Pity the poor censor that has to read all the self published books on Kindle
25th June 2012. See article from
The Daily Mail has gathered together a few whinges about books being sold on Amazon without being pre-censored.
Amazon sells a vast number of ebooks, downloaded by readers from its website. Many of these are self published and hence haven't been
subjected to massively expensive vetting by publishers.
The Daily Mail cites a few examples including anti-Semitic prose, instructions on growing marijuana, and glorifying dog fighting.
One ebook, Prophet Muhammad: Monster of History
, includes images of a Koran being burned and a woman being hanged. The author, Jake Neuman, says of its content on his own website: The writings contained in this book are now illegal in most Western countries.
The ludicrously easily
offended Muslim Council of Britain has inevitably called for Amazon to take proper responsibility for the content of the books on its site:
Freedom of expression should not be unlimited, and publications that
cause anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Jewish hatred or homophobic hatred should not be allowed.
A Sunday Times investigation also revealed a few examples: an ebook entitled Reverend Rapist , which describes a priest sexually
assaulting a young girl; TNT FAQ and How to Make Nitroglycerin ; other eBooks included personal attacks on members of the public - thought to be by disgruntled ex-spouses or partners.
The Sunday Times also extracted a few comments from
Richard Mollet, chief executive of the Publishers Association, but as publishers are in direct competition with self publishing then surely these can dismissed as worthless.
Labour MP and sound byteist Paul Flynn said:
If Amazon is providing the platform for books that wouldn't be published otherwise, it is responsible. This is a cavalier attitude to inflammatory material.
Offsite Comment: Why should Amazon
be our taste and decency police?
27th June 2012. See article from
indexoncensorship.org by Jo Glanville
Clearer guidelines are needed to protect free speech online and that should include material that causes offence. Expecting virtual booksellers, hosts and publishers to operate as taste and decency police would introduce unaccountable censorship
based on subjective criteria. The best-selling erotica Fifty Shades of Grey , which began life on fan-fiction websites, and was first published as an ebook and print-on-demand paperback, might well have failed such a test and deprived the world of
the delights of mummy porn.
...Read the full article
Facebook speaks of its censorship procedures
|24th June 2012
See article from
Facebook have revealed some of their procedures used for responding to complaints about user posted content.
Facebook employs 4 teams based in Menlo Park, Austin, Dublin and Hyderabad. Facebook explained:
Reports of inappropriate content, which users can submit with just a couple of clicks, are directed to one of four support teams.
An Abusive Content Team handles spam and sexually explicit content. Meanwhile, a Safety Team handles threats of vandalism, graphic violence, credible threats of violence and illegal drug use. A Hate and Harassment Team handles,
well, reports of hate speech and harassment. The team that handles hacked and imposter accounts is called the Access Team.
If found to be in violation of Facebook's policies, Statement of Rights and Responsibilities or Community
Standards, the content is removed and its publisher warned. Facebook's support teams may also block users who post inappropriate content or ban them from specific features. A separate team handles appeals.
Sometimes content on
Facebook violates not just the company's policies, but the law. Facebook says it will share reports with law enforcement when:
we have a good faith belief it is necessary to prevent fraud or other illegal activity, to
prevent imminent bodily harm, or to protect ourselves and you from people violating our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
|15th June 2012 |
Australian political cartoonist gets suspended from Facebook for his nude depiction of PM Julia Gillard wearing a strap-on
article from lpickering.net
|14th June 2012
Social networking site silences chat facilities after Channel 4 News investigation criticises the website for enabling child abuse through inadequate checks and moderation.
article from bbc.com
Picture of shop window dummy all too much for Instagram
|7th June 2012
Thanks to Nick
The photo shariing website Instagram is well acquainted with censorship as it has previously worked closely with Apple's iPhone and iPad. It recently made the news when acquired by Facebook.
But their response to a photo of a shop window dummy
posted on Instagram is nothing short of unbelievable.
The Instagram censorship team wrote:
It has come to our attention that your account on Instagram has violated our Community Guidelines, which can be
found here: http://j.mp/rswUWS
In short, we ask that you:
Don't share photos that aren't yours.
Don't share photos that show nudity or mature content.
Don't share photos of illegal content.
We strongly suggest deleting any additional content on your account that may not fall in line with the above guidelines.
We value these guidelines, and believe that they will help keep Instagram a safe &
fun place for everyone. It is important to note that continuing to violate them may result in a disabled account, or discontinued access to Instagram, without warning.
Thanks, The Instagram Team
Breast cancer recovery pictures offend Facebook's cheapo censors
|27th May 2012
Joanne Jackson had a photo session to commemorate winning her battle with the killer disease after having a mastectomy - and posted them on the social networking site.
But Facebook removed some of the images, which revealed her operation scar, for
Joanne has been warned that further abusive breaches will result in her account being shut down.
Angry Joanne said:
There is nothing pornographic or explicit about these pictures.
That was not the idea at all. I took breast cancer and the mastectomy in my stride and decided it wasn't going to stop me living my life. It wasn't going to define who I was, and it didn't make me any less attractive as a woman.
has no idea who reported the pictures but the warning came out of the blue and lacked any hint of sensitivity. The message said:
Content you shared on Facebook has been removed because it violated Facebook's Statement
of Rights and Responsibilities. Shares that contain nudity, pornography and graphic sexual content are not permitted on Facebook. This serves as a warning. Additional violations may result in the termination of your account.
Facebook spokesman confirmed that several images had been removed because they breached terms and conditions. He shamefully spouted that Facebook welcomed mastectomy pictures. ..BUT... said that some images may breach regulations.
Pakistan winds up internet users by temporarily banning Twitter over a couple of supposedly offensive posts
|22nd May 2012 |
21st May 2012. See
Pakistan's government blocked the popular social networking website Twitter after material considered 'offensive' to Islam was posted on the site.
Mohammed Yaseen, the head of Pakistan's telecommunications body, said Twitter refused to remove
material referring to a group on Facebook in which users post images of the religious character Muhammed.
The ban was lifted eight hours later. Interior Minister Rehman Malik wrote on Twitter itself to reveal that prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani
had lifted the ban. Malik tweeted:
I spoke to PM and informed how people are feeling about it. PM ordered to reopen the Twitter.
Husain Haqqani, the previous Pakistani ambassador to the UN, wrote on
Ban on any form of free expression has no place in a democracy. If some1 offends, bar offender instead of banning medium.
Update: Everybody Draw Mohammed Day
22nd May 2012. See article from
Pakistan once again blocked access to Twitter over the weekend because of concerns over blasphemy. Apparently the block related to the Draw Mohammed Day Facebook page, this time apparently because people were tweeting about it.
Two years ago, Pakistan blocked access to Facebook, Twitter and other sites after a competition page was created calling on users to draw the religious character Mohammed. A year later, there was another short-lived block on the anniversary of the
Thousands of users went online to protest what they saw as a pointless and ineffective ban that actually drew attention to what it was supposed to block.
|19th May |
Kuwaiti jailed for 10 years for supposed insult of prince via YouTube videos
See article from
Arabic Network For Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the sentence of 10 years in jail and a fine of 1000 Kuwaiti Dinars handed to Lawrence al-Rashidi, a Kuwaiti blogger, on charges of insulting the Prince and his powers in poems uploaded on
YouTube . ANHRI considers this ruling as evidence that freedom of expression in Kuwait has reached a new low.
The case began in June 2011, when the general prosecution accused al-Rashidi of spreading false news and rumors about the
situation in the country , uploading visual and audio recordings prepared by him on YouTube , calling for the demolition of values and ethics , and calling on tribes to appoint a Prince of the country, demonstrate, confront the
ruling regime, and bring down its transgressions . Al-Rashidi is also being tried because of his posts on Twitter, deemed by the authorities as an insult to the princely identity .
We are deeply disturbed over this cruel and shocking
ruling. The campaign launched against activists in Kuwait is escalating. The Kuwaiti government is detaining bloggers and activists because they express their opinion on the Internet and use it in their discussions and exchange of information, said
|17th May |
Indian court orders Google to take down two blogs hosted on Blogger
The Delhi Court has found blogger Jitender Bagga's blogs against Art of Living leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to be defamatory and has ordered Google to take them down. Google complied with the order.
The complaint against the blogger is for content
posted on his blog hosted on Blogpost (owned by Google) at revolutionprithvi.blogspot.in and srisriravishankarisguruorconman.blogspot.in. The directive by the High Court seemed to be another harsh ruling biased against the Internet and freedom of speech.
However, if one looks at the websites listed in the complaint and the content, it does appear that Jitender Bagga was vindictive and has an axe to grind. Voicing ones opinion as form of art or literature is one thing, going hammer and tongs against
someone in a malicious and resentful attack, is something completely different.
|5th May |
Headmaster reprehensibly threatens to report parents of underage Facebook users to social services
your headmaster snitched you up
A primary school head has threatened to shop parents to social services if they allow pupils to use Facebook and other networking sites.
Paul Woodward has warned parents that persistently letting children flout Facebook's 13-plus age rule could
warrant investigation by child protection teams.
He estimates that at least 60% of the 270-plus children at his school have access to social networking sites.
Woodward, a branch secretary for the National Association of Head Teachers,
demanded a ban on children setting up social media accounts.
Head teachers are also demanding greater protection from porn accessed through smartphones, as well as measures to stop young children playing 18-rated video games.
|5th May |
Kuwaiti bill to impose the death penalty for insult of religious characters passes its second reading
Kuwaiti lawmakers have endorsed a legal amendment which looks set to make insulting the religious characters of God and Mohammad punishable by death.
The bill has now passed its second reading and now just needs approval by Kuwait's ruler before
it becomes law. The law was passed by 40 votes to 6.
The draft now includes a new clause which will mean the death penalty will only be applied if the person stands by their actions when questioned by a judge. This would give defendants the
opportunity to repent and face a prison term or a fine instead. The amendment would also apply the death penalty only for Muslims.
|1st May |
Government know better than parents when their kids are ready to use Facebook
See article from telegraph.co.uk
Tim Loughton, the Children's Minister, has accused mothers and fathers of aiding and abetting pre-teens to open accounts on Facebook.
His whinge was in response to Labour MP Ann Coffey who urged the Government and mobile phone companies to
do more to combat sexting , where teenagers send sexual pictures of themselves to each other using camera phones.
Loughton said parents had a responsibility to monitor youngsters online, adding:
Facebook page, you should be at least 13 to do that. That is not legally enforceable.
We know, and I know from personal experience, the temptations for younger children to set up a Facebook site and get involved with those social
And I also know that in too many cases they do that aided and abetted by parents. So it's not just a question of giving information to parents, it's making sure parents are acting responsibly on behalf of their children
A Facebook spokesman said:
Facebook is currently designed for two age groups (13-18 year olds and 18 and up), and we provide extensive safety and privacy controls based on the age provided.
If someone reports an underage account to use then we will remove it, and use back-end end technology to try and prevent them signing up again.
However, recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is
to implement age restrictions on the Internet and that there is no single solution to ensuring younger children don't circumvent a system or lie about their age.
However, we agree with safety experts that communication between
parents/guardians and kids about their use of the Internet is vital.
Just as parents are always teaching and reminding kids how to cross the road safely, talking about internet safety should be just as important a lesson to learn.
|1st May |
A case that questions the Pentagon's limits on free speech for soldiers. Marine sacked after commenting on Facebook: 'Screw Obama and I will not follow all orders from
See article from guardian.co.uk
|21st April |
Website ends the publishing revenge porn vids of ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends
Thanks to Nick
See article from
The owner of a notorious revenge porn blog has closed the website, selling its domain to an anti-bullying group. The IsAnyoneUp.com domain now redirects to a page on Bullyville.com featuring Moore's announcement and a statement from Bullyville.
IsAnyoneUp.com had been encouraging people to send in intimate pictures of ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends for more than a year.
The site's owner Hunter Moore Moore blamed the drama of receiving submitted content involving under-age
subjects as one of the key reasons for wanting to close down the site.
New owner Bullyville.com said: IsAnyoneUp.com served no public good. That is why it is offline. In an interview with ABC's Nightline, Bullyville's founder James McGibney
added: No doubt, [Moore] was the No.1 internet bully out there and we took him down... not a hostile takeover but in a politically correct way.
During its time online, Moore's site attracted more than 300,000 hits a day.
whose pictures were published without their permission, were often ridiculed, with many forced to shut down their various social networking profiles identified by the site.
In September 2011, the site was served a cease and desist letter by
Facebook, threatening Moore with legal action over featuring screenshots from the networking site. Moore published the letter on his blog, apparently ignoring the request. Moore has claimed he sent Facebook's lawyers a picture of his genitals in reply.
|17th April |
Kuwaiti Tweeter jailed for 7 years for supposed false news and religious insult
See article from
Arabic Network For Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the sentencing of Kuwaiti writer Mohamed al-Melify to 7 years' imprisonment and a fine of $18,000 on charges of supposedly spreading false statements via Twitter. He was arrested by the
authorities last February.
The Kuwait Criminal Court found the writer guilty of spreading false news through his personal Twitter page about sectarian divisions in the country and publishing insults against Shiism in addition to charges of libel
and defamation of the MP Ahmed Lari.
The police also arrested a Shiite citizen last month for insulting the Prophet on his Twitter page, an act that angered Sunnis in the country, even leading some members of the Parliament to call for his
It is not permissible to punish a person for whatever religious views, political affiliation, or other opinions that he/she expresses. The imprisonment of writers and Tweeps tarnishes Kuwait's reputation in the field of freedom of
opinion and expression. Therefore, ANHRI calls on the authorities to drop all charges against al-Melify and all prisoners of conscience, and put forward legislation that would ensure the rights to freedom of opinion and expression.
Parliament provisionally approves law requiring the death penalty for religious insult
article from worthynews.com
parliament has provisionally passed amendments to its penal code requiring the death penalty for anyone who curses Allah, Mohammad, or his many wives.
Forty-six MPs voted for the amendments: a second and final vote will take place in two weeks.
Shi'ite MPs also demanded the death penalty for anyone who curses their sect's 12 revered Imams, but the Sunni-dominated parliament rejected it.
Update: Trial date set for blasphemy victim
17th May 2012.
See article from gulfnews.com
A Kuwaiti blogger held for supposedly posting abusive remarks against the religious character Mohammad will know about his fate next week.
A court said that Hamad Naqi would be tried on May 21 on charges of denigrating Islam and insulting
Mohammad, disseminating false and misleading claims and promoting a sect that aims to undermine security in the country.
However, Naqi denied the charges and said that his Twitter account had been hacked.
Several Kuwaiti lawmakers last
month said they would launch public protests if Naqi is not punished for the supposed blasphemy.
|11th April |
What is about modern life that makes judges feel they have to counter verbal diarrhea in text messages with extreme punishments?
See article from
A Saudi court has sentenced a local woman to 50 lashes for swearing at her friend, following an argument, a newspaper reported.
The two Saudi women decided to go out with their children for a weekend night but argued on where to go. The two women
decided to split ... one of them later sent a text to her friend's mobile phone swearing at her.
The other woman went to court and showed the judge the message ... although that woman said she was joking, the court ordered her lashed 50 times.
|11th April |
Egyptian jailed for 3 years for posting Mohammed cartoons on Facebook
article from blogs.reuters.com
An Egyptian court sentenced a 17-year-old Christian boy to three years in jail for publishing cartoons on his Facebook page that supposedly mocked Islam and Mohammad.
Gamal Abdou Massoud was also accused of distributing some of his cartoons to his
school friends in a village in the southern city of Assiut.
Human rights lawyer Negad al-Borai said the jail sentence was the maximum penalty under Egyptian law for such a crime.
Assiut child's court ordered the jailing of Gamal Abdou
Massoud ... for three years after he insulted Islam and published and distributed pictures that insulted Islam and its Prophet, the court said in a statement seen by Reuters.
Some muslims responded to the cartoon in traditional violent
fashion. Muslims attacked several Christian houses, which were burned, and several Christians were injured in the violence.
|8th April |
Liam Stacey wrote vile things. But do you know why he went to jail? Well, you should. By Victoria Cohen
article from guardian.co.uk
|7th April |
Google auto-complete feature under duress from a Japanese court
See article from
Google searches on most browsers and devices automatically suggest search terms as you type, based on the search terms popularity.
Numerous outlets reported that a court in Japan had asked Google to suspend the autocomplete function entirely,
after a Japanese man claimed his certain criminal acts appeared as a suggestion next to his name when Googled. The man claims he was fired from one job, and missed out on being hired from others, because of the association.
The court ruled that
certain terms must be deleted from searches, Google says, rather than a blanket ban on autocomplete. Google said:
A Japanese court issued a provisional order requesting Google to delete specific terms from
autocomplete. The judge did not require Google to completely suspend the autocomplete function. Google is currently reviewing the order.
The Google spokesperson wouldn't speculate as to whether or not Google autocomplete could be
turned-off entirely in Japan.
|2nd April |
Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights considers jail to be excessive for an insult on Twitter
See article from
The Swansea student given 56 days in prison for posting racially offensive comments on Twitter should not have been jailed, according to Europe's most senior human rights official.
In an interview the day before he left office, Thomas Hammarberg,
the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, said the sentence imposed by British courts on Liam Stacey was excessive.
After six years in his post at Strasbourg, the Swedish official used his departing comments to plead for greater
freedom of expression and to question blanket imposition of traditional media restraints on the internet. Hammarberg told the Guardian:
It was too much. He shouldn't have gone to prison. To put him in prison was wrong.
Politicians are at a bit of loss to know how to ... protect internet freedom while also having regulations against [such problems as] hate speech and child pornography.
There are limits to freedom of
expression but regulators don't know how to handle this. It would be useful to have a more enlightened discussion at a European level, otherwise we are going to have different practices in different countries.
In traditional media
there are editors who are responsible for print content. It's not so easy to have to the same legal procedures when it comes to action [against lone online voices].
People are at a loss to know how to apply rules for the
traditional media to the new media. It's tricky and that's why there needs to be a more thorough discussion about this.