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Paypal censors close account of the Free Speech Union...

Decision by US payments company is a sinister form of cancel culture'


Link Here 21st September 2022
Full story: Paypal Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as media censors
PayPal has shut down the account of the Free Speech Union, an organisation which defends people who have lost work for expressing opinions.

The US payments company censors were clearly offended by free speech and decided to shut down the accounts of the Free Speech Union, its founder Toby Young, and his opinion and news website the Daily Sceptic with no clear explanation. Paypal merely spouted the bollox explanations that the union had 'violated PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy'.

The Telegraph reports that a likely explanation is that the organisation has helped to defend people who claim they have lost work for expressing opinions, for example Gillian Philip, the author who said her contract was terminated because she stood up for JK Rowling on Twitter amid a row over transgender rights. It has also challenged universities that have no-platformed gender-critical academics.

Toby Young said:

I suspect it's because in reality PayPal doesn't value free expression and open dialogue or the people and organisations that stand up for those principles. Withdrawing financial services from dissidents and non-conformists and those who dare to defend them is the new frontline in the ongoing war against free speech.

The Free Speech Union will be lobbying the Government to put new laws in to prevent companies like PayPal demonetising organisations and individuals because their employees disapprove of their views.

 

Offsite article: Why has PayPal cancelled the Free Speech Union?

See article from spectator.co.uk by Toby Young

It's left me wanting to do something about this insidious new way of cancelling people. As the switch to a cashless society gathers speed, we need to put some laws in place to protect people from being punished by companies like PayPal for saying something their employees disapprove of.

 

Offsite article: Big Tech is waging financial war on dissenters

See article from spiked-online.com by Tom Slater

PayPal's banning of the Free Speech Union is its most sinister move yet.

 

 

Extract: The Media Demanded That Airbnb Do More Background Checks...

Now It's Upset That Airbnb Is Banning People With Criminal Records


Link Here 19th September 2022
For years, the media has hyped up the idea that Airbnbs may be dangerous and used by criminals. At some point, it's no wonder that the company would start to just cut off people with criminal records, because of the PR problems it causes. The company even went so far as to buy a background check company that it had used.

Either way, it seems clear that Airbnb is going too far in banning people like Hallam, but it really shouldn't be a surprise. If we keep pushing moral panic style stories about the dangers of criminals using services like Airbnb, we shouldn't then be surprised when the company says okay, no more people with a criminal record no matter how totally unfair that might be.

See full article from techdirt.com

Can't we find a way to recognise good people from bad? Are we paving the way for the acceptability of Chinese style social scoring?

 

 

Offsite Article: California's war on internet freedom...


Link Here19th September 2022
Full story: Internet Censorship in US...Left leaning media companies cancel the right
New state laws claiming to protect children will infantilise us all. By Norman Lewis

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 

Extract: Gavin Newsom Fucks Over The Open Internet...

California Governor Signs Disastrously Stupid Age Appropriate Design Code


Link Here16th September 2022
Full story: Internet Censorship in US...Left leaning media companies cancel the right

Gavin Newsom, who wants to be President some day, and thus couldn't risk misleading headlines that he didn't protect the children, has now signed AB 2273 into law.

At this point there's not much more I can say about why AB 2273 is so bad. I've explained why it's literally impossible to comply with (and why many sites will just ignore it). I've explained how it's pretty clearly unconstitutional. I've explained how the whole idea was pushed for and literally sponsored by a Hollywood director / British baroness who wants to destroy the internet. I've explained how it won't do much, if anything, to protect children, but will likely put them at much greater risk. I've explained how the company it will likely benefit most is the world's largest porn company -- not to mention COVID disinfo peddlers and privacy lawyers. I've explained how the companies supporting the law insist that we shouldn't worry because websites will just start scanning your face when you visit.

None of that matters, though. Because, in this nonsense political climate where moral panics and culture wars are all that matter in politics, politicians are going to back laws that claim to protect the children, no matter how much of a lie that is.

 

The bill doesn't go into effect until the middle of 2024 and I would assume that someone will go to court to challenge it, meaning that what this bill is going to accomplish in the short run is California wasting a ton of taxpayer dollars (just as Texas and Florida did) to try to pretend they have the power to tell companies how to design their products.

See full article from techdirt.com

 

 

Truss tweaks...

UK Online Censorship Bill set to continue after 'tweaks'


Link Here16th September 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media
After a little distraction for the royal funeral, the UK's newly elected prime minister has said she will be continuing with the Online Censorship Bill. She said:

We will be proceeding with the Online Safety Bill. There are some issues that we need to deal with. What I want to make sure is that we protect the under-18s from harm and that we also make sure free speech is allowed, so there may be some tweaks required, but certainly he is right that we need to protect people's safety online.

TechDirt comments:

This is just so ridiculously ignorant and uninformed. The Online Safety Bill is a disaster in waiting and I wouldn't be surprised if some websites chose to exit the UK entirely rather than continue to deal with the law.

It won't actually protect the children, of course. It will create many problems for them. It won't do much at all, except make internet companies question whether it's even worth doing business in the UK.

 

 

Overbroad censorship...

The Fight to Overturn FOSTA, an Unconstitutional Internet Censorship Law, Continues


Link Here16th September 2022
Full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers

More than four years after its enactment, FOSTA remains an unconstitutional law that broadly censored the internet and harmed sex workers and others by chilling their ability to speak, organize, and access information online.

And the fight to overturn FOSTA continues. Last week, two human rights organizations, a digital library, a sex worker activist, and a certified massage therapist filed their opening brief in a case that seeks to strike down the law for its many constitutional violations.

Their brief explains to a federal appellate court why FOSTA is a direct regulation of people's speech that also censors online intermediaries that so many rely upon to speak--classic First Amendment violations. The brief also details how FOSTA has harmed the plaintiffs, sex workers, and allies seeking to decriminalize the work and make it safer, primarily because of its vague terms and its conflation of sex work with coercive trafficking.

"FOSTA created a predictable speech-suppressing ratchet leading to 'self-censorship of constitutionally protected material' on a massive scale," the plaintiffs, Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Human Rights Watch, The Internet Archive, Alex Andrews, and Eric Koszyk, argue. "Websites that support sex workers by providing health-related information or safety tips could be liable for promoting or facilitating prostitution, while those that assist or make prostitution easier--i.e., 'facilitate' it--by advocating for decriminalization are now uncertain of their own legality."

FOSTA created new civil and criminal liability for anyone who "owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service" and creates content (or hosts third-party content) with the intent to "promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person." The law also expands criminal and civil liability to classify any online speaker or platform that allegedly assists, supports, or facilitates sex trafficking as though they themselves were participating "in a venture" with individuals directly engaged in sex trafficking.

FOSTA doesn't just seek to hold platforms and hosts criminally responsible for the actions of sex-traffickers. It also introduces significant exceptions to the civil immunity provisions of one of the internet's most important laws, 47 U.S.C. 230. These exceptions create new state law criminal and civil liability for online platforms based on whether their users' speech might be seen as promoting or facilitating prostitution, or as assisting, supporting or facilitating sex trafficking.

The plaintiffs are not alone in viewing FOSTA as an overbroad censorship law that has harmed sex workers and other online speakers. Four friend-of-the-court briefs filed in support of their case this week underscore FOSTA's disastrous consequences.

The Center for Democracy & Technology's brief argues that FOSTA negated the First Amendment's protections for online intermediaries and thus undercut the vital role those services provide by hosting a broad and diverse array of users' speech online.

"Although Congress may have only intended the laudable goal of halting sex trafficking, it went too far: chilling constitutionally protected speech and prompting online platforms to shut down users' political advocacy and suppress communications having nothing to do with sex trafficking for fear of liability," CDT's brief argues.

A brief from the Transgender Law Center describes how FOSTA's breadth has directly harmed lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer people.

"Although FOSTA's text may not name gender or sexual orientation, FOSTA's regulation of speech furthers the profiling and policing of LGBTQ people, particularly TGNC people, as the statute's censorial effect has resulted in the removal of speech created by LGBTQ people and discussions of sexuality and gender identity," the brief argues. "The overbroad censorship resulting from FOSTA has resulted in real and substantial harm to LGBTQ people's First Amendment rights as well as economic harm to LGBTQ people and communities."

Two different coalitions of sex worker advocacy and harm reduction groups filed briefs in support of the plaintiffs that show FOSTA's direct impact on sex workers and how the law's conflation of consensual sex work with coercive trafficking has harmed both victims of trafficking and sex workers.

A brief led by Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics (COYOTE) of Rhode Island published data from its recent survey of sex workers showing that FOSTA has made sex trafficking more prevalent and harder to combat.

"Every kind of sex worker, including trafficking survivors, have been impacted by FOSTA precisely because its broad terms fail to distinguish between different types of sex work and trafficking," the brief argues. The brief goes on to argue that FOSTA's First Amendment problems have "made sex work more dangerous by curtailing the ability to screen clients on trusted online databases, also known as blacklists."

A brief led by Decriminalize Sex Work shows that "FOSTA is part of a legacy of federal and state laws that have wrongfully conflated human trafficking and adult consensual sex work while overlooking the realities of each."

"The limitations on free speech caused by FOSTA have essentially censored harm reduction and safety information sharing, removed tools that sex workers used to keep themselves and others safe, and interrupted organizing and legislative endeavors to make policies that will enhance the wellbeing of sex workers and trafficking survivors alike," the brief argues. "Each of these effects has had a devastating impact on already marginalized and vulnerable communities; meanwhile, FOSTA has not addressed nor redressed any of the issues cited as motivation for its enactment."

The plaintiffs' appeal marks the second time the case has gone up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs previously prevailed in the appellate court when it ruled in 2020 that they had the legal right, known as standing, to challenge FOSTA, reversing an earlier district court ruling.



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