Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Censoring: Google rejoining the forces of light

It is telling that they do so with reference to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which is laden to the hilt with ridiculous positive rights based on arbitrary whim (to which we may now add the latest EU proposal for the right to vacation (or to travel, which is it? travel may actually be cover for a 'delete the border' operation)). The 1st Amendment would have been better -

Google: "Greater transparency about government requests"

(...) government censorship of the web is growing rapidly: from the outright blocking and filtering of sites, to court orders limiting access to information and legislation forcing companies to self-censor content. So it's no surprise that Google, like other technology and telecommunications companies, regularly receives demands from government agencies to remove content from our services. (...)

We are today launching a new Government Requests tool to give people information about the requests for user data or content removal we receive from government agencies around the world. For this launch, we are using data from July-December, 2009, and we plan to update the data in 6-month increments. Read this post to learn more about our principles surrounding free expression and controversial content on the web. (...) >>>

Apr 21, 2010

Kudos once more for Twitter -

FT: "Twitter plans technology to stop censorship"

Twitter, the internet social network, is developing technology that it hopes will prevent the Chinese and Iranian governments from being able to censor its users. Evan Williams, the chief executive and co-founder of Twitter, which has been credited with helping anti-government protesters in Iran to organise resistance, said Twitter was working on ”interesting hacks” to stop any blocking by foreign governments. Mr Williams, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said he admired Google for confronting the Chinese government over censorship and cyber-attacks on its service, but it was too small a company to take a similar stand. (...) >>>

Jan. 27, 2010

NOG Brussel: Neelie KroesImage by Sebastiaan ter Burg via Flickr
Free market Czarina for EU Internet regulation: Dutch Left partisans are finally supporting the nomination of present 'Thatcherite' Commissioner Neelie Kroes of Competition and Antitrust for a second term (at least she has the correct gender). Kroes' appointment for the EU's 'digital agenda' has been heftily protested as "meager" and demeaning. Either they're clueless on the actual importance and extent of the matter (most likely), or else they're secretly afraid she won't regulate it tough enough. Anyway, it's good news for liberty. In the police-state of Britain meanwhile ...

Telegraph: "Adopt your MP, save your broadband connection", by Basheera Khan

Your MP may not be as cuddly or loveable as most animals that get put up for public adoption, but the Open Rights Group hopes you can overlook that in the name of digital freedom.
The non-profit company is encouraging British citizens to ‘adopt their MP’ as part of its campaign against aspects of the Digital Economy Bill championed by Lord Mandelson. The bill is harshly criticised by industry and consumer organisations alike for the retrogressive control measures it proposes, which are more likely to stifle than stimulate Britain’s digital economy. (...) >>>

Nov. 27, 2009

Breitbart/The B-Cast: "Does Obama Plan to Control the Web?"

Oct. 28, 2009

Austin Heap: "Haystack: Good Luck Finding That Needle"

In the upcoming days, Daniel Colascione and I will release a new program to provide unfiltered internet access to the people of Iran. A software package for Windows, Mac and Unix systems, called Haystack, will specifically target the Iranian government’s web filtering mechanisms. Similar to Freegate, the program directed against China’s “great firewall,” once installed Haystack will provide completely uncensored access to the internet in Iran while simultaneously protecting the user’s identity. No more Facebook blocks, no more government warning pages when you try to load Twitter, just unfiltered Internet. The network will be supported by donated high-quality servers outside of Iran. We will be able to provide an individual user with unfettered internet access that costs the donor $0.015 to $0.0375 per month. (...) >>>

July 5, 2009

Fed up with eyes glazing over at 'citizen reporter'? Get your press credentials ... but from what I gather these bloggers had been accredited before ...

Red State: "Bloggers Get Press Creds From NY Police Dept."

In a turn of events that should and will be used by bloggers all across the country, three news bloggers have prevailed over the New York City Police Dept. and received their press credentials despite being denied previously without explanation. The New York Times City Room Blog reports that that Rafael Martínez Alequin, Ralph E. Smith and David Wallis filed a federal lawsuit when each of them were denied credentials, even though all of them had such credentials in the past. In the face of the lawsuit, the NYPD changed their minds (...) >>>

Jan 13, 2009

Not so easy to avoid evil in an existence vacuum ...

The Register: "Google cranks up the Consensus Engine - Manufacturing isn't dead - it just went to Mountain View", by Andrew Orlowski

Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It's a historic statement - and nobody has yet grasped its significance. Not so very long ago, Google disclaimed responsibility for its search results by explaining that these were chosen by a computer algorithm. (...) A few years ago, Google's apparently unimpeachable objectivity got some people very excited, and technology utopians began to herald Google as the conduit for a new form of democracy. Google was only too pleased to encourage this view. It explained that its algorithm "relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. " Make no mistake, Google is moving into new territory: not only making arbitrary, editorial choices - really no different to Fox News, say, or any other media organization. It's now in the business of validating and manufacturing consent: not only reporting what people say, but how you should think. Who's hand is upon the wheel, here?
None of this would matter, if it wasn't for one other trend: a paralysing loss of confidence in media companies. (...) In the absence of editorial confidence, Google - the Monster that threatens to Eat The Media - now defines the purpose of the media. All media companies need do is "tap into the zeitgeist" - Google Zeitgeist™! Take this example from a quality British broadsheet. One journalist on the paper lamented that:'s becoming all too clear at The Telegraph, whose online business plan seems to be centred on chasing hits through Google by rehashing and rewriting stories that people are already interested in. (...) Not all companies have the same suicidal lack of foresight as The Telegraph's resident guru - but many share the same apocalyptic conclusion. (...) >>>

Dec 15, 2008

PJM: "Media Freedom To Suffer Under Dems"

The main question in lieu of the coming election is “what will Barack Obama do?” Should he become president, great — and totally undesirable — change awaits America. Brian Anderson and co-author Adam Thierer in their newly released book, A Manifesto for Media Freedom, answer this question. The authors elucidate the impact a Democrat-dominated government will have on our personal freedoms. The portrait they paint is reminiscent of Titian’s Salome with the Head of John the Baptist — except the head of conservatism appears in John’s place. They warn that the damage to free speech arising from leftist domination of our government will be both severe and oppressive. Thankfully, Mr. Anderson found time to answer a few queries about our haunted future. Mr. Anderson is the editor of City Journal, which is among the most insightful and generative of conservative publications. Previously, he wrote Democratic Capitalism and Its Discontents and South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias. (...) >>>

3rd Nov 2008

... * refers to Estonian Socialist MEP Marianne Mikko's initiative to gag the blogs (scroll down to Free Europe's entry - the vote was last Thursday - we are on to it, but results prove illusive for the moment ...

England Expects: "ironique et eurosceptique", by Gawain Towler

So long, farewell, auf weidersein, goodbyeee. Ladies and gentlemen, I am sad to announce that from henceforth England Expects shall be consigned to the dustbins of history. I say this with a heavy heart, but it is the case. And this is why. Yesterday I was summoned by my Secretary General and informed that a formal complaint had been made about my posting on this blog. My activities were found to be in contravention of the Staff Code of Conduct. In particular I was in breech of Article 12 and 17. (...)

Now I do not say that I am not in breech of the staff regulations, I am. But it is odd when one considers that I employed to be the Press officer of the UK delegation to the Ind/Dem Group, which is the UK Independence Party. My job is to bring the institutions into disrepute, which I am doing, well if I am any good I should be doing. (...) The point being that there interpretation as to my lack of circumspection is key. Now think about the report that is going through the Parliament and is discussed by Bruno Waterfield here* and you will see a very scary picture emerging. >>>

28th Sep 2008

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