Censorship, USA (Google stands up edition)

As described in the Guardian (and Hat tip to RMS)

Google faced down demands from a US law enforcement agency to take down YouTube videos allegedly showing police brutality earlier this year, figures released for the first time show.

The technology giant’s biannual transparency report shows that Google refused the demands from the unnamed authority in the first half of this year.

According to the report, Google separately declined orders by other police authorities to remove videos that allegedly defamed law enforcement officials.

The demands formed part of a 70% rise in takedown requests from the US government or police, and were revealed as part of an effort to highlight online censorship around the world.

Figures revealed for the first time show that the US demanded private information about more than 11,000 Google users between January and June this year, almost equal to the number of requests made by 25 other developed countries, including the UK and Russia.

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Censorship, USA (Google stands up edition)

How about a helping of extra-judicial prior restraint to go along with that helping of trademark protection?

Excellent comments by Kathryn Kleiman on the unbalanced process at ICANN which would effectively hand control of TLD (Top Level Domain Names) to a few corporations, and make words like people or apple or sun unobtainable in a TLD, even if fair use provisions applied. (Yes, this IS what we have the category of Corporate Fascism for). The present process, unless modified, would provide for extra-judicial prior restraint:

How about a helping of extra-judicial prior restraint to go along with that helping of trademark protection?

It’s not really news, and no one is surprised anymore

But I am listing it here anyway:

Climate Findings Were Distorted, Probe Finds

Tuesday 03 June 2008
by: Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

An investigation by the NASA inspector general found that political appointees in the space agency’s public affairs office worked to control and distort public accounts of its researchers’ findings about climate change for at least two years, the inspector general’s office said yesterday.

It’s not really news, and no one is surprised anymore

Coming Soon to wikileaks

Here’s a story about a government program that, if it existed, would clearly not only violate the Constitution but also break enough of the rules of expect behavior that its disclosure would cause such loss of prestige to those who created it, that it would have to be kept secret. That’s true because the moral implications of the program are so repulsive, that if the program came to light, it would quickly be subject to scrutiny and debate and modification. For that reason, it is not unlikely that it will be leaked soon–all of the reasons to leak are there, and all it takes is exactly one moral person + web 2.0 and the program comes unsprung, probably after being posted at wikileaks So if the program exists, it’s not unreasonable to expect to read about it at wikileaks soon. The story:

From Radar Magazine:

THE LAST ROUNDUP
Is the government compiling a secret list of citizens to detain under martial law?

By Christopher Ketcham

In the spring of 2007, a retired senior official in the U.S. Justice Department sat before Congress and told a story so odd and ominous, it could have sprung from the pages of a pulp political thriller. It was about a principled bureaucrat struggling to protect his country from a highly classified program with sinister implications. Rife with high drama, it included a car chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., and a tense meeting at the White House, where the president’s henchmen made the bureaucrat so nervous that he demanded a neutral witness be present.

Coming Soon to wikileaks

Ministry of Truth at the TLF

At the Technology Liberation Front, where I sometimes comment, rude behavior has become the norm for two posters. Adam Thierer descends into silly name calling, which is fine (to a point) but Jerry Brito really takes the cake in that he has decided to (generally) delete my comments. I would draw the distinction between Adam and Jerry and others such as Tim Lee, who has been overwhelmingly well-behaved and thoughtful in his posts and follow-ups to my comments. Jerry, or someone managing his posts, had been deleting my comments to his posts in the past, as I have noted here.

Deletions of my comments are not happening on a global basis at TLF (my comments to Tim Lee or most of the others don’t get deleted) and my comments to Jerry’s posts don’t always go into the moderated queue, they actually show up on the website but get deleted later. Why would this happen unless my comments are being deleted by someone managing Jerry Brito’s posts? I had sent an email to Jerry at his George Mason University email address, to give him an opportunity to respond, and if he does I’ll certainly post it here.

The interesting question for me is: why do my comments aggravate Jerry so much that they he feels he has to delete them? If he disagrees with my comments, wouldn’t it be more in keeping with the TLF’s professed goals of a high quality debate to respond to them? The answer, I believe, is that they show the internal contradictions in “libertarian” philosophy, and thus can’t be responded to, and therefore get sent to the ‘memory hole’ as George Orwell called it.

It is especially ironic that there is a post at TLF complaining about the uses of “Big Brother” metaphor when describing non-governmental spying or censorship, and here they are exercising the ‘memory hole’ that would do the Ministry of Truth proud. Let’s see if my comments to that post stay or if they get deleted.

Continue reading “Ministry of Truth at the TLF”

Ministry of Truth at the TLF

Drawing Boundaries Around Democracy (Tax Free Internet Edition)

Corporations have a long history of drawing lines around democracy, so they can escape the effects of the popular mandate. One of the most egregious examples of this was the creation of a town near East Saint Louis [present day Sauget] which was created by just one vote (the night watchman of the factory) in order to prevent the town of East Saint Louis from annexing and then taxing that same factory. The factory was thus enclosed by a boundary around democracy. That particular example is behind us, and I rather doubt that would happen today. It just wouldn’t fly.

That past event sheds light on a pattern of behavior, and it’s important to reverse that trend, to prevent future enclosures that steal from the larger society, without giving back. Today, there are plenty of ways that corporations use the internet to enclose their company, and seal it off from democratic institutions which might tax them. Of course, the anti-democratic reality of this enclosure is obscured by the language of freedom that is used to make the case for a “tax free” internet.

But there is one simple question that we can ask the libertarians that exposes the bankruptcy and anti-freedom agenda of the tax free world that they are trying to create. It is a question that libertarians cannot acknowledge, let alone answer.

Continue reading “Drawing Boundaries Around Democracy (Tax Free Internet Edition)”

Drawing Boundaries Around Democracy (Tax Free Internet Edition)

Jerry Brito, censoring e_f comments

Well, at least I know I hit a raw nerve over at TLF, since Jerry Brito has been deleting my comments which are responding to his post. My post gets through initially, but then gets deleted a little while later, which would, I believe, mean that it’s not something innocuous like a spam filter.

Here are my comments. What do you suppose he disagrees with so much that he finds it necessary to delete my comment? Does TLF have a policy about deleting comments they disagree with?

Continue reading “Jerry Brito, censoring e_f comments”

Jerry Brito, censoring e_f comments