EFF: "What Does Twitter’s Country-by-Country Takedown System Mean for Freedom of Expression?"

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30 Responses to “EFF: "What Does Twitter’s Country-by-Country Takedown System Mean for Freedom of Expression?"”

  1. robdobbs says:

    So, why does Twitter need offices anyplace?

  2. If you can’t count on Twitter getting your messages out, especially when you may need it most, then what is the point of Twitter?  Delete your accounts, power to the people!

    • OoerictoO says:

      any suggestions (from anyone) on alternatives?  possibly those hosted in countries more liberal than the US on freedom of the press/speech?

  3. petsounds says:

    I don’t see why Twitter needs offices in any place except their headquarters. They aren’t selling physical goods. I’m sure they have some reasons — marketing, et al — but then they must consider the protection of free expression rather lower on the list. Not that the USA is exactly a bastion of free expression these days, but we still do a pretty good job of letting people say crazy shit.

    • ComradeQuestions says:

      Presumably the profit of opening these offices must outweigh the cost of implementing these new filtering policies.  But considering I have no idea how Twitter even makes money in the first place, I’m not sure how this works out.

      • petsounds says:

         I don’t believe they DO make much money, other than some private deals with companies for data mining access. Hence the investments from people like the Saudi prince. They’re a typical 1990s-style dotcom which had no real business model except for, “let’s make this thing and figure it out later. and get a lot of VC. and hookers. with cocaine.”

        • OoerictoO says:

          $145M revenue in 2011.  Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts.  they are valued at several $Billion.  so the only part you are mostly right in is the “figure it out later” part.  oh and the VC part. 

  4. Pawel Loj says:

    I love EFF, gave them $100 this year, asked for a shirt and they did not send it… I’m sad! 

  5. Work_Watch_Buy_Repeat says:

    On the positive side, this means when the US demands that Twitter censor content, the rest of the world will still be able to see it.

  6. Mitch_M says:

    I’m curious about the logistics of how censorship would work. Would someone in the Ankara office personally read all tweets to check for ones defamatory to Ataturk or would they try to use an algorithm to automate the process? Would they account for forbidden tweets being published in non-English and non-Turkish languages? Could I say “Ataturk was a bunghole” in Swahili and have it get through or would it be changed to “ttrk ws bnghl”?

  7. hubris sonic says:

    Problem here is that in Japan there is no freedom of speech guaranteed by the constitution. So legally the government can censor any forms of communication, including messages passing its borders even electronically. In fact there is a new law specifically to outlaw fear mongering in light of recent events at Fukushima. To be fair to the government, there were quite a few apocaholics who got everyone pretty close to wholesale panic which would  have resulted in many more lives lost than would have been possible in a radiation bloom. Now, it’s true that twitter.com (us) doesnt have to comply with jp government requests but..

  8. Wesley Henderson says:

    I see this as a good compromise. Now, if a government complains, the tweet in question can be censored for only a certain IP block. If users want to still view censored tweets, they need only use a spoofed IP from an unblocked country or a proxy. Tada, they can now see tweets censored by their government. Much better than having to remove the tweet for everyone.

    Of course, with this arrangement, the particular government can probably track those who use spoofed IPs or proxies. That, however, is strictly an issue with that government, and nothing to do with Twitter.

  9. Finnagain says:

    Why is there no Anonymous isp yet? Is it really impossible to do a search engine, social media and instant messaging without being evil?

  10. terminationshok says:

    Check out diaspora, the distributed social network. You can make your own social networking “pods” so you can control your own information. There is no centralized infrastructure where you can be censored.

  11. “Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things. ” – Russell Baker

  12. Adam S. says:

    There is an solid open source twitter clone option called identi.ca from the people at status.net.
    I hope people will start moving. Twitter has been deleting all the protest related tweets out of the #rankings in the USA going back to the #FuckYouWashington and #occupywallstreet.

    We should have left then, but this is what makes people leave, that works too.

  13. Matt Moylan says:

    It’s just twitter, it doesn’t matter. Let them do whatever they want.

  14. someguyyouvenevermet says:

    Developments in the way we communicate have increasingly been locked into specific companies in a way they have not in the past. You can choose a range of phone companies and communicate with anyone who has a phone regardless of the company providing their phone service same goes for email.

    But new communications technologies like Twitter do not work like this. That’s what makes this kind of thing a problem. You can’t just switch provider you have to stop communicating in that particular way. As these forms of communication become more a part of our daily lives this is very problematic.

  15. James Penrose says:

    It is sad to see corporations cave in when they have a massive opportunity to shaft repressive regimes in the fork:

    Can you imagine if RIM said to a country that demanded the right to read all the email traffic of users in its country if RIM had said “No.  IN fact, we will simply not provide service to your country effective tomorrow.”  Or if Twitter did the same thing?

    Shut down say, Saudi Arabia’s entire Blackberry network or turn off Turkey’s entire ability to Twitter and do everything possible to let it citizens know *why* it happened and just sit back and watch the fun.

    Many corporations are big and powerful enough that they cold take on entire countries and win an economic war.  Think of the force for genuine freedom that could become.   I know.  Lots of luck.

  16. nmw1 says:

    Do you think that it might have something to do with a Saudi prince investing 230 million dollars in Twitter???

    http://www.elpais.com/articulo/economia/principe/saudi/invierte/230/millones/Twitter/elpepueco/20111219elpepueco_3/Tes

    Just read this in the paper today, I’m sure (…or not?) you can find it in some English-language media as well though.

  17. miasm says:

    couldn’t friends or followers from outside the country just re-tweet the disabled message?
    Some kind of #censoredbytwitter tag could be used?
    IANAT (tweeter)

  18. Investigate closely how this works. If you should have received a tweet that has been censored you are informed of this. Then you are asked if twitter has classified your country correctly. You can given the opportunity to “correct” twitter’s notion of what country you are in. Switch countries and suddenly the tweet appears.

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