FBI pushes for backdoors in internet communication services
See article from wired.com
Norway considers state internet censorship in the name of protecting its monopoly on betting
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.
Gossip website closed
See article from
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
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.
Italian police take down satirical blog about Berlusconi
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, savonaponente.com, 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.
US takes down 84,000 websites
Based on article from
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
The shared domain in question is mooo.com, which belongs to the DNS provider FreeDNS. It is the most popular shared domain at afraid.org 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.
Hilary Clinton scolds other nations for internet censorship
Based on article from bbc.co.uk
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.
EU Parliament committee backs EU wide website blocking proposal
See article from
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.
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 .
would include informing users of the reason for the block and informing content providers and users of their right to appeal.
Nutters rant against right of appeal for websites blocked under new EU proposed law
See article from
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.
Mumsnet change their mind and come out against the idea
11th February 2011. See article from
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
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.
Safermedia describe the Mumsnet decision as an 'hysterical reaction'
12th February 2011. See article from telegraph.co.uk
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.
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.
European Parliament set for first vote on mandatory website blocking
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
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.
Nigerian arrested for cursing his state governor on Facebook
See article from
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.
Councillor escapes prosecution after offending Yasmin Alibhi-Brown with a jokey tweet
Based on article from
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 .
Internet social networking seen as a form of madness by a sanity challenged sociologist
See article from telegraph.co.uk
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.
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.
Google resist Spanish demand to censor specified newspaper articles from search listings
article from media.cbronline.com
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.
China arrests micro blogger for tweets about a taxi strike
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 .
Facebook again get offended by breast feeding pictures
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
But again later restored The Leaky B@@b and the page is currently still available.