Tagged: Freedom of Speech Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:00 on 19. September 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , ,   

    Inspiring Freedom-enhancing Practices 

    How do we inspire freedomenhancing practices? Through regulation? An organised global movement? http://eicker.at/CR

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 19:17 on 27. February 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , Indecency, , , , , , , , , Pornography, Predators, , , , , ,   

    Net Control 

    Jarvis: We don’t need no regulation. We don’t need no thought control. – Leave our net alone! http://eicker.at/NetControl

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 19:17 on 27. February 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Jarvis: “The internet’s not broken. – So then why are there so many attempts to regulate it? Under the guises of piracy, privacy, pornography, predators, indecency, and security, not to mention censorship, tyranny, and civilization, governments from the U.S. to France to Germany to China to Iran to Canada – as well as the European Union and the United Nations – are trying to exert control over the internet. – Why? Is it not working? Is it presenting some new danger to society? Is it fundamentally operating any differently today than it was five or ten years ago? No, no, and no…

        We don’t need no regulation.
        We dont need no thought control
        No dark sarcasm in the network
        Government: Leave our net alone
        Hey! Government! Leave our net alone!
        All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
        All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

      The Internet and Web are, need, and will stay open – this gorgeous discussion proves it once again; http://eicker.at/OpenWeb

      The Web goes dark on January 18, 2012, protesting #SOPA/#PIPA: Wikipedia, BoingBoing, many more; http://eicker.at/J18 #J18

      White House: Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet; http://eicker.at/PiracyInternet #SOPA

      A UN report declared Internet access a human right last summer: Cerf argues why it’s not; http://eicker.at/InternetHumanRight

      Petri on Judiciary Committee’s SOPA hearings: I just want the nightmare to be over; http://eicker.at/SOPAnightmare

      Internet censorship made in the USA: SOPA and PIPA are a major attack on Internet freedom; http://eicker.at/InternetCensorship

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:42 on 30. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , Cybercrime, , Denmark, , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , Slovenia, , , , , , , , ,   

    Internet Freedom vs. Government 

    TC: Twitter’s new policies demonstrate the complicated relationship between Internet freedom and government; http://eicker.at/2o

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 08:35 on 27. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Countries, , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , Nationalisation, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Twitter Censorship 

    Twitter censorship becomes nationalised: starts censoring tweets country by country; http://eicker.at/TwitterCensorship

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:35 on 27. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Twitter, 2011: “The Tweets Must Flow – The open exchange of information can have a positive global impact. This is both a practical and ethical belief. On a practical level, we simply cannot review all one hundred million-plus Tweets created and subsequently delivered every day. From an ethical perspective, almost every country in the world agrees that freedom of expression is a human right. Many countries also agree that freedom of expression carries with it responsibilities and has limits. – At Twitter, we have identified our own responsibilities and limits. There are Tweets that we do remove, such as illegal Tweets and spam. However, we make efforts to keep these exceptions narrow so they may serve to prove a broader and more important rule – we strive not to remove Tweets on the basis of their content. – Our position on freedom of expression carries with it a mandate to protect our users’ right to speak freely and preserve their ability to contest having their private information revealed.

      Twitter, 2012: “Tweets still must flow – As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others are similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content. – Until now, the only way we could take account of those countries’ limits was to remove content globally. Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country – while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why. – We haven’t yet used this ability, but if and when we are required to withhold a Tweet in a specific country, we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld. As part of that transparency, we’ve expanded our partnership with Chilling Effects … which makes it easier to find notices related to Twitter. … One of our core values as a company is to defend and respect each user’s voice. We try to keep content up wherever and whenever we can, and we will be transparent with users when we can’t. The Tweets must continue to flow.”

      GigaOM: “The company said laws around what content is legal to distribute differ from country to country, and the new system will allow it to remove tweets only for users in a specific area, rather than censoring the entire network. But no matter how Twitter phrases it, this news is going to concentrate attention on one thing: that a corporate entity, however well-meaning, controls which tweets are seen or not seen. … Of course, making it public didn’t help Twitter in its fight to resist the court order – in the latest decision in the case, a court ruled that it would have to turn over the data, which includes IP addresses and email addresses – but at least it made it obvious what was happening. … That said, however, the reality is that Twitter has just opened itself up to all kinds of conspiracy theories about what tweets it is or isn’t withholding – and on whose behalf it is removing them. … More than anything else, Twitter’s announcement highlights both how integral a part of the global information ecosystem it has become, and how vulnerable that ecosystem can be when a single entity controls such a crucial portion of it. How Twitter handles that challenge will ultimately determine whether it deserves the continued trust of its users.

      RWW: “In an email, Twitter spokesperson Jodi Olson said the company was not backing off its commitment to free expression. – ‘Just to be clear, this is not a change in philosophy and there are still countries to which we will not go,” Olson said. ‘We hold freedom of expression in high esteem and work hard not to remove Tweets.‘ – The three major, U.S.-based social networks are all currently banned in China, a country analysts all agree is crucial for future growth. While Twitter’s post did not specifically mention China, it clearly positions the company ahead of Facebook and Google+ in articulating a career policy for handling content that may rile Chinese government officials. … ‘This launch gives us the ability, when we have to, in response to a valid legal request, withhold a Tweet in a specific country and to keep that Tweet visible for the rest of the world,’ Olson said Thursday. ‘Our policy in these cases is to 1) promptly notify the affected users, unless we are legally prohibited from doing so; 2) withhold the content in the required countries only, rather than worldwide; 3) clearly indicate to viewers that a Tweet or Account has been withheld, and 4) make available any requests to withhold content through our partnership with Chilling Effects.‘”

      VB: “Should you believe the company’s assertions (and we do), you can boil it all down to this: Twitter has craftily granted itself the ability to honor the requests it has to in order to remain operable in some countries and yet still simultaneously uphold its commitment to freedom of expression. – Twitter has also made a promise to be more forthcoming with members about any tweets it decides to withhold from them. The company has decided to make public a page with a record of cease and desist orders, and will attempt to let a user when his or her tweet is withheld.”

      TC: “In a way, it’s a good solution: countries where it is forbidden to speak ill of God or well of Hitler will now be able to extend those restrictions to Twitter. But, on the other hand, countries where it is forbidden to speak ill of God or well of Hitler will now be able to extend those restrictions to Twitter. … The problem is that in a way, that is worse. Twitter, and the net in general, are by nature a global communication platform. National conflicts on the internet (for example, an album being released in October in the UK and December in the US) are strange and illogical. Before this announcement, Twitter was a global platform on which something was either said or not said, on a global scale. Now, Twitter’s new power to enforce censorship depending on your country both legitimizes the blocks and concedes international territory specifically to countries that ‘have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression.’ This diplomatic casting of the restriction of speech, from a company that is built around the idea of free communication, is troubling. … A meta-national community like Twitter must both transcend and respect its constituent parts, and that requires some tough decisions. Let’s hope they made this decision with the promise of better global communication in mind.

  • Gerrit Eicker 11:35 on 17. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Blackout, , , , , Dark, , , Freedom of Speech, , , , January 18, , , , , , , , , Protest, , , , , SOPA Blackout, SOPA Strike, , , ,   

    Dark on January 18, 2012 

    The Web goes dark on January 18, 2012, protesting #SOPA/#PIPA: Wikipedia, BoingBoing, many more; http://eicker.at/J18 #J18

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 11:35 on 17. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wikipedia: “Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate – that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia. … My hope is that when Wikipedia shuts down on January 18, people will understand that we’re doing it for our readers. We support everyone’s right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can’t pay for it. We believe in a free and open Internet where information can be shared without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA – and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States – don’t advance the interests of the general public. You can read a very good list of reasons to oppose SOPA and PIPA here, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. … On January 18, we hope you’ll agree with us, and will do what you can to make your own voice heard.

      BoingBoing: “On January 18, Boing Boing will join Reddit and other sites around the Internet in ‘going dark’ to oppose SOPA and PIPA, the pending US legislation that creates a punishing Internet censorship regime and exports it to the rest of the world. Boing Boing could never co-exist with a SOPA world: we could not ever link to another website unless we were sure that no links to anything that infringes copyright appeared on that site. So in order to link to a URL on LiveJournal or WordPress or Twitter or Blogspot, we’d have to first confirm that no one had ever made an infringing link, anywhere on that site. Making one link would require checking millions (even tens of millions) of pages, just to be sure that we weren’t in some way impinging on the ability of five Hollywood studios, four multinational record labels, and six global publishers to maximize their profits.”

      SOPA Strike: “On January 18th, 2012 the internet is going on strike to stop the web censorship bills in Congress! Now is our moment – we need you to do everything you can, whether you have a website or not. … January 18th is going to be amazing. Sites are striking in all different ways, but they are united by this: do the biggest thing you possibly can, and drive contacts to Congress. Put this on your site or automate it by putting this JS into your header, which will start the blackout at 8AM EST and end at 8PM EST. … On Jan 24th, Congress will vote to pass internet censorship in the Senate, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill – PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House – to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity. We need internet companies to follow Reddit’s lead and stand up for the web, as we internet users are doing every day.

      TC: “Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales wanted to send a ‘big message’ to the U.S. government regarding the two heinous internet censorship bills currently being considered, and after a brief period of debate the world’s encyclopedia will soon do just that. – The Wikipedia founder announced on Twitter today that starting at midnight on Wednesday, January 18, the English language version of the world’s encyclopedia will go dark for 24 hours in protest of SOPA and PIPA. With their commitment confirmed, Wikipedia will be joining a slew of websites and companies that will suspend their operations for one day in an effort raise awareness around the two bills. … Though the event is meant to raise public awareness over two critical pieces of legislation, Wales still took a moment to offer a bit of sage advice for students heading back to school: ‘Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!’

  • Gerrit Eicker 12:19 on 16. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Online Piracy and an Open Internet 

    White House: Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet; http://eicker.at/PiracyInternet #SOPA

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 12:20 on 16. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      White House, Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard Schmidt: “Right now, Congress is debating a few pieces of legislation concerning the very real issue of online piracy, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the PROTECT IP Act and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). We want to take this opportunity to tell you what the Administration will support – and what we will not support. … Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected. … We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security. … Let us be clear – online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, and threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation’s most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs. … That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response. … This is not just a matter for legislation. We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.”

      RWW: “In a statement on behalf of the Obama administration this morning, a trio of senior officials including the nation’s Chief Technology Officer made clear that any anti-piracy legislation passing the President’s desk would not create risks of censorship, nor would it condone any alterations to the Internet’s domain name system that could invite security dangers. … That President Obama himself has not made a statement is probably intended to help him preserve his official position as against online piracy. However, this recommendation will very likely be heeded, and this move may slow, if not halt, any legislative activity on this matter for the remainder of this term in the Senate. In the House, which remains under Republican control, the SOPA bill (minus the court order provision that constituted its main enforcement provision) may still be voted on, but the chances of it facing reconciliation with a Senate version of the same bill are now extremely minimal.”

      ATD: “Obama: Don’t Worry Internet, I Got Your Back on That SOPA ThingToday it became clear that SOPA, at least in its current form, will never get that far. Word came from the White House today that the administration, while sympathetic to the cause of curbing online piracy, will support neither the SOPA bill nor its companion bill – known as PIPA – in the Senate. … Piracy is bad, but approaches like SOPA are bad solutions that would potentially hurt the free-flowing, vibrant Internet we’ve all come to rely on for so many things. … Somehow, I find it encouraging that opposing SOPA – or at least calling for changes to it – was the issue on which Obama and Cantor, who can’t seem to agree on anything, found they had some room for common ground. Could this signify a badly needed thaw in bipartisan relations in Washington?

      VB: “In other words, the White House seems intent on striking a balance between two competing constituencies, Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Both of them have supported Obama, and they have very opposed interests. Big media companies, including big record companies and Hollywood film studios, want a hardline to protect copyright, so that they can make more money from their content, and have supported both the House and the Senate Bills. Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo and others, however, oppose SOPA legislation, warning in a Nov. 15 letter that it would force new burdensome mandates on law-abiding technology companies…

      TC: “Support in Washington for the SOPA anti-piracy bill in Congress (and its Senate equivalent, PIPA), is waning. After weeks of mounting uproar online, Congressional leaders started backpedaling last week and the Obama Administration weighed in on Saturday in response to online petitions to stop the bills. The White House issued a clear rejection of some of the main principles of SOPA. – While the White House supports the major goal of the bills to stop international online piracy, the growing chorus of complaints about the ham-fisted way the law is going to be implemented may finally be acting a s a counterweight to all the media-company lobbying which is trying to push the bills through. … But it still is not clear how the objectives of the bills can be achieved without causing damage to the Internet. Congress should come up with a different mechanism for going after foreign pirate sites or else kill the bills entirely. – SOPA supporters may be rethinking their positions, but they have not retreated entirely. Online SOPA opponents shouldn’t be doing any victory dances just yet.

      TC: “What is Internet freedom? The United States government has an ‘Internet freedom’ agenda, complete with speeches by the Secretary of State and millions of dollars in program funding. A key United Nations official last year issued a major report emphasizing the right of all individuals freely to use the Internet. Taking a different tack, Vint Cerf, one of the Internet’s founding fathers and ‘Chief Internet Evangelist’ at Google, recently argued in the New York Times that Internet access is not a human right. And Devin Coldewey parsed the debate in TechCrunch, noting that the Internet is an enabler of rights, not a right unto itself. … Government officials and their private sector counterparts have a key role to play in all of this. The United States should be in the lead in formulating acceptable international definitions of Internet freedom, aggression, and cyber security that respect widely-recognized human rights. … Even some of America’s closest democratic friends have views of Internet freedom that are more restrictive than those widely held in the United States. Witness recent attempts by the government of India to have key Internet companies remove objectionable content or restrictions in Europe on online speech that insults population groups. But the effort begins with getting straight precisely what we mean by ‘Internet freedom.’ The idea – and the reality – is too important to muddle.

  • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , Internet Access, , , , , , , , , , , , , , UN, Universal Service, Universal Service Policy,   

    Internet Access: a Human Right? 

    A UN report declared Internet access a human right last summer: Cerf argues why it’s not; http://eicker.at/InternetHumanRight

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      UN: “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression – This report explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through the Internet. The Special Rapporteur underscores the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole. Chapter III of the report underlines the applicability of international human rights norms and standards on the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the Internet as a communication medium, and sets out the exceptional circumstances under which the dissemination of certain types of information may be restricted. Chapters IV and V address two dimensions of Internet access respectively: (a) access to content; and (b) access to the physical and technical infrastructure required to access the Internet in the first place. More specifically, chapter IV outlines some of the ways in which States are increasingly censoring information online, namely through: arbitrary blocking or filtering of content; criminalization of legitimate expression; imposition of intermediary liability; disconnecting users from Internet access, including on the basis of intellectual property rights law; cyber-attacks; and inadequate protection of the right to privacy and data protection. Chapter V addresses the issue of universal access to the Internet. The Special Rapporteur intends to explore this topic further in his future report to the General Assembly. Chapter VI contains the Special Rapporteur’s conclusions and recommendations concerning the main subjects of the report.”

      Wired: “U.N. Report Declares Internet Access a Human Right – A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law. – The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet. It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest… The report, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, comes the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two thirds of Syria’s internet access has abruptly gone dark, in what is likely a government response to unrest in that country.”

      Cerf, NYT: “Internet Access Is Not a Human Right – It is no surprise, then, that the protests have raised questions about whether Internet access is or should be a civil or human right. … In June, citing the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, a report by the United Nations’ special rapporteur went so far as to declare that the Internet had ‘become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights.’ … But that argument, however well meaning, misses a larger point: technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things. … Indeed, even the United Nations report, which was widely hailed as declaring Internet access a human right, acknowledged that the Internet was valuable as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. … While the United States has never decreed that everyone has a ‘right’ to a telephone, we have come close to this with the notion of ‘universal service’… Improving the Internet is just one means, albeit an important one, by which to improve the human condition. It must be done with an appreciation for the civil and human rights that deserve protection – without pretending that access itself is such a right.

      GigaOM: “Cerf’s position is somewhat surprising because, as even he acknowledges in his piece for the NYT, the events of the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011… Cerf is also the ‘chief Internet evangelist’ at Google, so it seems a little odd he would be downplaying the need for widespread internet access and the benefits that it brings to society. … In a nutshell, Cerf’s argument seems to be that if we define Internet access itself as a right, we are placing the focus on the wrong thing. The ‘Net, he says, is just a technological tool that enables us to exercise other fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech or access to information – and rights should not be awarded to tools, but to the ends that they enable us to reach. … The Internet is a fundamental method of communication and connection, and is becoming more fundamental all the time, as we’ve seen in the Middle East and elsewhere. Seeing it as a right is an important step towards making it available to as many people as possible.

      TL: “As I noted in my earlier essay, the best universal service policy is marketplace competition. When we get the basic framework right – low taxes, property rights, contractual enforcement, anti-fraud standards, etc. – competition generally takes care of the rest. But competition often doesn’t develop – or is sometimes prohibited outright – in sectors or for networks that are declared ‘essential’ facilities or technological entitlements. … So, while I appreciate and agree with Cerf’s humorous point that ‘Today, if I were granted a right to have a horse, I’m not sure where I would put it,’ the more interesting question is this: If government would have decreed long ago that everyone had a right to a horse, would that have meant everyone actually got one? … These are the sort of questions rarely asked initially in discussions about proposals to convert technologies or networks into birthright entitlements. Eventually, however, they become inescapable problems that every entitlement system must grapple with. When we discuss the wisdom of classifying the Internet or broadband as a birthright entitlement, we should require advocates to provide us with some answers to such questions. Kudos to Vint Cerf for helping us get that conversation going in a serious way.

      TC: “So, is the internet a human right? It is our best and most effective way of achieving a universal freedom of expression, and it should be treated as such. But to enshrine it, as others have said, as a human right when it is in fact merely a powerful enabler thereof, is an unnecessary step. Laws and regulations, and things like UN guidelines, should be aimed at enshrining rights in their pure and timeless forms, not in derivative forms, however widespread and important those derivatives may be.

      TR: “It might be argued that internet access was a civil right, since it is something that people look to governments to provide as a matter of course. But even this argument is shaky, he warns. Instead we should look not to the technology, but to the technology industry, to protect human rights, and it is up to engineers to ensure universal, safe internet access. … Cerf, whose current day job is being an internet evangelist for Google, may well have a point. But based on current evidence, there’s a mixed record from the technology industry thus far, not least from Silicon Valley itself. … From a technical perspective, El Reg suspects that Cerf has it right: the internet is no more a human right than a road or telephone. But looking to a relatively amoral industry like technology to act as a human rights guardian is asking for trouble.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:43 on 3. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Confidentiality, Crystal Cox, , Editing, , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , Journalistic Practices, Journalistic Protection, Journalistic Standards, , , , , , , , , Professional Standards, , , Qualification, , , , , , ,   

    Bloggers: Journalists? 

    Are bloggers journalists? The case of Crystal Cox heats up the never ending story; http://eicker.at/BloggersJournalists

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:44 on 3. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      CP: “On November 30, United States District Judge Marco A. Hernandez of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Portland Division, ruled against a blogger, Crystal Cox, who had represented herself before the court in a defamation case in which she was the defendant. In the end, the judge ordered Cox to pay $2.5 million in damages to the plaintiffs. …Judge Hernandez suggested that bloggers could only sometimes count as journalists, based on a multi-factor test he set forth. … Judge Hernandez also ruled that, under Oregon law, Cox did not have the right to protect her sources. … In sum, Judge Hernandez should have taken a functional approach, and read the terms of the two statutes to encompass methods of publication that were closely analogous to those listed in the statute. Doing so would have meant that blogs, including Cox’s, were included. … On one hand, Judge Hernandez was surely reasonable to include factors referring to practices such as fact-checking… But on the other hand, it may not be fair to include the factors of journalism education, institutional affiliation, or proof of credentials… Yet, to establish such a credentialing body might prove to be a double-edged sword. One of the very points of blogging is that anyone can do it, and that is also one of its great virtues. Thus, this issue may be one in which either bloggers’ independence will be sacrificed a bit, or the legal protections journalists enjoy will continue to be withheld from bloggers.

      Hernandez: “Defendant fails to bring forth any evidence suggestive of her status as a journalist. For example, there is no evidence of (1) any education in journalism; (2) any credentials or proof of any affiliation with any recognized news entity; (3) proof of adherence to journalistic standards such as editing, fact-checking, or disclosures of conflicts of interest; (4) keeping notes of conversations and interviews conducted; (5) mutual understanding or agreement of confidentiality between the defendant and his/her sources; (6) creation of an independent product rather than assembling writings and postings of others; or (7) contacting ‘the other side’ to get both sides of a story. Without evidence of this nature, defendant is not ‘media.’

      Forbes: “In case involving self-described ‘investigative blogger’ Crystal Cox, Judge Hernandez ruled that in order to qualify for basic First Amendment protections like state shield laws, freelance journalists have to meet a rather stiff set of criteria. … On page 9 of a 13-page ruling, Judge Hernandez last month set out these requirements to qualify as a journalist… ‘Without evidence of this nature, defendant is not ‘media,” the ruling says. Obviously, the judge – an Obama appointee – doesn’t understand either media or the First Amendment. His ruling also went much farther than the case before him required. … Hernandez’ qualifications suggest that only ‘news reporting’ is journalism. … Does this mean I think everyone who publishes a blog qualifies for whatever ‘journalistic protections’ exist? Hell no. My opinion is that Crystal Cox isn’t committing journalism on the two blogs I’ve seen associated with her – this one and this other one. I am not taking sides, but her writing and sites would get most ‘real’ journalists fired. This is an example of where journalism and pornography are both hard to define, but I know them when I see them. … Judge Hernandez missed the point in several ways, but he is right that no single attribute can define who qualifies for special journalistic protection and who does not. The First Amendment applies to all, but the law can help journalists in cases of slander and libel, protection of sources and access to news events.

      NYT: “Everyone knows that you no longer need to buy ink by the barrel to be considered a publisher. Your grandmother can do it with a laptop. But can anyone be considered a journalist? That is the focus of the Cox ruling. It suggests that a journalist may need to act on a set of professional standards to be recognized as a protected member of the tribe. – So who is a journalist? A journalist – good or bad – possesses a hunger to pursue the truth and to share it in compelling ways. Yet some of the best journalists have had no academic training in the field. – Blogs compete with mainstream media every day. In some cases, they have become more trustworthy as sources of information than some old school practitioners. … The First Amendment is not just for journalists. It affords all Americans the right to unfettered speech. We should celebrate how technology lets us express more speech than ever before – without discriminating against the ‘non-journalists.’ That doesn’t mean that online publishers should not be judged according to an evolving set of standards and practices.

  • Gerrit Eicker 18:12 on 16. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    SOPA Nightmare 

    Petri on Judiciary Committee’s SOPA hearings: I just want the nightmare to be over; http://eicker.at/SOPAnightmare

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 18:12 on 16. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      WP, Petri: “Last night I had a horrifying dream that a group of well-intentioned middle-aged people who could not distinguish between a domain name and an IP address were trying to regulate the Internet. Then I woke up and the Judiciary Committee’s SOPA hearings were on. … [T]his is like a group of well-intentioned amateurs getting together to perform heart surgery on a patient incapable of moving. … This is terrifying to watch. It would be amusing – there’s nothing like people who did not grow up with the Internet attempting to ask questions about technology very slowly and stumbling over words like ‘server’ and ‘service’ when you want an easy laugh. Except that this time, the joke’s on us. … This afternoon, the hearings continue, with even more amendments. But at the rate it’s going, it looks likely that SOPA will make it to the floor. – I just want the nightmare to be over.

      VB: “A group of influential and iconic tech entrepreneurs have written an open letter of opposition to the recently proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which has been published as a paid advertisement in several major U.S. newspapers today. … The opposition letter warns of the dangers that SOPA would bring to business and innovation. It’s signed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Netscape co-founder and prominent investor Marc Andreessen, PayPal and Tesla founder Elon Musk and several others. … In addition to those top tech executives, several companies and organizations have publicly come out against SOPA. Open-source online encyclopedia Wikipedia is even toying with the idea of staging a blackout in protest of the proposed law.

      An Open Letter to Washington: “We’ve all had the good fortune to found Internet companies and nonprofits in a regulatory climate that promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, the creation of content and free expression online. – However we’re worried that the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act – which started out as well-meaning efforts to control piracy online – will undermine that framework. – These two pieces of legislation threaten to: Require web services, like the ones we helped found, to monitor what users link to, or upload. This would have a chilling effect on innovation; – Deny website owners the right to due process of law; – Give the U.S. Government the power to censor the web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran; and – Undermine security online by changing the basic structure of the Internet. – We urge Congress to think hard before changing the regulation that underpins the Internet. Let’s not deny the next generation of entrepreneurs and founders the same opportunities that we all had.” … [Signed by] Marc Andreessen (Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz), Sergey Brin (Google), Jack Dorsey (Twitter and Square), Caterina Fake (Flickr and Hunch), David Filo (Yahoo!), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post), Chad Hurley (YouTube), Brewster Kahle (Internet Archive and Alexa Internet), Elon Musk (PayPal), Craig Newmark (craigslist), Pierre Omidyar (eBay), Biz Stone (Obvious and Twitter), Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia and Wikimedia Foundation), Evan Williams (Blogger and Twitter), Jerry Yang (Yahoo!)

      NYT: “For years, pirated movies, television shows and music have been on the Internet. … Now, however, two bills, broadly supported on both sides of the political aisle, aim to cut off the oxygen for foreign pirate sites by taking aim at American search engines like Google and Yahoo, payment processors like PayPal and ad servers that allow the pirates to function. – Naturally the howls of protest have been loud and lavishly financed, not only from Silicon Valley companies but also from public-interest groups, free-speech advocates and even venture capital investors. They argue – in TV and newspaper ads – that the bills are so broad and heavy-handed that they threaten to close Web sites and broadband service providers and stifle free speech, while setting a bad example of American censorship. – Google itself has hired at least 15 lobbying firms to fight the bills; Mozilla has included on its Firefox browser home page a link to a petition with the warning, ‘Congress is trying to censor the Internet.’ A House committee plans to take up one of the bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act, on Thursday. … Many in the Internet world, however, see ominous aspects even in the revision. ‘There are some provisions that have improved,’ said Markham Erickson, executive director of NetCoalition, a group of technology companies that includes Facebook, LinkedIn and eBay. – ‘Unfortunately,’ Mr. Erickson said, ‘the amendment also creates new problems in other places and fails to correct some of the original concerns we have raised since the start of the debate.’ … A third alternative emerged last week, as Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has been blocking the Senate bill from getting to the floor, introduced a new proposal that would make the United States International Trade Commission the arbiter for Internet disputes over copyrighted material. ‘Butchering the Internet,’ Mr. Issa said, ‘is not a way forward for Americirca.’

      TLF: “On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee is slated to take up the misleadingly named Stop Online Piracy Act, an Internet censorship bill that will do little to actually stop piracy. In response to an outpouring of opposition from cybersecurity professionals, First Amendment scholars, technology entrepreneurs, and ordinary Internet users, the bill’s sponsors have cooked up an amended version that trims or softens a few of the most egregious provisions of the original proposal, bringing it closer to its Senate counterpart, Protect-IP. But the fundamental problem with SOPA has never been these details; it’s the core idea. The core idea is still to create an Internet blacklist, which means everything I say in this video still holds true. Let’s review the main changes. … These changes are somewhat heartening insofar as they evince some legislative interest in addressing the legitimate concerns that have been raised thus far. But the problem with SOPA and Protect IP isn’t that they need to be tweaked in order to get the details of an Internet censorship system right. There is no ‘right’ way to do Internet censorship, and the best version of a bad idea remains a bad idea.

      WMF: “How SOPA will hurt the free web and Wikipedia – Wikipedia arguably falls under the definition of an ‘Internet search engine,’ and, for that reason, a federal prosecutor could obtain a court order mandating that the Wikimedia Foundation remove links to specified ‘foreign infringing sites’ or face at least contempt of court sanctions. The definition of “foreign infringing sites” is broad and could well include legitimate sites that host mostly legal content, yet have other purported infringing content on their sites. Again, many international sites may decide not to defend because of the heavy price tag, allowing an unchallenged block by the government. The result is that, under court order, Wikimedia would be tasked to review millions upon millions of sourced links, locate the links of the so-called ‘foreign infringing sites,’ and block them from our articles or other projects. It costs donors’ money and staff resources to undertake such a tremendous task, and it must be repeated every time a prosecutor delivers a court order from any federal judge in the United States on any new ‘foreign infringing site.’ Blocking links runs against our culture of open knowledge, especially when surgical solutions to fighting infringing material are available. … In short, though there have been some improvements with the new version, SOPA remains far from acceptable. Its definitions remain too loose, and its structural approach is flawed to the core. It hurts the Internet, taking a wholesale approach to block entire international sites, and this is most troubling for sites in the open knowledge movement who probably have the least ability to defend themselves overseas. The measured and focused approach of the DMCA has been jettisoned. Wikimedia will need to endure significant burdens and expend its resources to comply with conceivably multiple orders, and the bill will deprive our readers of international content, information, and sources.

      Forbes, Tassi: “How SOPA Could Ruin My Life – Hi, my name is Paul, and I’m a small business owner. But my storefront isn’t quite of the traditional variety. Rather, it’s a virtual one, a website I built from scratch, and currently own and operate. … But that might not be the case if the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) passes. My virtual small business, along with many others like it, might be history. – Why is this? Am I a pirate, who feeds my users stolen content every day and deserves to be slain by a new law like this? Not at all, and this is the fundamental problem with SOPA and other prospective laws like it (Protect IP most recently). … The fine print of the law says sites that distribute copyrighted content could be subject to summary censorship, ie Torrent sites and the like. But it also encompasses any sites that LINK to copyrighted content, which is the bomb that blows up any semblance of sense this bill might have had. … So how many of these reports would it take before I lose my advertisers? Get my site on a government blacklist? Twenty? A dozen? Five? As an owner of a YouTube channel and Facebook page, I’ve had content falsely reported for copyright many times. … Stop SOPA, stop Protect IP, stop letting congressmen who don’t even understand the internet to dictate its future. Go here to voice your concerns, and pray that even if you’re not handing them tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash, that your representatives might actually listen to you.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 09:41 on 17. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      TC: “What was expected in this contingency was for the committee to resume work whenever the House reconvenes in January. After all, with such controversial and far-reaching legislation, it is better to take one’s time. But no: the committee has announced it will continue markup this coming Wednesday, the 21st of December. … It’s telling how badly the bill’s supporters want this thing to go through that they’re willing to come in right in the middle of the holidays to do work that could easily be done a few weeks from now. We’ll follow up on Wednesday, when the bill is likely to be approved and sent on to the House.”

      SEL: “The delay is to allow more experts to weigh in with opinions and recommendations addressing technical, legal and first amendment issues. – If you’re involved with any type of online marketing, you should learn as much as you can about this proposed legislation, as the implications (mostly negative, unless you’re a large content provider or trademark holder) are huge.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:37 on 13. December 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    We Work For The Internet 

    Wales thinks about a blackout of Wikipedia to protest SOPA. – We Work For The Internet; http://eicker.at/WeWorkForTheInternet

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 07:38 on 13. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      VB: “Strike! Wikipedia founder floats idea of site blackout to protest SOPA – Wikipedia, the web’s edit-friendly encyclopedia, is considering drastic action to get the government to back down from passing the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), a bill that opponents consider the equivalent of legalizing web censorship. – In a note posted to his personal page Saturday, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales floats the idea of a community strike that would make the entire site blank to U.S., and possibly even global, visitors.

      Wales, Wikipedia: “A few months ago, the Italian Wikipedia community made a decision to blank all of Italian Wikipedia for a short period in order to protest a law which would infringe on their editorial independence. The Italian Parliament backed down immediately. As Wikipedians may or may not be aware, a much worse law going under the misleading title of ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ is working its way through Congress on a bit of a fast track. I may be attending a meeting at the White House on Monday (pending confirmation on a couple of fronts) along with executives from many other top Internet firms, and I thought this would be a good time to take a quick reading of the community feeling on this issue. My own view is that a community strike was very powerful and successful in Italy and could be even more powerful in this case. There are obviously many questions about whether the strike should be geotargetted (US-only), etc. (One possible view is that because the law would seriously impact the functioning of Wikipedia for everyone, a global strike of at least the English Wikipedia would put the maximum pressure on the US government.) At the same time, it’s of course a very very big deal to do something like this, it is unprecedented for English Wikipedia. … So, this is a straw poll. Please vote either ‘support’ or ‘oppose’ with a reason, and try to keep wide-ranging discussion to the section below the poll. – To be clear, this is NOT a vote on whether or not to have a strike. This is merely a straw poll to indicate overall interest. If this poll is firmly ‘opposed’ then I’ll know that now. But even if this poll is firmly in ‘support’ we’d obviously go through a much longer process to get some kind of consensus around parameters, triggers, and timing.”

      I Work For The Internet: “We work for the Internet. We know first-hand that the Internet powers the American dream. American innovators have built the world’s most popular sites, selling products and services to every corner of the globe, creating high-paying jobs from Maine to Hawaii. If Congress passes the Stop Online Piracy Act, America’s most promising engine of future jobs and opportunity will be put at risk. Don’t stop us now – we’re just getting started! Tell the world you work for the Internet.

      TC: “Congress is moving ahead with trying to pass SOPA – the so-called ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ that includes all sorts of draconian measures that would stifle free expression as we know it. Here’s a simple action you can take to tell everyone how you feel about that. – A site called ‘I Work For The Internet’ lets you upload a photo and first name, and what you do for a living. … You might not change any votes by sharing your photo, but you’ll get some comfort out of participating if you’ve been feeling that the bill has been incorrectly portrayed as ‘media companies versus tech companies,’ like I have. Browsing the site will also give you a visceral sense of who all those other random internet users are out there.”

      GigaOM: “In contrast to SOPA and PIPA, which many critics said were far too wide-ranging in their definition of what constitutes an ‘infringing site’ – a net some believed could easily have trapped popular media and content sites like YouTube as well as obvious piracy-focused services – OPEN narrows that to concentrate on those ‘dedicated to infringing activity.’ It also requires that the International Trade Commission be the independent arbiter of whether a site qualifies, whereas SOPA gave companies the ability to shut down websites with just a court order. – In a long analysis of OPEN, technology and intellectual-property law expert Eric Goldman said the new proposed law isn’t perfect, but is a ‘useful starting point’ for a conversation about how to implement anti-piracy legislation – and how to do this without caving in to what he called ‘rent seekers’ in the media and entertainment industries, and without breaking the Internet by forcing ISPs to change the domain-name system. … Whether any of these efforts will result in Congress turning away from its support of SOPA and PIPA remains to be seen, but it appears a number of forces both inside the government and outside are determined not to let that happen without a fight.

    • Gerrit Eicker 20:34 on 13. December 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Zeldman: “THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do today: help STOP SOPA once and for all. – The Stop Online Piracy Act could pass this week. U.S. friends reading this, call your Representatives now to be heard before the bill is finalized and voted on. Fightforthefuture.org makes it easy. Go there and do this. – We thank you.

      VB: “So far, 87% of Wikipedians support an anti-SOPA blackout – Wikipedia might see a blackout to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which goes before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee this Thursday, December 15. – Wikimedia chief Jimmy Wales recently started a poll to determine whether Wikipedia’s vast community thought SOPA was worth protesting. He noted that a similar protest conducted on the Italian Wikipedia site had a profound impact and asked users to weigh in on a blackout for the English-language version of the site.”

      RWW: “There is already a well-functioning administrative body for handling intellectual property disputes between U.S.-based companies and parties in foreign countries. It’s the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), and if you’ve followed the many disputes brought by Apple against mobile phone makers, by mobile phone makers against Apple, and among IP portfolio holders such as Qualcomm and Broadcom, no doubt you’ve heard of USITC. – So why didn’t Congress consider the Commission as a solution for the burning problem of resolving piracy matters with unknown parties outside U.S. borders? That’s a question being asked, and possibly even answered, by an alternative bill introduced last week to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP bills in the House and Senate, respectively. This morning, a cavalcade of leading tech companies known to oppose SOPA already have signed on as supporters of the USITC-based alternative.

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