Briefly about German web censorhip

Monday, January 25, 2010 at 17:42 | Posted in censorship, Freedom of speech, Germany, internet | 2 Comments

New regulations are being discussed (via @doppelfish) in Germany about mouth gagging free speech in the Internet. My brief photographic comment about the proposed measures is as follows:

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Google are keeping their word

Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 1:17 | Posted in censorship, China, google, internet | Leave a comment

As Google announced yesterday they are no longer going to censor their search results at Google.cn. I can now present evidence that they are worth their word, regardless what the real reason behind their decision was and regardless that I still have trouble understanding that they agreed to censor the results in the first place:

Respect!

The Ugly Duckling

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 12:42 | Posted in censorship, China | 4 Comments
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One gets too angry to keep a civilized language about the story of the fake lip sync performance of the “Ode to the motherland” at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. If you want to avoid rude words and still get a good assesment of the disgrace, read no further here but check out what ChinaBounder wrote about it.

Now the rest of you who decided to stay, you have been warned about my French. Fuck the Communist Party of China! Fuck the politburo who stole Yang Peiyi her chance of a lifetime to appear in front of billions of people. She may have uneven teeth and a blunt face but you hypocritical motherfuckers of the CPC just take notice of this: Yang Peiyi is a beautiful child and I hope from the bottom of my heart that one day she is going to appear as the Ugly Duckling in H.C Andersen‘s saga and make you eat up what you did to her.

Just who do you suckers think you are fooling by trying to clean up the truth about your shameful act from media and the Internet? You bastards have lost your face in front of the World and eventually the Chinese people are going to find the courage to make you pay back. I had better sign off before I get real rude but before I go just eat this: the communist rule in China is going to crash, it is just a matter of time.

Edit: Lee Side Story has more on this bizarre story. It turns out that not only is it as disgusting as I thought, it is even worse! Bullocks, CPC!

Edit: I joined the Facebook group Yang Peiyi Fan Club.

Beijing cheated about free web access

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 13:53 | Posted in censorship, China, internet, Press freedom | 2 Comments
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When the Chinese Olympic organizers promised that foreign journalists covering the games would have uncensored access to the Internet, I did not believe for a moment that this would actually happen. It was merely a lip service necessary to get their bid for the games approved. I am now being proven right: the Great Firewall of China curtails the Olympic media center.

Web sites like Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch are being blocked as well as a number of pro Tibetan sites and basically most contents critical of the pathetic rulers in Beijing. On this clip you can hear a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman spell out that sites related to Falun Gong are not going to be made accessible. The most outrageous statement is blaming some of the censored sites themselves for being off line. Just click on the links, folks, and see that they are on line.

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Among many other sites all of WordPress.com is being censored in China which is why this post can not be read there. Oddly enough, it is possible to post to Blogger in China but not to read Blogger blogs as Blogspot.com is filtered but Blogger.com is not. Totalitarian governments are as inconsistent as they are unreliable.

Granting the Olympic games to China was a huge mistake. The IOC apparently reasoned that the Olympics would prompt China to give in on the human rights issue but we have all way long seen the contrary. It turns out that the IOC themselves have had to give in, according to the BBC:

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, IOC press commission chairman Kevan Gosper apologised for inadvertently misleading journalists over unfettered internet access.

“I’m not backing off what I said. There will be full, open and free internet access during Games time to allow journalists to report on the Olympics,” he told the daily.

“But I have also been advised that some of the IOC officials had negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked.”

Which is another reminder that there is no point in bargaining with totalitarian rezimes as they never keep their promises and always tend to cheat.

Edit: This post has also been published as a guest author’s post in China-Watchblog.

A public service announcement: China-Watchblog helps you improve your understanding of the German language and provides a comprhensive coverage of contemporary China before, during and after the Olympics.

Another public service announcement: A deep analysis on the basic nature of the Chinese society appears daily before and during the Olympics at Sex and Shanghai.

China jamming short wave radio

Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 21:00 | Posted in censorship, China | Leave a comment

I addition to the Great Firewall of China, the Chinese government apparently still keep on with the old-fashioned activity of jamming the good old short wave radio. This would per se be logical as short wave, while old-fashioned, is still far from obsolete as a means of communication and information. This clip shows some interesting details.

Are you lesbian or Lesbian?

Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 13:46 | Posted in censorship, Freedom of speech, Legal | Leave a comment
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Activists in the island of Lesbos in Greece are seeking an injunction against Greek lesbians who call themsekves just that (BBC):

The man spearheading the case, publisher Dimitris Lambrou, claims that international dominance of the word in its sexual context violates the human rights of the islanders, and disgraces them around the world.

The term lesbian dates back to ancient Greek mythology. Goddes Sappho, a native of Lesbos, expressed her love to women in poetry. Tough as it may be, the word can equally be understood to refer to native islanders (with capital L) and women with a specific sexual orientation (with minor l).

Trying to litigate against usage of any word in desired context is an interference against freedom of speech. I hope this case is going to be thrown out of the court ASAP. With any success in Greek courts, the Lesbians are likely to carry on the case internationally. The last thing EU needs is a directive of sexual orientation terminology.

Skipping the “irrelevant”

Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 17:00 | Posted in censorship, China, internet | Leave a comment
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A regular Google search for Tibet crackdown returns about 1.810.000 links. The same search filtered through Sina.com returns 110 links. You do not need to click on any of the links to conclude that the approach in the web contents linked to through each of the two searches are different like day and night.

Since nobody could possibly read 1,8 M web pages anyway, I guess the Chinese Internet users should be grateful that their government spares them the trouble of browsing through all that “irrelevant information”. 😛

LiveLeak pulls off Fitna after threats

Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 13:19 | Posted in censorship, Freedom of speech | 1 Comment
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Fitna is not a “politically correct” film. It is a very controversial film with a statement that can be agreed or disagreed with. Whether we agree or disagree with Geert Wilders’s staement, everybody must have the right to watch Fitna in order to make up the mind of their own.

If only “politically correct” statements were allowed, there would be no freedom of speech as acceptable and unacceptable would be defined by those who claim the right to say what is “politically correct”. Nobody has the right of imposing their views on others, nor the right of preventing others from expressing their views. That is the only limitation to freedom of speech: everybody is entitled to speak up their mind as long as they do not seek to prevent others from doing likewise.

Attempting to block somebody’s opinion being heard is despicable. It is even much more despicable to threat with violence in order to make somebody else shut up. Tolerating views that contradict our own opinion goes together with living in a free World.

After receiving serious threats against members of their staff LiveLeak have decided to pull off Fitna. As they say in their official statement replacing the film: “This is a sad day for freedom of speech in net”.

The Internet can obviously not be censored. The film is never going to disappear, how much those cowards will ever threaten service providers. It is currently up in YouTube and elsewhere.

So here is the YouTube version. Should it be taken down, there are more places to see the film. I have a copy on my hard drive and another one in my server. I am certainly not the only one to has secured it.

Edit: As could be expected, the film has been removed from YouTube. Here is a copy hosted elsewhere.

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Watching Fitna

Friday, March 28, 2008 at 4:30 | Posted in censorship, Freedom of speech | 8 Comments
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On Monday I urged everybody to watch Fitna by Geert Wilders before passing a judgement about the film, just so that everybody would know first hand what they are talking about. I just did that. It is a shocking film but it is not something which would justify censorship of any sort.

The film includes some very shocking scenes and images including footage of the Twin Tower Crash, the Madrid subway explosions and some executions. If you are sensitive about extreme violence you should not watch the film. If you think you can cope with that sort of material, watch it by all means.

Most of the film actually consists of Quran quotes and statements made by islam fundamentalists. There is a tendency of emphasizing views of extremists who wish to impose strict interpretation of sharia allover the World regardless of religion or believe. Mr Wilders carefully avoids mentioning that far from all muslims want to force their religious beliefs on others and that is the week point of the movie. Just as “exporting islam” by force is flat wrong, it is equally wrong to suggest that all muslims would want to export it by force.

Fitna is by no means an objective film and it does not even seek to be objective. It is a strong statement which we may not agree with but nevertheless a statement made within frames of freedom of speech. Which is why I do not understand why Mr. Wilders’s domain is still blocked by Network Solutions.

Dispite its shortcomings the film is not offensive but it is shocking. It is here for you to watch if you think you are comfortable with watching. You have been warned about violent scenes and images.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from watchedbylarko.vodpo

Edit: Unfortunately LiveLeak staff members have received serious threats of violence which is why they have decided to pull off Fitna. Not only is threatening flat wrong, trying to stop people from seeing this controversial film and making up their own mind about it is totally against every notion of freedom of speech. At the end of the day, those responsible of these coward threats are explicitly damaging the World wide muslim community as the threads tend to increase prejudice about them as untolerant people.

The Internet can not be censored. Here is Fitna through YouTube.

Fitna: let us watch it first!

Monday, March 24, 2008 at 0:16 | Posted in censorship, civil rights, Freedom of speech | 1 Comment
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While I do not share the views and opinions of Dutch MP Geert Wilders and I regard some of those opinions not only as unacceptable but outright outrageous, it is my firm conviction that Mr. Wilders has every right to express those opinions. It may not be wise on a pragmatical point of view to launch a film which is certain to attract even violent protests and demonstrations but launching a film like that is an indisputable civil right of Mr. Wilmers. Freedom of speech is the most valuable right we have and tolerating expressed opinions that do not match with our own opinions is a mandatory duty of every human on the Earth.

I find it extremely odd that Network Solutions have chosen to suspend a domain set up by Geert Wilders to launch his film Fitna:

This site has been suspended while Network Solutions is investigating whether the site’s content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy. Network Solutions has received a number of complaints regarding this site that are under investigation. For more information about Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy visit the following URL: http://www.networksolutions.com/legal/aup.jsp

The complaints cited by Network Solutions seem to address something which nobody has yet seen. The site seems to have consisted so far only of an image of the cover of a Koran on a black background with the text: “Coming soon: Fitna”. That can hardly be regarded as offensive by anybody.

Most of the people protesting against the Mohammad cartoons have actually never seen them. I would not state an opinion about Fitna before I have seen the film. Let us just watch it first!

Edit: I spotted a clip (via Befria Media) with Geert Wilders commenting the fuzz around his film. This is the first time ever I recall agreeing with him.

Russia plans to censor Internet

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 7:32 | Posted in censorship, Freedom of speech, internet, russia | 8 Comments

Russia has so far not bothered very much to regulate the Internet. The low Internet penetration in Russia has guarded most citizens from the harmful effects of free speech. Since the traditional media is under heavy government control, access to independent sources of information has has been kept on a suitable level without special measures targeted against the web.

However, this is likely to change soon. According to The Other Russia, the Prosecutor-General’s Office has filed legislative proposals about web censorship to both houses of the Parliament and the presidential administration. The prosecutors want to make ISP’s and telecoms responsible for “objectionable and extremist material” in the Internet.

Aleksey Zhafyarov, the deputy head of Directorate to supervise enforcement of laws on federal security, interethnic relations and countering extremism was frank with the agency:

“We have a paradoxical situation on our hands: there is a whole group of companies that maintain the internet and derive a profit, yet take no responsibility for the impact on society of the content they host.”

Internet related bills have previously been tabled in both houses, among others one that would require all web sites with more than 1000 daily visitors to register as mass-media outlets and another one limiting foreign investments to telecom and internet industries.

Web censorship in Finland

Thursday, February 21, 2008 at 4:28 | Posted in censorship, Finland, Freedom of speech, information, internet, transparency | 4 Comments
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When you talk about governments censoring the Internet, you would be most likely to think of countries like China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Cuba etc. As I wrote in my previous post, an attempt to block a whistle blower site was recently made by the US judicial branch. As it turns out, Finland has also joined the notorious countries where government agencies under the noble pretext of fighting child pornography are actually blocking a large number of sites that have nothing to do with child pornography.

Some of the censored sites just incidentally happen to be critical about the censorship itself, including this one operated by Matti Nikki. Matti explains exhaustively in English about the background of his site and the censorship issue. Additional information in English and related links can be found in this article by Electronic Frontier Finland.

The Finnish Parliament last year past a legislation in 2006 allowing the National Bureau of Investigation to comply a list of foreign based web sites allegedly including child pornography. The list was supposed to be sent to Internet service providers together with a request to block access to the listed sites. The black list was supposed to be strictly targeted.

Anybody trying to access the listed URL’s in Finland was supposed to be directed to a NBI page informing about the denied access (here displayed by Matti Nikki). Since my ISP has not (yet?) implied the filter, I am currently able to access both Matti’s site and every other black listed site. I am among other things able to establish that blocking all of the Japanese web portal www.iij4u.or.jp can hardly be described as “strictly targeted filtering”. Among other censored sites I fail to understand what this Japanese music store may have to do with child pornography.

The NBI refuse to comment their black list in public. They also refuse to answer the obvious question why they have not made the courtesy of e-mailing their colleagues in the FBI and European law enforcing agencies about sites actually containing child pornography. One must assume they have not informed their colleagues as the sites are still visible. That also raises the obvious question whether their intention was not to block legitimate critical web contents rather than child pornography.

Electronic Frontiers Finland has filed a complaint to the Chancellor of Justice about the legality of the NBI filter list. The complete complaint (in Finnish) can be accessed here. Among their many questions to the Chancellor is how come Matti Nikki’s site landed on the list although it is completely based in Finland and the law allows only foreign based sites to be filtered.

US judge closes whistle blower site

Thursday, February 21, 2008 at 3:08 | Posted in censorship, Freedom of speech, internet, Legal, USA | 1 Comment
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US federal court has blocked the whistler blower site Wikileaks.org (NYT):

The case in San Francisco was brought by a Cayman Islands bank, Julius Baer Bank and Trust. In court papers, the bank said that “a disgruntled ex-employee who has engaged in a harassment and terror campaign” provided stolen documents to Wikileaks in violation of a confidentiality agreement and banking laws. According to Wikileaks, “the documents allegedly reveal secret Julius Baer trust structures used for asset hiding, money laundering and tax evasion.”

Judge Jeffrey S. White granted a permanent injunction ordering domain name registrar Dynadot to disable and lock the domain Wikileaks.org. Apparently, judge White is unaware of how the Internet actually works. While Wikileaks.org is currently not accessible under its regular domain, the site is up and running here, here, here, here and probably in a number of other places as well if you care to do some googling.

The Wikileaks folks should actually thank judge White for the free promotion. Without this ridiculous injunction order thousands of blogs would probably not be linking to them.

Belarus editor on trial for Muhammad toons

Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 10:25 | Posted in censorship, Freedom of speech, Press freedom | Leave a comment
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Berlingske Tidende writes that Aleksander Sdvijkov, editor of Belarus weekly Zgoda is on trial in Minsk for attempting to print the famous  Muhammad cartoons originally published by Jyllands-Posten. He is charged for exhortation to racial hostility which could bring him imprisonment between three and ten years if found guilty. The toons were actually printed but the publisher withdrew the edition and the magazine with the cartoons was never distributed to news stands.

Preliminary investigation against  Sdvijkov was started by prosecutors in February 2006. The magazine was banned in March. Sdvijkov escaped to Russia but was arrested as he returned to Belarus for two months ago.

German intelligence censors the web

Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 20:14 | Posted in censorship, Freedom of speech, Germany, internet | 2 Comments
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The German Intelligence Service (BND) have obtained a provisional injunction against the web site R-Archiv run by Ewald T. Riethmüller. In accordance with the injunction, some short passages of an article published in December have now been now temporarily deleted by the author.

The censored passages are as follows:

• Insbesondere die Maßnahmen gegen den Buchautor Wilhelm Dietl hatte einzig und allein den Sinn herauszufinden – was der ehemalige BND- Agent Norbert Juretzko in seinem Buch – BEDINGT DIENSTBEREIT – beabsichtigte zu veröffentlichen.

• Zu diesem Zweck wurde ein V-Mann in das Haus des Mitautors Wilhelm Dietl geschickt – das Gebäude von einem Busch aus beobachtet und versucht durch Anheben eines elektrischen Fenstergitters in das Haus einzudringen. Dabei verklemmte sich das Gitter – es entstand Sachschaden in Höhe von etwa 2.000 Euro.(Der BND bestreitet diese Darstellung.)

• Sodann wurde versucht mit 5.000 EURO das Buchmanuskript zu kaufen und als dies misslang kam es im herausgebenden Verlag zu einem Einbruch.

• Nach Behauptungen eines BND-NDV soll – auf der Berliner Friedrichsstrasse – ein Überfall auf Wilhelm Dietl vom BND vorbereiten worden sein – um diesem das Buchmanuskript auf offener Strasse zu entreißen. Der BND bestreitet diese Darstellung.

To put it in context, I uploaded all of the uncensored article. It can be read here.

via Mein Parteibuch.com

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