Users Without Resources to Fight Back Are Most Affected by Unevenly-Enforced Rules
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched TOSsed Out, a project to highlight the vast spectrum of people silenced by social media
platforms that inconsistently and erroneously apply terms of service (TOS) rules.
TOSsed Out will track and publicize the ways in which TOS and other speech moderation rules are unevenly enforced, with little to no transparency,
against a range people for whom the Internet is an irreplaceable forum to express ideas, connect with others, and find support.
This includes people on the margins who question authority, criticize the powerful, educate, and call
attention to discrimination. The project is a continuation of work EFF began five years ago when it launched Onlinecensorship.org to collect speech takedown reports from users.
Last week the White House launched a tool to report
take downs, following the president's repeated allegations that conservatives are being censored on social media, said Jillian York, EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression. But in reality, commercial content moderation practices negatively
affect all kinds of people with all kinds of political views. Black women get flagged for posting hate speech when they share experiences of racism. Sex educators' content is removed because it was deemed too risqu39. TOSsed Out will show that trying to
censor social media at scale ends up removing far too much legal, protected speech that should be allowed on platforms.
EFF conceived TOSsed Out in late 2018 after seeing more takedowns resulting from increased public and
government pressure to deal with objectionable content, as well as the rise in automated tools. While calls for censorship abound, TOSsed Out aims to demonstrate how difficult it is for platforms to get it right. Platform rules--either through automation
or human moderators--unfairly ban many people who don't deserve it and disproportionately impact those with insufficient resources to easily move to other mediums to speak out, express their ideas, and build a community.
launching TOSsed Out with several examples of TOS enforcement gone wrong, and invites visitors to the site to submit more. In one example, a reverend couldn't initially promote a Black Lives Matter-themed concert on Facebook, eventually discovering that
using the words Black Lives Matter required additional review. Other examples include queer sex education videos being removed and automated filters on Tumblr flagging a law professor's black and white drawings of design patents as adult content.
Political speech is also impacted; one case highlights the removal of a parody account lampooning presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke.
The current debates and complaints too often center on people with huge followings getting
kicked off of social media because of their political ideologies. This threatens to miss the bigger problem. TOS enforcement by corporate gatekeepers far more often hits people without the resources and networks to fight back to regain their voice
online, said EFF Policy Analyst Katharine Trendacosta. Platforms over-filter in response to pressure to weed out objectionable content, and a broad range of people at the margins are paying the price. With TOSsed Out, we seek to put pressure on those
platforms to take a closer look at who is being actually hurt by their speech moderation rules, instead of just responding to the headline of the day.
Speaking at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, has launched a campaign to persuade governments, companies and individuals to sign a Contract for the Web with a set of principles intended to defend a free
and open internet.
Contract for the Web CORE PRINCIPLES
The web was designed to bring people together and make knowledge freely available. Everyone has a role to play to ensure the web serves humanity. By committing to the following
principles, governments, companies and citizens around the world can help protect the open web as a public good and a basic right for everyone.
Ensure everyone can connect to the internet so that anyone, no matter who they are or where they live, can participate actively online.
Keep all of the internet available, all of the time so that no one is denied their right to
full internet access.
Respect people's fundamental right to privacy so everyone can use the internet freely, safely and without fear.
Make the internet affordable and accessible to everyone so that no one is excluded from using and shaping the web.
Respect consumers' privacy and personal data so people are in control of their lives online.
technologies that support the best in humanity and challenge the worst so the web really is a public good that puts people first.
Be creators and collaborators on the web so the web has rich and relevant content for everyone.
Build strong communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity so that everyone feels safe and welcome online.
Fight for the web so the web remains open and a global public resource for people everywhere, now and in the future.
We commit to uphold these principles and to engage in a deliberative process to build a full "Contract for the Web", which will set out the roles and responsibilities of governments, companies and citizens. The challenges facing the web today
are daunting and affect us in all our lives, not just when we are online. But if we work together and each of us takes responsibility for our actions, we can protect a web that truly is for everyone.
In July MEPs voted down plans to fast-track the Copyright Directive, derailing Article 13's plan to turn Internet platforms into copyright enforcers.
Yet the fight to stop Article 13's vision of the Internet - one where all
speech is approved or rejected by an automated upload filter - is not over.
On 12 September MEPs will vote once again, but this time as of yet unknown amendments will be added to the mix. Bad ideas like Article 13 - and perhaps
worse - will be voted on individually, so it's not a simple up or down vote. To identify and oppose bad amendments, MEPs must understand exactly why Article 13 threatens free speech.
Many MEPs are undecided. Please write to them
now. You can use the points below to construct your own unique message. IF YOU'RE OUTSIDE THE UK use this tool instead: https://saveyourinternet.eu .
Oppose changes to Internet platform liability. If platforms become liable for user content, they will have no choice but to scan all uploads with automated filters.
Say no to upload filters.
Filters struggle to identify the vital legal exceptions to copyright that enable research, commentary, creative works, parody and more. Poor judgement means innocent speech gets blocked along with copyright violations.
Internet companies do not make good copyright enforcers. To avoid liability penalties, platforms will err on the side of caution and over-block.
Free speech takes precedence over copyright. Threatening free
expression is way too high a price to pay for the sake of copyright enforcement.
General monitoring of all content is technically infeasible. No filter can possibly review every form of content covered in Article 13's
extraorindarily wide mandate which includes text, audio, video, images and software.
If you are part of a tech business, or a creator, like a musician, photographer, video editor or a writer, let your MEP know!
We need copyright reform that does not threaten free expression The controversial Copyright Directive is fast approaching another pivotal vote on 12 September. For the third time in half a year MEPs will decide whether Article 13 - or
something even worse - will usher in a new era, where all content is approved or rejected by automated gatekeepers.
Seen through an economic lens the Directive's journey is viewed as a battle between rights holders and tech
giants. Yet a growing chorus of ordinary citizens, Internet luminaries, human rights organisations and creatives have rightly expanded the debate to encompass the missing human dimension.
Open Rights Group opposes Article 13 - or
any new amendments proposing similar ideas - because it poses a real threat to the fundamental right to free speech online.
Free speech defenders claimed a victory over industry lobbyists this summer when MEPs rejected plans to
fast-track the Directive and a lasting triumph is now in reach. UK residents are in an especially strong position to make a difference because many of their MEPs remain undecided. Unlike some other EU states, voting patterns aren't falling strictly on
party lines in the UK.
This time new amendments will be added, and the underlying principles of Article 13 will again face a vote. They include:
Changes to Internet platform liability
If Internet platforms become directly liable for user content, they will become de facto copyright enforcers. This will leave them little choice but to introduce general monitoring of all user content with automated filters. Companies
are not fit to police free speech. To avoid penalties they will err on the side of caution and over-block user content.
The Implicit or explicit introduction of upload filters
Everything we know
about automated filters shows they struggle to comprehend context. Yet identifying the vital legal exceptions to copyright that enable research, commentary,
creative works, parody and more requires a firm grasp of context. An algorithm's poor judgement will cause innocent speech to be routinely blocked along with copyright violations.
The introduction of general monitoring
General monitoring of all user content is a step backwards for a free and open Internet. It is also technically infeasible to monitor every form of content covered in Article 13's extraordinarily wide mandate which includes text,
audio, video, images and software.
Outspoken Article 13 cheerleader Axel Voss MEP said "Censorship machines is not what we intend to implement and no one in the European Parliament wants that." This is what happens when
copyright reform is pursued with little consideration to human rights.
The proposals within Article 13 would change the way that the Internet works, from free and creative sharing, to one where anything can be removed without
warning, by computers. This is far too high a price to pay for copyright enforcement. We need a copyright reform which does not sacrifice fundamental human and digital rights.
This is a disaster. In late December, State Senator Doug Ericksen proposed a new law that would give authorities the ability to charge protesters with economic terrorism, and slap them with serious felony charges that could lead to jail time,
just for making their voices heard.
The outrageous bill, which has now had been formally introduced for consideration during the 2017 legislative session, would make any form of protest that causes an economic disruption a class C felony,
punishable by up to 5 years in prison. It wouldn't just apply to people who engage in illegal acts or vandalism, it could be used to prosecute any person or group who organizes a protest that authorities deem as disruptive. Broadly interpreted,
this law could apply to time honored traditions of nonviolent dissent like boycotts and civil disobedience.
We've already hit our initial goal of 50,000 signatures on the petition. But now that the bill has been introduced, we need to get even
more people speaking out. If everyone reading this shares the video, we can easily get 100,000 signatures before we deliver it to the Washington State lawmakers.
Charging protesters with terrorism clearly violates the First Amendment and is an
attempt to silence legitimate dissent. Please sign the petition telling lawmakers to reject this dangerous legislation.
Here's the text of the petition:
Organizing and participating in protests is a basic
Constitutional right guaranteed by the First Amendment. I urge all lawmakers to reject any legislation that criminalizes protesters or labels protests as a form of economic terrorism.
Internet authorities who govern the html language used to write websites are adding controls that will enable large media companies to snuff out new ideas such as those that went on to become iTunes and NetFlix
I remember the launch of iTunes in 2001. Hurrying home from the MacWorld conference in San Francisco, downloading the app, making a stack of CDs next to my Powerbook, ripping them as fast as my machine would go. Rip, Mix, Burn, baby!
The record companies thought that anything that let
listeners do more with their music had to be illegal. After all, they had big plans for the future of music and those plans hinged on being able to control how you and I used our music. They'd made big money selling cassettes to LP owners, and CDs to
cassette owners, and they viewed selling digital versions of those same songs to us as their inalienable right. If we could rip our own CDs, how would they sell us that music again?
Luckily for us and for Apple, a company's
preferences don't have the force of law. The record companies could gripe, but they couldn't stop iTunes.
Not until now, anyway.
Apple is a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a body currently
working to make a standard for restricting Web users' options while they view copyrighted works. This standard, Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), allows media companies to restrict the use of copyrighted works without regard to the limits of copyright
law. Copyright lets you do all kinds of things with the works you lawfully access: record them to experience later, move them to a different device, pause them so you can get a snack or change a diaper.
EME would give giant media
companies a veto over your use of your media--a veto that would have killed iTunes before it ever got started.
Worse: EME could let its creators invoke section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which prohibits
you from getting around EME-style restrictions on copyrighted works. According to some U.S. courts, the law applies even if you're circumventing for a purpose allowed under copyright law. Even if you're making iTunes.
DMCA 1201 is
so sloppily drafted and far-reaching that it even lets companies legally threaten security researchers who discover serious, dangerous bugs in products if they come forward with embarrassing news.
(And if you're not an American:
the US trade representative is working hard to make DMCA-style laws a condition of trading with the USA, spreading them to every corner of the Earth.)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
asked the W3C not to do this . When they went ahead anyway, we
asked them to compromise : at least ask your members to promise not to use the DMCA to attack new companies and researchers doing lawful things.
Make them promise to let the next iTunes get a chance. After all, this is what the W3C did when it came to patents: to participate in the W3C's process, you must agree that people are allowed to implement its standards without worrying about undisclosed
patents you may own. This safeguard has helped enable an enormous turnover in popular browsers over the past decade.
The W3C has a long, proud history of standing up for the open Web, the Web anyone can
make. It should honor its history and continue to protect the open Web and the innovators and researchers who make it great.
Two members of the Iranian heavy metal band Confess are being held for blasphemy after they were arrested by the state's religious guard and accused of writing satanic music.
Nikan Siyanor Khosravi and Khosravi Arash Ilkhani are believed to
have been arrested and jailed on November 10. Held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison by the Revolutionary Guards until February 5, the pair wrote and released their own heavy metal albums and ran a record label. Extreme punishments are available for the
Their latest album, released in October, included tracks named Teh-Hell-Ran and I'm Your God Now , both of which would likely rankle with the state's hardline Islamic leadership.
Tara Sepehri Far, a
researcher for Human Rights Watch, told MailOnline the pair likely faced up to five years in prison. She said it was likely they would be facing insulting sacred beliefs charges, as other musicians had been in the past, rather than insulting
the prophet , which is punishable by death. She added:
Iranian musicians, especially the ones who play non-classical western music, are navigating a minefield. Due to severe censorship, most of these groups are
Anything from the content of their lyrics to the style of the music they play might violate unwritten regulations that musicians are expected to adhere to by various authorities.
media accounts of those close to the band expressed concern about the pair's plight, and included messages of support and the sharing of the #freeconfess hashtag.
Help Free CONFESS they were arrested by the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and are facing charges of blasphemy, advertising against the system, running an illegal and underground band and record label promoting music considered to be
Satanic writing anti-religious lyrics and granting interviews to forbidden foreign radio stations.
I paid 600 rupees for a movie that I really wanted to see. I couldn't understand half of the movie. The censor board had removed half the dialogue because they thought it was vulgar.
They think Indians, even mature adults need
to be protected. That our culture and morals will disintegrate because of a movie with some bad words.
This is ridiculous. The censor board needs to be reformed right away. We cannot let them treat us like 5-year-olds.
The CBFC should not be allowed to ruthlessly censor movies. If a movie gets an Adult rating - they should not make ridiculous cuts in the movie. If the movie producers want a U/A rating - then perhaps it can be allowed.
A committee led by Shyam Benegal is asking for suggestions to revamp the CBFC. I want to show him that Indians are sick of mindless and needless censorship. Sign my petition and ask your friends to do the same.
Because of this mindless censorship, it's becoming harder and harder to watch movies in the theatre. We are not 5-year-olds, we are adults who can handle mature content. A movie will not ruin our morals or our culture. But censorship will ruin our
The petition has been signed by 11,165 supporters.
Wikipedia is campaigning against yet more censorial legislation from the EU. Wikepedia writes:
Absence of full Freedom of Panorama means we can't illustrate Wikipedia properly.
For more than a
decade, volunteers have compiled countless facts and contributed millions of hours to build Wikipedia. Photographers have donated hundreds of thousands of photos to illustrate the articles.
The reason Wikipedia can freely depict
public spaces in most of the countries in the European Union is that we enjoy full Freedom of Panorama . This is an exception to copyright that allows people
to make and use photographs of public spaces without restriction, while at the same time protecting the architect's or visual artist's rights.
Now, the free use of many of these images is in danger by a proposal in the
European Parliament . If the restrictive text accepted by the Legal Affairs Committee is adopted in the course of the upcoming EU legislative procedure on
copyright reform, hundreds of thousands of images on Wikipedia would no longer be free and thus would no longer belong in Wikipedia.
TG Storytime is a free community website for transgender authors, operated by Joe Six-Pack, himself a transgender author and publisher. If you look up the registration details of Joe's domain tgstorytime.com using the WHOIS application, you only see the
contact details of a proxy.
If anyone really needs to know Joe's physical address or telephone number, they can apply for a court order or subpoena requiring his privacy service to disclose them.
At least, that is how it works now. But under a
proposal currently being considered by ICANN, that may all change. It is proposed that domains used for commercial purposes might no longer be eligible to use proxy registration services. Is TG Storytime used for commercial purposes? Well, Joe currently
covers the site's expenses, but also notes that ads and donations may be used in the future to cover costs , and sites that run ads have been judged as commercial in domain name disputes. If a similar broad definition is adopted by ICANN, Joe
might well be forced to give up his privacy if he begins to run ads on his site.
Joe is far from alone. Thousands of responses have already been received by ICANN on this topic from others who are concerned about how the proposed policy change
will affect them. Amongst them is a message from one user who wrote:
I'm a single female and live alone. I don't want my personal address available to every pervert/troll/angered citizen that wants it after visiting my
small website. Seemingly innocent topics, like vegan cooking, can spark outrage in certain individuals.
This change is being pushed by US entertainment companies, who told Congress in March that privacy for domain registration should
be allowed only in limited circumstances. These and other companies want new tools to discover the identities of website owners whom they want to accuse of copyright and trademark infringement, preferably without a court order.
value of this change is manifestly outweighed by the risks to website owners who will suffer a higher risk of harassment, intimidation and identity theft. The ability to speak anonymously protects people with unpopular or marginalized opinions, allowing
them to speak and be heard without fear of harm. It also protects whistleblowers who expose crime, waste, and corruption. That's why EFF opposes the new proposal to roll back anonymity.
The backlash against Facebook's free mobile data Internet.org scheme has spread across the globe.
A total of 67 digital rights groups - including i Freedom Uganda, Ecuador's Usuarios Digitales and Indonesia's ICT Watch - have signed a
letter to Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, stating concerns about the initiative. They say the project threatens freedom of expression, privacy and the principle of net neutrality.
Internet.org allows subscribers of partner mobile networks to
use a limited number of online services without having to pay to make use of the data involved. They include Wikipedia, the Facts for Life health site run by the United Nations Children's Fund, BBC News, Facebook, Accuweather and a selection of local
news and sports results providers. To access the facility, people must use special Android apps, Internet.org's website, Facebook's own Android app or the Opera Mini browser.
Network operators participate because they believe users will pay for
wider internet access once they have had a chance to try out the free content on offer.
Since 2014, the project has launched in Zambia, India, Colombia, Guatemala, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malawi.
more than nine million people have used the scheme to date. A spokesman told the BBC:
We are convinced that as more and more people gain access to the internet, they will see the benefits and want to use even more
services. We believe this so strongly that we have worked with operators to offer basic services to people at no charge, convinced that new users will quickly want to move beyond basic services and pay for more diverse, valuable services.
The open letter from the 67 digital rights groups - which has been published on Facebook - makes clear that activists across the globe intend to challenge its expansion.
It is our belief that Facebook
is improperly defining net neutrality in public statements and building a walled garden in which the world's poorest people will only be able to access a limited set of insecure websites and services.
Further, we are deeply
concerned that Internet.org has been misleadingly marketed as providing access to the full internet, when in fact it only provides access to a limited number of Internet-connected services that are approved by Facebook and local ISPs.
In its present conception, Internet.org thereby violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.
One of the worries of the
system is also that all privacy technologies are currently disallowed and Facebook is able to monitor all internet.org usage (in the name of billing of course).
For those seeking to censor information online, the weakest link is often precisely that--the humble hyperlink. Censoring or imposing costs or conditions on linking to information can be just as effective, and often easier, than controlling the
information at its source. But without the freedom to link, the World Wide Web falls apart into a mass of disconnected threads.
That's why EFF is joining the Save the Link network,
a new, broad, cross-sector coalition of groups, convened by Canada's OpenMedia.ca ( press release here ).
Together we are concerned about mounting threats, from various sources, to our freedom to build the strong, interlinked Web that has become the greatest knowledge repository in history.
One of the most pressing threats, and the reason for the
launch of the network now, are proposals for limitations on freedom to link in Europe, in the context of debate over Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Julia Reda's report on the revision of the European copyright directive. Julia's original report
contained this strong affirmation of freedom to link:
Stresses that the ability to freely link from one resource to another is one of the fundamental building blocks of the internet; calls on the EU legislator to make
it clear that reference to works by means of a hyperlink is not subject to exclusive rights, as it does not consist in a communication to a new public.
But amongst more than 500 proposed amendments to the report that other MEPs have
put forward and which are currently under debate, are some pernicious proposals to limit this freedom. One example is an amendment proposed
by French MEP Virginie Rozière and Luxembourgish Mady Delvaux, which would add a proviso that:
this option must be strictly limited to links which lead to freely available content; [and] observes that the online
intermediaries liability regime applicable to links to illicit content should be tightened up, particularly by revising the e-commerce directive;
Another proposal by British MEP Mary Honeyball would curtail the right as follows:
but stresses that under certain circumstances, embedding and linking may be prejudicial to the rights of the creator;
And a third by Bulgarian and UK MEPs Angel Dzhambazki and Sajjad Karim:
highlights the importance of enhanced user information regarding obligations for anyone who knowingly provides hyperlinks to unauthorised content or links that circumvent paywalls ...
even if they make it into the European Parliament's final report, will not in themselves make any change to European law. But nevertheless, they send the wrong message to the European Commission which will be preparing the next revision of the EU
Copyright Directive. That false message is that Internet intermediaries such as search engines and Web hosts are enemies, rather than partners of content creators.
Although these European developments provided the stimulus for the launch of the
Save the Link network this week, the site also highlights threats to our freedom to link from three other continents, and will enable participants to publicize and mobilize against new censorship threats as they arise. Social media outreach resources
like the one shown above are available on the Save the Link website for you to spread the word and tell policymakers that you stand in solidarity with other users in
upholding our freedom to link.
In 1971, the late, great Ken Russell's masterpiece The Devils was released in a highly censored form. The film was shredded to pieces by censors, who removed several scenes, including one that Russell himself referred to as the heart of
Although versions of the film have been released since then, Russell's full director's cut has never been issued on DVD.
It is ridiculous that after 44 years, Warner Bros still refuse to release
the director's cut. Ken Russell was a hugely significant filmmaker, and The Devils was his magnum opus.
Warner Bros, you have no right to deny us of the director's cut of the film. High profile figures like film critic Mark
Kermode and filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro have demanded the director's cut, and so do we.
Everybody deserves the right to access this film in its full form. To have it denied its audience is unwarranted censorship of the most
extreme and groundless form.
Breaking Bad may have been one of the most popular cable dramas of the last decade, but one Florida woman isn't thrilled that Toys R Us is selling the show's action figures. Susan Schrivjer was 'shocked':
figure of main character Walter White, a former high school chemistry teacher who becomes one of the biggest meth dealers in the country, carries a duffle bag filled with cash, and comes with a toy bag of crystal meth. The figure for White's
assistant/meth distributor, Jesse Pinkman, comes with a gas mask to protect against dangerous compounds during meth cooking.
Anything to do with drugs is not doing the right thing I just think that they need to look at their
visions and values, as they call them.
So Schrivjer started a Change.org petition asking Toys 'R' Us to stop selling the dolls. The petition received about 1,000 signatures.
In a statement, Toys R Us told NBC News that:
The product packaging clearly notes that the items are intended for ages 15 and up and are located in the adult action figure area of our stores.
Susan Schrivjer's petition, gathered 9,299 supporters and is now closed with Victory being declared for the PC bullies.
Toys R Us has removed the figures from shelves and even went so far as to post to their Twitter account:
Re: BB Let's just say, the action figures have taken an 'indefinite sabbatical'
Action figure collector Jayson Zacher wrote:
Let's be upfront here, this is censorship. Instead of
leaving it up to consumers to decide what they will and won't purchase, people are now pushing for items to be removed from store shelves. It's Prohibition all over again, but with action figures.
Breaking Bad (and other Adult Collector) Figures On Toys R Us Shelves
Daniel Picket of Actionfigureinsider.com has started his own petition to get the figures back on the shelves, citing that this is not just about the Breaking Bad figures but about the larger principle in question. Picket@s petition has gained over
59,000 supporters in a fraction of the time as Schrivjer's.
Toys R Us is well known around the world for their vast selection of toys for children of all ages, and we do mean ALL ages, that includes the adult collector market.
Toys R Us' decision to sell a line of Breaking Bad ACTION FIGURES, complete with a detachable sack of cash and a bag of meth, in an aisle designated for adult collectors, featuring properties of a more mature nature that might appeal to older collectors,
and away from the other kid toys, shows that TRU understands there is more than one group of collectors that regularly come through their doors each day. And that they can observe and in some cases even dictate how these figures are packaged,
marketed and sold in their stores. It is NOT irresponsible to have these in the store. It is only irresponsible if they sell them to people they are not appropriate for. That's why I'm calling on Toys R Us to KEEP selling the Breaking Bad action figure
collection in their stores and on their website as well as other mature toy lines.
Update: Toys R Us refuse to acknowledge counter petition
29th October 2014. Petition update from Daniel Picket
Here we are 12 days after our launch and the petition has over 61,000 encouraging Toys R Us to review the situation and reinstate the Mezco Breaking Bad figures to the shelves of their collector section. In 12 days we gathered FIVE TIMES what the
Florida Mom gathered in a months time, and STILL Toys R Us has yet to respond.
Even for a publicly traded company, for them to not even acknowledge the majority is baffling from a public relations/customer service standpoint.
This entire outrage was born out of one person telling the Florida mom about the figures. It's not as if TRU sold a Breaking Bad her child. There was NO infraction. Toys R Us was being a responsible seller, having the
merchandise in the appropriate section and was selling it to the appropriate customers. We have to keep hammering Toys R Us until we get some kind of response. We are the majority. Keep posting on the TRU Facebook page and Twitter feed and include
This is exactly the sort of thing I was concerned about. Here's a mom that has started a new
petition to get Halo and Call of Duty Mega Brand construction sets pulled from Target:
She has less than 1000 signatures so far, but what happens if this one gets picked up by the national news? Be a parent, by BEING A PARENT.
If you don't like something, then don't buy it for your child. Don't let it into your home. But don't go around trying to remove every possible offensive thing from your child's line of site. Use it as a teaching moment. But don't remove everyone
else's option. It's more important than ever to keep spreading the word that #AdultsCollect
An international coalition of human rights and privacy organizations has launched an action center to oppose mass surveillance on the global stage: necessaryandproportionate.org/take-action . The new petition site went live just as the United Nations
voted on a resolution to recognize the need for the international community to come to terms with new digital surveillance techniques.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with Access and Privacy International, took a leadership role in
developing the campaign. The new action center allows individuals from around the world to sign their names to a petition in support of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance . Also known as
the Necessary and Proportionate Principles, the document outlines 13 policies that governments must follow to protect human rights in an age of digital surveillance---including acknowledgement that communications surveillance threatens free speech
and privacy and should only be carried out in exceptional cases and under the rule of law.
Once the signatures are collected, the organizations will deliver the petition to the UN, world leaders and global policymakers. Over 300 organizations,
plus many individual experts, have already signed the petition.
EFF International Rights Director Katitza Rodriguez said:
Surveillance can and does threaten human rights. Even laws intended to protect national
security or combat crime will inevitably lead to abuse if left unchecked and kept secret. The Necessary and Proportionate Principles set the groundwork for applying human rights values to digital surveillance techniques through transparency, rigorous
oversight and privacy protections that transcend borders.
The UN General Assembly's unanimously adopted Resolution A/C.3/68/L.45 , The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age . Sponsored by 47 nations, the non-binding
resolution recognizes the importance of privacy and free expression and how these core principles of democracy may be threatened when governments exploit new communications technologies. Rodriguez said:
While not as
strong as the original draft resolution , the United Nations resolution is a meaningful and very positive step for the privacy rights of individuals, no matter what country they call home. We will be watching to see if countries such as China, Russia or
even the US use the resolution to legitimize their mass surveillance programs. That is why it's important for nations to go further and comply with the Necessary and Proportionate principles.
The organizations behind the Action Center
include Access, Chaos Computer Club, Center for Internet & Society-India, Center for Technology and Society at Fundac,a~o Getulio Vargas, Digitale Gesellschaft, Digital Courage, EFF, OpenMedia.ca, Open Rights Group, Fundacion Karisma,
Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic, SHARE Foundation, and Privacy International.
There is a LARGE amount of people who read this genre as a way to escape their reality. We are all consenting adults, you need to own a credit card to be able to purchase said books, so why all of a sudden start cracking down on contolling
such. Why is okay to sell adult products on said websites but not FICTIONAL reads. What happened to freedom of speech?! LEAVE OUR EROTICA ALONE!!
**This petition is NOT condoning non-fictional bestiality, incest,
pediphilia or other things of such extreme nature**
To: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon; Michael Serbinis, CEO of KOBO; Leonard Riggio, Founder and executive chairman of Barnes and Noble,
our erotica and self-published Indie authors alone.
Thanks to recent revelations we know that governments are using digital technology to monitor our emails, phone calls and the websites we visit. This is an attack on our freedom of speech and an invasion of our privacy. Tell Europe's leaders to take
action to stop the US, UK and other governments from carrying out mass surveillance.
We, the undersigned, call on our Heads of Government to clearly and unambiguously state their opposition to all systems of mass surveillance
including the US's NSA PRISM system and similar systems in several countries in Europe. Europe's leaders have not yet taken any action to stop this abuse of our right to privacy and freedom of expression.
We call on Europe's
leaders to place this issue firmly on the agenda for the next European Council Summit in October. They need to make it clear that they will do so.
They must take action to stop this abuse of our human rights.
This petition is supported by: - Index on Censorship - Amnesty International - English PEN - Article 19
- Privacy International - Open Rights Group - Liberty - European Federation of Journalists - International Federation of Journalists - PEN International - PEN Canada - PEN Portugal - Electronic Frontier Foundation - PEN Emergency Fund
- Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) - National Union of Somali Journalists - Bahrain Centre for Human Rights - Catalan PEN - Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) - Malaysia - Belarusian Human Rights
House - South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM) - International Partnership for Human Rights - Russian PEN Centre - Association of European Journalists (AEJ) - Foundation for the
Development of Democratic Initiatives - Poland - Independent Journalism Center - Moldova - Alliance of Independent Journalists - Indonesia
The newly designed Kinect for Xbox One may run afoul of a bill called the We Are Watching You Act, if it becomes law. The
law sponsored by Congressmen Michael Capuano and Walter Jones, requires companies to explicitly ask consumers for permission to store their data. The device would also have to inform the user how the data is collected and who will see it after it
is collected. If the user declines to allow the device to record and share data the company would have to offer a new service that is the same as the existing one save for its ability to record. For Kinect, this would force Microsoft to add a whole new
level of disclosure.
Think about what you do in the privacy of your own home and then think about how you would feel sharing that information with your cable company, their advertisers and your
Surely a listening spycam in your living room is a far too tempting a facility for secretive spooks. They will surely try for remote access. Hopefully turning off the box at the mains should be enough to put the Trojan
horse to sleep, but you never know. Quite sizeable batteries could easily be hidden in the electronics. Perhaps best to invest in some sort of muffle/cover when not in use.
Update: Even Forbes has its say on Microsoft
Big business isn't standing by though. They are flooding
the normal democratic process with lobbying to get the plans watered down and strip us of our right to privacy. It wants to keep on profiting from our most intimate data.
Phone companies like EE have
been pushing particularly hard against the new data protection plans. It's not hard to see why. They wouldn't be able sell their customers' data without their consent.
As they stand, the new regulations would help make sure we
control what happens to our data, not the big corporations making money from data about our personal lives. Here's what the new laws would mean for you.
You'd be able to decide who gets access to your data, what they can do with it and who they can give it to. You could delete your data or move it wherever you like, whenever you like.
data would be protected whenever you could be identified. This includes so-called pseudonymous data that could still single you out despite being stripped of personal identifiers such as names and addresses.
Services that want to use your data would have to get your explicit consent beforehand so there'd be no more vague or easy-to-misunderstand 'agreements.'
There would be severe penalties when the rules were broken to help deter companies from misusing your data and infringing your privacy.
But all this is under threat. If the big corporations and their armies of lobbyists get their way, the new law won't have any teeth and companies will just keep on invading your privacy.
Anti-censorship campiagners have switched on an internet signalling system to help co-ordinate protests about a draft law in the US.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (Cispa) looks set to erode privacy in the US by exposing
people's browsing habits and surveillance of internet usage.
The bat signal system tells followers to start displaying protest materials such as website banners and petitions.
Plans for the signalling system emerged in early 2012
following protests and website blackouts in opposition to two other draft laws in the US, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act. The web action was widely seen as
influential in the campaign that saw both those laws shelved.
In a bid to harness the wave of activism those protests started, social news sites such as Reddit and Fark joined up with rights groups and many others to launch the Internet Defense
League (IDL). Instead of reacting on an incident-by-incident basis, the IDL monitors threats to online privacy and let supporters know when to ramp up protests.
The IDL also said it would create protest materials such as website banners, petitions
and information about how to contact politicians, so people can voice their opposition in a co-ordinated manner.
The question is, will the bat signal be turned on to help fight against the news and internet censor proposed for the UK.
Today we are taking a stand as the international community against the outright attack on human rights and free speech underway in a Russian courtroom. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria
Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich -- the three young female musicians who formed the punk rock band Pussy Riot -- face up to 7 years in prison for a peaceful anti-Putin protest that the all-girl group staged in Moscow's main Orthodox church last
February. Though all three women apologized to Russian Orthodox believers who were offended, they staunchly defend their right to speak out against the Putin regime's absolute intolerance of political dissent as well as its persecution of the Russian
Despite wide international concern for these bold young activist and national outrage over their 5-month long detention, the latest hearing clearly demonstrates that the court is determined to adopt a severe
attitude to the performers. These women are clearly not imprisoned for a real crime, but for being critical of your government and expressing the feelings and ideas of many Russian citizens.
Moreover, it is a standard legal
principle worldwide that punishment must be proportional to the offense. Criminal charges against Pussy Riot are grossly disproportionate to their peaceful protest. In truth, it is a thinly veiled attempt to crack down on political dissent.
We demand that you comply with internationally recognized democratic principles by releasing the detainees and immediately ceasing these unjust criminal proceedings!
petition [Requires Facebook user details]
Six people were killed after a gunman opened fire inside The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. The gunman described as white man in his thirties with tattoos
The shooting occurred at a morning meditation service. The gunman was killed by a police officer
who was shot at. Another policeman is in hospital with multiple bullet wounds. Up to 30 people were also injured in the massacre.
The authorities are now speculating that violent race hate may have been the motive behind the shooting. The killer,
who has not been identified, was covered in tattoos which led authorities to describe the massacre as domestic terrorism .
The lone gunman was allegedly wearing tactical gear and armed with a single handgun. He was described by witnesses as
a white male in his thirties.
The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh-American civil rights organization, urged caution over the gunman's motive while the police investigation was ongoing.
The neo-Nazi who killed six worshippers at a Sikh temple on Sunday morning died after turning the gun on himself. It was originally believed that Wade
Michael Page had been killed by a police officer who was wounded after responding to the shooting.
Wade Page was said to have harboured white supremacist views and would rant about a racial holy war , according to an old friend of his from
The FBI had received 101 leads worldwide during its investigation but reaffirmed that no one else other than Page has been connected to the shooting.
Police are failing to investigate crimes committed by ethnic minorities because they fear being branded racist, a report claims.
A pamphlet by think-tank Civitas claims pressure to show racial sensitivity may have been behind the initial failure
to properly investigate Pakistani muslim street grooming gangs in the North of England.
Jon Gower Davies, a former academic, links the failure to police being branded institutionally racist by the Macpherson report into the death of Stephen
Lawrence, which he says left police shackled by bureaucracy. The pamphlet says pressure to show racial sensitivity may have hindered past investigations.
Davies, a former Labour councillor, describes the lack of investigation into
sex crimes as a case of reverse institutional racism in which the views of victims, vulnerable white girls, were not taken seriously.
The pamphlet, which is entitled Mind-Forg'd Manacles: Murder, Macpherson and the Police finds
Macpherson lacked evidence for the charge of institutional racism which he says lacks substance . The report states: When in February 2012, the trial of a number of Pakistani men finally came to court, it seems that allegations of abuse by one
(white) girl had been just ignored by the police .
A Sri Lankan youth employed as a domestic aid has been arrested in Saudi Arabia for praying to a statue of Lord Buddha, which is considered an offence according to Islamic Sharia law. According to the Bodu Bala Sena, the youth has been arrested by
Umulmahami Police, which is a grave situation.
While the youth is a Buddhist, the charge levelled against him is that he paid obeisance to the Buddha at the house where he was employed.
The Bodu Bala Sena organisation further said those
employed in Muslim-majority countries are prevented from practicing their religious faiths, and if found to do so are punished severely.
As a headline from Reporters Without Borders stated today, the number of citizen journalists killed or arrested in Syria rises daily. While some, such as Razan Ghazzawi, who won Frontline Defenders' award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, have
received ample international attention for their plight, many others have gone largely ignored by the media.
There is a new campaign centered on blogger Hussein Ghrer, who was arrested along with other bloggers and colleagues, including Ghazzawi,
in a raid on the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in February and is still in prison. The campaign, which is available in several languages, aims to draw attention to Ghrer's announcement of an indefinite hunger strike to demand
his unconditional release. Ghrer's nearly five-month long detention exceeds the maximum legal limits for incarceration without referral to court, which under Syrian law is 60 days.
Though the campaign is focused on Ghrer, Syrian blogger Yazan
Badran wrote recently: Make no mistake, #FreeRazan, #FreeBassel or #FreeHussein, all mean the same thing: We want them back, we want them all. The target of these campaigns is to raise awareness, as several bloggers who have been detained and then
released from Syrian prisons have reported their belief that the media attention they received helped them to evade torture. Activists have created several campaign images and are encouraging users on Twitter and Facebook to use them as avatars. They are
also utilizing the Twitter hashtag #FreeHussein.
Launched by a large coalition of privacy groups, Web sites, and individuals, the Declaration of Internet Freedom is the start of a process striving to keep the Internet free and open. The organizations and people who kicked off this process are
looking for other Internet users to discuss the ideas, share their own thoughts, and sign the declaration.
The Declaration of Internet Freedom advocates five basic principles:
Expression : Don't censor the Internet.
Access : Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create, and innovate.
Innovation : Protect the freedom to innovate
and create without permission. Don't block new technologies, and don't punish innovators for their users' actions.
Privacy : Protect privacy and defend everyone's ability to control how their data
and devices are used.
17 gay rights activists were arrested at a May Day rally in St. Petersburg, Russia. The group that was detained were trying to unfold rainbow flags and raise posters. They were charged with failing to co-operate with police officers.
St. Petersburg recently passed a law that bans homosexual propaganda , becoming the 4th city in Russia to pass such a law. Politicians are attempting to pass similar legislation at a federal level, with pressure from the
Russian Orthodox Church.
Please tell the Russian government to drop all charges against these gay rights activists -- who were simply fighting against discrimination and hatred -- and not pass a federal law that will severely hurt
The original 126 minute version of Nightbreed was cut down to 102 minutes by distributor 20th Century Fox. They felt that this cut was too long and rather too explicit for an R-rated release.
Also, Barker shot additional scenes with
David Cronenberg's Decker character to flesh out his mentality. The excised footage consisted of some very graphic gore during the climax, disturbing images in the monsters' lair and quite a bit of "unnecessary" character development. There
were also some strange sexual themes between the monsters and Boone that wound up on the cutting room floor.
The CABAL Cut:
This petition's purpose is to gather signatures of anyone who would like to see & own a new
release of Clive Barker's Nightbreed as a restored, extended cut, in DVD or Blu-Ray.
Clive Barker's team at Seraphim Films has assembled a composite cut from several workprints that is the most complete version of the film that
has ever been shown.
The composite cut of Nightbreed was screened recently at the Mad Monster Party in North Carolina, on the 24th of March 2012. This was baptized the CABAL cut, and it ran at 2h35 minutes.
As activists and ordinary citizens around the world are increasingly making use of the Internet to express their opinions and connect with others, many governments are increasing their surveillance and censorship capabilities and taking legal or
extrajudicial actions against bloggers and social media users.
The threats to netizens are increasing. The Committee to Protect Journalists found in 2008 that 45% of all imprisoned journalists were arrested for activities conducted online. In
their 2012 press freedom barometer, Reporters Without Borders cited 123 incidents of imprisoned netizens in twelve countries. Though the motivations of governments vary from country to country, the goal---to silence threatening voices---is
EFF supports the principles of free expression laid out in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and believes that those principles must extend online. While our domestic work focuses on helping bloggers in the United
States understand their legal rights, our international work focuses on the legal and bodily threats to Internet users in countries around the world. To that end, we have partnered with Global Voices Online's Threatened Voices project, which tracks
individual cases of bloggers under threat or detention, to help shed light on this global phenomenon.
The original petition was highlighted in an article by Jane Fae:
Lesbians in Ecuador are demanding an
end to torture clinics designed to make them straight .
online petition , addressed to Ecuadorian Health Minister, David Chiriboga and launched
last month welcomes moves by the Ecuadorian government to close some 27 such clinics -- but points out that over 200 are still open.
According to the petition letter, escaping patients have reported cases of physical and
psychological abuse including verbal threats, shackling, days without food, sexual abuse, and physical torture -- all inflicted in an attempt to cure their sexuality.
This is the beginning of the end -- the end of women suffering physical and emotional abuse (and even torture and sexual assault) in Ecuadorian clinics trying to
cure them of being lesbians.
All around Ecuador, countless women were being held against their will in hundreds of these so-called clinics. For ten years, a group of brave women in Ecuador who call themselves Fundacion Causana tracked down
survivors, documenting their stories and bringing them to light. But the situation wasn't changing.
Then, something incredible happened. A petition that Fundacion Causana had started on Change.org calling on the Ministry of Health to take action
was signed by more than 113,000 people around the world. Suddenly, officials were ready to meet with Fundacion Causana and take responsibility for the violence against women and LGBT Ecuadorians happening on their watch.
Now, the Ecuadorian
government is working hand in hand with Fundacion Causana to eradicate these clinics from Ecuador, free the women trapped there, and run a national public awareness campaign to fight homophobia.