Posts tagged ‘censorship’

November 13, 2011

Government Approved Censorship Could Be Coming To The Internet. STOP SOPA, SAVE THE INTERNET – Boing Boing

by Mark E.

STOP SOPA, SAVE THE INTERNET

By at 8:51 am Friday, Nov 11

Tiffiny from Fight for the Future sez,

Google knows it. Viacom knows it. The Chamber of Commerce knows it. Internet democracy groups know it. BoingBoing knows it. But, the Internet hasn’t been told yet — we’re going to get blown away by the end of the year. The worst bill in Internet history is about to become law. Law is very real here in the United States and legal language is often different than stated intentions — this law would give government and corporations the power to block sites like BoingBoing over infringing links on at least one webpage posted by their users. Believe the EFF, Public Knowledge, Google when they say this bill is about much more than copyright, it’s about the Internet and free speech everywhere.

The MPAA, RIAA, Hollywood knows that they have been flying in CEOs of as many companies as possible, recruiting people to get petition signups at malls in California, and here’s the big point– they know they have gotten their message through to Congress — the worst bill in Internet history, the one where government and their corporations get unbelievable power to take down sites, threaten payment processors into stopping payment to sites on a blacklist, and throw people in jail for posting ordinary content is about to pass before the end of this year. The only thing that is going to stop Hollywood from owning the Internet and everything we do, is if there is a big surprise Internet backlash starting right now.

PROTECT IP (S. 968)/SOPA (HR. 3261) creates the first system for Internet censorship – this bill has sweeping provisions that give the government and corporations leeway and legal cover for taking down sites “by accident,” mistakenly, or for NOT doing “enough” to protect the interests of Hollywood. These bills that are moving very quickly through Congress and can pass before Christmas aim to give the US government and corporations the ability to block sites over infringing links posted by their users and give ISPs the release to take any means to block peoples’ sites, including slowing down your connection. That’s right, some say this bill is a workaround to net neutrality and is bigger than net neutrality.

This is the worst piece of Internet legislation in history – the lawmakers who have been sponsoring (Leahy, Lamar Smith, Conyers) this bill need to be shamed by the Internet community for wasting taxpayer dollars on a bill that would break the very fabric of the Internet, create an Internet blacklist, kill jobs and great startup companies, huge blogs, and social networks.

 

Everyone, the entire Internet community needs to stand together if we don’t want to see this bill actually become law. Internet and democracy groups are planning an Internet-wide day of protest called American Censorship Day on Wednesday, November 16th for the day Congress holds a hearing on these bills to create the first American Internet censorship system. Every single person with a website can join and needs to.

Boing Boing, Grooveshark, Free Software Foundation, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, Demand Progress, Open Congress/PPF, TechDirt, Fight for the Future and dozens of other sites have created this day to ask you to join them to stop S. 978 and HR 3261, as hard as you can. Write them, protest, call them, protest, support your favorite sites, protest, sign a letter, block out your site, protest.

Many public intellectuals who are often the ones to help win the public interest over and over are about to come out to lead the charge to stop PROTECT IP/ SOPA – they have to when they learn that the House and Senate will be working to pass this bill before the Christmas. From those doing work on the hill, it’s very clear we have been stacked comparatively lightly. The House bill has 40 co-sponsors and major industry support. The only thing that will change the dynamic now is if Congress gets a knock on their door by CEO”s of small and large tech companies, blogs, and news sites and if Internet users start piling on, one by one, and protest.

Tech companies, blogs, news sites are already in a death-do-die battle cry — listen to them — it’s a few days before the hearing on this bill. But, we need more tech companies, blogs, new sites before the hearing on this bill. Help get them.

I’ve been trying to think about whether or not the world is going to end if this bill passes like it’s supposed to — and the answer is, “kind of yes”. When small sites, and it’s the small sites that get turned off in the night and no one for the most part notices, say my friend’s political blog or news site gets blocked by the US government and she has no way to get it back up even though everything she did was legal according to current law, and no one can help her except she can choose to file suit to defend herself, I feel like I die inside a little. Living in a country where you are being shut out and left powerless to really defend yourself is like living in another country, the ones you hear about. Life starts to feel shot when that happens, especially to our friends or our favorites sites.

Every site who has user-generated content, posts links or videos to anything copyrighted in it could face new legal threats.

If a copyrights holder disliked links you have on your site, they could simply file a complaint with a payment processor (Visa, PayPal), who would then have 5 days to respond to their request or risk legal ramifications. If bills like this are allowed to pass, we’ll be spending another $47 million dollars every year to help corporations fill out and enforce Internet blacklists.

Sites that would be legal under the DMCA and its safe harbor provisions would now risk losing everything for allowing user generated content. It also has added in the streaming felony bill that would make it so ordinary Internet users are at risk of going to jail for 5 years for post any copyrighted work that would cost $2,500 to license. And because copyright is so broad, that means videos with copyrighted music in the background, kids in a school play, people singing karaoke could all be a risk.

Because the law affects almost every Internet user and the sites they use every day and have come to love, and because granting sweeping blacklisting powers is just sickening to almost everyone, we need your help — if you can encourage your favorite site to join the protest, and help drive the maximum number of people to contact Congress on November 16th (until the bill dies), please help.

These bills represent a major blow to openness and freedom on the Internet, free speech rights, and the fabric of the Internet itself. If SOPA is allowed to pass, the Internet and free speech will never be the same again.

SOPA: Hollywood Finally Gets A Chance to Break the Internet (EFF)

House takes Senate’s bad Internet censorship bill, tries making it worse (Ars Technica)

Protect The Internet (Brad Feld)

Protecting The Safe Harbors Of The DMCA And Protecting Jobs (Business Insider)

S.978 – Commercial Felony Streaming Act

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This isn’t the wild ravings of a small group of activists. This is a serious threat to content providers and regular people who use the internet every day. The RIAA is the only organization I have had personal experience with in regards to abuse of copyright laws, and they are simply EVIL. If this bill becomes law, they and other industry groups will be able to have almost anything taken down from the web at their whim.

We don’t need this kind of censorship in the name of copyright or protecting artist’s rights. I believe in protecting artist’s rights and that artists should be compensated for their work. I don’t believe in “industry organizations” acting like brown shirted Storm Troopers yanking anything they think threatens their ability to make a profit from the internet.

America may be the land of opportunity, but it should not be the land of censorship or prior restraint. Please do what you can to make ure this bill doesn’t become law.

May 25, 2011

This Is What Happens When You Dare To Criticize A Samsung Product

by Mark E.

If you’ve been following me over the last couple of weeks, you know that I’ve had a very bad experience with my smartphones.  I left Blackberry and Verizon for the new Samsung Nexus S 4G on Sprint. To say the least, I’ve been disappointed and unhappy with the decision.  The phone is amazing, but it has serious flaws in its ability to get a decent signal and hold a charge.  

I’ve been working with some very well meaning people at Sprint on this issue since day one, and am now on my second device, which started out working well but seems to have had a steep decline in quality of signal as it got past its third day of use.  I’ve posted findings and observations on Sprint’s community forums, but Sprint is still not officially saying there are issues with the device.  As of now, there are 310 posts (and counting) about issues with this phone on Sprint’s forums alone.

The phone is technically a “Google Experience” device, so Google has had a lot of traffic on their help forums as well, but again has not come out to say that there is a recognized issue with the device.  Over 80 posts as of now on that site.

Then there’s Samsung, the maker of the device.  They too have forums and places to review their products, but it’s been interesting that unlike the carrier (Sprint) and software developer (Google) the hardware maker (Samsung) has had mainly glowing reviews for their baby.  Odd that on every other website, carrier, software maker, tech journalism, independent reviews, the signal issue and low battery life issues have been a big topic, but NOT on Samsung’s site.

I wrote a fair and honest ONE STAR review of their phone, complimenting the hardware but brining the signal problems and fact that nobody has openly acknowledged them or said there would be a fix on Saturday, May 21. Today, Wednesday, May 25, I received this note from Samsung:

Thanks for leaving a review. Unfortunately, your review did not meet our posting guidelines. This may be because it contained references to other products;or to pricing, ordering, delivery or other customer service issues. Your feedback is important because it helps others make informed choices about Samsung products. We invite you to read our posting guidelines, then log in to your account on Samsung.comto post a new review.

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In other words, you were too rough and honest with us, and we don’t want you posting bad things about our products, so we won’t let your post go up on our forums.

Now I understand that it’s Samsung’s website and they can control what they put on it.  But this strikes of good old CENSORSHIP, not letting the negative reviews of their product on their site.  Not exposing the faults with their device, and continuing to cover up the fact that there is a SERIOUS defect with the unit.

Read the Sprint and Google forums for yourself.  You’ll see that I’m not some crazy lone wolf in Kansas complaining about a problem that doesn’t exist.  But you won’t find those kinds of posts on Samsung’s forums.  If Samsung isn’t being honest and transparent with its customers about the problems with the Nexus S 4G, how can they be trusted to be forthwright about any of their products?

I know Sprint is trying to figure this mess out.  I haven’t had personal contact with Google, but I assume they don’t want a device with their name on it to be junk.  But I’ve written a review that was censored and spoken with Samsung’s alleged Executive Offices, and they are lying to the public about the fact that there even is an issue and being disingenuous at best when it comes to dealing with their customers.

Buyer beware.

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