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Submission + - Russia Proposes Banning Foul Language on the Internet (

eldavojohn writes: In a country where it's illegal to insult a government official, State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina has proposed an amendment to ban swearing on social networks, bulletin boards and all websites. The website would be blocked if the offending material had not been removed within 24 hours. The name of the law this would be added to? "On the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development." Mizulina's title in regards to this legislation? Chairwoman of the Committee on Family, Women and Children (No joke!). Of course, Yelena Mizulina is no stranger to unwarranted censorship as she was behind the law banning gay propaganda to minors and invoked laws to try to silence critics on twitter. The article also notes, 'United Russia deputy Vitaly Milonov put forward a similar initiative on 25 July. He proposed to tighten control over social networks and allow people to dating sites through their passports.'
The Internet

Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Block Web Content? 282

First time accepted submitter willoughby writes "Many routers today have the capability to block web content. And you all know about browser addons like noscript & adblock. But where is the 'proper' place for such content blocking? Is it best to have the router only route packets & do the content blocking on each machine? If using the content blocking feature in the router, will performance degrade if the list of blocked content grows large? Where is the best place to filter/block web content?"

Submission + - RSF Calls Out Countries and Mercenaries in Report on Online Spying (

eldavojohn writes: Reporters without Borders has released a report on governments and the companies they employ to spy on their own citizens online. Syria and China were singled out as the worst with Iran, Bahrain and Vietnam not far behind. In addition, RSF named names when it came to the corporate entities (a market worth 5 billion dollars) that provided specific services to these oppressive governments: Gamma, Trovicor, Hacking Team, Amesys and Blue Coat. The report is aptly titled "Enemies of the Internet" and, though lengthy, provides a detailed examination in the destruction of online rights as well as very specific attacks each government employs. RSF also noted the many attempted solutions to these problems and a link to their online survival kit.

Submission + - Researchers Put Numbers on China's Twitter Censorship (

eldavojohn writes: One of China's main twitter services used by 30% of all Chinese internet users is called Sina Weibo (weibo is the Chinese word for 'microblog') and something that is quite different from the West's twitter is, of course, the enforced censorship. Researchers at Rice University in Houston have estimated numbers for how censorship works and identifies the "velocity of censorship" in China's microblogging censorship. Most of the posts are marked as "permission denied" between the five minute and ten minute marks after posting. Their research shows that "If an average censor can scan around 50 posts a minute, that would require some 1400 censors at any instant to handle the 70,000 posts pouring in. And if they work 8 hour shifts, that’s a total of 4200 censors on the payroll each day." The research indicates you would need a small army to meet stringent censorship policies when servicing China and to avoid being shutdown like Fanfou (another weibo). Keep in mind that this is not simply identifying keywords and blocking the post based on those words. The researchers noted that a phrase like “Secretary of the Political and Legislative Committee” will result in you being unable to submit your post to Sina Weibo. So the research examines the speed of ex post facto censorship which presumably requires an employee or perhaps government employee to identify "non-harmonious" posts based on their intrinsic content.

Submission + - Nonpartisan Tax Report Removed After Republican Protest ( 1

eldavojohn writes: On September 14th a PDF report titled "Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945" penned by the Library of Congress' nonpartisan Congressional Research Service was released to little fanfare. However the following conclusion of the report has since roiled the GOP enough to have the report removed from the Library of Congress: 'The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.' From the New York Times article: 'The pressure applied to the research service comes amid a broader Republican effort to raise questions about research and statistics that were once trusted as nonpartisan and apolitical.' It appears to no longer be found on the Library of Congress' website.

Submission + - Telling the Truth in Today's China (

eldavojohn writes: Inside the land of the Great Firewall censorship is rampant although rarely transparent. Foreign Policy has a lengthy but eyeopening recounting of what it's like being an editor for the only officially sanctioned English business publication inside the most populated country on Earth. Eveline Chao of the magazine "China International Business" writes in her piece "Me and My Censor" about her censor named Snow, the three taboo T's (Taiwan, Tibet, and Tiananmen), a bizarre government aversion to flags and how she was 'offered red envelopes stuffed with cash at press junkets, sometimes discovered footprints on the toilet seats at work, and had to explain to the Chinese assistants more than once that they could not turn in articles copied word for word from existing pieces they found online.' Anecdotes abound in this piece including the story of a photojournalist who 'once ran a picture he'd taken in Taiwan alongside an article, but had failed to notice a small Taiwanese flag in the background. As a result, the entire staff of his newspaper had been immediately fired and the office shut down.' From shoddy CYA maps to language misunderstandings to an elusive "words group" faxed out by government censors, this article exposes a lot of the internal workings and responsibilities of a "government censor" inside mainland China but also the ridiculous absurdity of government censorship: 'I was told that we could not title a coal piece "Power Failure" because the word "failure" in bold print so close to the Olympics would make people think of the Olympics being a failure. The title "The Agony and the Ecstasy" for a soccer piece was axed because agony was a negative word and we couldn't have negative words be associated with sports.' The magazine couldn't use images of an empty bowl for its restaurant pieces because it might remind readers of the Great Famine.

Submission + - Pakistan's PM Demands International Blasphemy Laws from UN, OIC (

eldavojohn writes: An article published in Pakistan's Daily Times contains several quotes from Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf indicating his intent to push for international blasphemy laws in both the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Co-operation (57 countries). These comments came shortly after Pakistan's "Day of Love for the Prophet" turned into riots that left 19 people dead and, of course, this all follows the extended trailers of "Innocence of Muslims" being translated. Questionable circumstances surround who is prosecuted under these 'blasphemy laws' and what kind of fear they instill in Pakistan's minorities. The UN's Human Rights Charter mentions protection from "religious intolerance" but also in the same sentence "freedom of opinion and expression."

Submission + - Apple Rejects Drone Strike App ( 1

eldavojohn writes: Developer Josh Begley, a student at Clay Shirky’s NYU Media Lab, created an application called Drones+ that allows users to track US drone strikes on a map of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Far from innovative, the app in question merely relays and positions strikes as available from the U.K.’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism. First Apple rejected the application claiming it was “not useful or entertaining enough” then it was rejected for hiding a corporate logo. And the latest reason for objection is that Begley's content is “objectionable and crude” and "that many audiences would find objectionable." Begley's at a loss for how to change information on a map. He's not showing images of the drone strikes nor even graphically describing the strikes. From the end of the article, 'The basic idea was to see if he could get App Store denizens a bit more interested in the U.S.’ secretive, robotic wars, with information on those wars popping up on their phones the same way an Instagram comment or retweet might. Instead, Begley’s thinking about whether he’d have a better shot making the same point in the Android Market.'

Submission + - Anonymous Hacks Tunisian Islamist Sites (

eldavojohn writes: The hacktivist group Anonymous has claimed another victim by taking down Islamist sites in Tunisia. Similar to Turkish government sites, #optunisia has resulted in several government blogs and sites being replaced with 'Payback is a bitch, isn't it?' The message lists censorship as the motivation behind this activity. The AFP is reporting that this is also in response to the reintroduction of Salafist laws and the caliphate. An additional Anonymous message read "We are not against religion, we are Muslims, but we are defending freedom in our country." Censorship continues wholesale in Tunisia.

Submission + - China Calls for Even Firmer Internet Control (

eldavojohn writes: "Chinese state media has published a long article detailing why China needs to take even firmer stances on sites like Twitter and the internet as a whole or risk backlash to The Communist Party from "Internet Opinion." The commentary warned, 'Unless administration is vigorous, criminal forces, hostile forces, terrorist organizations and others could manipulate public sentiment by manufacturing bogus opinion on the Internet, damaging social stability and national security.' China seized upon the London riots recently to justify tighter internet censorship. The article, of course, ends with the conclusion that 'Clearly, in the future when developing and applying new Internet technologies, there must first be a thorough assessment, adopting even more prudent policies and enhancing foresight and forward thinking in administration.' While this provides China with their Emmanuel Goldstein and his Brotherhood, it should be noted that the People's Daily is often over the top."

Submission + - The Rise of Filter Bubbles (

eldavojohn writes: Eli Pariser gave a talk at TED that posits that tailoring algorithms are creating 'filter bubbles' around each user that restricts the information that reaches you to be — unsurprisingly — only what you want to see. While you might be happy that your preferred liberal or conservative news hits you, you'll never get to see the converse. This is because Google, Facebook, newspaper sites and even Netflix filter what hits you before you get to see it. And since they give you what you want, you never see the opposing viewpoints or step outside your comfort zone. It amounts to a claim of censorship through personalization and now that every site does it, it's commingle a problem. Pariser calls for all sites implementing these algorithms to embed in the algorithms "some sense of public life" and also have transparency so you can understand why your Google search might look different than someone with opposing tastes. Is there even a way to opt for unfiltered searches on Amazon or unfiltered news feeds on Facebook? Pariser has been warning about this for at least a year.

Submission + - Paul Haggis Vs The Church of Scientology (

eldavojohn writes: It's a lengthy read but Lawrence Wright at The New Yorker has released a 26 page expose on Scientology. In a world where such innocuous sounding words as "squirrels," "security-checked," "disconnection," "contra-survival," "suppressive persons," "clear" and "open season" carry very serious and heavy baggage, director Paul Haggis has exited after thirty four years of membership and massive funding. And now he speaks out at length of Scientology's controversies. From how celebrities were recruited with a 10% commission by a worker at Beverly Hills Playhouse to the current investigation by the FBI of physical abuse and human trafficking, Wright draws surrounding histories and accounts of the Church including Anonymous' crusade. The length of this article reflects the unusually large number (12 cases of physical abuse) of individuals cited as testimony of Scientology Leader David Miscavige's inurement and physical violence. The case remains open as the FBI collects data and testimony — especially in relation to Sea Org. Most disturbing are the disappearances of people that The New Yorker piece enumerates. The piece concludes with the author's interaction with the Church that results in several conflicting foundational statements from its stance on homosexuality (Haggis' original reason for publicly leaving it) to almost all details of L. Ron Hubbard's naval service and discharge. The article ends with Haggis' quote: 'I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don't know why I couldn't.' You can find summaries of the lengthy article and its suspected results along with corresponding reports listing politicians involved with the Church. Copyrighted work, leaked government documents, PS3 encryption keys and everything else has been posted on Slashdot but only the Church of Scientology has forced comments out of existence.

Submission + - US Gov Pushing News Through China's Great Firewall (

eldavojohn writes: The United States government's Broadcasting Board of Governors has revealed in a completed FOIA request the development, testing and planned use of Feed Over E-mail (FOE) to push news through China's firewall. This FOIA request (PDF) indicates that the United States government is interested in making sure that Chinese people receive up to date news and wants to expand the arsenal of anti-censorship tools (for news at least). The FOE project is GPLv3 and maintained by Sho Ho of BBG.

Submission + - Senators Bash ISPs; Push Extensive Net Neutrality (

eldavojohn writes: Remember when Verizon sued the FCC over net neutrality rules? Well, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Al Franken (D-MN) see it a bit differently and have authored a new working bill titled "Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011" (PDF). The bill lays out some stark clarity on what is meant by Net Neutrality by outright banning ISPs from doing many things including '(6) charg[ing] a content, application, or service provider for access to the broadband Internet access service providers' end users based on differing levels of quality of service or prioritized delivery of Internet protocol packets; (7) prioritiz[ing] among or between content, applications, and services, or among or between different types of content, applications, and services unless the end user requests to have such prioritization... (9) refus[ing] to interconnect on just and reasonable terms and conditions.' And that doesn't count for packets sent over just the internet connections but also wireless, radio, cell phone or pigeon carrier. ISPs would no longer be able to force users to sign up for phone or video nor would they be able to degrade any access to any legal content. Period. While Verizon's whining that the FCC has gone too far in their fist stabs at Net Neutrality, Cantwell and Franken have made it extraordinarily clear that the FCC has gone not far enough. Franken has constantly reiterated that this is the free speech issue of our time and Cantwell said, "If we let telecom oligarchs control access to the Internet, consumers will lose. The actions that the FCC and Congress take now will set the ground rules for competition on the broadband Internet, impacting innovation, investment, and jobs for years to come. My bill returns the broadband cop back to the beat, and creates the same set of obligations regardless of how consumers get their broadband."

Submission + - World of Starcraft Mod Gets C&D from Blizzard (

eldavojohn writes: If you've been following the team who created World of Starcraft (an amazing mod of Starcraft to be more like World of Warcraft), their youtube video of what they've done so far has already resulted in a cease and desist from Activision/Blizzard. Evidently when you are given tools to make custom mods to games you should be careful about making something too good. The author of the mod is hopeful that it's just a trademark problem with the name of his mod but few details are out.

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