Archive for the ‘Censorship’ Category

Apparently the sagging fortunes of the old media is causing some people at Associated Press (AP) (who see nothing wrong in stealing other people’s content) to think that they can get people to pay them say 20% (which is still zero in my case) for linking or using in any way, any content that AP “created”.

What this is really about is the ability to control information.  If you can’t copy the original article without paying a fee, then they can change the article to say something completely different, and the writer (for instance me) is sometimes left looking silly.

Unfortunately information on the internet is sometimes like smoke, it can drift away and leave no traces, web sites can vanish overnight for any number of reasons, and the spam of the major media organizations dominate the conversation.  For instance I was trying to find the 2007 video that CNN did on Depleted Uranium and how the Army had made training films warning of the dangers of Depleted Uranium, but all the traces of that video seem to have, err, vanished like smoke.

However, as bad as copyright laws might be, I think the usage of patents in Software is worse…but that is another topic altogether…..

If you ever went to a web site, and thought you read something, and then came back to what you thought was the same article and it seemed to say something different, well guess what, major media organizations do that to the “news” that they peddle.

A recent example was shown by Aaron Worthing (link) where the Washington Post “rewrote” an article that was grossly misleading about Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, replacing it with a version that, according to Mr. Worthing, has 76% of words that are not in the original version.  It’s not that the Washington Post rewrote the story, but it’s that they pretend they didn’t.

Of course, this isn’t anything new, news stories have been tweaked and manipulated for as long as there have been news organizations, it’s just that this time the Washington Post got caught making the changes.

It appears that the government wants to be involved in licensing the press because they want to control what information people get.  At least that is what LewRockwell.com is reporting.  As I have said before, the age of free speech may be going away with the Supreme court and the lawmakers both concerned that people are freely exchanging ideas and making up their own minds what really happened in the world, rather than just trusting the official press statements.

But soon that will be the only news that is licensed, ain’t freedom grand!

Most people don’t see how a movie company filing a lawsuit against 5,000 people (see this article) is part of a move to muzzle the internet.  I will try to explain this, basically the lawsuit is filed against the “owners” of ip addresses.  Now the reality is that the IP addresses don’t prove anything in and of themselves, I strongly recommend that people use proxy servers (e.g. TOR from the Electronic Frontier Foundation{EFF}), there are of course other proxies that work faster, so you have to decide for yourself about what to use.

But the point is that at this point in time, the government cannot positively identify who did what and when on the internet.  Craig Mundie of Microsoft has an idea to help, he proposes that the government require all people who want to use the internet to obtain licenses.  Now as long as you say things that the government doesn’t care about, you will be fine, but at some point you might want to make a statement or ask a question without revealing your real identity for the very real reason that government agents might come after you.   That very right to ask questions anonymously will be removed.   Already MOST users of the internet leave UNIQUE finger prints when they go to “normal” web sites according to the EFF.  Basically if the government really wanted to track someone on the internet they can probably ALREADY do so, it’s just too much work (and let’s face it the government doesn’t like to hire counter culture people, who also don’t like working for the government).

Already free speech is fading away, and the golden days of the internet being free of government control are being threatened, by senior government officials, including Obama’s top legal person (and supreme court nominee) who argued that the government should redistribute speech.   I find the trend in America towards more tyranny and less freedom, and frankly it’s a wonder that so many people are just taking the stuff that they get and thanking the government for the “chocolate”.

It appears that robotic lawyers are now legal.  Having been to a “trial” in which the judge (who was the only person in the remote court room I could see) appeared on a closed circuit television, where after he let all sorts of felons (who had been eluding capture) be  released on their own recognizance, told me that either I paid bail (which I couldn’t since the police had thrown my wallet away after taking my license) or I plead no contest to the criminal charge of failing to sign a citation,  I am not surprised.

Which brings us to this item at Wired.com, in which Google deleted blogs that had broken links to files that, even if they were working, some of the sites had permission to use the files.  Of course, Google does have a tendency to delete blogs that they don’t like, so pretending that Google protects free speech is like pretending Obama really is the Prince of Peace.

In other words, the computer robot swore under penalty of perjury that files that DIDN”T exist were infringing.  Unfortunately judges love corporations more than they tolerate people, so don’t expect the corporate  machine to get slapped.  This is similar to the Apex Technology issue, where a judge decided to remove websites just because a company felt that posting information about it’s “indentured servitude” policies were infringing.

Of course, there is a solution being proposed by the “mainstream” media and their corporate masters, require an license to use the Internet!

You might laugh but such a solution was made public by Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Craig Mundie last month at the Davos Economic Forum and enthusatically embreaced by Time Magazine, which is discussed in more detail by Paul Watson.

What’s funny is that when China censors people we cry how they are stifling human rights, yet when the U.S. government does it (and certain speech on the internet is already a criminal act in the United States).  There are numerous laws out there to trip up the unwary political activist, and things being what they are, it’s best to tread carefully, because you can’t expect the U.S. government to protect the human rights of U.S. citizens.

I know that I am not as fast as other people,  trying to find independent sources for the rumors and stories that I read.

In other words, there’s a reason why I don’t have as many articles as Jeff Rense (whose web site I still recommend as a source of information).  I just am not that good at writing that is completely made up, and even worse a copy of a badly made up story.

Recently Rense published a story(pdf version)(pdf) allegedly written by Stephen Lendman which had a story about Harry Reird that was markedly similar to other stories about politicians.

I don’t know if this part of the disinformation war that is going on between Jeff Rense and Alex Jones (see this and thatarticle).  I think Alex Jones does very well in whatever he seems to be doing, and he does reach a certain audience, that isn’t reached by Jeff Rense, in other words there are people who will ridicule anything that is linked to Jeff Rense, but who will believe the same exact thing if Alex Jones presents it, and the inverse is true.

That said, I admire anyone who can fight the machine and not be rendered destitute, with constant government investigations in your and your family and friends.  Let’s face it, the reality of the situation is that even on the internet the  speech is censored, even if true.

For instance, people are aware that they are tracked over the internet (the FBI wants to expand record keeping requirements to 2 years for which web sites people visit).  The government already chaffs at not being able to get the records from some news sites like IndyMedia.org (where the government requested the “reading list” of all it’s visitors).

So I say, read both Rense and Jones, and the mainstream media, and make up your own mind based on what you can verify, or who you trust.   You’ll know who is honest by the people that are willing to correct their mistakes with humility.

At DeadlineLive.info, I read about a Reuters report where it’s reported that under the excuse of the Swine Flu (or any government declared emergency), the Department of Homeland Security can decide which web sites people will be allowed to view and when.

Nice to see that freedom is alive and well.

As the Senate moves to pass the “Hate Crimes” bill, new reasons are being put forward to limit the internet.  Supposedly the internet is going to destroy the planet and use up all the energy.  So now to stop global warming,  internet usage needs to be sharply reduced.  Of course we are also (supposedly) running out of bandwidth so when you can’t get to a site, it won’t be because it was censored, but because the internet is going to have “brown outs”.

You would think that the fact that police have finally identified a man who they “suspect he killed at least 30 women and raped many more” would be all over the news.

Unfortunately this a nonstory because this was an “african-american” (who has never been to Africa) who killed and raped mostly white women.  It would be racist to mention that aspect of the story, just as it is racist to mention black on white crime (which is never a hate crime, it’s because “african americans” are discriminated against).

But then again it’s a “hate crime” to say things that the government doesn’t want you to say.

It seems that Cass Sunstein, Obama’s nominee for some sort of regulatory czar,  had proposed a plan that even he (a law school professor) said would probably be unconstitutional,where people on the internet would be required to display opposing viewpoints.

Now this alone would be disturbing, but the movement towards a vote on the “hate speech” bill makes the issue of freedom of speech a little more pressing than most people realize.  For instance, according to Janet Porter, the hate speech bill:

specifically targets anyone who dissents to the homosexual agenda as aiding in the commission of a crime, making them “punishable as a principal.”

Of course that would make Carrie Prejeana federal felon at any point if she continues to hold her views.  Now I know there are those who diminish her because she was in a beauty pageant(much like Sarah Palin once was).  I have to tell you that the only people I know who watched that pageant where, uh, women.

Let’s face it, in today’s world the Miss America pageant is a lot more tame than most of what people get on the internet where sex is allowed to be promoted, but opposing viewpoints are not.  But much as people (such as me at times) want to blame the politicians, the blame falls more correctly on the people of America.  Unfortunately the politicians are a reflection of the decay of American society and the decline in rational thinking.

That said, I entirely understand the unwillingness of people to be the nail that stands out (and gets hammered).    But at some point people need to wake from their slumber and take responsibility for what is going on.  Hopefully they will do it while it is still legal to express dissent.

Recently Carrie Pejean gave an honest (and polite) answer to a loaded question, and as a result was called all sorts of names.  This all part of the bias against tradition values in America.

What most people are unaware of is that there are bills in congress right now to make what Carrie said a FEDERAL hate crime! I think that these steps are part of the process of controlling what people believe, similar to the novel 1984.

By criminalizing comments, the discussion of certain ideas is made illegal, and it has already happened in cases in the United States.   If you have information about drugs or explosives on a web page, you can go to jail. I find that by looking at the UK, I can get an idea of the policies that will be put into place in the United States (like cameras that are used to issue tickets).  While the UK is increasingly friendly to immigrants, one of the Prime Minister’s leading advisers has said that the natives of the UK must reduce their numbers.  Already the steps towards this punishment of the people who are citizens of only one nation is being pushed in the United States, where illegal immigrants are given special treatment, while the government instead targets veterans as dangers to America.  I find it amazing that with unemployment at least at 20%, and unemployment benefits running out for many, Obama is working on giving money away to people who are here illegally, while claiming that veterans are the real danger to Americans. Of course some say that this is part of Obama’s war on labor, but I tend to think it’s part the steps that are needed to force Americans into accepting global governance.

Even now, companies that got bailout money are trying to shutdown sites that are critical of them.  And they aren’t even real people.  Of course, in Australia some think it’s a crime to even know that the government won’t let you view websites.

Some countries in the free world are moving to try and capture all internet traffic that a person has, and meanwhile we cry about how the Chinese are going to get our email.  At the same time, in the UNITED STATES the government can seize all your electronic equipment if someone sees you typing commands on computer instead of clicking with a mouse!

And talking about any of these things can be considered hate speech, but we are supposed to embrace the “happy thoughts” or we are obviously anti social criminals who should be taken care of one way or another.

As long as people continue to chase dreams, and fail to see what is really happening, I don’t see any real hope for America, but Obama isn’t the one to blame for this, it’s all the people that fail to think, and just want to be part of the (mad) crowd.

Recently the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) sued a bunch of  MIT students who had allegedly been able to figure out the fare card system used by the MBTA.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stepped in to defend the students.

The MBTA wants the court to grant the MBTA discovery on the notes, and other documents that the students might have used, even though it is not claimed that the students broke any laws.  The students were engaged in Acamdemic research, and even met with representatives of the MBTA before the MBTA filed the lawsuit against the students.  In fact, it was because the students wanted to inform the MBTA of the flaws in the system that MBTA became aware that the students had discovered the flaws.

According to court documents, the students had agreed to provide the MBTA with a summary within two weeks of their August 4th meeting.  Rather than give the students the time, within 4 days of meeting with the MBTA (10 days before the two weeks) the students were sued.

In return for the students attempt to work with the MBTA, the MBTA sued the students to prevent them from speaking about the MBTA fare card system in any way, even if that information was in the public domain.  It was only after the EFF stepped in to represent the students that the MBTA requested that the court modify the order to prevent the students from talking about non-public information that the MBTA wants to be kept secret.

It’s has become sad that the government (MBTA) is so willing to engage in such “chilling effects on speech”  Cusumano v. Microsoft, 162 F.3d 708, 714 (1st Cir. 1998), cited in defendants motion for reconsideration (pdf).

This appears to be a test case for the government to be able to review the class papers of any student, regardless of whether the student publishes them outside of the classroom or not.  In this case the government is claiming that it has a right to know what plans the students may (or may not) have had about the possible implications of the fare card problem.

In my opinion this is a problem with FAKE money systems (like the fare card system).  There is a reason why the constitution had a prohibition against the use of fake money systems, but since the constitution doesn’t matter on that point anymore, it’s no wonder that it doesn’t matter on free speech issues either.

According to Michael Hoffman, his new book Judaism Discovered, is no longer going to be sold through Amazon.com, because of “rabbinic objections”.  While I had no intention of buying the book, as I rarely buy books, I find it interesting that it’s considered ok to write about some religions and not about others.

Of course Amazon.com is a private company and they can sell or not sell whatever they want.  I guess that the rest of the books at Amazon.com are books that you are allowed to read.

Of course it might be because of threat to criminalize any “defamation” of religion.  Which I guess would bring back the dark ages.

While I recently wrote how Canadian Internet providers were planning on reducing access to the internet.  Well I was wrong about it not being economically viable.  It appears that the tatic that is being used in the United States is to say that it’s being done to stop child pornography.  According to the Register, the Attorney General of New York is threatening to sue companies that fail to self censor whatever he has decided are hot beds of child pornography.

The whole slippery slope of child porn laws does make children safer.  When politically connected people get a slap on the wrist for possessing child porn, (here’s a person who made child porn who only got 10 months) all it shows is that the law is an excuse to slowly restrict speech.  It’s sad that people don’t seem to want to know what’s really going on.  I talk to people about the dangers of the use of child pornography laws to censor the internet, and of course they say that people who view/possess child pornography should go to jail for a long time.

Which works out well for some people.  If there is someone you don’t like, just plant some child porn on them, it’s better than planting drugs, and there is no real defense.  Basically, there is child porn, therefore they are a criminal.

Welcome to the land of the used to be free.

According to the American Free Press, the major Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are planning a new internet plan of “free” sites (limited to 100-200 sites) with all other sites being pay per click.   The reasoning for this is supposedly going to be put out in Time Magazine by writer Dylan Pattyn.

The story seems to have originated at I Power (older story here).  The People’s Voice has the same article as American Free Press by the same author.

Supposedly some ISPs will implement this model in 2010, with others following in other countries.  This model is entirely legal, as it’s the same model that cable companies use.

That said, it’s the same model that America Online had in the 1990′s.  And I don’t think it’s going to work very well.  Web TV was another failed attempt to give people a sanatized internet.  No one wants crap internet.  For all the crying about how this model will kill the internet, I think that it will just kill those companies that embrace such a stupid model.

Look at what happened when Comcast was screwing with bittorrent traffic.  In a relatively short period of time Comcast went from trying to throttle a high bandwidth usage of the network to promising to make it work better on its network.

What amazes me is that these companies appear to be run by people who can run a company into the ground and still get huge bucks.  Part of the problem is that there really isn’t any accountability for publicly traded companies.  Rather it’s about “networking” or “relationships” and how well you do lunches, fund raising and so forth, rather than the long term effect on the company.

In any case, I don’t think that people are going to buy the ala carte internet plan, anymore than they did 15 years ago when America Online was pushing it with the largest subscriber base of anyone.

But then again, you can count on people being stupid.

I occasionally read Jeff Rense‘s web site, and it amazes me that the site that is supposedly one of the “top internet news sites” doesn’t have some redundancy, as it seems to be off the internet for a while (according to this post and this other post).  Some people have said that it was due to Rense’s anti Obama reports that his web site was shut down.

In any case, it seems strange that the people who supposedly want change, want to have silence from those who disagree with them.

[update]

What seems to have happened is that “TheHostPros.com”, which provides hosting for Rense, has had it’s dns servers knocked out.  Now it may be that they don’t have the DNS servers spread out (at one point I had everything on one box, of course that in the LAST century).  This has been a weak point with Rense for a while, and I used to have the IP address saved somewhere as a result, just because whenever anyone wanted to take Rense down, the DNS servers would be the first to go.

I find it interesting that Yoko Ono is arguing that the “Heart” of Imagine is “Nothing to kill or die for/ And no religion too”.  It’s not that I ambig proponent of organized religion, but I am a big believer in fair use, and, according to Groklaw, from a judge’s recent ruling against the people who wanted to shut down the movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed“, Ono’s expert had claimed:

In other words, Dr. Ferrara’s opinion is that the fifteen-second excerpt at issue contains the “heart” of “Imagine.”

This is similar to the insanity that AP had been promoting, that using small excerpts is somehow illegal in today’s world.  Attorneys can and do same different things about the same issues when in different forums, and because the same two bar piano tune is played throughout “Imagine” the plaintiffs argue that any use of those bars is JUST LIKE using >50% of the song.

This would be ridiculous if this didn’t happen all too often.

Remember as this discussion says, playing the radio loud enough for others to hear can be a violation of copyright law.  But don’t use headphones while driving because that is a violation of the law as well.  As the United States courts like to ape the British courts, here is an article about how the copyright police are going after the regular police in England for having the gall to play radios AT PARTIES!

The Lancashire police stations play music in the background, at office parties, and in staff gyms…

There’s a move towards a less free world, and there’s those who want to have a Campaign for Liberty, being able to have discourse without fear of being hauled away for using 5 or more words that someone else may have used in however long a copyright is in effect these days is ridiculous, and frankly a little bit frightening.

Apparently the Associated Press has a new target, bloggers.   According to Cadenhead.org:

The Associated Press filed seven takedown requests under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act on June 10, 2008, for six user blog entries and one user comment published on the Drudge Retort.

One Alleged Infringement: The user’s blog entry links to an AP story published by Yahoo News using 18 words from the story, a 32-word quote by Hillary Clinton from the story and a user-written headline.

That’s right the Associated Press believes that “Fair Use” restricts you to < 18 words.

It’s frightening what is happening in America, once the land of the free.  This is one reason why I have to ignore requests to put paid links on this site, though that doesn’t necessarily stop anyone, it is a little higher bar to jump.

Unfortunately, under current U.S. law, you have to prove yourself innocent when you are accused of violating copyright law, which costs money and time, something that we all could use more, not less, of.

The AP is in the process of “rethinking” how it’s going to deal with quotations in the future.  But don’t count on something being there in the future, just because you had it in the past.

Police in the U.K. have now arrested a man for having a sign with CU*T at a protest about Scientology.  This was following the charges being dropped against a person who had a sign that said Scientology was a cult.  Apparently the new order is arrest the people, charge them, and if the charges are later dropped, just arrest the people again.

This is what passes for justice now, arresting people for the same non crime, as long as you arrest random people it’s not harrasment.  It’s in keeping with the United States Supreme Court rulings that allow the police to harrass people, just as long as they do it without regard to race, color, sex or national origin.

The N.Y. attorney general has reached an agreement with the major ISP’s to limit access to a broad swath of discussion groups that have been around for years, because some child porn was found on them.  From CNet:

That amounts to an odd claim: stopping the spread of child porn on a total of 88 newsgroups necessarily means coercing broadband providers to pull the plug on thousands of innocuous ones.

If this precedent continues, it could be used to shut down all “unlicensed” web sites because there was child porn on some (whether there really was or not we might not know).  Even more troubling is that the government actually creates honey pot child porn sites and then prosecutes people if their computer hits the site.

What is more troubling than the fact that the government is doing this, is that people actually believe that this is a good thing.

And that is a sad commentary on the state of mind of the people of the United States.