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  Political book censorship...

Threats of a boycott result in book publisher reneging on deal to publish Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos


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Link Here 23rd February 2017
milo yiannopoulos dangerousBook publisher Simon & Schuster has announced that it has pulled out of its contract to publish Dangerous , a book by Milo Yiannopoulos, a notable figure form America's Alt-Right movement. The company said in a statement that:

After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication.

According to the New York Times, Yiannopoulos will seek another publisher. His agent is quoted as saying that 50,000 copies of Dangerous have been pre-sold.

Simon & Schuster had been put under pressure for its decision to publish Yiannopoulos. The Chicago Review of Books protested the signing by announcing that it would not review any Simon & Schuster books for the next year, and The Booksmith in San Francisco declared that it would cut its purchases of Simon & Schuster titles by 50% and contribute the profits from the sale of the publisher's other books to the ACLU. One hundred and sixty Simon & Schuster children's authors and illustrators protested in a letter to company CEO Carolyn Reidy about the book's acquisition.

The American Booksellers Association joined a statement by the National Coalition Against Censorship that opposed a boycott of Simon & Schuster. While acknowledging that boycotts are a form of speech that is protected by the First Amendment, the statement warned that efforts to damage a publisher with economic sanctions could have a chilling effect, limiting its ability to publish controversial works. The statement was also signed by the Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, and the National Council of Teachers of English.

 

  In the age of political correctness...

Judge indicates that a Californian law banning IMDb from publishing birthdates is likely to prove uncontitutional


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Link Here 23rd February 2017

doj logoA politically correct Californian law targeting age discrimination has failed to win the immediate approval of a judge. The law requires date of births or age to be withheld from documents and publications used for job recruitment. One high profile consequence is that the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) would be banned from including age information in the profiles of stars and crew. This has led to the challenge of the law on grounds of unconstitutional censorship.

This week's ruling does not look good for the Californian law as the judge decided that birthday prohibition shall not apply until the full legal challenge is decided. District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled:

[I]t's difficult to imagine how AB 1687 could not violate the First Amendment. The statute prevents IMDb from publishing factual information (information about the ages of people in the entertainment industry) on its website for public consumption. This is a restriction of non-commercial speech on the basis of content.

To be sure, the government has identified a compelling goal -- preventing age discrimination in Hollywood. But the government has not shown how AB 1687 is 'necessary' to advance that goal. In fact, it's not clear how preventing one mere website from publishing age information could meaningfully combat discrimination at all. And even if restricting publication on this one website could confer some marginal antidiscrimination benefit, there are likely more direct, more effective, and less speech-restrictive ways of achieving the same end.

Chhabria held that -- because the law restricts IMDb's speech rights -- the site is suffering irreparable harm and enjoined the government from enforcing the law pending the resolution of this lawsuit.

 

 Update: A handle on your private life...

US lawmaker introduces bill to force visa applicants to identify their social media accounts


Link Here 17th February 2017
US SenateA congressman ahs introduced a law bill demanding that visitors to America hand over URLs to their social network accounts.

Representatve Jim Banks says his proposed rules, titled the Visa Investigation and Social Media Act (VISA) of 2017, require visa applicants to provide their social media handles to immigration officials. Banks said:

We must have confidence that those entering our country do not intend us harm. Directing Homeland Security to review visa applicants' social media before granting them access to our country is common sense. Employers vet job candidates this way, and I think it's time we do the same for visa applicants.

Right now, at the US border you can be asked to give up your usernames by border officers. You don't have to reveal your public profiles, of course. However, if you're a non-US citizen, border agents don't have to let you in, either. Your devices can be seized and checked, and you can be put on a flight back, if you don't cooperate.

Banks' proposed law appears to end any uncertainty over whether or not non-citizens will have their online personas vetted: if the bill is passed, visa applicants will be required to disclose their online account names so they can be scrutinized for any unwanted behavior. For travellers on visa-waiver programs, revealing your social media accounts is and will remain optional, but again, being allowed into the country is optional, too.

Banks did not say how his bill would prevent hopefuls from deleting or simply not listing any accounts that may be unfavorable.

The Register reports that the bill is unlikely to progress.

 

  Deep profiling...

US immigration is beyond checking publicly available Facebook profiles, it is now considering demanding your passwords before granting a visa


Link Here 14th February 2017
facebook loginSecretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told Congress this week that the Department of Homeland Security is exploring the possibility of asking visa applicants not only for an accounting of what they do online, but for full access to their online accounts. In a hearing in the House of Representatives, Kelly said:

We want to say for instance, What sites do you visit? And give us your passwords. So that we can see what they do on the internet. And this might be a week, might be a month. They may wait some time for us to vet. If they don't want to give us that information then they don't come. We may look at their204we want to get on their social media with passwords. What do you do? What do you say? If they don't want to cooperate, then they don't come in.

TechCrunch' s Devin Coldewey pointed out, asking people to surrender passwords would raise "obvious" privacy and security problems. But beyond privacy and security, the proposed probing of online accounts204including social media and other communications platforms204would, if implemented, be a major threat to free expression.

 

  A bum rap...

US rapper files for false arrest after being prosecuted for his lyrics


Link Here 30th January 2017
No Safety Rapper Tiny Doo has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego and two police officers for what he claims was his unlawful arrest in July 2014 on gang conspiracy charges.

The charges were based on rap lyrics about shootings and gang activity featured on Tiny Doo's 2014 No Safety album. The rapper was imprisoned for seven months, but was released after a judge dismissed the charges.

Tiny Doo told ABC 10 News:

The prosecutor in my case admitted I wouldn't be charged if I sang love songs. As if creating art illustrating the impossible choices poverty presents my community and the magic of our survival isn't an act of love. My arrest and incarceration sent me a clear sign that my government does not think I am worthy of First Amendment rights.

 

  South Dakota declares porn is a public health crisis...

Perhaps almost as harmful as a political elite who care more about promoting their own moralism than working for the jobs and livelihoods of their voters


Link Here 26th January 2017
  outh dakota logoState senators and representatives in South Dakota unanimously passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 4 , declaring that pornography is a public health crisis leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms.

In all, 50 legislators voted for the bill, with the sponsor Senator Jenna Netherton saying that South Dakota should join other states in trying to educate the public about the harms of porn and prevent children from watching it.

The resolution, which is virtually identical to the one passed in Utah last March, was written by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), and that pro-censorship group seems to be shopping similar bills to legislatures around the country -- including, most recently, Tennessee, where Senator Mae Beavers is doing the nasty.

And notably while pontificating about porn, the same South Dakota legislature is refusing to enact a ballot measure, passed by 60 percent of voters, instituting campaign finance, lobbying reforms, public financing for campaigns and creating the first independent ethics commission in the state's history.

 

 Offsite Article: A few days into Trumpmania the US has terminated press freedom...


Link Here 26th January 2017
russia today international logo Four more journalists get felony charges after covering inauguration unrest

See article from theguardian.com