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Internet News

2011: Jan-March

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21st March   

Update: Blog Propaganda and Identification of Activists...

Russian responses to fears of popular uprising as inspired by social networking
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media

Western media outlets can't stop glorifying the Internet and social networks as the new tools for empowering grassroots resistance movements. This point is not lost on the notoriously suspicious Kremlin, which is convinced that the West has found a new means for advancing its interests after the color revolutions of the mid-2000s. Since then, the argument goes, the opposition is much more capable of orchestrating a regime change thanks to Twitter technology.

What's more, even weak or poorly organized opposition forces are capable of effecting regime change if their arsenals include Twitter and Facebook. As President Dmitry Medvedev said last week in Vladikavkaz: Let's face the truth. They have been preparing such a scenario for us, and now they will try even harder to implement it.

Medvedev's reaction shows that the Kremlin is taking the threat very seriously. The question now is how the authorities will respond if similar protests erupt in Russia. The siloviki and the presidential administration are the two agencies capable of responding to any Internet-based threat of revolution.

The Federal Security Service and Interior Ministry have demonstrated several times in recent years which approach they believe is best, registering every single Internet user to identify extremists and bring criminal charges against them. That is precisely how the they reacted to the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. They proposed Criminal Code amendments that would have made the owners of online social networks responsible for all content posted on their sites. Apparently, the idea is not to incriminate the owners of Facebook and Vkontakte of extremism personally, but to force them to pass responsibility on to individual users by requiring each to sign a contract that includes their passport information.

Meanwhile, the presidential administration has traditionally preferred more adventurous methods. A couple years ago, the Kremlin opened its own school of bloggers, and although the school was supposedly later shut down, the same initiative was taken up by the regions. This project was organized by the Foundation for Effective Policy, a think tank run by Kremlin-friendly political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky. The group is charged with a single overriding task: to resist the subversive activity of the West.

As mass unrest continues to shake authoritarian states in North Africa and the Middle East, the siloviki are pushing for the registration of social network users and waiting to pounce on anyone posting an extremist message and the Kremlin is funding pro-government bloggers. This will inevitably be interpreted by analysts as a new political battle between the government against the opposition.

Meanwhile, Russia's 40 million Internet users have shown remarkably little interest in this political struggle. This means that the Kremlin's battle to prevent an imminent Facebook revolution will remain largely virtual.


19th March   

Update: Three Kisses for ICANN...

.XXX domain finally approved
Link Here
Full story: ICANN XXX Domain...Long debate about allowing .xxx domain

Sex domain .xxx has been given final approval by the internet governance organisation Icann

The move to create a top level .xxx domain ends a 10-year battle over the virtual red-light district. Icann gave initial approval last year, but carried out further consultation checks over the application.

It is now poised to sign an agreement with the ICM Registry, which is backing the domain, to make .xxx a reality.

Supporters say the domain will make it easier to filter out inappropriate content. But many pornographers worry that the move could ghettoise their content. Religious groups have argued that giving pornography sites their own domain legitimises the content.

ICM said last year that it had more than 110,000 pre-reservations for .xxx domains.

Update: Contracted

3rd April 2011. See  article from

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number on Friday finalized its contract with ICM Registry to run the .XXX sponsored top-level domain. The announcement was made on the ICANN blog in a post by ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey.


18th March   

The Right to be Forgotten...

EU announces a new form of censorship
Link Here
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU

  "Maybe you've been at a party, up until four in the morning and you or someone you know posts photos of you .

Well, it's a harmless bit of fun, but being unable to erase this can threaten your job or access to future employment."

The European Union is to enshrine a right to be forgotten online to ensure that, among other things, prospective employers cannot find old Facebook party photos of someone wearing nothing but a lampshade.

In a speech to the European parliament, the EU justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, warned companies such as Facebook that: A US-based social network company that has millions of active users in Europe needs to comply with EU rules.

In a package of proposals to be unveiled before the summer, the commissioner intends to force Facebook and other social networking sites to make high standards of data privacy the default setting and give control over data back to the user.

The package will also include the right to opt out of advertising and personalisation data being collected via website cookies.

I want to explicitly clarify that people shall have the right -- and not only the possibility -- to withdraw their consent to data processing, Reding said. The burden of proof should be on data controllers -- those who process your personal data. They must prove that they need to keep the data, rather than individuals having to prove that collecting their data is not necessary.

Reding's spokesman, Matthew Newman, said that the laws would make the EU the first jurisdiction to deliver a right to be forgotten .

Maybe you've been at a party, up until four in the morning and you or someone you know posts photos of you . Well, it's a harmless bit of fun, but being unable to erase this can threaten your job or access to future employment.

The rules would give consumers a specific right to withdraw their consent to sharing their data: And after you have withdrawn your consent, there shouldn't even be a ghost of your data left in some server somewhere. It's your data and it should be gone for good.


18th March   

Update: Turkey Freer than the USA!...

Turkish plan for profiled ISP internet blocking from August
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

In his speech this week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that he doesn't understand why foreigners are all talking about the lack of freedom of speech in Turkey.

Justice and Development Party, or AKP, Vice President Hu seyin Celik said Turkey was years ahead in its legislation and many times more free in terms of press freedom than the United States.


However, I understand that this vagueness will go on and will spread to the government's Internet regulations. After Aug. 22 we will have a totally different system. The government is so kind and father-like that it wants us to be fully protected from any kind of harm that the Internet can bring about. This is why they have decided to provide Internet services to us filtered from the source. It is too much hassle to ban websites one by one, therefore they will have bundles and lists. According to the current plans there will be four types of bundles available.

These will be called Standart Profile (Standart Profil), Children's Profile (Cocuk Profili), Family Profile (Aile Profili) and Domestic Internet Profile (Yurtici Internet Profili). All of these profiles will be censored to various degrees so that we will be protected just as our profile needs to be, because our government knows best.

Each profile will have two lists assigned; A black one and a white one. In the black list there will be websites that will be banned and in the white one there will be websites that are allowed to be surfed.

The government says that they ban websites at the source so that our children will be fully protected. There will be no room for the human error of parents. Banning websites will be fully automatic. However, the people who will be in charge of these practices and the standardization of establishing these lists are very vague. The government will be able to censor any website at will. You won't even notice it.

I would also kindly like to warn any foreigners against deigning to think that the new system to be introduced on Aug. 22 violates freedoms. And please don't voice your concerns. Our prime minister can get angry at you. In fact, don't even try to understand it because our government is way ahead of you.


18th March   

Updated: Disproportionate...

Turkey set to block thousands of blogs over a dispute with one or two
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

A ban on Google's blogging platform, Blogger, is expected to fully go into effect within a few days unless it is successfully challenged in court.

A spat over rights to broadcast Turkish football matches has led a local court to issue a blanket ban on the popular blogging platform Blogger, angering Turkish Internet users with what experts said was a disproportionate response.

The court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir banned the website in response to a complaint by the satellite television provider Digiturk, which owns the broadcast rights to Turkish Super League games. Matches broadcast on Digiturk's Lig TV channel had been illegally posted by several Blogger users on their blogs.

This is a disproportionate response by the court and undoubtedly has a huge impact on all law-abiding citizens, cyber-rights activist Yaman Akdeniz told the Hu rriyet Daily News & Economic Review, adding that millions of Turkish bloggers and blog readers would be affected by the Diyarbakir court decision.

There are more than 600,000 Turkish bloggers actively using Blogger and some 18 million users from Turkey visited pages hosted by the site last month, Akdeniz said.

If two people plan a criminal activity on the phone, should we ban the use of telephones all over the country? asked Deniz Ergu rel, the secretary-general of the Media Association.

Bloggers and their readers reacted angrily and quickly to the court decision, with nearly 9,000 users of the social-networking website Facebook joining a group called Do not touch my blog in less than two days after the decision was announced. Similar campaigns have also been created on other websites, such as Twitter.

Update: Blogger Blocked

5th March 2011. See  article from

The row over who can broadcast football matches in Turkey has now led to Google's Blogger site being blocked.

Google confirmed the Blogger ban in a statement and said those with worries about piracy should turn to its easy to use takedown systems rather than seek a wholesale shutdown.

The process for making a copyright claim for content uploaded to Blogger is straightforward and efficient, and we encourage all content owners to use it rather than seek a broad ban on access to the service, said a spokesperson.

Update: Turkish internet users not happy about shameful censorship

6th March 2011. See  article from

In the wake of the court ban, many people have launched protests on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook against the ban imposed on Thousands of people became members of the Don't Touch My Blog page opened on Facebook.

People are calling for everyone to condemn Internet bans, boycott Digiturk and change DNS settings as well as opposing the current Internet law that makes such bans possible.

A statement released by bloggers at said: Digiturk, Google and the Republic of Turkey should be sensitive about the censoring shame from now on, all the anti-censor Internet users should support this movement, and all members of the press should lend their support to freedom of expression.

Tansel Parlak, an activist from the Young Civilians, a nongovernmental organization famous for its use of sarcasm in its protests, said the bans imposed on the Internet in Turkey have gone beyond being tragic-comic and become stupid. It is like cutting all the trees in a forest when you just need a few of them, he said.

Parlak also criticized Digiturk for triggering such a ban and taking a side against bloggers. He said the company's move has prompted many Digiturk subscribers to boycott the company due to the bans imposed on their blogs, which goes against the company's interests in the end. Parlak suggested loopholes in the current legislation that make such bans possible should be eliminated, and legal amendments should immediately be made to prevent further bans on the Internet.

Update: Blogger Restored

18th March 2011. See  article from

Access to Google's blogging platform Blogger was banned two weeks ago by a local court in Diyarbakir upon a complaint by Digiturk.

New evidence showing that Google had taken action against copyright violators led a prosecutor's office in Southeast Turkey to decide Monday to lift the ban on Blogger.

Cyber-rights activist Yaman Akdeniz said: The prosecutor's office in the Southeast province of Diyarbak?r -- home of the court that issued the ban -- decided to lift the ban after the expert opinion found that the accounts linked to the IP addresses on which Digiturk had filed its complaint had been deactivated by Google.


17th March   

Update: Registering Discontent...

Poland Prime Minister to back down on power to refuse registration to websites with video content
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Poland...In the name of dangerous gambling

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that he wanted a change in a controversial draft law that would censor websites.

Tusk said he would ask the upper house of parliament to scrap sections of the draft law that would require website owners providing audio-visual material to register with the National Broadcasting Council.

Critics said the law amounted to censorship because the council would have the power to turn down websites seeking registration.

The draft law was passed by the lower house of parliament and is now set for the Senate..

Some 10,800 internet have supported a Facebook page with the messgae: Government, leave the internet alone.


5th March   

Update: Opting In to Opting Out, or is that Opting Out of Opting In?...

O2 now blocks adult sites until users make a credit card payment to verify their age
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

O2 has been criticised by its customers after it implemented the age verification system without warning on Thursday.

Any of its 20m users who try to access a page that has been rated as 18+ will have to go through a verification page which demands a payment from a credit card.

The company insists that it has taken the step as a child protection measure. Previously it only implemented the block if the buyer or controller of a phone requested it, such as a parent buying for a child.

But the flip from the longstanding opt-in system to an opt-out system, where people have to make a payment on a credit card as an age verification measure -- on the basis that credit cards are only available and accessible to over-18s -- has annoyed users.

Users in its forums have worried that they are being scammed, and complained that O2 is censoring them.

O2 says that the move is not censorship, and that it is not profiting from the verification process. A £ 1 payment is made, but £ 2.50 is then refunded to the credit card and the phone is approved for full access. Customers only have to age verify once.

An O2 spokesperson acknowledged that people would have found it inconvenient and apologised for the lack of publicity for the introduction of the scheme. It could have been handled better, the spokesperson said.

News reports have also being picking on examples of over-blocking when innocuous sites have been put on the 18+ list for very little reason.

Changing to default blocking will surely make over-blocking a far greater issue. When opting for blocking, then it is presumably for the benefit of children and a 'better safe than sorry' approach makes sense. The kids just have to lump it.

But with a default blocking system, then an over-blocking approach will simply irritate users as their favourite websites get blocked for no apparent reason.

And of course there could be grounds for court compensation claims. Companies will be rightfully aggrieved if they lose business due to their websites being incorrectly blocked by O2.


2nd March   

Update: US Police Censorship...

Police given open ended powers to censor the internet without due process
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has received a great deal of backlash for their actions of seizing tens of thousands of domains over the past year, and accusing site owners of counterfeiting, piracy, and ,most recently, engaging in child pornography. Even a US Senator has pointed out that these actions may violate the constitutional rights of site owners affected, however ICE Director John Morton continues to defend the domain seizures as a noble effort to protect Americans.

Morton points out that websites are property that the government has the right to seize when evidence of a crime is revealed: We can seize and forfeit them just like we seize and forfeit bank accounts, houses and vehicles that are used in other crimes. Any instrument of a crime is subject to our jurisdiction in terms of seizure and forfeit.

Morton also states that the domain seizures are not a tool to censor websites ...BUT... to simply enforce copyright laws: We're about making sure that the intellectual property laws of the United States, which are clear, are enforced. When somebody spends hundreds of millions of dollars to develop the next movie or a billion dollars to develop the next heart medicine, the innovation and the enterprise that went into that effort is protected as the law provides. It's that simple.

Fine words but they will be lost on the tens of thousands of innocent website owners who had their domains seized last month. It is also the duty of these agencies to preserve the rights of Americans. These domain seizure processes need to be reviewed and appropriately overhauled before more mistakes are made and more innocent people are affected.


2nd March   

Update: Russian Police Censorship...

Police given open ended powers to censor the internet without judicial oversight
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media

A new Russian police law has come into force that gives officers the right to take down web sites without a court order but industry representatives said police can already do that under existing legislation.

The police's right is mentioned in a report on intellectual piracy submitted by the Economic Development Ministry to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which is preparing its own annual piracy survey

The ministry report, first leaked on the news web site, lists the police's right to shut down web sites among measures intended to help crack down on copyright infringement.

The police law provides officers with an instrument to terminate the activity of Internet resources that infringe on Russian and international copyright law, which was previously possible only with the judicial order or during investigation, the ministry said in the report.

The actual police legislation does not mention web sites, but contains vague wording that authorizes the police to order any organization to change or stop operations that contribute to criminal activity in any way.


27th February

 Offsite: No Such Thing as Strong Encryption...

Link Here
Full story: US Crypto Wars...US authorities look to breaking the encryption used to keep people safe
FBI pushes for backdoors in internet communication services

See article from


24th February   

Betting on Censorship...

Norway considers state internet censorship in the name of protecting its monopoly on betting
Link Here

Norway is deciding whether to start ISP blocking of online gambling sites that allow players from their country to gamble on the internet within Norway's borders.

The reason for this extreme censorship measure is that it has become apparent that even though legislation was passed in July of 2010 to block all financial transactions to all offshore gambling sites, players that gamble at these online gaming websites have increased despite the new ban.

A survey was taken and the results showed that about 4% of Norwegians over the age of 18 years old are still gambling at offshore gaming sites.

Besides the suggestion to block IP addresses, Norway is also considering taking legal action against operators that still accept players from Norway. The Culture of Censorship Minister has said that the need to consider filtering IP addresses of online gambling sites may be necessary.


23rd February   

Verifiably Unconstitutional...

US Congressman intends to introduce bill requiring strict age verification for adult websites
Link Here

US Representative Jim Matheson, a Democratic member of Congress is preparing a bill that would require porn sites to use sophisticated age verification technologies. He also wants to impose a 25% tax on porn sites to pay for the enforcement of the age verification.

Historically (pornography) has been age-restricted at a point of sale that's a brick-and-mortar store, Matheson told the Deseret News recently: For us to assume that since it's on the Internet that we should ignore it is wrong. As a society we've already made a decision that we want to restrict sales to a certain age.

Attempts to impose mandatory age verification on porn sites is nothing new, of course, and extend all the way back to the first Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which was passed in 1998 but which never took effect after the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2007 lower court decision that found the law facially in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution. COPA required all commercial distributors of material harmful to minors to restrict their sites from access by minors.

Content bases taxes also have a hard time when faced with constitutional challenges.


23rd February   

Update: Censorship Rules that Facebook Knocked Up...

Facebook ban partially nude pregnant profile picture
Link Here
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

A mum-to-be photographed in Demi Moore's famous naked pregnancy pose was left 'stunned' when Facebook banned it from her profile.

Angela Hurst got a professional snapper to set up the tasteful shot in which she covered her modesty.

Angela was so proud of the result she made it her profile picture. Just three days later Facebook removed it because its terms of use bar nudity .

Husband David said: The picture's lovely. This is a huge over-reaction.


23rd February   

Taxman Friends...

The Taxman uses Facebook too
Link Here

  Hazel Cunningham has been found guilty of UK Tax evasion and most of the evidence came from her Facebook photos.

The photos didn't add up to the tax returns she had filled in 2009. Investigators found numerous photos of multiple holidays in Turkey and photos of her lavish wedding in Barbados. Events that she shouldn't be able to afford on the government aid she was receiving.

Cunningham was receiving on average £ 170 per week from the UK government in benefits and tax relief. The court heard that Cunningham failed to notify the authorities of her maternity pay from her employer and she also claimed that she was a single mother when she was actually living with her husband.

She received a sentence of 120 days in prison after pleading guilty to four charges of making false statements and one failure to notify tax authorities of a change in circumstance. Additionally she was ordered to repay all the money she falsely claimed.

So remember to ensure that your Facebook photos match your tax returns because the taxman has gone social.


22nd February   

Update: Facebook Put in their Place...

New York Academy of Art fires off excellent attack on Facebook censors
Link Here
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

The New York Academy of Art wrote on their blog:

As the Academy makes its first bold forays into the expanding worlds of social media, we find ourselves reeling from a recent exchange with facebook, and on the edge of an interesting debate.

Just today, facebook alerted me that an image which violates their Terms of Use was removed from the New York Academy of Art's facebook page. A drawing by Steven Assael is in an exhibition curated by the Academy and shown at the Eden Rock Gallery in St. Barth's.

As an institution of higher learning with a long tradition of upholding the art world's traditional values and skills, we, the Graduate School of Figurative Art, find it difficult to allow facebook to be the final arbiter -- and online curator -- of the artwork we share with the world.

If facebook is a new online Salon de Paris, where a faceless group of curators determine what artwork the public should see, well then please consider our website the Salon de Refuse's!

And so we now ask: How is FACEBOOK controlling ART?

An Unwritten policy that sometimes allows drawings?

See  article from

So what happened?

Facebook now says it made a mistake. While the company bans nude photographs, its representatives say the company has an unwritten policy that allows drawings or sculptures of nudes.

We count many amateur -- and some professional -- artists among our employees, and we're thrilled that so many artists share their work on Facebook, Simon Axten, a Facebook spokesman, claimed in a statement: In this case, we congratulate the artist on his lifelike portrayal that, frankly, fooled our reviewers. [yeah yeah!] Each member of our investigations team reviews thousands of pieces of reported content every day and, of course, we occasionally make a mistake. We're sorry for the confusion here and we encourage the artist to repost his work.

But this sounds like bollox from from facebook:

A number of other figurative artists say they too have had their work removed by Facebook, and in some cases had their accounts blocked. They say they feel that Facebook is taking aim at their work and accuse it of censorship.

It seems like they have really gone after artists, said John Wellington, an artist in New York who is a graduate of the academy. The images they are taking down are clearly paintings. After one of his paintings was taken down recently, Wellington said he deleted from Facebook all the images that he had uploaded that showed a nipple, for fear that his account would be disabled.

Richard T. Scott, another graduate of the academy, who lives in Paris, said some images he had uploaded were also removed. He said he knew of more than 50 paintings, including some entered into an online contest of figurative drawings, that were deleted by Facebook. Scott said he was particularly concerned because Facebook had allowed him to showcase his work and to be discovered by galleries and collectors. For figurative painters, Facebook has been a democratizing force, and it has been pivotal for my career, he said.


21st February   

Update: Deviant From Their Own Guidelines...

Facebook ban all sex related content even if it is not pornographic and is following the published guidelines
Link Here
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

  Collared is a series of gay BDSM club nights and social events, and an associated online community

Last week Facebook wrote to Collared to confirm that it was actively enforcing a total ban on all fetish and BDSM content and that all fetish related groups and pages on its site will be subject to deletion without exception.

The Collared page was deleted by Facebook following a complaint from a site user.

The deletion angered and mystified many Collared members and supporters. As a community non-profit organization with a well-known and proven focus on safety and socialization the Facebook page was used merely as a means of communication between members. There was no explicit imagery or sexual content of any kind and the page was secret . The Page strictly followed the Facebook Terms at and especially condition (3.7):

  • You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

Facebook explained that: Any content that is primarily related to sexual activities is deemed to be in breach whether or not the there are any overtly explicit photos on the Facebook page . This applies whether the content is a closed or open group and whatever the nature of the sexual activity. When it comes to fetish content this is generally regarded as always sexual rather than social in nature and removed from the site.

This apparent policy should concern the entire fetish and BDSM community as it signals a discriminatory and inconsistent application of an unethical policy.

However following extensive communication with senior staff of the company Collared has successfully lobbied the Internet giant to review the ban. Facebook is currently engaged in a wide ranging internal dialogue to clarify the prohibition and to determine whether a total ban is justified. Collared will be consulted throughout this process. Facebook has reiterated that the review process will not necessarily result in a reversal of the ban. Instead it may focus on creating greater consistency, clarity and transparency in the enforcement of the prohibition.


18th February   

Malicious Gossip...

Gossip website closed
Link Here

A website used by school pupils and students to anonymously gossip about people they know has been closed by its owners due to malicious comments .

Little Gossip, which let users anonymously talk about others, was mainly popular with students.

It had been criticised by an anti-bullying charity in February for failing to remove schools from its list of places people can gossip about.

In a statement, the owners stressed it was their decision to close the site:

Voice without ownership means that a person's worst side can surface. Despite taking extensive measures to prevent malicious and unwanted comments a minority of irresponsible people have continued to abuse the site,.

A minority of irresponsible people have continued to abuse the site, something we can not support.

We have not been forced, it is solely our decision to shut down.


17th February   

Update: Hypnotised by an Alien...

Italian police take down satirical blog about Berlusconi
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

Italian Postal Police have closed an internet blog after an article was posted on February 4 that stated I want to kill Berlusconi and described the Italian prime minister as a hypnotizing alien.

The web master, Valieria Rossi was questioned by police at the central police station in Savona. The site,, was blocked and Rossi's computers were confiscated by police.

The Bologna public prosecutor ordered the action taken under slander, threats and instigation to criminal association laws.


17th February   

Updated: Mass censorship...

US takes down 84,000 websites
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

The US Government has yet again shuttered several domain names this week. The Department of Justice and Homeland Security's ICE office proudly announced that they had seized domains related to counterfeit goods and child pornography. What they failed to mention, however, is that one of the targeted domains took down 84,000 innocent websites with it.

Thousands of site owners were surprised by a rather worrying banner that replaced their website. Advertisement, distribution, transportation, receipt, and possession of child pornography constitute federal crimes that carry penalties for first time offenders of up to 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution, was the worrying message they read on their websites.

The shared domain in question is, which belongs to the DNS provider FreeDNS. It is the most popular shared domain at and as a result of the authorities' actions a massive 84,000 subdomains were wrongfully seized as well. All sites were redirected to the US takedown banner.

Eventually the domain seizure was reverted and the subdomains slowly started to point to the old sites again instead of the accusatory banner.

Meanwhile: Hilary Clinton scolds other nations for internet censorship

Based on article from

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned repressive governments not to restrict internet freedom, saying such efforts will ultimately fail.

She said the US was committed to global internet freedom and announced that the US government would invest an additional $25m to help online dissidents and digital activists fight state repression.

She named China, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam and Burma as countries restricting online speech, and noted that Egypt's attempt to stifle protesters by switching off the internet was unsuccessful. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook were important tools that gave voice to people's aspirations.

She acknowledged that the internet has a problem with hateful speech which can inflame hostilities, but said that efforts to curb such content often become an excuse to violate rights to free speech: The best answer to offensive speech is more speech. People can and should speak out against intolerance and hatred .

...BUT...she drew a sharp distinction between Wikileaks' possession of secret government correspondence and internet freedom.

Fundamentally, the Wikileaks incident began with an act of theft, Clinton said: Government documents were stolen, just the same as if they had been smuggled out in a briefcase.


16th February   

Update: Necessary and Proportionate...

EU Parliament committee backs EU wide website blocking proposal
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

The EU has taken a step towards common rules against those who sexually abuse children and post images of the abuse on the internet.

A committee of Euro MPs backed an EU draft directive calling for child abuse images to be removed at source.

Where removal is impossible - for example, because web pages are hosted outside the EU - then the abuse images may be blocked by national authorities.

MEPs aim to adopt the new rules later this year, after further negotiations.

MEPs insisted that any moves to block access to images on the web must be accompanied by transparent procedures and provide adequate safeguards so that the restriction is limited to what is necessary and proportionate .

The safeguards would include informing users of the reason for the block and informing content providers and users of their right to appeal.


13th February   

Update: Unappealing Children's Charities...

Nutters rant against right of appeal for websites blocked under new EU proposed law
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

The European parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee (LIBE) will meet in Strasbourg tomorrow, when it is expected to approve a controversial measure that would compel EU member states to inform internet publishers that their images are to be deleted from the internet or blocked for reasons of child pornography.

Publishers will also have to be informed of their right to appeal against any removal or blocking.

The measure would make the UK's system for blocking and removing child pornography without informing the publisher illegal.

MEPs seem more concerned with the rights of child pornographers than they do with the rights of children who have been sexually abused to make their foul, illegal images, said John Carr, the secretary of the Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety (And an adviser to the UK government on child internet safety!)


Surely it is non-child porn publishers that can appeal. If they can show that their sites are legal then it is absolutely correct that they should be able to prove their point.

On the other hand, child pornographers would simply have no case on which to make an appeal, their material is illegal, and will stay removed or blocked.


12th February   

Updated: Mums Against ISP Internet Blocking...

Mumsnet change their mind and come out against the idea
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

The politically influential online community Mumsnet has withdrawn support for a campaign to make ISPs block access to all adult content unless the customer specifically asks the ISP to let them see it.

The campaign, started by Claire Perry MP with the backing of morality in media activitists SaferMedia, has received a sympathetic hearing from Ed Vaizey, the Minister for the Internet.

Mumsnet site admins assumed their community would happily support a campaign that claimed to protect children and make the ISPs take responsibility for Internet content, and established a campaign page on the website. But the campaign was met with robust criticism from within the Mumsnet community that the proposal was technically unworkable, an illiberal censorship that would quickly lead to blocking Wikileaks, and that it was dangerous to shift blame to ISPs for bad parenting.

Perhaps the most telling argument was that the Mumsnet site itself could be blocked over its depictions of breast feeding.

The Mumsnet campaign page in favour of Internet blocking has now been deleted, leaving only a 300-entry discussion thread and write-ups by Mumsnet bloggers to document the policy blunder.

Update: Safermedia describe the Mumsnet decision as an 'hysterical reaction'

12th February 2011. See  article from

Claire Perry, who writing in yesterday's Telegraph, defended the policy of filtering the web to protect children, was surprised to learn of Mumsnet's u-turn on the matter and said that she would be taking it up with the founders of the site.

Pippa Smith, co-chairwoman of Safer Media, the Christian group behind the campaign for anti-pornography filters to be switched on by default, said: I am surprised that parents would be critical of the campaign because the idea is to help parents. If internet users have to opt in to view pornography parents don't have to worry about protecting their children from it...I think there has to be censorship to protect children. If you're over 18 you won't be censored [under the proposals] . [But parents will be faced with blocked websites if they have opted for filtering for their children. At the moment it would be quite tricky to set up a separately configured connection for each family member.]

When asked about Mumsnet's about-turn on the matter, she replied: You do hear of the odd story of hysterical reactions on this kind of online forum. I'm not concerned about our campaign on the basis of what is said on one website.


11th February   

Update: Hammering in the Wedge in the EU...

European Parliament set for first vote on mandatory website blocking
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

Cecilia Malmstrom, the European commissioner for home affairs, is worried that MEPs' amendments to a draft directive on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children would make it more difficult for EU member states to block access to websites carrying child pornography.

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee is to vote on the European Commission's proposal and MEPs' amendments on 14th February.

At present, it is up to member states whether they want to block websites such content. The Commission is seeking to introduce an obligation on all member states to block access in cases where their removal is impossible.

A majority of member states back the mandatory blocking of internet sites but the measure has run into trouble with MEPs. Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg have also openly rejected the measure.

Some of the hundreds of amendments to the draft regulation put forward by MEPs would introduce EU-wide rules that would make it more difficult for member states to continue blocking websites. Many MEPs are concerned about the implications of website blocking for freedom of speech.

I am a liberal, I consider free speech as a fundamental value and I have fought for that all my life, so accusations that I'm trying to censor the internet and limit freedom of speech really go to my heart because that is absolutely not what I'm trying to do, Malmstro m said. But I have seen those pictures; they have nothing to do with freedom of speech. This is a horrible violation.

She also rejected the slippery-slope argument -- the notion that once the EU imposed rules on blocking access to one type of website, it could do so for other types in the future. I intend in no way to propose any other type of blocking for any other thing, but this particular crime demands particular attention.


7th February   

A Useless Curse...

Nigerian arrested for cursing his state governor on Facebook
Link Here

A Nigerian was recently jailed for posting a curse on his Facebook profile about the governor of Jigawa.

Writing in the local Hausa dialect, Moukhtar Ibrahim Aminu asked for divine punishment to be delivered upon Governor Sule Lamido.

He was arrested and held for seven days for defamation.

His curse translates into English as: Allah curse Sule Lamido and all his useless friends. Allah make Sule Lamido and his friend useless, according to the U.K. Press Association. Many people in the region believe that such curses can actually damage people for life.

Aminu was arrested at the request of the governor.


3rd February   

Update: Stoners Stand Down...

Councillor escapes prosecution after offending Yasmin Alibhi-Brown with a jokey tweet
Link Here
Full story: Twitter Twits...Police overreact to trivial insults via Twitter and Facebook

The authorities will take no further action will be taken against a Birmingham Conservative councillor who joked that a journalist to be stoned to death.

Councillor Gareth Compton made the remark about Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on his Twitter page in November after he took issue with what she said on a radio debate. Compton, who remains suspended from the Tory party, later apologised.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped the case after Ms Alibhai-Brown refused to make any complaint. The member of the public who initially reported the incident to police also failed to provide a statement, the CPS said.

Alibhai-Brown appeared on Radio 5 Live's breakfast show discussing human rights in China. Afterwards, Compton tweeted: Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really.

Speaking at the time, Alibhai-Brown said she had been upset that somebody felt it was OK to say such things: If I, as a Muslim woman, had said about him what he said about me then I would be arrested in these times of the war against terror .


24th January   

We're All Mad...

Internet social networking seen as a form of madness by a sanity challenged sociologist
Link Here

The way in which people communicate online via social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be seen as a modern form of madness, according to a sociologist.

Sherry Turkle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writes in her new book, Alone Together : A behaviour that has become typical may still express the problems that once caused us to see it as pathological.

Under the illusion of allowing us to communicate better, technology is actually isolating us from real human interactions in a cyber-reality that is a poor imitation of the real world, she suggests.

We have invented inspiring and enhancing technologies, yet we have allowed them to diminish us, she writes.

Review: Alone Together by Sherry Turkle

From US Amazon

In Alone Together Sherry Turkle offers a fascinating and highly readable analysis of how increasingly intelligent machines and a highly networked world are impacting us socially and psychologically. The book is roughly divided into two parts: the first focuses on social robots, or autonomous machines that interact directly with us, while the second part delves into the increasingly networked world and the implications a tethered society in which many individuals are unable to break away from email, social networking and in some cases prefer online games like Second Life to the real world.

Some of the most fascinating material in the book involves Turkle's investigations of how children perceive these technologies and how their social world view is impacted. Early in the book, Turkle tells how children lined up at an exhibit that included live (but immobile) turtles felt that it would have been better to replace the live animals with robots -- both because robots would provide a more active display and because the captive animals could then be returned to their natural environment. This idea of children (and even adults) placing a low premium on authenticity comes up again and again. Robotic pets are seen as having important advantages over the real thing. Elderly patients indicate that, at least in some areas, they might prefer a robotic caretaker to a human one.

Turkle's conclusion is that our social preferences are evolving to include, and in many cases even prefer, technology over people. As she says, Our relationships with robots are ramping up; our relationships with people are ramping down. This is obviously something that should perhaps give us pause.


18th January   

Chilling Demands...

Google resist Spanish demand to censor specified newspaper articles from search listings
Link Here

Google has said it will challenge Spain's data protection authority Agencia Española de Protección de Datos demand to remove 100 defamatory articles in newspapers and official gazettes from its search listings.

The search engine has been quoted in a Guardian story arguing that it acts only as an intermediary and therefore it cannot be held responsible for all content on the internet. Google's director of external relations for Europe Peter Barron said: Requiring intermediaries like search engines to censor material published by others would have a profound, chilling effect on free expression without protecting people's privacy.

The data regulator said the only way to block access to sensitive material published by some sites is by doing so in the search engine listings.


17th January   

Fare Comment...

China arrests micro blogger for tweets about a taxi strike
Link Here

According to NDdaily, a man, known as Mr. Zhou, was arrested for micro-blogging a Taxi driver strike at Xianning city on December 19, 2010 under the charge of organizing a mob to disturb the social order . He is still under police detention.

Zhou was once a taxi driver and participated in Taxi driver strike back in 2006. But he has since changed his occupation.

On December 16, 2010, a large scale Taxi driver strike took place in Xianning city and on December 18, Zhou reported the strike via his Tianya micro blog account. He had sent out a total of 17 tweets on the strike eg:

Since December 16 2010, a large scale Taxi driver strike has taken place in Hubei Xianning. The reason behind the action is the government's decision to draw back the Taxi operation license which had been issued for more than 10 years. This strike is similar to the one happened in February 2006. However, this time the police has arrested the active drivers. All the government has mobilized all the city police to monitor and track down the drivers. All level of the governments and leaders of city, county and town governments are determined to accomplish the mission.

Zhou was arrested the next day on December 19 2010 and his computer was confiscated. According to the arrest document, he was in suspect of organizing a mob to disturb the social order .


6th January   

Update: The Leaky B@@b...

Facebook again get offended by breast feeding pictures
Link Here
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

It's been a hectic start to the year for mom Jessica Martin-Weber, founder and editor of the breastfeeding support group The Leaky B@@b.

The group, which offers a space on Facebook for around 5,000 breastfeeding moms to ask questions and offer advice and support, was deleted over the weekend. Facebook claimed that it had violated their Terms of Service, insinuating that breastfeeding photos posted on the group's page were obscene.

In response to the deletion, breastfeeding supporters, both former members of the group and others, jumped into action, creating two pages on Facebook, Bring Back the Leaky Boob and TLB Support, which together gained more than 10,000 fans.

Martin-Weber released a statement urging Facebook not only to restore the group's page, but to stop considering breastfeeding and any other material and photos related to breast health, obscene.

Shortly thereafter, Facebook reinstated the group's page after 'offending' photos  and pages were deleted by Facebook, also vaguely claiming that they were in violation of the company's Terms of Service.

Shortly after Facebook has once again deleted The Leaky B@@b – as well as the Bring Back the Leaky Boob group that had formed in response to its deletion!

But again later restored The Leaky B@@b and the page is currently still available.

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