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Paul Merrell

Censorship in the Age of Large Cloud Providers - Lawfare - 2 views

  • Internet censors have a new strategy in their bid to block applications and websites: pressuring the large cloud providers that host them. These providers have concerns that are much broader than the targets of censorship efforts, so they have the choice of either standing up to the censors or capitulating in order to maximize their business. Today’s internet largely reflects the dominance of a handful of companies behind the cloud services, search engines and mobile platforms that underpin the technology landscape. This new centralization radically tips the balance between those who want to censor parts of the internet and those trying to evade censorship. When the profitable answer is for a software giant to acquiesce to censors' demands, how long can internet freedom last? The recent battle between the Russian government and the Telegram messaging app illustrates one way this might play out. Russia has been trying to block Telegram since April, when a Moscow court banned it after the company refused to give Russian authorities access to user messages. Telegram, which is widely used in Russia, works on both iPhone and Android, and there are Windows and Mac desktop versions available. The app offers optional end-to-end encryption, meaning that all messages are encrypted on the sender's phone and decrypted on the receiver's phone; no part of the network can eavesdrop on the messages. Since then, Telegram has been playing cat-and-mouse with the Russian telecom regulator Roskomnadzor by varying the IP address the app uses to communicate. Because Telegram isn't a fixed website, it doesn't need a fixed IP address. Telegram bought tens of thousands of IP addresses and has been quickly rotating through them, staying a step ahead of censors. Cleverly, this tactic is invisible to users. The app never sees the change, or the entire list of IP addresses, and the censor has no clear way to block them all. A week after the court ban, Roskomnadzor countered with an unprecedented move of its own: blocking 19 million IP addresses, many on Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. The collateral damage was widespread: The action inadvertently broke many other web services that use those platforms, and Roskomnadzor scaled back after it became clear that its action had affected services critical for Russian business. Even so, the censor is still blocking millions of IP addresses.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

There's an International Plan to Censor the Internet in the Works -- Let's Stop It in Its Tracks | Alternet - 1 views

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    " Media AlterNet / By Thanh Lam comments_image 76 COMMENTS There's an International Plan to Censor the Internet in the Works -- Let's Stop It in Its Tracks How the Trans Pacific Partnership making its way through Washington seriously undermines citizens' rights to participate in a free and open Internet. October 14, 2013 | "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Russian Copyright Law Allows Entire News Site To Be Shut Down Over A Single Copied Article | Techdirt - 0 views

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    "from the funny-how-that-works dept We've noted for a long time now that copyright laws are regularly used as a tool for censorship. In Russia, abusing copyright law for censorship and to harass political opponents has become standard. Remember how the Russian government teamed up with Microsoft to use questionable copyright claims to intimidate government critics? And then how the MPAA gleefully got into bed with Russia's media censor to celebrate copyright? Of course, Russia also expanded its ability to use copyright to censor the internet, following pressure from short-sighted US diplomats, demanding that Russia better "respect" copyright laws. "
Paul Merrell

» Israel To Coordinate With Google, YouTube, To Censor Palestinian Videos Of Conflict- IMEMC News - 0 views

  • The Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Member of Knesset Tzipi Hotovely, held meetings this week with representatives of YouTube and Google, to find ways of cooperating to censor Palestinian videos from occupied Palestine, videos she dubbed as “inciting violence and terrorism.”Israeli daily Maariv said Hotovely will be working with Google and YouTube officials in a joint mechanism that will be in charge of “monitoring and preventing” any publication of materials deemed by Tel Aviv to be “inflammatory.” Hotovely announced in a Hebrew-only press release that she met with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and Google’s Director of Public Policy, Jennifer Oztzistzki, at Google’s Silicon Valley Offices. Hotovely said that she received a comprehensive review mechanism for companies to monitor the films that allegedly incite violence, claiming that the supposed ‘incitement videos’ drive young children to go out and stab: ‘The attacks daily in Israel are the result of youths and children incited by the education system and the social networks, this is a daily war of incitement.’ She said that Google agreed to strengthen the bilateral relations with Israel’s Foreign Ministry, and build a mechanism of “collaborative work” that would make both parties partners in monitoring the published materials and censoring them. The Israeli move comes amidst escalating tension in occupied Palestine, and a large number of videos, including those showing Israeli soldiers and officers killing Palestinians execution-style after injuring them, and many videos that in general highlight the suffering of the Palestinian people, living under the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Israeli coordination with Google and YouTube has very serious implications, and many journalists have spoken out in opposition, saying it is a direct assault on the Freedom of the Press.
  • All foreign journalists who report in the Occupied Territories are required to register with the Israeli military, and any footage that they film is required to go through the Israeli Military Censor’s office before it can be released. With the recent advances in technology, many Palestinians and other civilians have been able to post videos uncensored online. The Israeli government has frequently voiced its discontent with this development, and have worked to find ways to continue to censor videos coming out of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Bienvenidos a la distopía tecno-científica | nternautas.org - 0 views

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    "Es una bendición el haber nacido en un país donde no existe una estricta tradición filosófica y uno no está castrado por el pensamiento eunuco-analítico o capado-idealista y sus pretensiones totalitarias. Da gracias a que eres libre y que aún sin filosofía y sin ciencia sólidas aquí sigue habiendo arte y literatura, mal que les pese a los censores. Y aún en falta de libertad en el discurso existe la posibilidad de una gaya ciencia que va más allá de la necesidad de dominación de los cohibidos y eternos infantes de la ciencia totalitaria."
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    "Es una bendición el haber nacido en un país donde no existe una estricta tradición filosófica y uno no está castrado por el pensamiento eunuco-analítico o capado-idealista y sus pretensiones totalitarias. Da gracias a que eres libre y que aún sin filosofía y sin ciencia sólidas aquí sigue habiendo arte y literatura, mal que les pese a los censores. Y aún en falta de libertad en el discurso existe la posibilidad de una gaya ciencia que va más allá de la necesidad de dominación de los cohibidos y eternos infantes de la ciencia totalitaria."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

SOPA Censorship is back - 0 views

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    "SOPA censorship is back. Last year the Internet defeated SOPA, but now the U.S. government wants to bring back one of its worst parts: jail time for streaming copyrighted content. Soon, uploading a YouTube video of you singing karaoke could become a felony. Tell Obama: "No SOPA-style censor"
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    SOPA Censorship is back Last year the Internet defeated SOPA, but now the U.S. government wants to bring back one of its worst parts: jail time for streaming copyrighted content. Soon, uploading a YouTube video of you singing karaoke could become a felony.
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    "SOPA censorship is back. Last year the Internet defeated SOPA, but now the U.S. government wants to bring back one of its worst parts: jail time for streaming copyrighted content. Soon, uploading a YouTube video of you singing karaoke could become a felony. Tell Obama: "No SOPA-style censor"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Why Record Labels Want Kim Dotcom's Album Taken Down | TorrentFreak - 1 views

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    "...The above is concerning for several reasons. First of all, it shows that IFPI and others don't verify the legitimacy of their takedown notices. This means that pranksters can easily get them to censor legitimate content. ..."
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    "...The above is concerning for several reasons. First of all, it shows that IFPI and others don't verify the legitimacy of their takedown notices. This means that pranksters can easily get them to censor legitimate content. ..."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

'Pirate' Site ISP Blockades Reversed By Court | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Andy on July 17, 2014 C: 0 Breaking As Spain struggles with its continuing online piracy problems, a local court has issued an order for several file-sharing sites to be unblocked by ISPs. The decision overturns a ruling in May which required the service providers to censor torrent and download sites on copyright infringement grounds."
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    " Andy on July 17, 2014 C: 0 Breaking As Spain struggles with its continuing online piracy problems, a local court has issued an order for several file-sharing sites to be unblocked by ISPs. The decision overturns a ruling in May which required the service providers to censor torrent and download sites on copyright infringement grounds."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Censoring Pirate Sites is Counterproductive, Research Finds - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Ernesto on July 8, 2015 C: 60 Breaking A new study has found that blocking access to torrent and linking sites results in the opposite effect. Instead of driving people towards legal websites and services, many of the blocked sites simply move to other domain names where they enjoy a significant and sustained boost in traffic."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Copyright Law as a Tool for State Censorship of the Internet | Electronic Frontier Foundation - 1 views

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    "When state officials seek to censor online speech, they're going to use the quickest and easiest method available. For many, copyright takedown notices do the trick. After years of lobbying and increasing pressure from content industries on policymakers and tech companies, sending copyright notices to take media offline is easier than ever."
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    "When state officials seek to censor online speech, they're going to use the quickest and easiest method available. For many, copyright takedown notices do the trick. After years of lobbying and increasing pressure from content industries on policymakers and tech companies, sending copyright notices to take media offline is easier than ever."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Music Group DMCA Notices Reveal Coffee Hatred | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Andy on August 25, 2014 C: 57 Breaking A German-based music group's month-long DMCA notice-sending spree has seen it trying to censor leading music stores and news outlets for no good reason. The outfit also took a bizarre dislike to the word "coffee" and issued takedowns against Walmart, Ikea, Fair Trade USA and Dunkin Donuts."
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    " Andy on August 25, 2014 C: 57 Breaking A German-based music group's month-long DMCA notice-sending spree has seen it trying to censor leading music stores and news outlets for no good reason. The outfit also took a bizarre dislike to the word "coffee" and issued takedowns against Walmart, Ikea, Fair Trade USA and Dunkin Donuts."
Paul Merrell

Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments - 0 views

  • In September of last year, we noted that Facebook representatives were meeting with the Israeli government to determine which Facebook accounts of Palestinians should be deleted on the ground that they constituted “incitement.” The meetings — called for and presided over by one of the most extremist and authoritarian Israeli officials, pro-settlement Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — came after Israel threatened Facebook that its failure to voluntarily comply with Israeli deletion orders would result in the enactment of laws requiring Facebook to do so, upon pain of being severely fined or even blocked in the country. The predictable results of those meetings are now clear and well-documented. Ever since, Facebook has been on a censorship rampage against Palestinian activists who protest the decades-long, illegal Israeli occupation, all directed and determined by Israeli officials. Indeed, Israeli officials have been publicly boasting about how obedient Facebook is when it comes to Israeli censorship orders
  • Facebook now seems to be explicitly admitting that it also intends to follow the censorship orders of the U.S. government.
  • What this means is obvious: that the U.S. government — meaning, at the moment, the Trump administration — has the unilateral and unchecked power to force the removal of anyone it wants from Facebook and Instagram by simply including them on a sanctions list. Does anyone think this is a good outcome? Does anyone trust the Trump administration — or any other government — to compel social media platforms to delete and block anyone it wants to be silenced? As the ACLU’s Jennifer Granick told the Times: It’s not a law that appears to be written or designed to deal with the special situations where it’s lawful or appropriate to repress speech. … This sanctions law is being used to suppress speech with little consideration of the free expression values and the special risks of blocking speech, as opposed to blocking commerce or funds as the sanctions was designed to do. That’s really problematic.
  • ...3 more annotations...
  • As is always true of censorship, there is one, and only one, principle driving all of this: power. Facebook will submit to and obey the censorship demands of governments and officials who actually wield power over it, while ignoring those who do not. That’s why declared enemies of the U.S. and Israeli governments are vulnerable to censorship measures by Facebook, whereas U.S and Israeli officials (and their most tyrannical and repressive allies) are not
  • All of this illustrates that the same severe dangers from state censorship are raised at least as much by the pleas for Silicon Valley giants to more actively censor “bad speech.” Calls for state censorship may often be well-intentioned — a desire to protect marginalized groups from damaging “hate speech” — yet, predictably, they are far more often used against marginalized groups: to censor them rather than protect them. One need merely look at how hate speech laws are used in Europe, or on U.S. college campuses, to see that the censorship victims are often critics of European wars, or activists against Israeli occupation, or advocates for minority rights.
  • It’s hard to believe that anyone’s ideal view of the internet entails vesting power in the U.S. government, the Israeli government, and other world powers to decide who may be heard on it and who must be suppressed. But increasingly, in the name of pleading with internet companies to protect us, that’s exactly what is happening.
Paul Merrell

YouTube To Censor "Controversial" Content, ADL On Board As Flagger - 0 views

  • Chief among the groups seeking to clamp down on independent media has been Google, the massive technology company with deep connections to the U.S. intelligence community, as well as to U.S. government and business elites.
  • Since 2015, Google has worked to become the Internet’s “Ministry of Truth,” first through its creation of the First Draft Coalition and more recently via major changes made to its search engine that curtail public access to new sites independent of the corporate media.
  • Google has now stepped up its war on free speech and the freedom of the press through its popular subsidiary, YouTube. On Tuesday, YouTube announced online that it is set to begin censoring content deemed “controversial,” even if that content does not break any laws or violate YouTube’s user agreement. Misleadingly dubbed as an effort “to fight terror content online,” the new program will flag content for review through a mix of machine algorithms and “human review,” guided by standards set up by “expert NGOs and institutions” that are part of YouTube’s “Trusted Flagger” program. YouTube stated that such organizations “bring expert knowledge of complex issues like hate speech, radicalization, and terrorism.” One of the leading institutions directing the course of the Trusted Flagger program is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The ADL was initially founded to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all” but has gained a reputation over the years for labeling any critic of Israel’s government as an “anti-Semite.” For instance, characterizing Israeli policies towards the Palestinians as “racist” or “apartheid-like” is considered “hate speech” by the ADL, as is accusing Israel of war crimes or attempted ethnic cleansing. The ADL has even described explicitly Jewish organizations who are critical of Israel’s government as being “anti-Semitic.”
Paul Merrell

Google Censors Block Access to CounterPunch and Other Progressive Sites - 0 views

  • Now Google, at the behest of its friends in Washington, is actively censoring – essentially blocking access to – any websites which seek to warn American workers of the ongoing effort to further attack their incomes, social services, and life conditions by the U.S. central government, and which seek to warn against the impending warfare between U.S.-led Nato and other forces against countries like Iran, Russia, and China, which have in no way threatened the U.S. state or its people
  • Under its new so-called anti-fake-news program, Google algorithms have in the past few months moved socialist, anti-war, and progressive websites from previously prominent positions in Google searches to positions up to 50 search result pages from the first page, essentially removing them from the search results any searcher will see.    CounterPunch, World Socialist Website, Democracy Now, American Civil liberties Union, Wikileaks are just a few of the websites which have experienced severe reductions in their returns from Google searches.  World Socialist Website, to cite just one example, has experienced a 67% drop in its returns from Google since the new policy was announced. This conversion of Google into a Censorship engine is not a trivial development.   Google searches are currently a primary means by which workers and other members of the public seek information about their lives and their world.  Every effort must be made to combat this serious infringement on the basic rights of freedom of speech and freedom of press.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

ACTA Dossier | La Quadrature du Net - 0 views

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    [ACTA is one more offensive against the sharing of culture on the Internet. ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is an agreement secretly negotiated by a small "club" of like-minded countries (39 countries, including the 27 of the European Union, the United States, Japan, etc). Negotiated instead of being democratically debated, ACTA bypasses parliaments and international organizations to dictate a repressive logic dictated by the entertainment industries. ACTA, a blueprint for laws such as SOPA, would impose new criminal sanctions and measures pushing Internet actors to "cooperate" with the entertainment industries to monitor and censor online communications, bypassing the judicial authority. It is thus a major threat to freedom of expression online and creates legal uncertainty for Internet actors. The European Parliament now has an ultimate opportunity to reject ACTA, and to shape the debate on an urgent adaptation of copyright law to new cultural practices.]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

EU Court of Justice: Censorship in Name of Copyright Violates Fundamental Rights | La Quadrature du Net - 2 views

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    [Paris, November 24th, 2011 - The European Court of Justice just rendered a historic decision in the Scarlet Extended case, which is crucial for the future of rights and freedoms on the Internet. The Court ruled that forcing Internet service providers to monitor and censor their users' communications violated EU law, and in particular the right to freedom of communication. At a time of all-out offensive in the war against culture sharing online, this decision suggests that censorship measures requested by the entertainment industry are disproportionate means to enforce an outdated copyright regime. Policy-makers across Europe must take this decision into account by refusing new repressive schemes, such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and engage in a much needed reform of copyright.]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

SOPA's ugly message to the world about America and internet Innovation - Ideas@Innovations - The Washington Post - 0 views

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    [This new legislation, if enacted, would strike at the very core of the way the Internet has been structured. Sharing, openness, and participation are at the core of what the Internet represents. When it comes to a choice between an open Internet and an Internet of walled gardens patrolled by government censors, there is no doubt which is preferable. As Booz & Co. pointed out in a recent study, the SOPA legislation could lead to a decline in Internet innovation.]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Save The Link | Save The Link - 0 views

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    "Links are essential to freedom of expression online, and experts warn that censoring links will break the Web as we know it"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Company Uses DMCA to Censor and Expose Critical Blogger - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " By Ernesto on June 17, 2016 C: 25 News Marketing and sales company Smart Circle is using the DMCA to uncover the identity of a critical blogger. The company obtained a subpoena directed at WordPress, stating that the blogger in question violates their copyrights by publishing modified images of its key employees."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Statute of Anne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - 0 views

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    "The Statute of Anne (c.19), an act of the Parliament of Great Britain, was the first statute to provide for copyright regulated by the government and courts, rather than by private parties. Prior to the statute's enactment in 1710, copying restrictions were authorized by the Licensing Act of 1662. These restrictions were enforced by the Stationers' Company, a guild of printers given the exclusive power to print-and the responsibility to censor-literary works. The censorship administered under the Licensing Act led to public protest; as the act had to be renewed at two-year intervals, authors and others sought to prevent its reauthorisation.[1] In 1694, Parliament refused to renew the Licensing Act, ending the Stationers' monopoly and press restrictions.[2]"
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