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YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft Will Create 'Hash' Database To Remove Extremist Content ( 254

bongey writes: Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft are teaming up to create a common database to flag extremist videos and pictures. The database is set to go live in 2017. The system will not automatically remove content. Reuters reports: "The companies will share 'hashes' -- unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos -- of extremist content they have removed from their websites to enable their peers to identify the same content on their platforms. 'We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online,' the companies said in a statement on Tuesday. Each company will decide what image and video hashes to add to the database and matching content will not be automatically removed, they said. The database will be up and running in early 2017 and more companies could be brought into the partnership."

Comment Re:Thoughtcrime (Score 1) 414

Which of the socialisms was Orwell advocating?

The cited text (Lion & Unicorn) would explain better than I could hope.

From the point of view of Marxism (and I'm obviously not a Marxist) neither of the situations you describe are socialism. The first, I believe would be dismissed as "primitive communalism." The second seems to be a self-defeatingly histrionic* description welfare state ideology. It is a common these days to confuse the welfare state with socialism. Historically, however, the modern welfare state was the invention of conservatives (esp of Otto von Bismarck) and was explicitly an anti-socialist measure. It is an accident of history that the welfare state has become associated with nominally 'socialist' parties (long after the imminent threat of a socialist takeover faded, rendering the welfare state no longer necessary to conservative purposes).

Marxists view socialism as a "transitional state," as a the final form of state power on the path to their utopian (though Marxists would object strenuously to that term) vision of stateless communism. The famous motto "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" which is meant to characterise communism is matched by the starker motto of socialism, "to each according to their contribution" (if memory serves me both come from Marx' Critique of the Gotha Programme). The idea was that the proletariat as the "universal class" (a imho mystical conception Marx inherited from the conservative philosopher Hegel who regard the bureaucracy as the universal class) would set up a self dissolving "dictatorship" in which the fruits of production would be shared only by those whose labour brought them into being. That is the owners of factories etc (the means of production) would be dispossed. Socialism then is most easily defined as the state ownership of the means of production as a path to the eventual state self-elimination which was to be communism. [Note that no country under Communist Party rule has ever claimed to be communist. They did claim to be socialist]

And that was their "scientific" socialism which they distinguished from "utopian" socialism!

But actually my main point was, notwithstanding the dig at the Soviet system, in 1984 Orwell was not so much describing a dictatorship of any political colour, but rather showing a state whose purpose served no ideological agenda at all, other than the exercise of power for powers sake. It is a very worthwhile read.

[*It is more persuasive to define a system first and then go on to show how aspects of that system ineluctably lead to poor outcomes rather than over-obviously writing the untoward outcomes into the very definition. Just an idea if ever you want a good essay mark.]

Comment Re:Well that's terrifying (Score 1) 414

To a free man it's not valid

To such a "free man" 7 need not be a prime number either.

... violates the first principle of human rights.

And the canonical example of what might constitute a "valid law" of the English Parliament, namely that "all blue-eyed babies be put to death" doesn't?! *

Prohibition was "duly enacted" in the US, too, but it was a stupid, ill-advised, and evil power trip.

It may well have been stupid, ill-advised and an evil power trip. It was nonetheless, as a matter of mere fact, a valid law. After all, Prohibition was repealed rather than being struck down.

[*Besides which, those so-called "human rights" which are actual rights rather than aspirations, are simply called "rights"]

Comment Re:Thoughtcrime (Score 1) 414

Maybe, just maybe..... the distinguishment between having thoughtcrime and other laws on the book supporting tyranny and kangaroo courts VS no actual law and no courts is not so important a distinction.

Well thoughtcrime is neither a law nor is it on the books, that's the point. There are no written rules as such, one never knows with certitude what the elements of a particular "crime" might be (nor is there a process where a prosecution must make them out), or when one has overstepped the line ... unless of course one writes out "I Hate Big Brother".

But yes ... absolutely! Having the mere simulacrum of Law: prosection of people who don't actually commit the offence; defence lawyers who don't actually defend you; courts whose decisions are determined not with reference to the evidence but to the wishes of political masters ... does in effect amount to having no Law restraining the power of state at all.* My point was simply that Orwell makes the absence of Law stark.

I recently read Anna Funder's Stasiland. The counterfeit of Law in the GDR notwithstanding, Orwell was more accurate than he could have known, the similarities are chilling (if less extreme). A highly recommend read if you are interested in the threat posed by the surveillance state.

Perhaps the no law binding government thing is just a later evolution of where this path takes us.

I prefer to think of it as a more primitive phase of human society. I hope I'm not being unduly optimistic.

[*I'm defining 'Law' here as the social technology by which we restrain the arbitrary exercise of power (private or state) on the individual person]

Comment Re:Well that's terrifying (Score 2) 414

[T]he answer to 2) is "Free speech".

I'm making a pun on the fact that the word 'opinion' is a term of art at Law: it's another word of a judgment, and that OP was delivering an opinion as to the validity of a law. It was my obtuse way of telling OP that their opinion is hardly pertinent. Had OP simply opined that it should not be, as a matter of principle, be made an offence merely to browse websites, I might not have been inclined to disagree.

Comment Re:Thoughtcrime (Score 5, Interesting) 414

1984 was made about a Collectivist (Leftist) dystopia.

That's both an oversimplification and a not uncommon misunderstanding of the text. A misunderstanding which reading the book will occasionally (but apparently not invariably) clear up.

As the text explains via the device of Emanuel Goldstein's inserted Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism --which is left deliberately ambiguous to the reader as to whether it is a genuine text of a genuine dissident or rather a work of the Party describing itself with dark irony --Ingsoc "rejects and vilifies every principle for which the Socialist movement originally stood, and it does so in the name of Socialism" (doublethink)!

1984 should be read in light especially of Orwell's essay The Lion and the Unicorn in which Orwell sketched out what a distinctly English Socialism (as against the prevailing internationalism of the time) ought to look like. 1984 represents the exact opposite, a totalitarian state neither actually Socialist nor English. A state whose sole purpose had become the exercise of power for its own sake. To label it Leftist or Anti-Leftist, or even Fascist is entirely to miss the point of the work. [There is also the implied accusation that the Soviet Union has rejected and vilified every Socialist principle, of course, remember Orwell fought with the Trotsyist POUM in the Spanish Civil War.]

The present situation is however to be distinguished from that describe in Orwell's dystopia on the basis that the sentence has been handed down by a court, duly according to a Law itself duly enacted by the French Parliament. A Leitmotif of 1984 is that Big Brother represents a state entirely unburdened by Law. Orwell is explicit: not only is there no Law in 1984, there is nothing even resembling it, not even a simulacrum of Law such as Stalin's show trials.

That being said, and the real dangers posed by Islamism notwithstanding, it might reasonable be argued that we as a voting public ought to guard ourselves against laws which criminalise mere browsing. While it may be seductive to think that punishing those who frequent obviously nefarious sites such as Islamist or anti-feminist ;p websites, there may come a time when our own browsing habits will not be appreciated by those upon whom we choose to bestow power.


Twitters Says It Will Ban Trump If He Breaks Hate-Speech Rules ( 1055

Twitter has made a serious effort as of late to limit hate speech on its social media site, especially after Election Day where "biased graffiti, assaults and other incidents have been reported in the news." The company now faces President-elect Donald Trump, who has used Twitter for the past 18 months as a megaphone for his views and rants, which many would consider as "hate speech." According to the American Bar Association, hate speech is "speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or other traits." Quartz reports: While Trump's deceptive tweets may not violate Twitter's rules against harassment, threats and "hateful conduct," Twitter is still keeping an eye on his account for more egregious offenses. This week, the company told Slate it would consider banning key government officials, even the president, if its rules against hate speech or other language were violated. "The Twitter Rules prohibit violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, and multiple account abuse, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies," a spokesperson wrote. Twitter confirmed with Quartz that everyone, including government officials, were subject to the policy: "The Twitter Rules apply to all accounts," a spokesman wrote. Trump may not have crossed that line yet, but he hasn't exactly refrained from making incendiary claims. Most recently, he claimed that Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who allegedly carried out an attack injuring 11 students at Ohio State University, "should not have been in our country." Artan was a legal permanent U.S. resident, whose family had fled Somalia for Pakistan in 2007. He arrived in the States in 2014.

Comment Re:Just try to find (Score 1) 385

You're also mixing up gender and sex. Skirt-wearing behavior is not physiological. Skirt-wearing behavior in a society where only women wear skirts is more complicated..

Read more carefully, read WAY more carefully. Beginning with "Bearing children is a function of female physiology, skirt wearing is not . Or start even earlier from "'Sex' is a biological fact, and it falls into the classification of male, female, or occasionally intersex. 'Gender' on the other hand is a social construct by definition ..."

Okay, why the hell do you care this much about stopping other people from trying to find solutions to their problems?

That is not reasonably to be inferred from anything I have written here. Please address what I have written --and it would help actually to read it first --rather than what you imagine I may have written. The problem I'm addressing here is an unwillingness to admit the distinction between 'sex' and 'gender.' In fact if you didn't get that re-read from the beginning of OP's comment. That frames the context of this comment. And yes, this is a highly simplified explanation of gender ... baby steps.

And what the hell is this "trans-gender lobby"? Can I get a job with them?

Wikipedia is a good place to start. As to job prospects, that question would properly be addressed to the organisation in question.

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