Internet.

The country’s third-largest ISP, iiNet, which recently withdrew from the government’s filtering trial, called the plan “fundamentally flawed [and] a waste of taxpayers’ money” and said it would not work.

Opponents of the scheme also held protest rallies in several cities.

Organizations concerned about the impact of online pornography on children are supportive of the filtering proposals and view some of the arguments being used by opposing ISPs and advocacy groups as intentional distractions.

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace on Friday dismissed claims that the filtering initiative would censor political speech, saying the government had made it “crystal clear that it this was not on the agenda and that it has no plans to prevent adults from viewing legal material.”

The EFA’s actions relating to the AbortionTV link, he said, were “part of a campaign of misinformation against Internet filtering being mainly led by Internet civil libertarians who have an ideological commitment to having no restrictions on the Internet and the pornography industry which is worried filtering illegal porn will hit its profits.”

In an era when children were growing up using the Internet for both education and entertainment, Wallace said, their protection needed to be prioritized.

“Many parents are deeply concerned about the pornographic and abusive material children can too easily access on the Internet and it is crucial that the government provides safeguards from this material,” he said, recalling that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Labor party had pledged to do so while campaigning for election in 2007.

“If we don’t address this issue with the Internet at this stage in its development than we’ll never be able to,” Wallace said.

Who decides?

Clive Hamilton, professor of public ethics at the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics in Canberra, took issue with EFA’s approach, saying that the organization evidently “believes that it should be the arbiter of what is acceptable content in Australia.”

He noted that Suzor explained his decision to post the link to AbortionTV by saying that he believed the initial classification had been incorrect.

“So these issues are ones for his own personal judgment,” Hamilton said Friday. “Presumably he believes it is his prerogative, rather than that of representatives appointed by a democratically elected government, to decide what is acceptable and what is not. Well, sorry, I believe in democracy, and object to the Internet warriors at EFA undermining the will of the people.”

Hamilton said EFA was taking “an absolutist position on the complex question of rights and responsibilities that have been debated by philosophers for centuries.

“EFA would have a little more credibility if it listed the types of content they believe should legitimately be censored, and the principles on which they make their judgment.”

You Tube Free Speech Purge Accelerates, Infowarrior Channel Banned

But more Alex Jones videos appearing on video networking site than ever before as censorship backfires

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet: May 12, 2009

http://www.prisonplanet.com/you-tube-free-speech-purge-accelerates-infowarrior-channel-banned.html

You Tube accelerated its aggressive purge against free speech today after the video networking website suspended the Infowarrior Channel, which was the replacement for the previously censored Alex Jones Channel.

When attempting to visit the Infowarrior Channel this morning, one is met with the message, “This account is suspended.”

Just as before, no credible reason has been provided for the suspension of channel. The original Alex Jones Channel was suspended because You Tube claimed that showing a computer print out of a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette news article on camera constituted “copyright violation,” despite the fact that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette denied ever making a copyright complaint.

The real reason for the censorship is of course You Tube’s move towards becoming nothing more than a corporate shell for big studio production companies. The company is hemmoraging money because its current format is not a sustainable business model. However, despite doing what any normal company would do in such a situation and accepting advertising, You Tube has decided to just hand over the direction of its whole content to corporate interests.

According to communication we have had with You Tube employees, You Tube has abandoned any pretense of copyright claims and is now embarking on a blanket campaign to ban all Alex Jones videos from their website.

However, You Tube’s decision to ban both the Infowarrior and the Alex Jones Channel has seemingly backfired, with more Alex Jones videos appearing on You Tube than ever before.

A general video search by date of the term “alex jones” on the You Tube website shows that You Tube users have met our challenge to fight back against Internet censorship, not by admitting defeat and abandoning You Tube, but by bombarding the website with more Alex Jones video uploads than ever before.

Not only are there multiple times more Alex Jones videos being added to You Tube on an hourly basis, but they are being uploaded from numerous different user accounts, making it difficult for You Tube to target individual accounts for suspension.

At time of writing, the first two pages of Alex Jones related videos, when one searches by “recently added,” have been uploaded by no less than 14 different user accounts.

Screenshot shows different Alex Jones videos being uploaded by numerous different user accounts.

The London Daily News has now picked up on the story, reporting on its website, “Radio and internet journalist Alex Jones has been censored by the internet giant Youtube with the removal of the “Alex Jones Channel” from the site, causing revulsion across the United States and Europe, in what is increasingly being seen as another example of a “Big Brother” intervention in the democratic process.”

“Increasingly YouTube has been scorned for its move away from its foundation of “free speech video” to being seen as part of the establishment it tried to redefine when it was first established,” states the report.

In a related development, Google Video has now suspended all new content from being uploaded and is re-directing users to You Tube, where full videos longer than 10 minutes cannot be uploaded without a special “director” account.

“If current videos will remain online, and for how long is anyone’s guess. The move to suspend all new content from being uploaded adds another attempt to the growing list of methods used to remove viral content from the Internet that is damaging to the Establishment and the New World Order,” writes Mark Dice of the Resistance Manifesto.

We would normally encourage people to subscribe to the new official Alex Jones channel on You Tube, The Infowarrior, but since that has now also been banned we can only reiterate our challenge for You Tube users to continue to upload Alex Jones videos in large quantities in order to break down the electronic Berlin Wall that You Tube and other large video sharing websites are apparently trying to erect at the behest of their corporate masters.

You Tube’s disdain for free speech is rivaled only by their unsurpassed stupidity. Don’t they realize that the more Alex Jones channels they ban, the more resentment they will create amongst You Tube users? This will only lead to more Alex Jones related videos being posted on You Tube. In engaging in this wanton censorship, You Tube is only making a rod for its own back.

While allowing all kinds of x-rated trash to appear on a website that is frequented by millions of children, You Tube is waging a war on free speech and the alternative media by consistently banning our video channels under phony pretexts invented as a way to hide the real reason behind the purge – You Tube’s transformation from a much-loved and popular user-driven video website to a hollow shell that puts the interests of its corporate sponsors above those of the people who helped make it one of the biggest websites in the world today.

Perhaps You Tube should be renamed “Corporate Tube,” because the “You” is certainly being taken out of the equation altogether.

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