Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

greed3

U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

freedom-of-the-press

The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

anon

‘Anonymous’ Hacker Explains Why He Fled The US

Business Insider Mar. 2, 2012 By Michael Kelley Anonymous is front and center these days: the amorphous hacktivist group has been publishing internal data of U.S. banks while prominent members are prosecuted More »

Category Archives: censorship

The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

freedom-of-the-press

Washington’s Blog/Global Research
May 20, 2012
By George Washington

Attack on the Press

You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press.

You might have heard that the Attorney General of the United States isn’t sure how often reporters’ records are seized.

You might have learned that the Department of Justice is prosecuting a whistleblower regarding North Korea … as well as the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News who reported on what the whistleblower told him.  As the Washington Post notes:

[Department of Justice investigators] used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails.

You might have read that the Department of Justice Inspector General published a new report today saying that former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke leaked a document intended to smear Operation Fast and Furious scandal whistleblower John Dodson, concluding:

The persecution of Barrett Brown – and how to fight it

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Guardian
Mar. 21, 2013
By

Aaron’s Swartz’s suicide in January triggered waves of indignation, and rightly so. He faced multiple felony counts and years in prison for what were, at worst, trivial transgressions of law. But his prosecution revealed the excess of both anti-hacking criminal statutes, particularly the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and the fixation of federal prosecutors on severely punishing all forms of activism that challenge the power of the government and related entities to control the flow of information on the internet. Part of what drove the intense reaction to Swartz’s death was how sympathetic of a figure he was, but as noted by Orin Kerr, a former federal prosecutor in the DOJ’s computer crimes unit and now a law professor at GWU, what was done to Swartz is anything but unusual, and the reaction to his death will be meaningful only if channeled to protest other similar cases of prosecutorial abuse:

“I think it’s important to realize that what happened in the Swartz case happens in lots and lots of federal criminal cases. . . . What’s unusual about the Swartz case is that it involved a highly charismatic defendant with very powerful friends in a position to object to these common practices. That’s not to excuse what happened, but rather to direct the energy that is angry about what happened. If you want to end these tactics, don’t just complain about the Swartz case. Don’t just complain when the defendant happens to be a brilliant guy who went to Stanford and hangs out with Larry Lessig. Instead, complain that this is business as usual in federal criminal cases around the country – mostly with defendants who no one has ever heard of and who get locked up for years without anyone else much caring.”

Prosecutorial abuse is a drastically under-discussed problem in general, but it poses unique political dangers when used to punish and deter online activism. But it’s becoming the preeminent weapon used by the US government to destroy such activism.

Anonymous hackers’ Twitter account suspended, reinstated

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NBC News
Dec. 19, 2012
By Suzanne Choney

For the second time in a month, one of the Twitter accounts used by the hacking group known as Anonymous was suspended. But this time the account, @YourAnonNews, with more than three-quarter of a million followers, was reinstated.

“You can’t suspend an idea,” @YourAnonNews tweeted Wednesday.

Indeed, you can’t, but the Twitter account was suspended briefly Wednesday; Twitter told NBC News it doesn’t comment on “individual accounts for privacy and security reasons.” The @YourAnonNews account is one of the hacking collective’s most followed on the short messaging blog.

Internet Hangs in Balance as World Governments Meet in Secret

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Wired
Dec. 3, 2012
By David Kravets

There’s a lot of sky-is-falling doomsday predictions about the World Conference on International Telecommunications, which opens Monday in Dubai with some 190-plus nations discussing the global internet’s future.

That’s because much of the accompanying proposals from the global community have been kept under lock and key, although some of the positions of nations have been leaked and published online.

The idea behind the meetings is to update the International Telecommunications Regulations governed by the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency known as the ITU, that is responsible for global communication technologies.

Anonymous Claims To Have Hacked 28,000 PayPal Passwords For Guy Fawkes Day

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Huffington Post
Nov. 5, 2012
By

Anonymous, which adopted the Guy Fawkes mask, designed by “V for Vendetta” illustrator David Llyod, as a symbol for its social crusade, has decided to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day with some good, old-fashioned hacking.

Guy Fawkes Day is observed annually on Nov. 5 in commemoration of the rebel Englishman’s demise.

Marking Nov. 5 as a day of global protest, hacker group Anonymous began its tribute on Sunday night by allegedly hacking a PayPal server and stealing 28,000 customer passwords, The Next Web reports. Anonymous announced the hack on Twitter, “linking to a set of Private Paste documents containing emails, names, and what appear to be possibly passwords from the payment service’s database,” according to TNW.

The head of public relations for PayPal, however, denied the Anonymous attack, tweeting, “We’re investigating this but to date we have been unable to find any evidence that validates this claim.”

Activists warned to watch what they say as social media monitoring becomes ‘next big thing in law enforcement’

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The Independent
Oct. 1, 2012
By Kevin Rawlinson

Political activists must watch what they say on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, sites which will become the “next big thing in law enforcement”, a leading human rights lawyer has warned.

John Cooper QC said that police are monitoring key activists online and that officers and the courts are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to social media. But, speaking to The Independent, he added that he also expected that to drive an increase in the number of criminals being brought to justice in the coming months.

“People involved in public protest should use social media to their strengths, like getting their message across. But they should not use them for things like discussing tactics. They might as well be having a tactical meeting with their opponents sitting in and listening.

“For example, if antifascist organisers were discussing their plans on social media, they can assume that a fascist organisation will be watching. Social media sites are the last place you want to post something like that,” he said.

Google: Censorship Requests ‘Alarming’

Reuters
June 18, 2012

BRUSSELS – Google has received more than 1,000 requests from authorities to take down content from its search results or YouTube video in the last six months of 2011, the company said on Monday, denouncing what it said was an alarming trend.

In its twice-yearly Transparency Report, the world’s largest web search engine said the requests were aimed at having some 12,000 items overall removed, about a quarter more than during the first half of last year.

“Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different,” Dorothy Chou, the search engine’s senior policy analyst, said in a blogpost. “We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it’s not.”


Many of those requests targeted political speech, keeping up a trend Google said it has noticed since it started releasing its Transparency Report in 2010.

“It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect — Western democracies not typically associated with censorship,” said Chou.

In the second half of last year, Google complied with around 65 percent of court orders and 47 percent of informal requests to remove content, it said.

The censorship report offers an overview of which officials have asked Google to delete content and why.

In one case, Spanish regulators asked Google to remove 270 links to blogs and newspaper articles criticizing public figures, including mayors and public prosecutors.

Full Article Here – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/18/google-censorship-government-authorities_n_1605354.html

Ethiopia clamps down on Skype and other internet use on Tor

BBC News
June 16, 2012
By Katia Moskvitch

Campaigners have warned of fresh efforts by the Ethiopian government to clamp down on certain types of internet use in the country.

Reporters Without Borders says that the authorities have installed a system to block access to the Tor network – a “hidden” layer of the internet, used to allow anonymous online communications.

Users already face up to 15 years in jail if they use Skype or similar internet call services.
Addis Ababa has not provided a comment.


“The Ethiopian government is trying to attack every means of information exchange,” Ambroise Pierre from the Reporters Without Borders Africa service told BBC News.

“There’s already a very strict control over written press, and last year several journalists were arrested, and now the government is tackling communications over the internet.

“More and more people in Ethiopia are turning to new technologies, and some are even able to bypass censorship, which explains why the government is trying to use effective methods to control internet communications.”

Government control

Al Jazeera recently reported that Ethiopia passed a law on 24 May criminalising the use of VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calls. It said the maximum sentence was 15 years in jail.

Other local reports have said that individuals providing such services face sentences of up to eight years, and users could also be imprisoned for using banned social media sites.

The BBC could not independently confirm the details.

While criminalising such acts may be new, Ethiopia has long restricted internet use.

“I used a British internet telephony provider, but [the government eventually] blocked the ports,” said Elizabeth Blunt, the BBC’s former Ethiopia correspondent who worked in Addis Ababa between 2007 and 2009.

She added that there were two reasons for the authorities to prohibit internet communications.

“Internet cafes may be allowing people to make calls for far less than the cost of Ethiopia telecom, the state’s telecommunications provider that has the monopoly and charges very high prices – and doesn’t want to have its service undermined,” says Ms Blunt.

“But there is also the issue that Skype can’t be listened to so easily and can’t be controlled.”
Tor takedown
The Internet Society, an international organisation which promotes equal access to the net, also raised concerns.

“Placing restrictions such as banning VoIP goes against our belief in an open and unencumbered internet,” said its vice president for public policy Markus Kummer.

Full Article Here – http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18461292

The Strikes Against ACTA In Eurpopean Parliament Today

Falvinge & Co
May 31, 2012

Three heavyweight committees in the European Parliament gave their voting recommendations on ACTA today. All three gave the same recommendation: reject ACTA. This means that today, the European Parliament issued three very hard strikes against ACTA.

What happened today was the first steps in a long chain that ends with the final vote in all of the European Parliament, which is the vote where ACTA ultimately lives or dies. If it is defeated on the floor of the European Parliament, then it’s a permakill. Boom, headshot.. But on the way to that vote, a number of specialized committees will say what they think from their perspective.

The committee that “owns” the issue of ACTA, the so-called INTA committee (International Trade), is the committee giving the final recommendation to the European Parliament as a whole. But as input to the INTA recommendation, four other committees will say what they think. Three of those – ITRE (Industry, Research, Energy), JURI (Legal affairs), and LIBE (Civil Liberties) – voted today.


They all voted to recommend rejection of ACTA, and therefore, effectively recommend that the European Parliament kill it dead. But this all happened with very narrow margins, defying an onslaught of procedural tricks and attempts of delaying, so the game is far from over.

Still, it is a sign of changing times. Rather than reciting amendments, political detailed minutiae and vote counts, I’d like to look at the bigger picture.

Perhaps the strongest indication of just how much times are changing is the fact that the monopoly maximalists – those politicians who are firmly planted in corporativist rule – have always had their way, especially in the committee of Legal Affairs which is full of lawyerspeak. At the same time, Pirate has been a dirty word, almost synonymous with criminal. Compare the first two votes today, in the Industry and Legal Affairs committees, and the Members of the European Parliament who were responsible for drafting the opinions of those committees:

Full Article Here – http://falkvinge.net/2012/05/31/three-strikes-against-acta-in-european-parliament-today/

Dutch lawmakers reject online piracy treaty

Associated Press
May 29, 2012

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch lawmakers adopted a motion Tuesday urging the government not to sign a controversial international treaty aimed at reining in online piracy.

The motion was another setback for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, known as ACTA, which has run into opposition around the world.

The European Union suspended efforts to ratify the treaty in February amid a storm of protest from activists who say the agreement would stifle free speech and access to information.

Lisa Neves Goncalves — a spokeswoman for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation — said the government had earlier this year stated it would avoid signing the treaty until it was clear it did not breach the Dutch or EU constitutions. That clarity must come from the European Court of Justice, which the EU has asked to check whether ACTA violates any fundamental EU rights.


The treaty has been under negotiation for years. Its drafters say it is needed to harmonize international standards to protect the rights of those who produce music, movies, pharmaceuticals, fashion goods, and a range of other products that often fall victim to piracy and intellectual property theft.

Full Article Here – http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5irLbRYe35eEeZkm5qGKIYUZoQpaw?docId=6774432c0b81459b9a904e68315af5d0