Twitter is taking its first step towards censorship.
Chief Executive Dick Costolo who was speaking to the Financial Times, described his frustration in tackling the problem of horrifying abuse. Irresponsible twitter-users apparently find the site ideal for expressing all kinds of extremist, racist
and sexist opinions.
To stop the hate speech anarchy, Twitter is considering starting off by blocking the very possibility of replies from so-called non-authoritative users, marked out by the absence of a profile picture, followers or bio information, as FT.com
reports. This is the first step, but there might be more to come.
However, the company's management is concerned that by installing any kinds of selective measures, they may put an end to the unique Twitter-style freedom of tweets that has helped Arab revolutions.
The reason we want to allow pseudonyms is there are lots of places in the world where it's the only way you'd be able to speak freely, FT quotes Dick Costolo as saying. Twitter is basically the last harbor of anonymity, as it does not have
to be linked with such powerful database platforms as Facebook and Google. Silencing trolls may hit those revolutionary users as well.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 being offensive.
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.
She 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.
A 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's government blocked the popular social networking website Twitter after material considered 'offensive' to Islam was posted on
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 the website:
Ban on any form of free expression has no place in a democracy. If some1 offends, bar offender instead of banning medium.
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.
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 ANHRI.
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.
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.
Tim Loughton, the Children's Minister, has accused mothers and fathers of aiding and abetting pre-teens to open accounts
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:
Having a 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 media.
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 too.
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.
Anonymous Launches A New & Secure Alternative To PasteBin
Anonymous and the Peoples Liberation Front are proud to announce a totally secure and safe alternative to the now infamous PasteBin service: AnonPaste - www.AnonPaste.tk
As many might be aware, PasteBin has been in the news lately for making some rather shady claims as to what they are willing to censor, and when they are willing to give up IP addresses to the authorities.
And so the PLF and Anonymous have teamed up to offer a paste service truly free of all such nonsense.
Here is a brief list of some of the features of AnonPaste:
No connection logs, period.
All pastes are encrypted BY THE BROWSER using 256 bit AES encryption. This means there is no usable paste data stored on the server for the authorities or anyone else to seize.
No moderation or censorship. Because the data on our servers is unreadable by us (or anyone), the responsibility for the legality or appropriateness of any paste is the sole responsibility of the person posting. So there will be no need for us to police
this service, and in fact we don't even have the ability of deleting any particular paste.
No advertisements. This service will be totally user supported through donations. Links for this are available on the web site.
Paste services have become very popular, and many people want to post controversial material. This is especially so for those involved in Information Activism. We feel that it is essential that everyone, and especially those in the movement - have a safe
and secure paste service that they can trust with their valuable and often politically sensitive material. As always, we believe in the radical notion that information should be free.
Anonymous and the Staff of the Peoples Liberation Front PLF - www.PeoplesLiberationFront.net
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.
Subjects, 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.
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
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 execution.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.