Tag Archives: Censorship

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Becoming China’s Surveillance Software Designer Is Consistent With Facebook’s Dangerous Authoritarian Progression

Authoritarian states, hungry for data on dissenters’ habits and eager for new methods of censorship, salivate at the surveillance capabilities of Facebook. And as the social network’s user base approaches one-third of the world’s population, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has evinced a happy willingness to help the authoritarians in their cause.

Over the Thanksgiving week, anonymous sources at Facebook revealed that the tech corporation has developed a content-suppression program which can be used by Chinese authorities to control viewable subject matter.

As Facebook continues to expand, its dedication to corporatized nanny-monitoring may turn it into the Skynet of our age: an all-encompassing technology whose power is restrained only when the program itself decides not to exert that power. By the by, the exercise of such a power has the tremendous potential to amplify the hollow one-mindedness of social media’s homogenous, politically correct user base.

Considering that Facebook may someday reach half the world’s population, its selective smothering of content, ranging from censoring the controversial, for example images of the Prophet Muhammed, to the historical, such as pictures of the Vietnam War, means it will have absolute power over what half the world watches and reads. When Facebook responds to Chinese pressure to censor controversial images like the self-immolation of a Tibetan monk, the concern over its reach is worsened by the realization that China’s oppressors have the ear of Mark Zuckerberg.

Continue reading at Forbes.

poland

What Is Going On In Poland?

At the end of October a new Polish government was ushered in having won a mandate to govern unilaterally without coalition partners for the first time in the post-1989 modern era. The election was won definitively by the former opposition, the right-of-center Law and Justice Party (PiS- “Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc”). This election served as a referendum on the corruption of the previous government (and its antecedents) and on 25 years of “post-communism” which saw a transition from Iron Curtain methodologies and governance structures that were never fully reformed and where functional contemporary democratic norms were not deeply enough embedded to serve the people.

Read the rest on the Polonia Institute, here.

South Park safe space

No place for safe spaces in Australian universities

There was a time when Australian universities were at the forefront of social change. In 1963, a group of staff and students at the University of Melbourne played a decisive role in ending the White Australia Policy when they published their landmark manifesto calling for an end to Indigenous segregation.

Nowadays, that old ideal of treating people as individuals rather than skin-deep categories has become a bit passé. As the five QUT students facing court for speaking out against their campus’s racially designated study areas recently found out, today’s universities are more interested in unwinding the progressive victories of yesterday than advancing them.

This is epitomized by the concept of the ‘safe space’ – facilities created for the purpose of allowing students to seclude themselves from the world outside based on their sexuality, race or how many X chromosomes they happen to have. You’ll find these enclaves of isolation at virtually every university in the country.

QUT’s vice-chancellor Owen Coaldrake has insisted that the indigenous-only space isn’t ‘segregation’, but rather a way to “assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to succeed at university”.

What Mr Coaldrake failed to explain was how supplying computers, desks and photocopiers exclusively for Indigenous students did anything meaningful to advance their education.

Read the full article at the The Sydney Morning Herald.

Paint

Heroic Troll Forces Censors to Watch Paint Dry

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) was forced to watch paint dry thanks to one filmmaker and nearly 700 backers on Kickstarter.

Charlie Lyne, a filmmaker and critic based in London, started a Kickstarter project in November to finance his movie Paint Drying, which is exactly what it sounds like. The BBFC requires filmmakers to pay per minute for films to be watched and then classified, so the more money Lyne raised, the more paint-drying footage he could make the censors watch. Some 686 backers and 5,936 pounds ($8,666.56) later, the final film is 607 minutes long.

The BBFC classifies movies for different age groups, allegedly to protect children from harmful content and empower consumers, much like the Motion Picture Association of America. Unlike in the U.S., it is illegal in the U.K. to screen movies with no rating or sell them on DVD.

Read the rest on Reason, here.

Kenya Newspaper

Journalism under attack in Kenya

In a desperate attempt to avoid criticism, members of the Kenyan Parliament have resorted to attacking the press.

Kenyan journalists are being forced to endure costly lawsuits or withhold the truth, and as a result, the Kenyan press is gradually being suppressed.

A report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) provides an insight into the current situation in Kenya. After interviewing more than a dozen journalists, and reviewing published accounts, the CPJ found that Kenyan reporters, editors, and publishers are exposed to threats of violence, prosecution, imprisonment, and the withdrawal of crucial advertising revenue. The media is manipulated by dominant corporations, and news outlets are subject to the whims of their politician-owners, and the publishers who want to cozy up to power.

Read the rest on YourCommonwealth here.