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Australia

Australian Government Backdoor Internet Filter Shuts Down 1,000 Websites 90

An anonymous reader writes "The Australian government has secretly censored over 1,000 web sites through a hitherto-unused internet censorship law. In April the Melbourne Free University was blocked without any explanation. Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act allows the government to close web sites without warning to "uphold laws, protect public revenue and safeguard national security". This is open to abuse as Australians only have limited free speech rights which already make it difficult for the press to report corruption."
Censorship

"Terrorist" Lyrics Land High Schooler In Jail 573

An anonymous reader writes "A Methusen, Mass. high schooler, who goes by the rapper name 'Cammy Dee' has been arrested after posting lyrics that police felt were 'communicating terrorist threats.' This wouldn't be the first time rap lyrics were investigated, but if formally charged for 'communicating terrorist threats' this would a set a chilling low bar for terrorist investigations."
Censorship

EU To Vote On Proposal That Could Ban All Online Pornography 853

An anonymous reader writes "The European Union is voting on a proposal next week that could lead to a blanket ban on porn in member states, and it seems the measure may well be approved. The proposal, called 'Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU,' mentions issues such as women carrying a 'disproportionate share of the burden' when raising a family, violence against women as 'an infringement of human rights,' and gender stereotypes that develop early in life. From the proposal: "Calls on the EU and its Member States to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising, which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism." Update: 03/07 19:05 GMT by T : Pirate MEP Christian Engström writes on his blog that citizens writing to the European Parliament about the proposal are not necessarily being heard: "Before noon, some 350 emails [on this topic] had arrived in my office. But around noon, these mails suddenly stopped arriving. When we started investigating why this happened so suddenly, we soon found out: The IT department of the European Parliament is blocking the delivery of the emails on this issue, after some members of the parliament complained about getting emails from citizens."
Sci-Fi

Orson Scott Card's Superman Story Shelved After Homophobia Controversy 1174

An anonymous reader writes "A controversy has been brewing in the comic community for the past month. Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game and its many sequels, was tapped to write a story for the new Adventures of Superman comic. The controversy arose because Card has become an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, going so far as to say giving it legal recognition could mark 'the end of democracy in America,' and suggesting 'traditional' married people will eventually have to overthrow the government. Many fans of the series objected, and some retailers decided they wouldn't stock the issue Card's story appears in. Now, the illustrator for Card's story, Chris Sprouse, has walked away from the project, saying he wasn't comfortable with the media surrounding the story. Because of that, Card's story is being replaced in the Adventures of Superman anthology. 'The news has inspired speculation about whether or not this could mean that DC will quietly kill off the controversial Card story entirely, with some suggesting that the story remaining un-illustrated gives the publisher an "out" to avoid any potential breach-of-contract legal response.' Personally, I'm not sure what to think about this. I enjoyed Ender's Game as a kid, and it tarnishes the experience a little to know that its authors can say such hateful things. On the other hand, Card seems to have kept his personal views out of his fiction, and it's unlikely DC would let him put those views into a Superman comic even if he wanted to. It's a free country; people are free to believe stupid things. On the third hand, he is actively advocating his views outside his fiction, and what better way is there for readers to fight back than organizing a boycott and voting with their wallets? What do you think, Slashdot?"
Censorship

Egyptian Court Wants To Block YouTube For a Month 188

First time accepted submitter rogue-girl writes that a "Cairo Administrative Court announced earlier on Feb. 9 that a ruling has been issued to block YouTube within the country for 30 days. This decision comes after a lawsuit was filed back in September 2012 during the turmoil caused by the infamous trailer 'The Innocence of Muslims' spread through the popular video platform. The Court has also asked for all websites having published parts or the entire trailer to be banned for 30 days."
Censorship

Saudi Arabia Calls For Global Internet Censorship Body 678

Onymous Hero writes "Following the recent YouTube video 'The Innocence of Muslims' and the subsequent Muslim violence, Saudi Arabia has stated that there is a 'crying need for international collaboration to address "freedom of expression" which clearly disregards public order.' The World Telecommunications Policy Forum (a UN body) is the vehicle by which Saudi Arabia (and possibly other states) will try to use to implement a global set of internet content standards."
Censorship

Ex-Marine Detained For Facebook Posts Deemed "Terrorist in Nature" 593

colinneagle writes with news of a marine turned conspiracy theorist who was detained for psychological evaluation after posting rants on Facebook. He has since been ordered to remain in a mental facility for at least 30 days. From the article: "There are conspiracy theorists who believe 9/11 was an inside job. I don't really follow that news, but can people be arrested after saying so online, exercising their First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech? On August 16, the FBI, Secret Service and the Chesterfield Police arrested a decorated former U.S. Marine for 'airing his critical views of the U.S. government on Facebook.' On Facebook, Raub talked about the Illuminati, a shadow organization in which 'some of the leaders were involved with the bombing of the twin towers' and the 'great amount of evil perpetrated by the American Government.' He said people may think he was going crazy, but a 'civil war,' the 'Revolution' is coming. 'I'm starting the Revolution. I'm done waiting.' On July 24, he said he was at a 'great crossroads. As if a storm of destiny is about to pick me up and take me to fight a great battle.' On August 9 he talked about severing heads and told the generals he was coming for them. On August 13, he wrote, 'Sharpen up my axe; I'm here to sever heads.' On August 14, Raub wrote, 'The Revolution will come for me. Men will be at my door soon to pick me up to lead it.'" I suspect being a former marine and threatening to decapitate military officials might have had something to do with this (communicating specific threats?). But then again, his Facebook page was reportedly private, and according to the AP newswire: "The big concern, Whitehead said, is whether government officials are monitoring citizens' private Facebook pages and detaining people with whom they disagree."
Piracy

Hundreds of IP Addresses Make Pirate Bay a Hard Target 224

jones_supa writes "Last week The Pirate Bay added a new IP address which allows users to circumvent the many court-ordered blockades against the site. While this proved to be quite effective, the Hollywood backed anti-piracy group BREIN has already been to court to demand a block against this new address. But that won't deter The Pirate Bay, who say they are fully prepared for an extended game of whac-a-mole using the hundreds of IP addresses they have available. Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site, and the end is still not in sight."
Censorship

TSA 'Warning' Media About Reporting On Body Scanner Failures? 465

OverTheGeicoE writes "When anti-TSA activist Jonathan Corbett exposed a severe weakness in TSA's body scanners, one would expect the story to attract a lot of media attention. Apparently TSA is attempting to stop reporters from covering the story. According to Corbett, at least one reporter has been 'strongly cautioned' by TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz not to cover the story. If TSA is worried that this is new information they need to suppress to keep it away from terrorists, that horse may have left the barn years ago. Corbett's demonstration may just be confirmation of a 2010 paper in the Journal of Transportation Security that concluded that 'an object such as a wire or a boxcutter blade, taped to the side of the body, or even a small gun in the same location, will be invisible' to X-ray scanners."
Government

Copyright Industry Calls For Broad Search Engine Controls 421

The copyright battles going on right now are not all about SOPA, PIPA, or even the wider-reaching ACTA: suraj.sun snips thus from TorrentFreak: "At a behind-closed-doors meeting facilitated by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, copyright holders have handed out a list of demands to Google, Bing and Yahoo. To curb the growing piracy problem, Hollywood and the major music labels want the search engines to de-list popular filesharing sites such as The Pirate Bay, and give higher ranking to authorized sites. ... If the copyright industry had their way, Google and other search engines would no longer link to sites such as The Pirate Bay and isoHunt. In a detailed proposal handed out during a meeting with Google, Yahoo and Bing, various copyright holders made their demands clear. The document, which describes a government-overlooked 'Voluntary Code of Practice' for search engines, was not intended for public consumption but the Open Rights Group obtained it through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request."
Censorship

Twitter Can Now Block Tweets In Specific Countries 151

itwbennett writes "In a blog post on Thursday, Twitter announced that it can now block individual Tweets in specific countries, while leaving them visible in other countries. 'We try to keep content up whenever and wherever we can, and we will be transparent with users when we can't,' the blog said. Twitter will publish requests it receives to block content through its partnership with Chilling Effects."
Censorship

EU To Sign ACTA Later This Month 168

rysiek writes "At a meeting of Polish Government officials with Polish NGOs and business representatives it was confirmed that the European Union is poised to sign the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement as soon as January 26th. But all is not lost. The Treaty still needs to be ratified by the Euro Parliament and member states individually. The ratification vote is important, as it is an either-or vote — if not ratified there, ACTA gets rejected in its entirety. The Ministry of Administration and Digitization is not amused and has asked the Prime Minister (who promised this May to hold ACTA adoption until the kinks are worked out) to cancel the signing authorization for the time being."
Censorship

Iran Developing 'Halal' Domestic Intranet 248

An anonymous reader writes "The WSJ reports that Iran is beginning a crackdown on Internet use by its citizens, creating new blocks against foreign content and stepping up surveillance of browsing habits. Internet cafes in Iran have 15 days to set up security cameras and start collecting information on customers, and people are finding it increasingly difficult to use social networking sites. The new restrictions are likely being implemented now to head off dissent and protests about the upcoming parliamentary elections. According to the article, 'The network slowdown likely heralds the arrival of an initiative Iran has been readying—a "halal" domestic intranet that it has said will insulate its citizens from Western ideology and un-Islamic culture, and eventually replace the Internet. This week's slowdown came amid tests of the Iranian intranet, according to domestic media reports that cited a spokesman for a union of computer-systems firms. He said the intranet is set to go live within a few weeks.'"
Government

Stop Online Piracy Act Supports Blacklisting, Says EFF 73

hessian writes with this quote from the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the Stop Online Piracy Act: "Of course the word 'blacklist' does not appear in the bill's text — the folks who wrote it know Americans don't approve of blatant censorship. The early versions of PROTECT-IP, the Senate's counterpart to SOPA, did include an explicit Blacklist Provision, but this transparent attempt at extrajudicial censorship was so offensive that the Senate had to re-write that part of the bill. However, provisions that encourage unofficial blacklisting remained, and they are still alive and well in SOPA. First, the new law would allow the Attorney General to cut off sites from the Internet, essentially 'blacklisting' companies from doing business on the web. Under section 102, the Attorney General can seek a court order that would force search engines, DNS providers, servers, payment processors, and advertisers to stop doing business with allegedly infringing websites. Second, the bill encourages private corporations to create a literal target list—a process that is ripe for abuse."
Censorship

UK ISPs To Begin Censorship of Porn Websites 186

An anonymous reader writes "In a plan sponsored by the UK government, four major UK ISP's, Virgin, BT, TalkTalk and Sky, are set to implement blocking of porn websites, requiring subscribers to 'opt-in' if they want to visit blocked websites (or to put it another way, 'opt-out' of internet censorship)."

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